Tuesday, December 1, 2009

A Kind Welcome

A wedding and honeymoon post will come soon.

Sean and I arrived back in Pittsburgh late Friday night. We were just wanting to crash after all of the traveling. The day before we flew to Utah for the wedding we moved all of our stuff (in a VERY unorganized fashion) into our new place. So, Sean and I came home to a VERY messy apartment. We didn't care about cleaning up, we just wanted to sleep.

Before I could lay down, I had to respond to a call I received from nature. Into the bathroom I went. Up went the toilet seat. Out went a scream. Out of the bathroom I went--quickly.

Sean was laughing at me in the other room. I assumed he had something to do with the treasure I found in our toilet. I quickly told him what I had found, and he seemed completely surprised. I realized that he didn't have anything to do with this lovely surprise.

We had a loving welcome from a worm. Yep, a worm was in our toilet. I shouldn't have named him, but I did. I called our little welcome worm William. Sean and I realized that it could only mean one thing. Sorry if this is disgusting, but, we decided that the previous tenant, or repair man, had/has a parasite. Yep, we have a little breeding ground in our bathroom for parasitic worms-- YUCK!!!!

I cleaned the toilet, and thought that we wouldn't see anymore visitors. WRONG! Wanda the worm welcomed me yesterday while Sean was at school. I don't know what to do about this issue, but we are going to bleach the toilet and all the scrubbing devices that are used in it. I hope that kisses the parasites good-bye!

William- this was taken before we could clean the place- SICK!

Monday, November 16, 2009


I should be packing, cleaning, sleeping, running, reading, taking care of last minute details, or setting up the new apartment. Instead I thought I would take a moment to document the feelings I am feeling right now.

I only have:

One day left until my wonderful Pittsburgh friends shower me. One day left to sit at the front desk at the salon, watching the clock sloooooowly pass the time. One day left of waiting...

Two days left until I am done with work for the next week and a half. Two days left until I have to clean and move the rest of my stuff out of my place. Two days left to remember all that I need to take for Utah and Cancun. Two days left to find ways to squeeze everything into my suitcase. Two days left of waiting...

Three days left until I get to get my nails and pedicure done. Three days until we board our plane to Utah. Three days left until I get to see family! Three days left of waiting...

Four days left until I get to see many of my Camano Island friends. Four days left until I get to see my wonderful Utah friends. Four days left until I get to see my former roommates and other important individuals come in from California, Las Vegas, Texas, Idaho, South Carolina, New Hampshire, and Seattle. Four days left until we get our marriage license. Four days left of waiting...

Five days left till my face hurts from smiling so much. Five days left until I wear the most expensive item of clothing I have ever had and will ever have. Five days left until I become a bride. Five days left of being a fiance. Five days left until I become a wife. Five days until I am no longer Rachel DeFreese, but Rachel Quigley instead. Five days left until I get to be sealed to the man that makes my heart skip beats when he holds my hand.

Five days until the day I have waited 26 years and nearly 8 months for.

Five days left of waiting...

To November 21, 2009:
I never thought this would happen. Thank you for finally coming!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

11 days to go.....

....and it seems like forever!

What happens 11 days before you get married? Well, for me a few things:

Satan is trying to befriend me-- his friendship is unwanted, but he seems to appear everywhere. He is appearing when I have to say 'good night'. He is appearing when Sean says something sweet and I turn it, in my head, into something completely different. He is appearing when I don't want to serve anyone, but do things for myself. He is appearing in the middle of the night by placing doubts in my head, that are never there when I wake up. He appeared in my attitude when I got frustrated with our wedding coordinator and left her an unpleasant message. He is helping me focus on negative things. And lastly, he is trying to displace the faith in my heart with fear.

I have words for you Satan, and they go something like this:
"The weather is nice here in Pittsburgh. I know it is hot where you are. I am not trading what I have, or am going to have, with your hot and miserable atmosphere."

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Addresses please!

If you are reading this blog, or just an occasional onlooker and would like a wedding invitation, please leave your address in a comment here, or send it to racheldefreese@gmail.com. I would love to send you one!

As of today, there is only one more month left. YAY!

Monday, October 19, 2009

then there were more...

Libby did an AMAZING job with our engagements! We both enjoyed the photo shoot. Thanks Libby!

When the train came, we decided not to move. I ended up loving some of these shots, even though they would never be sent out.

I like this mug shot expression that we both had

Monday, October 12, 2009


That is the word that describes the photographer that took our engagement photos. I was very pleased with the results! More to come.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Damp cheeks

There were a few touching moments from my trip to Utah that I have to write about.

Touching moment #1:
After I crossed the finish line at the race, I did something that I haven't done before and want to continue doing. I watched as the racers after me crossed. I was surprised at how much it moved me. I watched as couples in their 20s, 30s, 40s, 50s, 60s, and some 70s crossed hand in hand. I watched as fathers and daughters, and mothers and sons crossed hand in hand. I watched as sisters, friends and complete strangers crossed hand in hand.

I saw racers limping, bleeding from their chafed nipples, a runner with a bloody nose, and racers that were sopping wet with sweat. I watched as racers, who pushed so hard, passed out after they crossed the finish line, threw-up as their bodies came to a stop, went into shock and had to be taken to first aid and carried away in an ambulance. I saw it all.

It was not just what I saw, but how I felt that moved me. I felt so proud of each racer that accomplished the great goal that they set. I felt so proud of each racer that beat their last race time. I felt so proud of the ones that looked so much in pain, but just kept going. I felt it all.

After seeing and feeling what I did, I had damp cheeks.

Touching moment #2
This morning, as I was dropped off at the Salt Lake airport I saw several young men and women in missionary attire. I watched as they documented each moment in the airport by camera. I watched the excitement on their faces as they were getting ready to embark on this wonderful and very trying time in each of their lives. I watched emotions go through cycles as they called home to say good-bye- smiles, then tears, then smiles again. I watched and realized that even though I am not going on a mission and haven't been on a mission, I still am a missionary and need to do my part to share what I love so much and live for.

My cheeks didn't get damp, but I had a difficult time swallowing with such a lump in my throat.

Touching moment #3
This moment made my cheeks the most damp. I watched this morning as men dressed in their army greens said good-bye to their families and friends. I watched as they were strong, but then had moments of emotion flood through them. I watched their loved ones wipe their damp cheeks. I had to look away when I saw a young wife say good-bye to her husband. I watched as her tears shook her body and breathing became hard. People probably watched me as I wiped my face.

I have been grateful for the men and women that serve and have served our country. I am selfish at times and was truly humbled by what each of these citizens are doing for me personally. They are sacrificing their time with families, friends, education, and any other joys that they experience in their daily lives. For that, I am grateful. I am grateful for their bravery. I am grateful for their pride. I am grateful for their strength. I am the most grateful for what they represent.

To the man that hugged his sobbing wife, I say thank you. To the man that hugged his three kids and strong wife, I say thank you. To the woman who hugged each of her siblings and parents, I say thank you.

Thank you for my damp cheeks and new-found appreciation for my body, religion and freedom.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Posting Machine!

Four new posts below

Viva Las Vegas

After finishing the marathon, a large group of us went down to stay in Las Vegas. Crystal's cousin was out of town and so we stayed at her house. Even though we looked like fools walking around with limps, we still had a good time.

Crystal does Donny Osmond's hair and has become good friends with him over the years. Last time my mom was in Utah, we arranged a time for her to meet Donny-- this was a dream come true for her. As we were sitting around resting on Saturday, Crystal decided to text Donny to see if he had any extra seats at him and Marie's show. He said he did and would love for us to come. His agent contacted us and arranged a table right in the front center of the room. The show was lots more fun than I thought it would be! The room was full of women my mother's age screaming for him. I almost felt like I was cheating on my mother being there. He walked out to our table in the middle of the performance to hug Crystal and give us all high-fives. We felt special. We were invited to go backstage to visit with him after the show. The women that were sitting near us couldn't believe that we were going to get to go see him backstage! They were super friendly and were happy to take pictures with us. It was such a fun night!

I love Emily's facial expression in this one!

Crystal telling Donny that she is faithfully voting for him on Dancing With The Stars.

Hearts be still all you middle-aged women

Even though they were soaked with sweat, they were still gorgeous people, inside and out.

Mom's teenage prayers were answered August 2009. Wish you were with us mom!

Just keep moving

I had to tell myself to 'just keep moving' over and over yesterday as I participated in my second marathon. Since I was doing this for the second time, I set new goals:

*Carb-load earlier the day before
*Don't walk
*Beat last year's time
*Encourage those running around me to keep going
*Drink more Gatorade and choke back goo before I am beyond exhausted
*Get a picture of me at the finish line

St. George was sunny and more enjoyable than last year's race in the rain. On the ride up I sat next to a man from Dallas. As we were chit-chatting, I found out that this was his 55th marathon-- 13th this year, and that his ultimate goal is to run in a marathon in each of the fifty (St. George was the 38th). Our chat was a bit motivating.

This year the run was more fun because there were five of us racing in it. Crystal, Crystal's sister-in-law Marci, James and James' mission companion also participated. We each experienced some difficult pains. James had problems with his ankles, Marci with her back, Crystal's knee was challenging her, and I experienced pain in my knee, quads and am now dealing with a purple toenail that will be falling off shortly.

I couldn't believe the time I made it in! My goal was four hours and I crossed the finish line at 3:59.09-YAY!!! I beat last year's time by 15 minutes. I couldn't believe it!

Pasta, pizza and breadsticks-- oh my!

James, Dave, Crystal, Marci, and me-- at 4:30 am. Ready to be done before we began.

James was the first of all of us to come in at 3:40

So happy to be at the finish line. Waving to Emily

Where's my umbrella?

I have been attending receptions, bachelorette parties, and bridal showers for years. I was always excited to go and celebrate with the bride and groom. I didn't realize that it would be hard to be the center of attention. Don't get me wrong, I loved all that everyone did for me, but wasn't used to having the party be about me. There were a couple embarrassing moments involving the words: little, black, lacy, skimpy, tight, revealing.... well, you get the picture.

A big thanks to all who came! Another big thanks to the women who threw the wonderful shower-- Megan, Emily, and Crystal. I know that a lot of time was spent in preparation, and I am very appreciative! My ever-so-talented friend, Crystal is an AMAZING party thrower, and made sure that every last detail was perfect!

For journaling purposes-- The agenda went greeting, mingling, eating (lots of wonderful food-- calzones, caesar salad, truffles, and a chocolate fountain with lots of items to dip), introducing everyone, playing a game that had to do with me telling my engagement story, gifts-- lots of gifts, and then the after-party.... devouring the chocolate fountain with our tongues. YUMMY!

Emily and Megan making truffles

The mastermind behind this all, Crystal Mitchell. Love this girl!

Love them all!

Diane, this is what you and Mala got me-- I loved that with your card and picture, I felt you were there!

All the gifts I received are wonderful, appreciated, and will be put to good use (wink wink). I had to post this picture to show the quilt Crystal made for me. It is gorgeous and it was her first one!

The after-party

A BIG thank you to all who have showered me with thier support and love for me throughout the whole dating process!!! It's been a ride, and thankfully it's just about over :)

My Boys

I was able to come to Utah this week- YAY! I came for a few reasons.... I came to run in the St. George Marathon, to catch up with my clients while I did their hair, to be showered by so many wonderful friends and family members, to finalize wedding details, and to see those close to me. I couldn't wait to see these two! I've been able to spend lots of quality baby-sitting time with each of these little boys, and have enjoyed every minute of it-- well, except for the times when they threw tantrums.

Tyman and Kobster


Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Ragnar 1 and Ragnar 2

What is a Ragnar relay all about?

The Ragnar relay is a race that is anywhere from 180ish miles to 200ish miles long. You put teams together and break up the mileage amongst 12 or 6 participants and then run your little heart out. If you choose to run with 12 participants (which is what I would recommend) you get two vans or large suvs and break up the team into two sub-groups of 6. In our van (both times I ran) I was in van 1. If in van 1 you meet at the start line and start the race for your team. The legs of the race are broken up from 2 miles to 10. The first runner begins, the van with the 5 remaining participants meet up half-way through the leg to drop off water, and then to the exchange point, where the second runner takes the bracelet from runner one and is off to complete the second leg of the race. This goes on till the first six runners have completed the first six legs of the race, and then we pass the bracelet on to van 2. While van 2 is running, van 1 has about 4 1/2 hours to either eat, rest, do homework, read, or wander around. It is a very draining race, cause you never have enough time to rest fully before your next leg (in total, each runner should run three legs of the race-- a total of about 15-22 miles a piece). In total, the whole team runs 36 legs, and someone is always running-- even through the night. We had a biker to bike along side of us through the night. We had to wear headlamps, little blinking lamps on our backs, and reflective gear.

It's a very good, but very exhausting race to run in. It's not just physically exhausting, but mentally and emotionally as well. I think that running in a marathon is easier. People find that hard to believe, but I feel that pushing yourself for 4ish hours and then being through is a lot easier than pushing yourself for an hour and a half, then sitting for nine hours, then pushing, then sitting..... you get the picture. Not only do you think about the race for over 30 hours, but your muscles tighten up because you are sitting in a van. By the last leg of the race your legs feel like bricks-- seriously, it's draining.

The first time I did a ragnar race, it was in UT. The Utah race is called the Wasatch Back. I was able to participate with my good friend Crystal, and met ten other new friends. The second time I did a ragnar was this past weekend, from Cumberland, MD into Washington D.C. I was able to run with Sean, my friend Samantha (Pittsburgh), and a group of fun singles from D.C. We had several fun discussions!

Fun story: As I was at exchange 3, ready to begin my first leg, I noticed a man wearing a Hobble Creek shirt. I asked him if he was from Utah. We continued talking and found out that they were all mormons. We became good friends with them all and had a great time chatting with them as each of us ran and then also at the different exchange points.

I don't know if I am ready to do another ragnar, but I better be ready to run the St. George Marathon again, cause I will be doing it for the second time THIS SATURDAY!!! I am thinking I will need to let my legs, feet, knees, and joints rest for a bit.

My goal is to run in one marathon every year. With that said, if anyone wants to join me, I am going to try to run in the New York City Marathon next year... come join me, you know you want to :)

Van #1: Carl, Hunter, Samantha, me, Sean, and Katherine

Sean quickly finished his first leg (he's in the green)

Sean passing the bracelet to Katherine

Don't look too closely

Hunter and Carl just waiting in the van

Sean ran my last leg with me

Van 1 with our medals at the finish line

Van 1 and van 2 at the finish line

Thursday, September 24, 2009

The G-20 Summit........

........has taken over Pittsburgh!

I am grateful that the 'Group of Twenty Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors' have chosen to meet to work out the financial kinks in this recession. I am grateful that we have 19 of the world's largest national economies plus the European Union represented and hard at work to repair our economic mess. I am grateful that I get to witness all of this first-hand, as it is taking place in Pittsburgh. I am grateful that they chose Pittsburgh to host this conference for good reasons. I am grateful that this city has reinvented itself from the fall it took when the steel industry collapsed. I am grateful I have been able to learn more about the economy, it's peaks and valleys, by watching positive changes take place in this humid, diverse corner of the country.

I am not grateful that a meeting of this magnitude draws protesters to my new neighborhood. I am not grateful that these protesters have been saving up bags of their own feces to throw around the city or on passersby. I am not grateful that the city had to dip into their own budget to provide the financial means to bring in 4,000 or so extra law reinforcements, causing a bit of an upset in our city's monetary resources. I am not grateful that the roads I am familiar with are now barricaded or fenced off, causing detours to lead me in circles as I try to find my way to work, church, the park, Sean's place, and any of my other daily stops. I am not grateful that, with all the satellite and high security precautions going on in the area, my GPS is confused and yelling at me constantly to "TURN AROUND", "WHEN ABLE, DRIVE TO HIGHLIGHTED ROUTE", and my least favorite-- "RECALCULATING!" Lastly, I am not grateful that my roommate can't go into work downtown, amidst all the fece-throwing protesters, and instead left me alone in the house to go to Utah for the weekend. I am not grateful for my crazy mind that wanders and makes me think that there is some large man hiding in a corner of my empty abode every night when I get in a little too late. I am not grateful that my thoughts lead to panic. I am not grateful that when I got home last night I could see from the road that my t.v. was on. I am not grateful that I instantly panicked and thought the worst (big scary man on my couch waiting for me), and called Sean, asking him to please sleep on my couch for the night.

I am grateful that I have an understanding fiance that came, thoroughly scanned the house, slept on the couch, and calmed my panicked mind, which helped me sleep peacefully upstairs. I am grateful that there weren't any large scary men hiding in my home. I am also grateful that work doesn't start until after my trip to Utah, and after the G-20 Summit leaves Pittsburgh. I am grateful that my GPS will work again, and that I will not be driving in circles any longer.

Saturday, September 12, 2009


I'm going into retirement,
I hear it's kinda nice.
Nothing beats staying up late,
sleepin in, and endless games of dice.

Some are in shock at my decision,
yes, believe me, it's true.
But trust me, after hearin bout it,
you'll be wishin it was you.

I'm not retirin from the army,
a job, the day, or even to my bed.
If I didn't do this right away,
I would hope to soon be dead.

I made a firm decision,
no more dates for me.
You can try to convince me otherwise,
But I ain't listenin to your plea.

I am done with the group ones,
set-ups, awkward first dates, and such.
I am tired of givin out my phone number,
and reasons why I don't want to go for lunch.

I'm throwin in the towel,
my dad is grateful that it's time.
Cause I got myself a FIANCE,
and I am now off of his dime.

As I look down at my finger,
the one on my left hand.
The finger that was once naked,
has a very blingin band.

I am ready for stability,
and a man to be all mine.
And thankfully, he's hard-workin,
spiritual, dedicated, and oh so fine.

Those are only a small portion
of the reasons that I'm in love.
There must've been someone helpin,
and sendin guidance from above.

I am grateful for the feelings
swirlin around inside of me.
I can't possibly describe them,
and when I do, I get teary.

We will be takin our plunge
November 21st, and I can hardly wait.
For the man that will always be beside me,
is goin to forever be my date!

I love Sean Quigley more and more,
I am burstin throughout my inside.
I get to walk into the Draper temple,
and leave as his lovely bride.

Thank you for all your support,
for linin me up with friends and kin.
I waited for the best,
with Sean, I definitely did win!!

*Thanks for making this day so special, Sean! Pictures and details to come...

Sunday, August 30, 2009


Before I jump on into the good stuff, I need to explain the last post. My sister thought it would be funny to post that poem about how much I love my sister. I do love my sisters, but would NEVER post a picture or poem like that up to express my love for any one of my sisters. The poem would be much cheesier and the picture would be a little bit more attractive.... thanks Meg!

This last week was a busy one! My parents moved Emily down to BYU. It was fun to see her get settled into the dorm life. Not much time had passed and Emily's number had been given out to several guys... this should be fun! Sean came on Thursday to drive back with me to Pittsburgh, and we had dinner with both of our families the night before we took off. Thanks mom and dad for bringing all that crab and sturgeon.

We left Salt Lake City at around 4:30 am. The drive wasn't nearly as bad as I thought it would be. That doesn't mean that I would be happy to go retrace my steps in Wyoming or Nebraska. The first night we stopped and stayed with some mutual friends (Rhett was Sean's college roommate, and I grew up with his family), who are in medical school, in Des Moines, IA. It was fun to catch up with the Andelins! Rhett and his wife, Crystal, have three adorable little girls- yep, Rhett is a ladies man!

We stopped in Carthage and Nauvoo, Ill. Both were beautiful places, but I am still a bigger fan of the Sacred Grove. We crossed both the Missouri and Mississippi rivers- the Mississippi looks like chocolate milk, so murky. It was fun to go through and do a session in the Nauvoo temple.

The original door that held the four men, with the original bullet holes.

Just a bit blurry- the window Joseph fell through to the ground.

Below the window Joseph fell through

Beautiful Carthage

Gorgeous Nauvoo temple over looking the Mississippi River (which looks like chocolate milk)

Where Joseph, and some of the other Smiths, are buried (to the left- Hyrum, to the right- Emma)

We cruised from Nauvoo to Pittsburgh in about 14 hours or so. It was rough to drive through the night, but worth it to get the trip done with! Start to finish, the trip lasted from Friday at 4:30 am- Sunday at 11 am.

Even though I am far from my family and close friends, it feels like home here. I know this is where I need to be right now, and love that I get to spend solid amounts of time with Sean- without being tied to the phone. I am grateful for the wonderful roommate I have, Kerri, and her amazing hospitality. I am also grateful that the ward, and Sean's dental friends have welcomed me with open arms. I am excited to see what the next year has in store! I will post pictures of my place soon, but here are the ones from the trip!