Monday, November 19, 2012

Chapter 24

The dancing started after dinner was done, Ashley & Mike made their speeches before James & I thank everyone for making it. At some point James saw the grooms cake I had made for him, in the shape of a Stanley Cup, which he thought was the best thing ever, the rest of the hockey players loved it too.

After we danced our first dance, to "Me and You" by Kenny Chesney, some other songs played before James grabbed the microphone from the DJ booth.

"Can I please have my beautiful wife join me on the dance floor?" He announces, as I make my way towards him.

I face him when he tells me to not look anywhere but at him, and he's telling me this as he's looking to the door, like signaling for someone to walk in.

James takes my hand as I recognize the song starting when singer comes out onto the dance floor. James had somehow pulled some strings and got Brantley Gilbert to come and sing "My Kind of Crazy" at our wedding. Holy cow!! He is one of my favorite country singers and how James got him out here, well that just won him major points in my book! He even signed his guitar and gave it to us to keep!

The rest of the night was amazing. We cut into the cake and had more champagne as the night went on and the dancing continued. James and I called it a night around 12:30, which was about the time everyone else started leaving.

The next morning we had breakfast at the hotel with our families and the wedding party, and then went to my parents house to get more sleep and pack for our honeymoon, that we were leaving for the next day, which I STILL don't know where we're going.

Morning came and my parents took us to the airport for our flight out to the BAHAMAS!! Ah I'm beyond excited because I've seen so many pictures before and I've always wanted to go out there. And now I am! With my husband! :D

I think it should be a requirement to take a 6 day vacation to the Bahamas every year! That was probably one of the best vacations I have ever been on.  I did get sick a few times when we went out on a boat, which is never fun but I battled through it. Unfortunately, it was time to go back to New Mexico to make the drive back home.

It had been a month and I had officially changed my name on everything.  It felt good to see everything say Jamie Neal. I loved it. I was back in the office by the next Monday, planning the red carpet event for the upcoming home opener...yeah, already. But it was a new season & oh yeah, we have a Stanley Cup banner to raise! :)

James started heading home to get ready for Jordan & Heather's engagement dinner. After leaving the office, I was thinking about stopping for groceries when I heard a whole bunch of noises around me and everything went black.  

"Where's Jay?" Jordan asks as him, Heather & I stand in the kitchen
"I don't know, I thought she would have been home by now, she's never late for anything," I say

Then my phone rings, I'm hoping it’s Jay but its some random number, which I almost don't answer, but something is telling me I need to

"Hello?" I say
"Mr. Neal? Are you related to Jamie Neal?" The man on the line asks
"Yes, she's my wife, what happened? Where is she?" I say, now panicking
"She's been in a car accident, Mr. Neal. You need to come to UPMC right away,"
"Is she going to be ok?"
"She's beat up pretty bad, but yes sir, she'll be fine,"
"I'll be right there," I say and hang up

I was unbelievably thankful that Staalzy & Heather were there, because I was in no state to drive. I barely give Jordan time to park before I run into the hospital & the receptionist is sending me to the 3rd floor as a million things are running through my head.

The nurse leads me to the room where Jay is; I walk in to see her laying in the bed, motionless. My beautiful wife, bruised up and bleeding. I can't help but break down and cry.

I'm in the hallway when the doctor comes to tell me she has bruised ribs, bruises from the seatbelt & airbags, a cut on her arm and a bruised cheekbone. But she will make a full recovery and be ok, thank god because that was the most important thing.

I had to talk to the police officer; he told me that she was extremely lucky with not getting any worse injuries.  The driver who hit her was drunk and pinned her in the car between his car and the guardrail. He suffered minor injuries & totaled both cars but is in jail, and will be for a long time with his history.

"Mr. Neal? Your wife is awake, she's asking for you," a nurse says from Jay's door

"Baby, oh my god," I say, trying to hug her without hurting her
"I was so scared James, I had no idea what happened," she tells me, crying into my embrace
"You're ok, and that's what's important. The accident was pretty bad, I was so scared for you too, I can't lose you," I tell her
"I love you so much baby, I'm glad your here, I don't like it here,"
"I love you too, the doctor is doing her best, and I'm going to take you home as soon as I can," I say, kissing her forehead, reassuring her
"We're supposed to be going to dinner!" she says
"I think Jordan & Heather will understand, they were who brought me here, they're in the waiting room,"

A few hours later, the doctor gives us the OK for Jay to be discharged, she hands me some paperwork to help with her injuries, and prescriptions to pick up.

We got Jay to Jordan's car & head home.  I was so thankful to have her home where I could be with her.  

People always say those are the phone calls where your heart sinks, the calls you never want to get. That is definitely a call I never want to get again, but I'm thanking god that her injuries weren't any worse.

I tell Staalzy to go enjoy their dinner but him and Heather both want to make sure she's ok, Heather offers to go for her prescriptions, which I am also thankful for. They are both so unbelievable to stick around and help me.

"How is she?" Heather asks as I walk into the kitchen
"Better, she's asleep. She had things running through her mind that she told me, and started crying again," I say
"Poor girl. I'm glad she's ok though," Staalzy says
"Me too, I don't know what I'd do without her,"
"Take care of her, that's what you do best," she says
"Thank you guys so much for everything, really."
"Absolutely. Go take care of you're wife, don't hesitate to call if you need anything,"
"Will do,"

The last few days had been such a blur. I don't remember much from the accident, just the EMTs asking for my name & someone to call. Oh & the pain too.  I've been doing nothing but lying in bed sleeping.

James called my parents for me to let them know what happened, and his parents also, all of who asked if he needed help, which he kindly declined.  Plenty of the wags came by with food and stuff; Vero spent a lot of time with me too, since they live close. I had to get some stitches removed, and I could finally lay in a nice hot bath, which I've been dying to do for so long.

Tonight is the home opener and even though I couldn't do anymore planning with the wags, I was dying to go to see the Stanley cup banner being raised & of course to support my husband, because he's been nothing but a life saver since the accident.

We got to the arena the same time James always does. I'll admit I was pretty scared to be in a car again, I was jumpy on our way to the arena and cringed a couple times when cars pulled out next to us. James held my hand the whole time because he could sense my nerves.

Miranda was there already, and so was Allie & Melissa. The girls asked about the accident, I only told what I could remember, and that James told me that my car was totaled. I loved my car so much, I was dreading getting a new one.

I was already still an emotional wreck, so the banner raising ceremony was a little emotional already. The game against the Avs started out pretty slow, but we won 4-2. Good start to the season I must say so myself :) 

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Chapter 23

Hey yall! SO sorry for the delay! The end of summer got crazy & then with this dumb lockout, Ive been getting writers block! But here's an update FINALLY & there will also be one for my Toews story! 
Oh & in other news--Im moving to PA next month to live with my sister for a while...super excited! So hopefully that will give me some encouragement :)

After we ran through everything, it was time for dinner. Something I was so excited for, since we can all hang out and relax (or try to anyways) and eat some amazing BBQ. James & I had our gifts to give out to our wedding party as well.

As soon as we got to my parents house, I had to take something to the bedroom. Once I got a minute to myself, I couldn’t hold it in anymore & I just started crying my eyes out.

“Baby? What’s wrong?” James asks, closing the door behind him and pulling me in
“I’m just anxious, all my emotions are coming out at once and I couldn’t hold it in anymore,” I say
“So this isn’t a bad thing?” he asks, halfway laughing
“No, I’m just a little emotional. Today was a little crazy too. I’m just ready to do everything & get married,”
“I know today was crazy, and some of it was unnecessary, but we’re going to get through it,”
“I’m actually really glad I don’t have to deal with Bailey anymore, I cant believe she did that. Well, never mind, I can,”
“Can I be honest with you?” he asks
“Yeah,” I say, hesitating
“I never really liked her to begin with,”
“That doesn’t surprise me…a lot of people don’t,”
“I’m surprised you didn’t cuss up a storm at her,” he says, laughing
“Ya know, I was about there, until I remembered we were in church, so it wouldn’t be very appropriate,”
“Are you ok now? I know this is getting stressful, but everything’s falling into place. We’re getting married tomorrow!”
“I know! Yeah, I’m good. Better now,”
“Ok, then lets go mingle and eat,” James says, taking my hand in his & leading me out to where everyone started arriving

Everyone had shown up so we started eating. I got a call at some point from Diana at the bakery to let me know the cakes were ready. So I had to figure out how those were going to get over to the casino, once I gave her Nicole’s name & number, she said she had worked with her before so that gave me a little more relief. There was also a guy working there that knew exactly how the Stanley cup looked, so he’d be the one to go with her and put it together and add all the finishing touches. So the cakes are taken care of.

We went to join the rest of the group in the back yard and grabbed some food and began reminiscing on a few old stories.  Mike told about when James called their mom, the day after we all went to Diesel, to tell her that he met the girl he was going to marry…I had no idea of this either, but I thought it was cute. I was grateful to have a brother-in-law like Mike, he’s so caring and so protective of me, and I know I could trust him with a lot. 

Before we cut the cake that my best friend made for us, James and I got our gifts to give to the bridal party to give those out as well. James gave the guys flasks & I gave the girls little baskets with a clutch for tomorrow, full of mints & lip-gloss plus a white button up blouse to wear for our hair & make up session in the morning. 

The time came for James and I to go our separate ways until the ceremony tomorrow.  He snuck me away for a minute to give me the goodbye kiss he would never give in front of our family. Wow. That’s all I have to say about that.

James took the car with the guys and went back to the hotel for the night, I joked and told them not to lose too much money gambling, cause we could use it for our honeymoon…which I still had NO idea where we were going. And James isn’t the greatest at keeping secrets, so he was doing pretty well at keeping quiet.

Guess what! I’m getting MARRIED today!! Holy cow, it’s so crazy to think about but so exciting! I did get a little emotional…but that’s normal right? And it was good emotions, obviously. I’m marrying my best friend!

The girls and I get up to shower and have breakfast, and then make a pit stop at Starbucks before heading to Natalie’s, where her and Rachel are doing our hair and makeup.  We spent most of the day gossiping and chatting with the girls; I was so thankful that I could get them to do this for me, out of Nat’s house too, since neither of them is at a salon anymore.

Nicole texted me letting me know she was on her way to the casino. She is going to do pictures of the guys, while Amanda does our pictures.

We were all done up and going back to my parents house to finish getting ready! Ah I was getting anxious and excited all at once.  We had sandwiches for lunch, calmed my nerves a little bit. 

Amanda brought us a little gift back with mini bottles of alcohol…just what I needed! She took some pictures of us in our button ups, before we figured we should get into our dresses.  Once the girls were dressed, I got my wedding day lingerie on, plus the garters, and then it was dress time! I am so unbelievably in love with my dress, it’s crazy. 

Once we were all ready, it was time to go to the church.  Mom and I made sure we had everything we needed. My overnight bag was already in the room where James and I were staying tonight. 

When we got to the church, I had Vero run in to make sure James was out of sight, and also to get Mike, so I could give him my ring.  The coast was clear, so we all went in straight to the choir room where we’d hang out until its time for the ceremony to start. 

A few family members stopped by to see us before the ceremony.  I had Amanda call James to our room, so we could get a picture together, without seeing each other, obviously. It was almost time to start, when my dad came in, with a surprise for me.

“You might want to have your camera ready,” mom tells Amanda,
“What are you talking about?” I ask her, confused

Not a second later, my dad walks in, with my older brother and his wife behind him

“Shut up. What!” I say, in complete shock
“Surprise!” David says

I’m definitely glad Amanda caught that on camera.

“I’m speechless right now, I thought y’all couldn’t make it!” between hugs
“We couldn’t at first, but I pulled some strings, and well here we are!”
“I had a few people add plus 1’s to their RSVP cards, so I knew you wouldn’t question it,” dad says
“You little sneak!” I say, taking Kleenex to dry my eyes
“I know,” he responds, laughing

So the ceremony begins.  We ended up having Sid walk my mom in, then the rest of the party followed.  Then, it was my turn. The first sight of James that I got, I was already almost crying & he was too, so cute.

I am OFFICIALLY Mrs. Neal! And it feels great! I’m pretty sure I was crying nearly the whole time and so were all the girls.  We all stood out of the church to say hi to everyone before the endless pictures.  One of my really good friends, who was also a hockey wife, and her husband made it down, which made me really happy. 

After all the pictures, and the ride to the hotel & casino, James and I ran up to our suite, before heading in to the reception hall.  The veil had been taken off, my dress was bustled and the girls and I switched into more comfortable shoes, and then went to make our entrance.

The wedding party walked into the hall dancing to “Sexy and I know it”, then James and I walked into “I Can’t Help Fallin’ in Love with you”.  Needlessly to say, it turned out perfect J

I took to Pinterest for a lot of my ideas, including our guest book being our top 2 favorite engagement photos, so we could hang them up in the house.  We also did the “fight box” during the ceremony.  James and I had both written letters to each other the night before, while my mom provided the box and a bottle of our favorite wine, we nailed it shut & had it ready in case we got into a huge fight, I thought it was a creative idea.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Chapter 22

 **Hey yall! Here's a shorter update that I thought I'd post! Wasnt really sure how to break this one another full chapter will be up soon! :)

Before we knew it, we were leaving for New Mexico; it was going to be a loooooong road trip. Miranda and Max skipped out on Vegas as well, so they came with us too. 

After a 3-day drive, we arrived in Albuquerque and it was good to be back.  Getting in with a little over a week before the wedding made things way less stressful, I was able to get a final dress fitting in and Miranda picked up her dress, Kelsey’s and Vero’s too.

We had done a few other changes too, the girls and I had found really cute yellow heels for them to wear, and my heels are the same blue as their dresses. We got the cake from my favorite bakery, and after the boys won the cup, I decided to surprise James with a groom’s cake in the shape of the Stanley cup. He’s going to die when he sees it!

Our combined bachelor/bachelorette parties are tomorrow, so the rest of the group from Pittsburgh would be getting in today.  Everyone had gotten situated into their rooms at the casino where the reception was going to be, except for James and I, we were staying at my parents house until the night before the wedding, when James would join the guys at the hotel and the girls would all crash at my parents house.

The girls and I went to Texas Roadhouse for dinner, while the guys opted for Twin Peaks…and I have TK to thank for that one, I don’t know how he figured that one out. Great.   

The night of dancing was about to commence.  We got into Dirty Bourbon at the same time as the guys and went straight to the dance floor.  To know that James had learned how to two-step from his days in Dallas made me a happy fiancĂ©, not to mention Kelsey and I dragging them out to the country bar back home.

We all had such an amazing time, I was glad that James and I could agree on doing the bachelor/bachelorette parties together, because it just made it that much more fun. 

Wedding weekend was finally here! I couldn’t believe how fast time just flew by.  On Friday morning, all the girls and I, along with my mom & sisters, went to the nail salon for our manicures & pedicures.  I debated on giving the girls their bridal party presents, but I decided to do that later in the night at the rehearsal dinner.

We grabbed a quick lunch then headed back to my parent’s house to meet up with the guys, who went to play golf with my dad while the girls got pampered. The rest of the day was pretty relaxed until it was time to head to the church for rehearsal.

From what I had heard from the people surrounding me, I was doing good at not being a crazy bridezilla…well for those who weren’t at the church for the rehearsal, can keep thinking that.

At some point when I was having the bridal party line up, Bailey was putting herself behind Ashley, the MOH, when she was after Kelsey. We decided WAY in advance that, after me, it would go tallest to shortest; it worked great for the girls and even worked out pretty well for the guys. So clearly it was Ashley, Vero, Miranda, Kelsey & Bailey. And she wasn’t having it.

“You’ve known me way longer then all of these girls, and I’m walking LAST?” she says

REALLY! Shits about to hit the fan.

“First of all, that’s a lie, I’ve known Ashley the longest. Secondly, James & I decided forever ago how we were going to place everybody & you just happened to be last,” I say, trying not to snap
“But you’ve still known me longer then these girls, I’m supposed to be your best friend,”
“I know that, but these girls are my best friends too, and all of you, I treat equally, like family, not by who I’ve known longer. You’re walking with Sidney, that’s where he is…& he’s not complaining!”
“Well I just think this is…”
“You think it’s what? This is MY wedding! You already had your turn, now it’s mine. So guess what? You can walk with Sidney, in that spot with him. OR you can exclude yourself from the wedding party. It’s as simple as that.”

Bailey doesn’t even say anything; she just turns around and walks out. Something I knew she would do. Her loss, not mine.

So I do my best to not have a nervous break down while James comes to comfort me, and we continue on with the rehearsal.

“Ok, well lets arrange it so Sid walks in solo, sorry Sid,” I say apologetically to him
“It’s ok, really. You did good standing you’re ground,” Sid says with a smile. That is why I love that man.
“Thanks. So he’ll walk in, then when y’all start to walk out, you come over on the other side of Kelsey and she’ll walk with both of y’all,”
“Whoop, Kelsey’s a PIMP,” Miranda yells
“What, what!” Kelsey says with a little victory dance

“Ok, lets run it through that way, yeah?” James says

We run through it all 3 times, then a 4th for good measure. Everything looks perfect & suddenly, I like the fact that Sidney is walking down with Kelsey and Tyler. It just looked good and Sid didn’t mind, because he’s just that kind of guy. 

Monday, July 16, 2012

Chapter 21

FINALLY getting this up! Hope yall are still following it, I promise I have more time now since graduating so I will do more updates! Enjoy :)

Morning comes, my parents spend time with my aunt and uncle, and James comes with Jordan and I to find an engagement ring for Heather.  Apparently he had done a bit of research when he helped James pick out my engagement ring.  He found a gorgeous ring for her.  He was beyond excited when he handed over his credit card.  I asked if he knew when he was going to propose, when James yelled at me to not get in his business, but Jordan didn’t mind. He came down to either asking her when we win the cup, or at the parade. I didn’t even try asking him what he would do if we didn’t win…because it’s a cardinal rule. And he brought it up first, so I just went with it. 

We ended up running into my family at South Side Works, so we decided to do lunch at the Cheesecake Factory before the boys wanted to go home and rest, because tomorrow is the big day! Game 1 of the finals against the Nashville Predators.

We won game 1, and then game 2 in overtime. The guys felt pretty confident heading out to Nashville, the girls had never been out there, so we decided to go, we left the day after I said bye to my parents until I’d see them again for the wedding.

Nashville was such a fun place to be, especially since the last time I was out there; my family and I got stuck in a tornado. Things were different this time; Heather, Janelle and Miranda joined Kelsey, Vero and I.  So while the boys had practice and whatnot, we explored the city.

Before we knew it, we were back in Pittsburgh.  The guys lost game 4, which was a heartbreaking, loss. Marc Andre had a tough game, having let in 5 goals in a 5-1 loss, but like he always does, he put it behind him and was ready for game 5. 

I don’t know how the boys were so calm, knowing that the Stanley Cup was in the building tonight, and that we had the chance to win it at home, in front of our fans.  Mario delivered another motivational message to the guys that got them pumped up, just like they were the last time they won the cup. James was even more excited to know that his parents were going to be sitting in the box with the girls and I tonight.

I had been doing well at keeping Jordan’s promise and not saying anything about him proposing to Heather.

“Hey Jay,” Jordan says, as I walk into the locker room with James
“Hi Jordan!” I say, giving him a hug
“So can I trust you with the ring for the game tonight?” He asks, with the box in his hand
“Absolutely! I don’t have my purse though to keep it in,” I tell him
“Here babe, why don’t you just wear my jacket, you can put it in there,” James tells me
“Ok, I can put it in the inside pocket,”
“Ok, just don’t forget it’s there and take it out on accident,”
“I wont, and if we run by the locker room later, I’ll take it out before I drop off the jacket,”
“Perfect!” he says

So I walk back out to the lounge right as Heather is walking in…keep your mouth shut Jay!

The game did NOT start out how we wanted to. The Predators took an early 2-0 lead, Vero was as nervous as ever, at one point she grabbed my hand and squeezed it so hard, I was almost positive I lost the feeling in it, but we were all in the same position when it came to being nervous for our guys. 

The team, and their hockey sticks, seemed to have woken up going into the 2nd period, scoring 3 goals within 10 minutes to take the lead, that let us girls breathe a sigh of relief. 

We were half way through the 3rd; the Predators had tied it up, before James scored the go-ahead (&his 2nd) goal of the game. I was so nervous at the fact that we were less then 7 minutes away from winning our 4th Stanley Cup. Jordan reassured us when he scored with 3 minutes left, and the most amazing backhanded shot ever.

“Oh, Lord Stanley, Lord Stanley, Bring me the Brandy!”

That was all we needed to hear & we are running through the arena to get to ice level. I made sure to take Jordan’s ring out of James’ jacket before throwing it in the locker room, and then we made our way to the ice with the Neal’s and the Staal’s close behind us.

The Predators had left the ice after the handshake and our celebrations were underway.  I was talking to Max and Kris when James skated over and picked me up in a hug.  I was unbelievably proud of him as well as they guys for their performance; their play through the entire playoffs had been like I’d never seen them play before.

Jordan came by to grab the ring from me and skated over to Heather, where she was talking with the rest of the Staal’s that made it down.  He pulled her to the side and got right down on one knee and asked her to marry him, cutest proposal ever!

The entire night was a blur of Jordan’s proposal, the on ice and locker room celebration, everyone running around everywhere…oh yeah and the presentation of the cup! And the Conn Smyth trophy to who? Mr. James Neal J

June was flying by so quickly.  Sid and some of the guys had planned on going to Vegas for the NHL Awards, James and I contemplated it…any excuse is an excuse to go to Vegas! But with the wedding coming up and us going back to New Mexico soon, we decided to pass. Vegas would always be there.