Wednesday, December 30, 2009

2009 - Year in Review

2009 was a crazy year for me and my family...i can't believe it's almost over. time seems to just fly by the older that you get.

**EDIT: i knew i forgot something before - but props to Jamie Ann who inspired this with her 2009 breakdown. i meant to do something slightly different, annnnd it ended up being exactly the same. HA! thanks, Jamie ;)***

here's some of my memories of 2009...
some very sad events...and others very exciting...

new workstation at work! this was very exciting for me. visited my sister at her first BRIDAL EXPO - she gained enough clients for the year to quit her part-time job and go full-time with photography!! i am so proud of her. she just keeps getting better.

realized my love for avocados and (mostly) guacamole. celebrated Valentine's Day and Josh & I's 1-year anniversary only to hit a wall a day later. our relationship took a turn for the awful (because of me), then days later took a turn for the amazing, the hopeful, the future. together we found hope in Jesus, and though those days were incredibly hard for both of us, it was necessary to be where we are today. i fell more in love with him than i could have imagined in the days and months that followed. mum encouraged me with a song.

fell down a huge flight of steps and let everyone know about it. turned quarter of a century. dang. posted five things i was thankful for on day 5 of my "5 things" posts.

visited my best friend in Florida and took my first trips to Disneyland. finally finished decorating our apartment with roomie KC. Gramma Mason passed away and dad flew to England for the funeral. days later we found that Gramma Koos's cancer was getting worse and she had less than 6 months.

did some "trash the dress" bridal shoots. in the absolute freezing weather. was a lot of fun. started a 30-day diet in which i DID in fact lose about 10lbs. i've gained at least 5 of it back. discovered the best dieting salad ever - California Chicken Salad with Avocado and Mango. picnic lunch and first beach visit with Josh.

did my FIRST GIVEAWAY! got the most comments on any post ever, and my roomie won!! had my first photography gig - photographing a baby shower. spent time with Gramma during her last days, she passed away June 13th. I miss her everyday.

helped with Extreme Makeover: Home Edition. Katie's wedding! found out exciting news that my sister and brian were pregnant!

lots of birthdays and weddings. that's what happened that month.

nicole's wedding! visiting katie & mike in pittsburgh and went to the melting pot. AMAZING.
experienced the most amazing night of my life with the love of my life - September 30, 2009 i became the "future" mrs. joshua monacella :)

posted the best thing ever: ENGAGEMENT! starting slacking on the posting. mostly thinking wedding stuff. find out that i'm going to be an auntie to a baby GIRL :)

find out bad news about Papa Koos's cancer, much more serious than we thought. celebrated our first holiday without our grammas.

looking for shoes. searching for bridesmaid dresses. struggling. planning sissy's baby shower. awesome holiday with family and future in-laws/family.

what a crazy, emotional, roller coaster year. i'm very excited for 2010 - gonna be an AUNT and gonna get MARRIED!! i know this year is going to be another hard one, as Papa Koos is struggling with cancer and has been in and out of the hospital repeatedly the last few months due to surgeries and complications. i'm going into 2010 hopeful and excited. praying for protection for my neice, for improvement in business and the economy, for strength in all the craziness that will happen...

hope you all had a good year, here's to 2010 being even better!

Monday, December 28, 2009


my holiday has be great so far! i'm back to work for a few days (hopefully only two, but we'll see) and house-sitting at my sister's this whole week. josh doesn't have any lessons, so he'll be out early every day too! yippee! :)

Christmas was awesome - Christmas Eve morning we had our 2nd annual SKANK gift exchange & breakfast. then i sang at both our Christmas Eve services, then met Josh at his gram's house. it works out perfect for Christmas - we can attend pretty much all our family events together because nothing overlaps. Christmas Eve is at Josh's mum's house, then Christmas early afternoon at my mum's, evening at Josh's other gram's and Boxing Day (day after Christmas) we spend with some of our "English" family (my mum's cousin and her English hubby).

before we ate our "early dinner" Christmas afternoon, i read this passage in honor of Gramma Betty Jane Koos, who passed in June of this year. she would read "My Utmost for His Highest," by Oswald Chambers daily - and if you looked in her worn book, you would see the notes she kept in there - marking our birthdays every year, when we'd leave for trips to England, when family members had surgeries or past away. Gramma was an amazing and godly woman, and i wanted us to stop and remember her and Christ on His birthday.

His Birth in History. ". . . that Holy One who is to be born will be called the Son of God (Luke 1:35). Jesus Christ was born into this world, not from it. He did not emerge out of history; He came into history from the outside. Jesus Christ is not the best human being the human race can boast of— He is a Being for whom the human race can take no credit at all. He is not man becoming God, but God Incarnate— God coming into human flesh from outside it. His life is the highest and the holiest entering through the most humble of doors. Our Lord’s birth was an advent— the appearance of God in human form.

i had a great time this Christmas and got some fun gifts - Bethany & I exchanged first, the week before christmas, but everything she got me i had picked out and knew about already, haha. Josh bought me new perfume that i wanted, Nicole - my secret SKANK santa got me some new sharpie fine points (LOVE!) and two books - Pride and Prejudice and Zombies and Sense and Sensibility and Seamonsters. very excited about both of these books. sissy & bri got me a cute tote, sweater and socks, mum and dad bought me a variety of cute things (including a GIANT book of Jane Austen novels, chocolate, new mugs, earrings, Sims3 World Adventures and some other fun things). Also received a bunch of bridal stuff from my Aunt, some gift cards, and of course - cash!

i'm excited for the rest of the week to be relaxing (we were running around all weekend). we don't have much planned but one New Year's Eve party we were invited to, but other than that i was planning on celebrating the two of us and doing pretty much nothing all day!

hope everyone had an awesome Christmas with family and friends!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009


i've been really struggling lately. at work, with money, with wedding decisions...i've been in a funk.

i really don't like it.

i feel like i'm not doing my best at work. i feel like i'm not doing my best with budgeting. i feel like i'm getting too frustrated over stupid wedding details that don't matter. i'm not really quite sure what to do with myself.

i have a very hard time getting up in the morning. sometimes i think i should ask the bosses if i can work 9-530 and maybe that extra hour in the morning will help me feel better all around and therefore make me a better employee.

usually i'm convinced it's my attitude that is my problem. with everything...

"Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus."
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

"Do not be anxious for tomorrow, for tomorrow will take care of itself. Each day has enough problems of its own..."
Matthew 6:34

"Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."
Philippians 4:6-7

why are these so hard to live out? no matter what your faith entails, being joyful and not worrying about "tomorrow" is good's just so hard...

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

hunt and a sort of dilemma

i've been on the shoe-hunt and bridesmaid-dress-hunt for the last couple of weeks. the conclusion we've come to for the girls is a very common one now - let them pick out what they want. because i'm looking for a dark purple color that isn't very easy to find, i've realized this may be just as hard as them agreeing on a dress! but we're keeping our options open at bridal stores, so they might just pick from there anyway, but at least there is the option!!

i've been excited looking for shoes. i've wanted something that is a crazy color (purple or orange or even pink) and i've found some awesome ideas so far. i'm back and forth between the idea of flats or kitten heels (i do not want something higher!), and i need to make a decision by February because that is when they told me i should get my dress hemmed (mum wants to do the bustle and other alterations, so i need to get the hem done ASAP so she gets enough time for the rest of it, if she does in fact do it).

i'm absolutely in love with NINA brand shoes. it seems many of the ones i've shown roomie Kristen have been those shoes. did you know you can "create your own" shoe with them?!! yeah, for $150 +!!! the ones i love the most are under $100, but not much. i was hoping to spend more like, um, $25. haha. the dilemma here is probably that i want to spend more than i should/have. also i'm nerve about buying something online, though i'm sure i could send it back if need be.

i want to post pictures of the ones that i like the most, but i guess i want that to be a "surprise" as well...

what kind of shoes did YOU wear or are you planning on wearing? high heels? flats? dress color or something funky??

Wednesday, December 2, 2009


i hope everyone had an awesome holiday and vacation! of course, it went too quickly, but it was great nonetheless.

we had a great Thanksgiving dinner at my aunt and uncle's house. lots of food, watching The Office wedding, Rock Band and ping pong. I made a Chocolate Chocolate Chip bundt cake (Daisy Sour Cream Recipe - good though a little too rich/dark chocolate for my tastes), Veggie Casserole (broccoli, carrots & cauliflower - lost the recipe so i did this from memory and was still good!) and Corn Pudding thanks to Big Red Kitchen's awesome recipe.

my sister's baby shower is coming up in little over a month!! mum asked me to make cupcakes for it. i made some awesome ones for a baby shower earlier this year and i plan on doing the same ones. i believe they were lemon cupcakes with lemon cream cheese frosting and i piped "baby" in white chocolate (in blue and pink - they weren't finding out the sex until the birth). mmm can't wait!!

Friday, November 27, 2009

i was going to post something (mostly wedding ramblings), but i don't feel like it anymore. i don't think i'm very good at writing.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009


ok, time for a new post i suppose...

here's some updates on life in amy world...

  • papa came home from the hospital Saturday. here's rachel's update on what happened after his (unsuccessful) surgery :(
  • started our wedding website
  • bigger news...I FOUND MY DRESS!! it's the dress i've been eying since i started looking for dresses (pretty much in april or so when i knew i was going to marry josh)
  • started looking for BM dresses and working on invitation ideas!
  • had several weeks off from singing at church. i got to spend three solid weeks with the kids in children's church, which was a lot of fun. i'm back on schedule for the next two weekends.
  • things at work are going ok. i started a facebook page for the business and a twitter: @grackbizintrior. things are fairly steady, though not too busy. makes it easier to leave early on Fridays but the lack of those hours is showing up painfully in my paycheck.
  • Rachel is 24 weeks today with her pregnancy! if you didn't hear already, she's having a baby GIRL! i'm so excited!! mum's booked the church for the shower, so now we're starting to think about that too!
  • i'm spending all day Saturday out of town shopping with my friend Bethany. not a good thing for a poor girl, but it will be fun to spend the whole day with her, and i'm going with a list and a budget (cash only) and i'm NOT going over!!

i can't believe all the changes that are going to happen in my family's life next year. we already had big (and sad) changes this year is going to be nuts. i'm so excited to start my new roles as auntie amy and josh's wife :)

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

lacking :(

definitely been lacking on the posts lately. i apologize for that, you faithful readers (yeah, like anyone's even out there!)

anyway thought i would give some updates...

dilemma #3 is pretty much solved. we have opted for NO DJ but a family friend (who we haven't decided upon yet...)

dilemma #4: bridal party - - also solved (as far as my end goes). my girls are as follows:
Rachel: Sister, Matron of Honor
Alicia: Lifetime friend (and i mean that, we were friends when we were 2)
Bekah: Cousin & awesome friend
Alyssa: Josh's sister
Kristen: roommate and first "K" of the SKANK's
Nicole: "N" in the SKANK's
Katie: last "K" in the SKANK's (and one of the friends that introduced Josh & I)
Staci: first "S" in the SKANK's, and fellow volleyball team member

i sent out "be in my wedding" requests last week to the girls, but have not had any response from 5 of them...WHAT THE HECK, GIRLS?! maybe they just don't feel like responding or think it's necessary to...? (i mean, it isn't "necessary" but i want to know they got them, right?!)

i guess dilemma #5 is not a big deal, but i'm trying to find a good wedding website to put all our info on. i have several that i'm signed up for but don't know which to keep. anyone have any suggestions?

other goings on in my life:
* Papa Koos (my mum's dad) is having bladder surgery on Thursday (tomorrow). there's a chance they may not be able to even get the bladder out now because of scar tissue, so we're really praying for that to happen. he has cancer in his bladder and has been taking some chemo medication which has at least stopped it from spreading, but the bladder needs to come out :(
* going dress shopping Saturday with mom, rach, bekah & my aunt if she can
* my sister & her husband are having a GIRL!!! i totally knew it. last friday i spent the afternoon with them painting the little girlie's room!
* work is going ok. fairly busy because i'm the only designer there at the moment. meaning i need to end this post and get back to work
* having a lot of fun browsing for honeymoon places. can't wait!!!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

wedding dilemma #3

dilemma #1 was picking a date. dilemma #2 was cupcakes vs cake (we voted cupcakes).

my mum and i have been discussing the option of having a DJ at the wedding reception. originally, josh and i were under the impression we would ask one of our good friends to do it and a reasonable (CHEAP) price. mum was at a wedding a few weeks ago that had "such a great DJ," so now she's thinking she wants to pay the price for this. they are willing to pay for most of what a "good" DJ would cost, but that means josh and i have to pay for the rest of it...

so there's the dilemma. to DJ or not to DJ. what are your thoughts? is it worth paying that much for a DJ? or should i convince them to use that money on more cupcakes, more bridal shower fun, or helping fund the honeymoon (insert winking face here)? who thinks one of my friends could do just as awesome of a job as a professional DJ??

Monday, October 12, 2009

on that wedding train...

well things are getting decided for Josh & I's wedding! due to my sister's busy schedule (what, with being a wedding photographer and all), my mum's school schedule, and finding a date that matches with the reception venue i really wanted and our church, we were left with one weekend in August, one weekend in September, and one weekend in October to pick from. when weighing the pros and cons and the inevitable stress of my darling mother by doing any other day than in August, we decided to book that August date. The church, reception hall, and photographer are all booked for our special date on Friday, August 20th, 2010.

the more i type 08/20/2010 the more i love that date.

i can't really believe it. it all seems so unreal still.

i'm probably going to post a few things about wedding ideas here, and i'll try to blog about anything else interesting that comes up (though we all know my life isn't really that interesting, hehe). also, i'll probably put a link to our wedding website soon (when i have set it up).

as of right now, i'm just looking for ideas, keeping my eyes open, and being very excited about our day!

i'm also feeling extremely nervous about making any decisions. i'm so afraid of making "the wrong choice" or one i'll regret. but that's silly. why regret your decision of a buffet or sit down dinner? or what colors you have? or type of flowers? it doesn't matter!! the only decision that matters is our decision in marrying each other, and that i will never regret.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

this one time...

so, this one time i met this cute and talented boy at my good friend Katie & Mike's halloween party. i had no idea that, almost two years later, he would be kneeling in front of me asking me to marry him.

josh and i, wait, correction - I - have been talking about getting married a lot recently. it happens when you are surrounded by friends' weddings and a sister immersed in weddings (photography). josh had told me many times, "the more you talk about it, the longer i'm going to wait to do it." alllll part of the plan i suppose...

my best friend alicia and i spoke yesterday afternoon and she asked me, "you think he's the one?" and i replied, "i've never been more sure of anything in my life."

josh and i planned on having a "fancy dinner" Wednesday evening earlier in the week (he said i could dress up and he'd wear pajamas ;) ). i had this *hope* that josh would propose that night, but really, i told myself it wasn't going to happen, and i knew very well it wasn't.

when i picked josh up for dinner, he was in such a good mood, even allowing me to keep the Romolo chocolate bar i had sorta stolen from him from Rock Erie Awards on Sunday night. i was hungry and excited to eat at the Bel Aire hotel's restaurant (Victor's) where we had actually gone on our first "real date" for Valentine's Day in 2008. i also had just come from church (skit practice) and talked 50 miles a minute on our way to the restaurant. i continued talking as i got out of the we made our way to the restaurant...until josh stopped.

i thought i had missed the door, so i stopped, and he pulled me back to him by my purse. he looked at me and kissed me. then he looked at me and said, "you know that i love you." and when he said THAT, i knew. i knew it was happening, yet i was still shocked and in disbelief. he looked at me, got down on one knee, and asked me that question i had been so excited to hear, "will you marry me?"

then he said, "i have a ring..." and pulled out that beautiful little black box that had inside it an amazing, perfect, princess-cut diamond on a clean, crisp silver band. i of course said yes at this point, and we hugged, smiled, i laughed a lot (no, i didn't cry! amazing, isn't it?? too shocked and giddy i think). i asked him to put the ring on me, we talked a little outside, then went into the restaurant.

and of course their kitchen had already closed.

we decided to go to joe roots which is next door.

yeah, they weren't open, either.

i decided to take us to Applebee's instead - which seemed fitting as it was the first place we ever went to dinner and the place where he met with my dad a week earlier.

we spent the rest of the night together, on the phone with my parents and his gram, then visiting my sis & bri and skyping with my parents, then visiting my aunt & cousin.

so, there you have it :)

Josh - i love you. i'm so excited. and i'm still in shock. :)

rachel was nice enough to snap some quick pics. hopefully i'll get some more from her later with her super lens showing the amazing-ness of my ring!!!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

labor day weekend

this week is awesome because we had Monday off for labor day, and Friday off for preparations for Nicole's wedding Saturday!

Josh and I spent Sunday & Monday with our good friends and newlyweds Mike and Katie. Josh and I went to the Omnimax theater at the Carnegie Science Center before getting to Mike & Katie's house. first, however, we got lost in the ghetto of Pittsburgh (both my google maps and mapquest directions had the wrong address. yeah, that was awesome). then my phone decided to be an idiot and be really crappy with it's GPS abilities. we eventually made it to the science center, $10 later for parking with 5 minutes to spare before the movie. the movie was fun, though i'm always scared i'm going to fall into the screen with Imax/Omnimax movies.

we went to The Melting Pot for dinner Sunday night. I was SO excited to go there! and it was pretty much every bit as awesome as i could have imagined. we all decided we could eat there every day. i mean, if we didn't have to pay of course.

kt & mikey j

oh my josh! and me

cheese fondue in action!

awesome dippers for chocolate fondue


we had so much fun with our lovely friends :)
thank you for opening up your house to us (and for cooking us awesome french toast breakfast!)

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Nicole's Bachelorette Party

a few weeks ago we kidnapped Nicole and took her to Canada for her bachelorette party. i can't believe she's getting married NEXT WEEKEND!!!

our trip to Canada was fun, including:
  • getting "lost" and on the wrong road, trying to go to the wrong duty free shop, all resulting in us going through the Canadian border check for a second the same border patrol was pretty awesome actually.
  • Niagra Falls, Maid of the Mist, and a weird restaurant where a "kid's hamburger" was practically the same size as a regular one, but 1/2 the price...
  • hotel in Toronto and trying to check in 6 girls though we only said we had 3...
  • THE PICKLE BARREL. seriously amazing. one of my favorite restaurant experiences ever
  • the Toronto Zoo, including walking 4-5 miles, the amazing Canadian Domain, and failure to find the entrance to the Mayan Ruins exhibit where there were also reindeer...also it seemed like 1/4 of the animals were "not on display"
  • Steam Whistle Brewery - tried to get a tour, but they were all booked, so we enjoyed the atmosphere and some drinks, and puzzled over how they moved a giant wagon without us seeing it leaving (not that surprising i suppose, as Kristen never even saw it when it was there!)
  • Chinatown, which included about 4-5 miles of walking to get there and get back and successfully purchasing chopsticks for Kristen!
  • dinner at Jack Astor's
  • drinks, a pool table with 4 balls and a defunct pool stick, so crowded we almost got in a fight, and blaring music at Devil's Martini
  • traffic-free drive home

getting excited about going on the maid of the mist!

after the boat ride

at the pickle barrel. this was a "dessert sampler" of 6 different desserts!
Oreo cheesecake, tiramasu, strawberry cheesecake, key lime pie, chocolate cake, and chocolate & white chocolate mousse

cheesecake sampler - Rocky Road, Strawberry, and Turtle Brownie

in our own "private booth"

ready to embark on our zoo trip

excited about the Canadian Domain. total bummer. sorry, Canada.

at the brewery. 5 of us received 2 free samples of their beer!

ready to go out Saturday night

staci & i slept on the pullout Friday night, katie & i slept there Saturday night.
we decided the three of us could fit there though.

Monday, August 31, 2009

another wedding weekend

well, another weekend here and gone, with another wedding...and it's the last day of August!? where has the time gone...

this past weekend was our good friends Dustin & Laurel's wedding. Josh has known Dustin since high school, and technically i've known Laurel since before i was born...(her dad married my parents and have been friends for 30ish years). we were honored to be asked to sing at their wedding their choice: "Won't Stop" by One Republic. it went very well, we received lots of compliments on how good it was. Josh also played the 25 minute prelude and other random bits before the official start of the ceremony.

the wedding was beautiful, the weather was beautiful, the food was delicious, and we all had a great time. i'm so happy for our wonderful friends!

laurel and dustin were married by laurel's dad, Pastor Mike

Josh & i performing our song

um, my awesome shoes.

Mr & Mrs Clark's first dance!

Josh and i

kristen, kt, and me

one more wedding to go (Sept 12) then this wedding-crazy summer is over!

Monday, August 24, 2009

birthday mother!!

today is my beautiful, wonderful mother's birthday!

she is an amazing woman - so loving, caring, crazy, funny, strong, with a beautiful personality and heart. i am so blessed to have such a mother that cares for me, loves me, is concerned for me, prays for me, and has fun with me.

she loves making me do crazy things...

thank you, mother - for being so wonderful. i couldn't ask for a better mum!!

Thursday, August 13, 2009


i've been in a major funk lately. i'm not sure when it started, but for the past couple months i've just felt very unsatisfied when it comes to my career and hobbies. i feel like i should be doing MORE with the skills that i have, even if that doesn't reach to "career" (at the moment) and is fulfilled through "hobbies." i need to do more that involves interior design, but i don't know how. blah, anyway, that's what's been going on with me lately.

yesterday night i was able to fandangle my way into singing at church on one of my off weeks (i'm not able to sing on my normal 4th and 5th also, Josh is playing electric guitar, so that was another reason i wanted to get on this week. this is the first time we've been in the same worship band at church, so i'm pretty excited. also, Bri moved Josh to be in a different spot...placing him right next to me. during our sound check i think i got a little giddy, messed up some words, and maybe frustrated Brian a little...but i think i got over it pretty quick. i love watching Josh play because he's SO TALENTED! i'm really looking forward to Sunday.

my parents have had some friends from England and their two kids staying with them all week. tonight we're having a little get together at my parent's house with some family and friends that know the family.

but really, i'm just glad it's FRIDAY! co-worker Bethany is off today, hopefully i won't be too bored or lonely without her!

tomorrow: kayaking with some of my skank's: KC and Stace!

Friday, August 7, 2009

yes, i do suck.

at keeping up on blog posts, that is!
i have "exciting" things happening to me, that interest me...but i'm sure they won't interest you, poor readers.

oh well, here it goes:

Saturday we celebrated Nicole & Matt's upcoming wedding with her bridal shower at the Sloppy Duck. it was a lot of fun, yummy food, and my mum seemed to know EVERYONE there. just so happens that she graduated high school with Matt's mum so they are all pretty good friends.

Matt's mum, Nicole, and her mum

KT shows off the cuppies in our favorite cuppie-showing-off way

Nicole & her maid of honor, cousin Jen

the happy couple!

Stace and her big camera.

KT, Kristen, Staci, and I took KT's parents convertible and drove around the peninsula after the shower. stace brought her big camera...and craziness ensued. first, we helped push a car out of a sand pit, then we danced in the lake, then we got some us-being-awkward pictures...

Sunday was my parents 29th wedding anniversary. they are such a crazy couple! they invited Josh and I to The Cove [the "seafood capital" of Erie, according to Josh :)] for dinner and we had a fun time eating, laughing, and venturing around the dock with them.

Mum & Dad at the dock

Josh & I

well, there's a picture-weekend-update a week late. oh well.

Monday, August 3, 2009

birthday girl!

today is the final SKANK birthday. Katie turns 25 today!!

Katie became my neighbor when i moved to Harborcreek, and noticing our similarities in clumsiness, dorky-ness, creativity, and playing stupid games, we became instant friends. it's also because of her i know all the SKANK's!! thanks kt for befriending me in my nerdiest of days.

ha. we're still nerds.