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Hello, LJ world. It has been two and a half months since my last entry. I think this may be a record for the longest time in between entries! It's just so difficult to keep up with these days, to be honest.

For starters, as many of you know, my job requires me to sit in front of a computer for 8-9 hours a day, so when I get home from work, it's hard to go on a computer again. The most I'll do is web surf but I mean to specifically find the inspiration to write an entry. Besides that, I am completely backed up with other things. For instance - a very big instance - I have two episodes of our home-made sitcom The Insiders that I have to edit. We have already filmed 90% of the two-part finale, but things got so hectic. There was the wedding in the fall, then the holidays, then we went away to Orlando, then there was the passing of Nikki's grandfather Joe, and then I was finally ready to edit. Except, my new computer didn't really work with some of the older sources that I had. So after several weeks, I finally found the correct software I could use to digitize all the footage. I have hours and hours of tapes that I have to edit. I am SO unbelievably antsy to start editing the show and seeing the final product. And here's a bit of extra trivia...we began filming episode 13 (part 1) in September of 2013! It's been a long while of filming (though very sporatic) to say the least. So yes, this is definitely going to be a priority over the next several months. I plan to release it by at least the conclusion of the summer/early fall.

Besides the aforementioned project, there's just so much other stuff going on. When you're an adult, finding time to do the things you once did can be a bit challenging. I also find that I get tired a lot earlier than I used to. Back in my QC (college) days, I would be up until 2:00-3:00 in the morning and I now I can barely make it to 11:00. It kind of sucks but I guess it does have its advantages. I usually will get at least a 7 or 8 hours of sleep which is definitely essential when you're working 5 days straight. It was different than when I was in retail, where the schedule was all over the place. You could kind of push your limits a little more, though it certainly had its boundaries too.

Having said that, and to touch on what I briefly mentioned earlier, back in March we lost Nicole's Grandpa Joe. Grandpa was a great man whom I'm so happy I got to meet. He had an on-and-off battle with cancer...first getting it around a year ago, seemingly surviving it, but then getting it again back in the earlier part of this year. Since Grandpa saw the pain his twin sister Joanie went through with chemo, he decided not to opt for that. He passed away in mid-March as a result, and Nicole and I, along with other family members, flew down to Charlotte, NC for the services. It kind of sucked too that, besides the fact that we were going for such a sad event, it came so soon after our trip to Disney World. I had to take 4 extra days off about 3 weeks after returning from Orlando. I told my boss that he didn't have to pay me for these days (because I wasn't sure of his stance on time off for bereavement) but that I still needed my remaining vacation days for previous obligations coming up in the summer and fall; he kindly enough paid me anyway, which I appreciate. With that said, I wouldn't have missed Grandpa's services for the world and am grateful that my workplace was understanding. In any case, the only perhaps positive thing about that impromptu trip to NC was seeing Nicole's relatives like Grandma, Uncle Scott, Aunt Cyndi, their kids, cousin Charlie, and getting to see Aunt Chrissy after such a long while and, of course, meeting her husband and their adorable son Francis. Nicole and I plan to go back to NC in the summer and this time, although we'll certainly miss Grandpa's presence, at least it can be under happier circumstances.

Besides that, our Disney trip in February was a lot of fun as always. We hit up the main four Disney parks as well as Universal this time around. We also had the chance to hang out with my old NBC cohort and friend, Lauren L. as well as her girlfriend Katie. Restaurant-wise, we went to our favorites as we usually do, such as The Sci-Fine Dine-In Theater, The '50s Prime-Time Cafe, The Liberty Tree Tavern, and The San Angel Inn in Epcot's Mexico pavilion. However, we did try some new places as well including The Wave over at Disney's Contemporary Resort, which was DELICIOUS, and also Le Cellier Steakhouse in Epcot's Canadian pavilion. While I had been there many years ago (2004), Nicole was never there. It was a great treat, especially since we celebrated our *6*-year dating anniversary that evening. The only thing that I kind of regret about the trip is the weather. Of course, we couldn't control it, but because NY's winter was nothing short of crappy, we thought going to Florida would escape that climate. While it was certainly warmer and didn't, you know, snow, it was still really chilly. We had to wear jackets and long pants and weren't used to being in Florida under those conditions. I was telling Nicole yesterday that I am going to miss going in the summertime. But as Nicole said, there was a reason we specifically went in February. Why? Well, I'm glad you asked...

On February 22nd, the day before our trip (which was incidentally the Academy Awards and Wilfredo's annual Oscar party), Nicole and I found out that....SHE'S PREGNANT!!!!!! Now, while we haven't posted it publicly to Facebook yet, I know that most of the readers of this journal should know already. If we haven't gotten the chance to tell you, however, well...now you know! We are waiting until Mother's Day to post it on Facebook for the rest of our family and friends to see. It is amazing news and we are both so happy! We admittedly had been trying. Nicole wanted to have a baby to coincide with turning 30 so we didn't wait very long after we were married. Then again, we were together 5 and 1/2 years, dating-wise, so it's not like our relationship itself is very new. And, by the way, to go back to an earlier point...Nicole wanted to go to Disney in the winter because she had a feeling she would be pregnant in the summer and knew that she wouldn't have been able to experience as many attractions over there.

Regarding the big news, our parents' reactions were hysterical, too. We had told them when we returned from WDW and they were ecstatic. We had my niece Victoria FaceTime my parents through my sister's phone. After several tries, she finally spit it out and said, "I'll be having another cousin!". My parents thought she meant my brother-in-law John's sister(s) at first, but we clarified it was Nicole and they pretty much jumped for joy. As for Nicole's parents, that was another classic. It was Nicole's cousin Ayla's fourth birthday and after all the gifts were opened, Robyn opened up her sweater to reveal a shirt that said, "Great sisters are promoted to Aunt - November 2015." At first, some family members didn't get it and/or didn't read all the wording but once they got it/understood it...the place erupted! Nicole's mother bawled and her dad was in a complete state of shock. After he digested it, he gave Nicole and I big hugs and was thrilled. He said it was great news, especially since his father's health was failing, so it was definitely a pick-me-up.

As for our friends, they've also reacted greatly. With a lot of them, we've used the wording, "She's eating for two!" or "She can't have that (alcoholic) drink because...". We've told a lot of friends in different ways and on different days and they've all been nothing but supportive. And trust me...we appreciate it!

You might be wondering how I feel and I have to admit that it still hasn't hit me 100%. I mean, obviously I know there's a baby DiDonato on the way, and am very happy, but it's one of those things where you can never fully be prepared. I'm taking it one day at a time and am enjoying watching Nicole's belly grow. I know she is certainly experiencing certain pains that she never had before and I certainly will be there to support her in any way that I can. Sometimes I think she can be too much of a worry wart, but in the end, I'm super appreciative of her being careful and pretty much housing our baby for the next six (more) months.

In related news, I'm still itching to find a better-paying job. My current occupation has its good days and bad days, but overall, I really just need to make more money. I mean, I certainly would like it to be in the field of my choosing and that desire will never die, but knowing that a baby is on its way...a higher salary would be ideal. There's unfortunately not room for much growth where I am now so that's why if I can attain something somewhere where there's room for advancement AND there's a pay increase...man, I sure hope so. Also, additional thanks to my coworkers whom I just told the big news to recently. They've all been very supportive and I appreciate it.

Segueing to another topic, Nicole and I recently mailed out our Thank You cards for our wedding. They came out beautiful, as our photographer Robert Longo did an exceptional job compiling them. We picked the photos and the fonts and such but the way he laid out the photos and the quality of the cards is just terrific. We also included some additional photos for those who had pictures snapped of them by our pro photographer that they may have not seen. Nicole and I received a lot of praise for the cards so far and we are very glad. Obviously, with Thank You cards you shouldn't expect a thank you in return. However, for those that did so, all I can say is: I'm thankful you're thankful we're thankful. It means a lot!

I was also telling Nicole the other day that I know our wedding was now over six months ago, but I think about it every day. Every. Single. Day. I am still overwhelmed by the fact that it turned out to be such a beautiful day. At least once a day (or more), I relive a certain part of our wedding in my head. Whether it be seeing a picture or just something that reminds me of it. You have no idea how grateful we are to everyone who made it so special for us. I just cannot wait to see the edited video! Nicole and I are highly anticipating that!

Going forward, I'm really looking forward to what the spring and summer have to offer. I'll be going to 2 bachelor parties (Mike Graffeo and Dalvano, respectively) and their weddings, as well as a couple of weekend trips outside of that (Baltimore to visit RJP, NC to visit Grandma and the Corrigans, etc). It should be an exciting time of year!

Well, I just wanted to briefly update my journal to reflect this time in my life. I hope to update again soon and in more detail (i.e. certain social gatherings and events that have been scattered over the past several months/weekends). Thanks, as always, if you read this.

Until next time...

--J[o]na[t]h[a]n

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November 2015

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