Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Time Management

Remember this post where I bragged about how fab our DIY centerpieces were going to be for the reception, and how much money we were going to save by ordering the flowers from Sam's, using vases we already owned, and...?

Yeah, scratch that.

I am an expert at getting everything that needs to be done completed. I really am. I never missed an assignment in school, I get my workouts in every day, I work multiple jobs. This is a really fantastic quality of mine... usually.

It becomes problematic when I take on too many responsibilities. Because I'm so fabulous at managing my time, I have a hard time saying "no" to things (specifically when it's a job or money-making possibility), and I have a hard time delegating tasks. If I can find any possible way to fit something into my schedule, I'll do it. Often this means giving up time with my fiancé, with my family, or with my friends.

I know exactly where this problem stems from. My mom is the exact same way. She is so incredibly involved with everything in her life--I honestly don't know how she does it. She heads about four groups at church, is involved in about four more, works part-time for a PR firm, writes mystery novels, and still finds time to make hospital visits, cookies, meals, and even baby blankets for anyone who needs one.

A couple of weeks ago, when we were going over scheduling and details of the wedding day, Mom and I both stopped suddenly and looked at each other. We were both thinking the same thing. We're doing it again

We both realized that slicing oranges, defrosting flowers, arranging bouquets, tying ribbons, making paper cones and more is not what we want to remember about the weekend. We'd rather concentrate on the 250+ friends and family that will be gathered together for the first time in years. We want to visit, and talk, and laugh. We want to have our nails done, our hair, and our make-up, while drinking mimosas and chatting with the other ladies getting ready the morning of the wedding. Suddenly, the price our florist had quoted for the 25 centerpieces and the aisle decorations was not looking so shabby... and our home-made centerpiece idea was.
The nix-ed idea
So, sorry Martha. It's not that your sliced citrus in vases was not a lovely summery idea--it was--our time is more precious. We'll be going with The Flower Girl.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Moving Day!

It's moving day!

This morning we moved in our first carload of stuff (I had a dentist appointment, so had the morning off, and was able to get into the apartment in that extra time).

Tonight we'll celebrate by ordering pizza and sharing a bottle of wine as begin our week-long campout on our air mattress (the big stuff will be moved this weekend). 

Sunday, April 24, 2011

When It Rains...

My previous post's title would be an apt name for life this past week. You know how they say "When it rains, it pours"? Well...

I started off a little down last Friday when a teaching position I'd had my eye on for next year was filled--by someone other than myself. I spent the weekend reviewing the several applications I currently have in to school districts and applying with a few more. Although I'm trying not to let the negativity of the economy and the current budget situation get me down, seeing district after district holding up their "We're Not Hiring" signs is a little hard to ignore.

Then, Monday morning, I heard from the service shop where I'd taken Sally, my 1997 Saturn, over the weekend for an oil change. I'd also asked them to take a quick listen to the new whirring noise I'd been noticing on the highway. Well, the mystery noise turned out to the be worst mystery noise possible--the transmission. It was time to look for a new car.

I've driven Sally since my 16th birthday. And my mom drove Sally before I did. She's been in our family for a long time.
I'm going to miss my tropical seat covers (covering the small tear in the seat cushion).
My reminder to myself that smiling makes everything seem better.
The sticker on Sally's ceiling is reminiscent of the first day my best friend, Kelly, came over in third grade. It was a remnant of the class Valentine's party we'd had that day.
Then, Monday night, over in the STL, my grandpa was taken to the hospital in the middle of the night. Although we've now learned that the problems he was having were caused by a poorly-reacting medication, I was pretty shaken up when I talked to him the next day. It's hard to watch someone you care about getting older.

Keep in mind that all of this was happening six weeks before the wedding, and one week before our big move. My cell phone and email were busy between all the car dealers, insurance agents, florists, chefs, Dairy Queen managers, banquet coordinators, musicians, grandfathers, and... sadly... no school districts. I was crunching numbers constantly, trying to figure out how we were possibly going to afford a car payment on top of our double rent (until July), honeymoon, etc. (The fact that I don't have a job lined up for fall made that especially painful.) 

Monday night I literally slept for less than two hours; by Tuesday afternoon, I had literally worried myself sick with a 100-degree fever.

However, as luck would have it, a couple from church just happened to mention to a mutual friend that they were looking to sell their 2006 Kia Sportage--which just so happened to be #2 on the list of cars I was interested in. After a phone call and a quick visit the next day, I agreed to buy the car (and they agreed to sell it to me) for a very reasonable price. Phew! Crisis averted.

My first ever new-to-me car.
Naming cars is a pretty important job. I haven't come up with the perfect name for her yet (yes, she's clearly a female).
The previous owners are big KU fans. Still unsure about the stickers--we're not NOT KU fans, we're just... not KU fans. We'll see if they make the cut.
Thursday, my grandpa was released from the hospital. He still has some physical therapy to go through, and it doesn't sound as though his problems are 100% resolved, but the situation is not as dire as it was earlier in the week. Again, some relief there.

I would love to end this post by telling you that Problem #3 was solved and I was offered a fantastic teaching position for the fall... but that didn't happen. Oh, well. At this point, I feel as though I've done as much as I can do. I'm contacting my contacts, brushing up my applications, and just plain trying to be the best ol' kindergarten grade level aide possible. The only thing left to do is to adopt a more positive attitude. So, now, I'm just reminding myself to "Smile!"

P.S. Remember what day tomorrow is??? April 25! Move-In Day!

The Kia's all packed up with our first load of stuff.
It's really incredible how much this car can hold!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Let It Pour!

Recently, we've been having a lot of showers. No, I don't mean we've been scrubbing-up more often. And no, I'm not referring to the "brings May flowers" type (although there've been plenty of those with this Midwestern weather). We've been having the best kind of showers--showerings of gifts. And boy, have we!

Our first wedding shower actually occurred over Thanksgiving weekend. B's aunts, mom, and grandma pulled together a couples' shower for B's family up in Iowa. Thus began the initial grumblings from the men in the family. ("A couples' shower? What the --? That is not fair.")
The lovely ladies who threw the shower
Beautiful flowers, cookies, and favors
Love the cookie tray--aren't the spritz cookies (in our colors) adorable?!
Favors for our guests were chocolate-covered rice krispie treats from Sweet Caroline's bakery.
<3 Me & B <3

Our second wedding shower was about a month ago. This one (also a couples' shower--more grumbling from the menfolk) was thrown by my aunts and cousins for my family over in St. Louis.

My aunt made these candy centerpieces. They were so festive--and yummy!

We had a third shower at home in KC two weekends ago. That one was given by my maid of honor, a bridesmaid, and their moms. It was a more traditional shower in the sense that the men were not forced to attend invited this time. As a matter of fact, B spent the time swinging from ropes, throwing weighted balls, and pushing machinery around a parking lot--the manliest workout possible, compensating for the time spent at the last two showers.
My MOH, me, and a bridesmaid. Also, my two best friends in the whole world :-)
The loot we took home from that shower.
More loot
Phew. That's a lot of showers! And all of that showering is what led to this:

It's all packed up (kinda) and organized (not really) to be moved into our new apartment. Did I mention the big day is coming up? April 25. That's, like, Monday.

I was straightening my hair for the last shower, when B commented (in a somewhat relieved way) that this would, in fact, be our last. "Until we have a baby," I said. He was quiet. "Those aren't couple showers, though, right?"

Somehow, he didn't seem to mind opening the presents, though.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Lost in the Great Unknown

You can call me a blog slacker.

I know, I've earned it.

I would offer some excuses--you know, about planning a wedding, moving, job searching, car buying--but I won't. I will, however, offer you a preview of what I've been lost in:

 Yes, it's as scary as it looks. This is life right now. Piles. Boxes. Unstable. Utter chaos.

But have no fear. I'm back, and I'm stronger than ever...

Thursday, April 7, 2011



That's the sound of me checking another item off our to-do list. Have you noticed I've been doing a lot of that lately? Yeah. Go, me.

A couple of rainy Sundays ago, B and I decided it was time to venture back to the ring store. (The jewelry store, more specifically, for all of you Friends fans out there who might have been worried.) We knew with 100% certainty that we'd be giving Shane Co. our business once again. Besides their incredibly-enticing radio commercials, we were very impressed with the company back in Nov. 2009 when we were ring shopping for this baby:

Yes, B and I shopped together for an engagement band. Although the "when" "where" and "how" of the engagement were a surprise, we were both involved with the "who" "what" and "why".

When we first walked into Shane Co., we were immediately greeted by a salesperson who asked first what styles we had in mind, then our price point. At the time, I was interested in a halo style, but knew these could get pretty pricey pretty quickly. Our saleslady assured us that she could help us find a ring that we loved in any style we wanted at our price point. Wow! This was a huge difference from the mall jewelry stores we'd just finished visiting. (We'd walked into a common chain earlier that day, and practically had to chase somebody down to help us. She asked about our budget, flipped open a catalog, and pointed to the only ring she said was available at that point. We got out of there pretty fast, to say the least.)

I ended up not being as deeply in love with the halo style as I thought I'd be, so the sales associate showed us other options for the next couple of hours. Even though it was a busy Saturday afternoon, she was incredibly patient, answering all of our questions, and bringing out choice after choice after choice until I found THE ring.

The ring we chose (pictured above) fit our price point perfectly--and it even came with the wedding band (which is currently locked up in a safety deposit box, but it looks pretty similar to this one).

Another fabulous thing about Shane Co. is that they sell all of their diamonds loose. So, although I picked out the band, B went back later and picked out the center stone himself. In addition to that fabulousness is the fact that at Shane Co., you can always replace a stone with one that's even bigger and better--and all they'll charge you is the difference in price of the stone. So, someday when we're a filthy-rich environmentalist/teacher couple, we can go back and pick out a whopping 4 ct. stone, and we'll only have to pay a few bucks more. (Or, we could choose a more reasonable half-to-one carat stone to celebrate an anniversary, I suppose.)

Anyway, after a wonderful first impression, we knew Shane Co. would be getting our business once again...

This time, we went in knowing that we wanted an "alternative metal" for B. As a Haz Mat Man, a white gold or platinum ring would be sure to dent up quickly. (They're also really expensive!) Shane Co. carries two alternative metals: titanium and cobalt. With price tags around the $100 mark for titanium, it sounded like a pretty good deal at first. But then the sales associate explained that it, too, will dent easily, and there's not much they can do to polish out any damages. Cobalt, however, is quite durable. It prices a little higher (about $300), but it would be the best choice for someone who plays with paint cans and chemicals all day.

I love the style that B picked. We liked the wider band, and the cornered style gives the ring a more modern look. He wasn't so sure he'd like any rings at first--this is a guy who has never worn jewelry--but when he saw this one, he decided it might not be too bad :-)

Now both of our wedding bands are tucked safely away, waiting for the big day!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

You're Invited! (Probably)

Sunday evening I put my fiancé, my parents, and my future mother-in-law to work in an assembly line. It was time to break out the box of invitations, response cards, and pre-addressed envelopes we'd ordered six months prior, and I knew it would be no small task.

(My mom never fails to have her "stoic and creepy" look in photos.)
Piles and lists, piles and lists
An enthusiastic... um, licker...
When I first started dreaming of invitations soon after our engagement, I assumed that we'd hire a calligrapher to address them in ink made of white gold (okay, not quite). However, as we began weaving all of the pieces of a wedding together, and budgeting (and re-budgeting) our money, invitations quickly soared to the bottom of our list--we decided we'd be doing those on the cheap.

Then, I began pricing vendors recommended to me by friends, from theknot.com, on Etsy, even materials to make our own from Paper Source, and realized that the $600 I had set aside was not even going to cover the invitations at any of these places, let alone the response cards, the envelopes, the stamps, etc.

Finally, I stumbled across 123print.com. Now, I will forewarn all of you (including those who will be receiving an invitation in their mailbox later this week), don't be expecting one of those fancy shmancy styles with ribbons and tissue paper, blah blah blah. But I was pleased with 123print for the following reasons:
  1. Their huge selection of colors, styles, and themes. I'd had a heck-of-a-time finding a modern-looking, not-too-girly, summer-y, pink-and-orange choice at any of the other places I'd looked. But on this site I immediately found 3+ options that would mesh well with our wedding vibe. We finally ending up deciding on the Watch Love Grow style with coordinating response cards, rehearsal dinner invites, etc.
  2. They let you design all the wording, the font, the placement of the text, etc. at no additional charge. So many of the other invitation vendors had disclaimers listed like "$0.50 per invitation for an extra line of text" or "limited monograms available" etc. But at 123print.com, you design the whole thing from your personal computer on their extremely user-friendly website.
  3. The prices! Wowwwweeeee! The envelopes are free, the shipping is free, it's fabulous! I'm just gonna lay it all out there for ya: We ordered 300 invitations with 300 matching envelopes, 300 response cards with 300 matching pre-addressed envelopes, and 50 rehearsal dinner invitations with... matching envelopes... for (drumroll please...) $165.74. This obviously kept us eons below our budgeted amount, which is now allowing us to splurge on professional floral arrangements for our reception centerpieces. (I know, I know... you're remembering this post where I detailed our homemade centerpiece idea. More on why we've changed our minds later...)
So, they're sent. The (Probably) part of my post title comes from the fact that we were originally told that our reception hall holds 250 people MAX. So, when we were sending out 300 invitations (inviting almost 400 people in all! (oops)), we starting joking about how we would have to call and "un-invite" people if we didn't get enough "no" responses. Don't think we're asking you to decline, though, because after meeting with our banquet coordinator last night, we've learned that there will be plenty of space to accommodate a larger crowd. Phew!