Sunday, May 29, 2011

Cheryl & Sherri

Hi all!  Some of you may also read my best friend Cheryl's blog.  If you do, you may have recently seen a post that she dedicated to our friendship.  It was a tearjerker and made me so appreciative of what we have.  So many people don't have a best friend, especially one they met at such a young age, and a friendship that has lasted into adulthood.  

If you don't read her blog and are interested in reading it, you can find it here:

For my tribute to one of the most important relationships in my life, I want to share my Top Ten Cheryl & Sherri Moments.  They are random memories I have spanning almost 15 years!  

1.  The Beginning:  We met in grade 7 in junior high at Birchwood Intermediate.  We were in different classes but had a mutual friend named Rae-Anne.  One day I was standing outside at lunch or something with her and Cheryl marches right over and introduces herself.  I learned right from the beginning that she was very outgoing - my opposite, especially in those days of early adolescence.  Soon after we starting eating with the same people in the cafeteria.  One day Cheryl reviewed a conversation she had had with her mother that morning.  It involved how Cheryl's mother had informed her that her butt looked excellent in her navy blue baggy splash pants.  I remember laughing at the story and thinking how funny and animated she was.  So fun to look back on those early days.

One of earliest photos together!

2.  Love of The Leafs.  If you read yesterday's blog post you saw that my Dad raised me a Toronto Maple Leafs fan.  Well, so did Kent, Chery's Dad.  In grade 9 we spent many a Saturday night in the Carr basement watching and cheering on the Leafs.  The wardrobe of the evening included pajama pants and our fathers' Leafs shirts.  Homemade noisemakers and signs on bristol board made for a festive atmosphere.  Good times!

3.  Rainy days.  Probably one of the craziest things we ever did happened during a sleepover at the Jewell house on a particularly rainy weekend.  It was pouring down rain for several hours.  The old Jewell house was located downtown and was near a street that easily flooded.  We took it upon ourselves to walk over to that street and sit in the pool of water that had overtaken the street.  After sitting and laughing at the ridiculousness of it all, we decided the next logical thing to do would be a shampoo in the rain.  We went back to my house and got the shampoo.  We lathered it on our heads and then stood there letting the rain wash it away.  It was such a silly thing to do and yet it was so fun!  We couldn't stop laughing and it stands out as a favourite moment for sure.

4.  Camp Abby.  Our group of friends all went to Camp Abegweit in junior high.  It was the place to be.  It was the summer before grade 9 and grade 10 that really stick out as the best though.  There were just four of us friends who went the summer before grade 9 and we had a blast.  However, Cheryl and I were the only ones who went the summer before grade 10 because our birthdays were late in the year (September for her, December for me) and so we were the only ones who made the age cut (haha).  When we got there we realized we were the oldest people there.  You know what, though?  We owned it!  We had the most fun we had ever had and we helped out the younger teens with whatever we could.  The highlight of camp was always the second to last night of the week.  It was when all the campers and counselors put on a variety show.  A lip sync was usually in order.  The two previous camps we had performed "How Will I Know" by Whitney Houston, and the classic "Respect".  We needed something bigger and better for our final week at Camp Abegweit, and let me tell you, we delivered!  Before we went to camp we used a cassette player to prepare a mixed song (I guess nowadays one calls that a mash-up!  Thanks Glee).  I can't remember every single song that had a cameo in our number but I know for sure "What is Love" and our favourite song "It's Gonna Be Me" by NSYNC made appearances.  We had it all choreographed and ready to go before we even got to camp.  Our outfits were classic and simple - jeans and red shirts.  We had the absolute best time performing it!  Instead of needing to come up with a number at camp we spent the week helping a young group of girls come up with their own lip sync/dance for TLC's Unpretty.  It's a time I remember fondly with singing, dancing, beach days, crazy/gross obstacle courses, and just having a ball with my best friend.

In our cabin our during our last week at Camp Abby!

5.  Canadian Idol.  Cheryl is a fantastic singer!  I love her voice and could listen to her sing for hours.  We both watched American Idol the first year it was on and LOVED it, as did most of North America. So when we heard that there was going to be a Canadian Idol we both knew that Cheryl just had to try out.  I wasn't going to let her do it alone either, I wanted to be there for her every step of the way, supporting her and just being there for the whole experience.  It was in Halifax that first year so we planned a road trip in Cheryl's red Sunbird and starting preparing for her audition.  We would gather at each other's houses and listen to countless songs.  We would choose our favourites and I would get out my Dad's video camera and videotape her singing the best ones.  We showed the results to both our families and ultimately decided that "How Do I Live?" was the best choice for her.  Off we went to Halifax.  That was an experience in itself.  I had no license so couldn't share any of the driving responsibility and she had never driven out of PEI before.  It was such an adventure.  We learned the hard way that to turn around when you realize you have gone the wrong way you take an exit, don't drive in the passing line at slow speeds in hopes that you'll come across one of those lanes on the median that are used for emergency vehicles to turn around in a hurry.  I'll never forget the look of that angry trucker giving us the finger when I glanced out my window.  Yikes!  We made it there safe and sound and settled in at a family friends' home of Cheryl's.  We spent the days preparing for her audition, shopping, and exploring.  We slept on the streets of Halifax before her audition and I waited in those same streets as guests of auditioners were not allowed entry to the building.  She didn't make it on the show but we had the best time!

She decided to give it another go the year the auditions came to Charlottetown.  I think it was 2005 or 2006.  This was a much more pleasant experience.  Instead of sleeping in the street we slept on the floor of the Confederation Center.  Instead of having to live off snacks we could put in our pockets we ordered Dominos.  Instead of a Leann Rhimes tune, she sang a Faith Hill one - "A Man's Home is his Castle".  Instead of it not being a successful audition, she made it past the first round!  There were many squeals and hugs when she came out with her yellow paper.  Such excitement.  She may not have made it on the show but I was so proud of her!  

6.  Getting in Shape.  I was never athletic, coordinated, or interested in any kind of exercise at all.  Somehow Cheryl twisted my arm into joining a women's gym when we were in University.  It was called Shapers.  It soon turned into one of our favourite places!  We went regularly, 6 days a week, for an hour and a half to two hours.  We started out just doing the circuit and eventually designed our own workout routine that included the circuit, cardio on the bike or elliptical, weight lifting, lunges, stability ball exercises, even a few Paula Abdul dance exercise videos were used!  We so enjoyed getting fit together and seeing results.  Cheryl has always been my ultimate motivator when it comes to exercise.  Eventually life, school, and different schedules got in the way of our workouts and we stopped going.  Last fall after having our babies I convinced Cheryl to lead me and our fellow mommy friends in a class similar to one she used to lead in Fort Mac for her teacher friends.  It eventually ballooned from four or five people to 40 people at any given class.  In November, 2010 she somehow convinced me to join her at UFIT bootcamp.  It was the greatest thing she could ever do for me!  I love it so much and have her to thank for it.  She keeps me motivated at every single class and amazes me with her dedication and strength.  

After a super hard workout!

7.  Cheryl & Mike's Wedding.  May 31, 2008.  It was a fantastic day and I was so proud to stand beside Cheryl as her Maid of Honour.  She made the most beautiful bride and we had a complete blast that day.

8.  Our Wedding.  June 20, 2009.  It was so special to have my best friend from junior high stand beside me as my Matron of Honour at my wedding.  She also sung a beautiful rendition of "I Cross My Heart" at the ceremony making it extra special.

9.  Pregnancy.  We always fantasized that we would end up pregnant at the same time and have babies that would end up getting married.  Eventually it dawned on us that because our husbands are first cousins, our babies would be related and that would therefore never happen.  So we changed the fantasy to our children being best friends.  I guess it shouldn't really have been much of a surprise that we did end up being pregnant at the same time.  After all, we have always been at the same place in our lives.  That is something that has made our friendship stay so strong.  You never know, though, how long it will take a woman to become pregnant.  My due date was August 18, 2010 and Cheryl's was September 18, 2010.  Perfection!  There were hundreds of emails exchanged between Charlottetown and Fort Mac during those months of pregnancy.  How are you feeling, have you experienced this, this is what my belly looks like today, etc.  We checked up on each other every single day, multiple times a day.  When she got home for good from Alberta at the end of June, I was off work and we were ready to spend the summer lazing around taking advantage of the excuse to do so and eat whatever we wanted while we were at it.  Pregnancy is one of the greatest experiences a woman can go through, and going through it with your very best friend is just incredible.

10.  Along came the babies.  The perfect way to end my pregnancy was with a pregnancy photoshoot with my bestie and our husbands.  As soon as we realized our due dates were so close together we decided a photoshoot in those last months was definitely in order.  Turns out we were very close to missing out on the opporutnity completely as I was in labour during the shoot, though I didn't realize yet.  Cheryl and I spent the evening afterward referring to books and the internet to see if what I was experiencing really was labour.  I had my husband call her as soon as we found out that it was labour at the hospital, even though it was 2 in the morning!  I would have called her myself but I was unable to speak.  As soon as Harrison was born and taken up to the nursery, I called Cheryl.  It was so special to be able to share the news with her myself and get her on the nursery's visit list as I knew we would be in the hospital for several days and if there was one person who would visit me every single day, support me through the hard times, and bring me yummy food, it was my bestie!  Of course, she delivered.  She spent the month and a half before her own babe came along cuddling mine, supporting me through those first scary days and nights as a first-time Mom, and just being there for both Harrison and I.  I can never thank her enough for that.

Cheryl and Harrison
Finally, it was her turn!  The days leading up to Grace's birth included many texts and Facebook messages detailing any signs of labour.  The day of her hubby called me on his way to the hospital scared out of his mind. haha.  I waited by the phone anxious and excited!  She called me that afternoon and I was amazed that she was calling me in the middle of labour, 8-9 cm dilated I think, happy as a clam!  Her epidural was administered and working and she could now speak again!  haha.  It was so neat to talk to her knowing that her baby was only minutes away from being born!  Shortly after that, I got another phone call from her, this time with the great news that baby girl Grace MacKenzie was officially here!  It was so soon after the delivery that they hadn't even weighed her or anything yet.  I couldn't wait to hold that precious little one.  I did so the next day after sneaking into Unit 4.  I was so proud of Cheryl!  And that baby?  Just perfect.  Tiny and beautiful.  

Grace and I

Our babies are now 10 months and 8.5 months old.  They see each other a couple of times a week usually and will no doubt continue our tradition of having a wonderful friendship.

Recent pic of bestie Moms and bestie Babies!

Melt your heart!

Just spending some time together!
To my best friend in the world, love you girlie!  We are so lucky to have each other and our friendship is truly a gift.  You're the best.  xoxoxoxo

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