Tuesday, December 31, 2013

What a Year

What a year...indeed.

We were so very blessed with such an awesome year in 2013!  Thank you to all of our friends and family who celebrated with us as we got engaged in the Spring and then began our new chapter as husband and wife in the Fall.  So many precious and fun memories were made this year, so many family and friends reunited, and so much hope for the future.

As joyful and pivotal a year this has been for us, we realize we have friends and family who are very eager to get this year behind them and start anew.  My hope is that each of you who may be hurting right now or scarred by 2013 find the rainbow at the end of your storm, and look onward with hope for a better year ahead.  May your wounds be healed by the love and memories of those lives or loves lost, and may 2014 be a year of great renewal for you.

Of course, the two biggest events for us this past year were our engagement and our wedding!  I hadn't realized until now that the majority of this year revolved around these two events.  This was certainly a year full of excitement, love, and joy, as well as dreams fulfilled and new dreams imagined.  God has been so good to us this year, and we are very grateful for His presence in our lives.  One of our goals for 2014 and beyond is to have a Christ-centered marriage, and we look forward to living out our life mission of building community by making new friends, connecting and reconnecting with "old" friends 'n family, and most definitely entertaining a little in the new year.

As we finish out 2013 tonight and head into 2014 with the newness of marriage still fresh on our minds and in our hearts, we will keep it pretty low-key tonight, as we have in the past.  Perhaps we'll start a new tradition...  We'll most likely share a bottle of champagne (that didn't quite make it to the wedding reception - oops!), perhaps with a couple of friends...and we might even have our 1st Annual Mr & Mrs "W" Wii Bowling Championship and/or a movie version of an Iron Man Triathlon...and of course we'll end it with a newlywed New Year's Eve kiss goodnight ;)

“The future depends on what you do today.” 
― Mahatma Gandhi

Thursday, December 19, 2013

First Month of Wedded Bliss

A more literal meaning of "the two shall become one...?"

Matthew & I celebrated our 1-month anniversary on Sunday - wow, one month already?!  But the honeymoon's not even close to being over yet... ;)

We certainly have been enjoying our time as a newly married couple, and we're deep into "Project Integration" heading into the holidays.  (In case you're wondering, "Project Integration" is the more "physical" aspect of the two becoming one.)

We were blessed enough to find immediate renters for Matthew's house (they were very eager to move in before Christmas - one of the benefits of owning a home on Christmas Card Lane!); I've been having "fun" changing my name, and we're having a blast merging two households into one.  Well, maybe I'm exaggerating...a little...(except for the thing about the renters!).

Changing your name is a lot like changing your address...except...it's not!

If you've ever had to change your name, you might remember it as a relatively painless procedure (or do you?), other than having to run around town with your marriage certificate in your hand.  Well, I challenge you to try it with no driver's license or an expired passport. (Oops)  You see, after our honeymoon, I realized my driver's license was missing and I hadn't seen it (and several other items) since our wedding day.  (Yes, it took me over a week to discover this...I was on my honeymoon, what do you expect?!)  No problem, I can use my passport, right? Sure, except that I let it expire back in April.  Ugh.

Okay, so it was a bit more "challenging" for me to initiate my name-changing process.  After some frustration and extra running around, I got it going, received my new social security card just a couple of days later, and I expect my new driver's license any day now.  AND I confirmed that my Costco card works for ID when using a credit card at Starbucks :)  In the process, I also learned that CA governmental agencies are much more pleasant to deal with than federal governmental agencies :\

Next on the list for name-changing...pick away at the long list of organizations and institutions who need to know my new last name...all while experiencing a bit of an identity crisis (which, I found out is completely normal - phew!).

As we consolidate our lives and learn how to live with each other, we're especially looking forward to spending our first Christmas as Mr & Mrs and creating some lasting memories and traditions.





Tuesday, December 3, 2013

A Dream Wedding and a New Tradition

...And the Two Became One...


To all of you who told us to cherish every moment because the day would go by fast:  WOW!  You weren't kidding!

Our wedding day was truly a dream come true.  Everything about the day was exciting and perfect, and it very much felt like a dream to me.  There were times while we were getting ready that I truly felt like a princess, and a few times before the ceremony I got a little teary-eyed.  Everything about this day was perfect: the weather, no noticeable hiccups, I married my best friend (BEST of all!), and we had one heck of a party with friends and family on the biggest day of our lives!

From what we've heard so far, it appears the Hora and the photo booth were huge hits, and we're so happy to be hearing that everyone had such a great time!  The pictures from the photo booth are hysterical, and our wedding photos are breathtakingly beautiful!  I'll share our gallery in another post in the near future.

We hid away in a nearby hotel for a couple of days to relax and unwind from the week, and then we drove up the coast for a mini-honeymoon getaway that provided us with much needed relaxation and serenity.  At the end of the week, we stopped in at the Happiest Place on Earth for some fun with Mickey & Friends, and then we were surprisingly so excited to get home to Sophie!  I honestly don't know who was more excited about the reunion, us or Little Miss Wiggly Butt!  She was especially cuddly and lovey-dovy all weekend, which we didn't mind one bit :)

First Family Tradition

After a short week at work, Matthew and I started our first family tradition for Thanksgiving.  We call it Pizza & Pierogi!  Followed by a "family run" the Friday after Thanksgiving to help combat some of the pizza and pierogi eating.  On Thanksgiving, we made pizza and homemade pierogi, and the morning after, the three of us went for a nice run before starting our day.

There is so much more that I want to share, yet I don't want to write a book just yet.  We've still got thank you cards to write after all! ;)  I will post more about our wedding festivities in future posts, so please be sure to follow our blog!  If you aren't currently subscribed, please be sure to enter your email address in the "Follow By Email" box provided on the right side of this page so you will be informed of future posts relating to our wedding events and our journey as husband & wife in America's Finest City.

If you joined in on our wedding festivities and took your own pictures, PLEASE upload them to our Capsule if you haven't already - we'd LOVE to see our magical day from your perspective!

Until next time...

"I am my beloved's and my beloved is mine."


Wednesday, November 13, 2013

40 Hours to Go, and I'm still standing...barely

Only two wake-ups to go...

WHAT a day!  Countdown is now at about 40 hours as of the time of this post.  We're both stressing and feeling overwhelmed and really excited to get this show on the road.  Delegation is in FULL FORCE! :)

The ladies had a great night last night eating, drinking and getting manicures, while the guys...well, all they're saying is "what happens on the mountain stays on the mountain." Go figure.

FULL day for Mom, Marcia and me today!  Mom and I started the day off with a T25 workout (Alpha Cardio) and she really liked it! :)  Then we took WAAAAAY too much time having coffee, Shakeology, blah-blah-blah before we got moving out the door.

If it wasn't for Marcia, I'd have gotten lost somewhere and unable to find my way home.  Seriously, I'm infected with BMB (Bridal Mush Brain) virus.  Why didn't anyone prepare/warn me about this week and how CRAZY it would be?!

Thanks to Marcia, and some assistance from Mom, we crossed a LOT of things off the list today!  And Matthew knocked off some things too, after the guys came down from the mountain!  Thanks everyone who contributed to "checks" in one way or another today!

Poor Sophie knows that something is going on but she just can't figure it out.  I tried delegating a dog walk to my Mom but Sophie wouldn't have it.  At least she's still happily taking bully sticks :)  After tonight, I get one more night to cuddle with my puppy before I become a Mrs and take off for our mini-honeymoon for a few days, and I hope I can get to sleep early enough Thursday night to enjoy it. :)

Aunt Bea (who is also my Godmother) arrived tonight!  And I felt a disturbance in the force about an hour ago...which means my little sister Christina has also found her way back home...

We're merely hours from that "let go and let God" point of things...and yet, it will all be over in a flash, and we'll be passed out on the floor unable to move for hours, perhaps days, and hopefully we'll be saying (IF we're able to utter words at all), "That was one heck of a party!"

Hang on, Honey. We're almost there!

Here's another oldie but goodie for today:  "Be still and know that I AM God."

We plan.  God laughs.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

A Week to Celebrate Life and Love

Monday started off with a T25 workout (What?!). We haven't worked out in a couple of weeks because of my cold, so this workout was both brutal and satisfying.

After coffee and Shakeology for breakfast, we attended a funeral for a neighbor.  It was a bittersweet way to begin the Wedding Week, and yet it also somehow made sense...

When we got back to my house, Matthew's best friend had just arrived, so we spent some time hanging out with him before he and Matthew took off to run some errands.  Later that night, we all went out for Sushi (with Marc) down the street, which Matthew hadn't enjoyed for a very long time!

Today (Tuesday) started with another T25 workout, only this time with Tane (pronounced Tah-nay), M's best friend.  We introduced this retired Marine to Shaun T's Beta Core Cardio, and at the end his response was, "That was great. What else ya got?"  Spoken like a true Marine, eh?

After some coffee, Shakeology, and more hang time, it was time for me to get moving.  I stopped in La Jolla for a pre-wedding wax, and then it was off to the airport to pick up my Mom!  I hadn't been to the airport since they upgraded the "new" terminal, so I was in for a nice surprise when I got there.  I was very impressed with what they did to the place!  Almost to the point that I wanted to start traveling again...almost.

Matthew let me drive "Kitty" so Mom was really impressed when she went for her first-ever ride in a BMW - and boy what a ride!  When I punched it going down Harbor on the way to PB, she said "WHOOOOAAA! This car's fast!" as the momentum pulled her head to the back of the headrest.  We had Chipotle for lunch, got some gas, and then headed home to give Matthew his car back so he could take it up the mountain with him this afternoon for his bachelor party.

After Scott & Marcia arrived, the guys left and now it's just us girls.  Mom's relaxing in my room reading a book, Marcia's downstairs taking the stickers off the centerpiece glass items, and I'm up in my office doing wedding stuff (well, I took a break to write this, obviously).

In a little bit, we will head to Danielle's house for a girls' night in with appetizers and, of course, wine, and my cousin Roselyn will be there to give a few of the girls mani/pedi's in preparation for the wedding.

Before I go, we received our engagement proofs from our engagement shoot down in Coronado, and they look awesome!  You can see them for yourself here:  LnM's Engagement Pics

Less than THREE DAYS to go!  I'm having fun, especially now that everyone is showing up, and I'm trying not to stress about some of the things that need to get done.  I've got backup now, so it will all workout!  I just know it will.  (Speaking of working out, I can't wait to introduce my Mom and Marcia to T25 tomorrow morning! hee hee)

Today's quote for you is one I've used before, but it's one I will keep at the forefront of my mind over the next 24 hours:

"I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." Phil 4:13


Monday, November 11, 2013

Wedding Week Begins

Bachelorette Party, Vineyard Style

My last "single" weekend was a lot of fun.  It started on Saturday morning with my Bachelorette Party.  Yes, you read that correctly - Saturday morning.  Everyone met at my place at 9 AM for (a yummy cup of Kona and then) a day trip to Temecula for some wine-tasting/"Vine Crawl." :)  I should mention the girls were very patient with the bride being late to start the party - oops!  Sorry ladies!  :\
The Bachelorette and her Trusty MOH
Donning my very special Minnie Mouse ears veil, we started at Wilson Creek.  I immediately loved this place when Danielle told me about the doggies that are usually wandering around the tasting room...and the wine was really good too!  I wanted to buy a bottle of everything I tasted!  Instead, I settled on one and somehow ended up with two!  I'd love to go back to this place!  The atmosphere was great, the service was great, and they're dog lovers...so why wouldn't I wanna go back?
My special "Bachelorette" wine glass
Next stop was South Coast.  This place was a-rockin'!  The tasting room had a great vibe to it - it was like being in a bar in PB except with a more mature crowd ;)  The service was also great, and I was equally impressed with their wines.  Another place to visit again!
The Bachelorette and her Vine-crawling Friends
By this time, our tanks were, um, full, you might say...and we were all ready for lunch.  So we headed over to Callaway and ate in their vine-side restaurant for some tapas and yummy watermelon sangria.  Great South American-influenced food, and our waiter was fun too.
Bachelorette Lunch
The tasting room was a bit of a disappointment, however.  I was not very impressed with the service.  They had signs everywhere telling you NOT to leave with a tasting glass because they "aren't included in the tasting price."  (Tacky?)  The wine was O-K...a little too dry for my taste, but I would've been okay with that if the service was better.  I think I was so used to great treatment we received at the other two places that I was quickly disappointed in the lack of attention we got at this place.  Needless to say, I won't be bringing Matthew back to this one.  The tasting room was buzzing just like South Coast's tasting room, but the service we got was dismal at best.  (Sorry to seem like I'm complaining or ranting, but I guess I was quite surprised because of the difference in service between this winery and the others we visited.)

Overall, it was such a FUN day with my friends drinking good wine and sharing fun memories.  One of the especially fun parts of this day was when someone would approach me, say congratulations and ask "When is your wedding?"  I got to say "Friday!"  :)
Giddy Bachelorette next to a cork replica of the Leaning Tower of Pisa
We arrived back at my place to a very happy puppy who greeted us wiggling her butt and folding herself in two (like a taco or cashew) competing for attention with Matthew...Guess who won in the end? ;)

Last "Date Night" as an Engaged Couple

We had planned to have a special date night on Saturday night since guests were due to start arriving (we thought) on Sunday.  So we sipped yummy Almond Champagne (from Wilson Creek - thanks Danielle!), had a nice, romantic candlelit dinner, and exchanged gifts with classical Christian music playing in the background (David Nevue channel on Pandora, in case anyone's interested) and a nice, warm fire in the fireplace.  The exchange of gifts was fun, and my favorite part was the after-dinner cuddle on the couch in front of the fire :)

The engagement period of a relationship is such a fleeting moment, merely a slice of the relationship as a whole...I'm really happy Matthew challenged me in the beginning to keep from planning right away.

Sunday Funday

We received a surprise Sunday morning - we thought Matthew's best friend was arriving, but it turned out he arrived this morning (Monday) instead, so we got an extra day to ourselves, and of course we spend some of that time doing wedding stuff ;)  Although, I think the highlight of Sunday for me was when we took Sophie over to Fiesta Island.  This dog is so incredibly fun to watch on the beach, I can't even believe it!  I really do have a beach dog!  And I just think that is so cool!!  SDBeachGirl has a beach-loving dog! How cool is that?!
Sophie in Doggie Paradise
If I lived closer to the beach and took her there more often, I'm pretty sure it would not have taken me almost 3 years to discover this, but now that I know, we will have to make more frequent visits to the beach!  Sophie happily (no, exuberantly) ran up and down the beach, running in the water, barking at the waves...running up and down, up and down, barking at the waves...and not paying any attention to the other dogs!  I've never seen her have this much fun without other dogs.  It was quite a sight to behold.

Here's a video of the SDBeachBoxer in action:

This was probably one of the nicest Sundays we have had together in a long time, and I think it was partly because we didn't have any of the "Sunday blues" involving thoughts like "Ugh, we have to work tomorrow."  Nope, not this time!  Cuz it's "Wedding Week!" :)

Saturday night at dinner, Matthew said "We're gonna have fun this week."  I think it was then that I realized how excited I am for this week.  We really are going to have a fun week, spending it with our girls/guys, with friends coming into town and family we don't see often enough.

I'm glad the weather forecast is looking so promising so far, but I'm even happier to be able to see friends and family who are coming into town to share and celebrate our special day with us!

I gave Matthew a card with a fun picture that had this caption:  The simplest joys are the best...

...and I realized...the simplest joy of them all is Love - to love and be loved.

"And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love."
-1 Corinthians 13:13

Friday, November 8, 2013

One Week from Today...

..."the two shall become one..."
(Yesterday I sent Matthew a meeting request for next Friday at 3:00 with this subject and it made us both smile.)

Okay, this will be another short update because I'm late chilling wine for my beloved who is on his way here after a long, stressful day himself.  Plus...I'm not done yet!  I've still got a few days before everything needs to get done!  (Pray that everything gets done...lol)

Busy, stressful day yesterday and a bit more of the same today except it was more "fun" for some reason.  A late afternoon phone call from my boss (gulp) turned into a fun conversation about "make sure you eat!" and "don't stress about the little things because they don't matter."  Felt pretty good.  Plus back-to-back phone conversations with deacons that also warmed my heart.

So I took a break:  I played with the dog and took her for a little walk...and when I got back to my computer, which was around 5:00, I realized I had a couple more hours of work to do before I "shut off" for a couple of weeks.  Yikes!

I spent most of today feeling like a kid at school on the last day before Christmas break or Summer vacation...or as a high school senior on the day before graduation.  And my behavior reflected that feeling, which is why I just finished scrambling to get everything done so I could finally turn on that "out of office" assistant.

We checked off a few items from the list today, which was very good.  And added a couple of things I'd forgotten about...oops!

It's all good.

You know why?

Because God is good...and in control of it all.

And the only thing that matters is that I'm marrying my best friend in a week, and we are about to go for the ride of our lives! And we plan on taking lots of people with us!

A little "7 days to the altar" reflection:  Throughout the day, this thought kept running through my mind: "We're getting married a week from today! A week from TODAY!!  In SEVEN DAYS!!!"  And you know what?  Through all the stress, it finally hit me:  I'm finally REALLY (and I mean REALLY!) getting excited about this whole thing!  (Yeah, I can be a little slow sometimes...lol)

Matthew showed me our wedding bands last night and I almost cried.  At their beauty, at what they (will) symbolize, at their mere existence in our lives.  It's really happening.

What an amazing feeling to have yet another dream come true...

And now I leave you with a quote from one of my favorite New Testament books, Paul's letter to the Ephesians:

“For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.” -- Ephesians 5:31


Thursday, November 7, 2013

A week 'n A Day

I thought I'd try posting an update everyday leading up to the big day now that there are only a few days left (yikes!).

This one will be short.  Why?  Because the word of the day has been STRESS.  Yes, a little bit of wedding stress, but it's been mostly work stress today.  I nearly had a panic attack midday when I realized I had less than 2 days to get everything done on my "list" (emailed from my manager)...

And then the migraine came...I think it was a migraine anyway.  42 years and I've never had one that I can remember.  I started getting this headache that got increasingly worse. So I took some ibuprofen to help alleviate it.  I took 2-200 mg capsules and the thing didn't budge. At all.  So I ate.  Still nothing.  And all the water I'd been chugging - still nothing.  In fact, it got so bad I got to a point where I had trouble concentrating, especially during a meeting with my Intern.  Add that to the near-panic attack stress I was already feeling and I was not doing so hot.  I complained to Matthew about it, and he suggested I go lie down and rest for a bit.  So I did...and I even took a short nap...and now it's gone!

That man is a genius...so, I think I'll marry him.  Hey Mr. Prince Charming, what are you up to next week?  Are you free around 3:00 on Friday? :)

Life is good...and God is good.  Things are getting done, balances are being paid, and we're gonna have one heck of a party next Friday night!

This time, yes, I will "Be still and know that I AM God."

:)


Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Number 9...

Holy cow we've hit single digits in our countdown!!

As I shared on Facebook earlier this week, and as I've said to Matthew a couple of times already...we're getting married NEXT WEEK!!  I know I've said it before, but the time seems to be FLYING by these days.

People have started asking me some um...interestingly obvious questions like "Wow, it's coming up fast; are you getting excited?" Um, no.  I've been dreaming (okay, fantacising) about this day all my life, why would I be excited?  Especially after I tried on my gown last week!  OMG...Oh no, I'm not excited...not at all.  Hee hee

And then there's "You're getting married next week - are you getting nervous?"  Hmm...nervous - yes. About the wedding itself, not at all...about the details of the wedding, a little. However, if things go awry in any way, the most important thing about that day is that I will be marrying my best friend, and really, that's ALL that matters :)


Checks are a-flyin'!

The time has arrived - final payments are due!  So let the Credit Card Juggling Act commence!  It hasn't been all that bad, really.  And it's actually kinda nice to have that "paid in full" feeling.  Earning all those miles are awesome, but getting that credit card bill after the honeymoon...ugh.  (And just so you know, I never carry a balance on my cards...it's all good...because God is good!)

And we've been checking stuff off the list left and right!  Thank you Matthew!! xoxo  The loose ends are getting all tied up so nicely :)

Good news:  St Anthony helped me find my bridal shower gift list!  I hope no one minds if they get sent out after the wedding :\  I'm a little busy right now, but I will try to get them out soon...(Who's that etiquette lady?  Whoever she is, I apologize for getting my thank-you's out late!)

Deliveries and Arrivals

The UPS guy and the mailman have been wearing paths from the sidewalk to the front door with all the deliveries I've had this week.  It's kinda crazy, kinda fun...kinda like this big fancy party we're having in 9 days!

Family arrivals begin on Sunday with Matthew's best man.  My Mom and a couple of our NE friends arrive on Tuesday, and then it's all downhill from there...or something like that.  It will be nice to spend a little time with my Mom next week before all the craziness begins!

Okay, that's enough for today.  If you're joining in on our festivities, please be sure to check out our wedding website for the latest details.  I only have two more days of working as a single gal and then it's off to see the wizard...oh wait, no.  I'm going to the chapel...and I'm gonna GET MARRIED! Yeah! That's it! The wizard will have to wait until after the honeymoon ;)

Today's quote:
"Be still and know that I am God."  Umm...Wait...be STILL?! Who can be still at a time like this?!?!  Okay, let's try this again.

Here's an awesome quote from our awesome Pope Francis:

"Love shares everything it has and reveals itself in communication. There is no true faith that is not manifested in love." Pope Francis

Friday, November 1, 2013

As Shakespeare would say, We have but a Fortnight...

Seriously, Mr Time...could you please slow it down a little?  


"To some, a fortnight can feel like a lifetime...to a bride, it feels like tomorrow."
- Laticia W.

For the last week or so, I feel like the clock has been accelerating, and it's had me a tad nervous.  Add the fact that I'm just getting over my second cold in less than a month, and you might say I've been quite stressed.  I can't believe our wedding is the week after next!! Where has the time gone?  (shrug) Well, as they say, time flies when you're having fun...and if you've been following along this whole time, you should know how much fun I've been having planning this big celebration!  I'm super excited for this day, and while I really can't wait for it all to come together...well..., I kinda can.  I don't want it to come too quickly, ya know?  It's almost like waiting for Christmas...there's so much build up (especially if you just KNOW Santa is going to bring you that puppy or bike) and then all of a sudden it's HERE!...and then it's GONE!  And you look back thinking, "What the heck? Where did Christmas go?!" lol

And the sparks are a-flyin'...and it's not what you think!

sparky has definitely been getting his little digs in, and it only makes Matthew and me more excited to see what God has in store for our wedding day and our marriage.  The devil only attacks when something GOOD is on your horizon; it's his feeble attempt to distract you or get you to doubt yourself and reconsider your decisions.  It happens every time leading up to a Cursillo weekend, so why wouldn't it happen leading up to our wedding, the day we celebrate the greatest, once-in-a-lifetime Sacrament a man and woman can share together?

Well, that was weird...

I realized after my last post that I forgot to include the experience Matthew and I had when we picked up our marriage license, so I thought I'd take a moment to share it with you.  Matthew and I walked out of that office in the city building that sunny day and immediately said "Well, that was weird."  It felt very clinical and...just odd.  We gave them the marriage license application, and were given a number and told to go sit down and wait to be called upon.  When our number was called, we sat at a cubicle desk with a lady who reviewed our application, took my check, entered everything in the computer and had us review it and make sure everything was spelled correctly, etc...., we signed the application, and she gave us an envelope with the paperwork to give to the church, and off we went.  All with minimal conversation.  I honestly don't know what we expected, but it was kind of a strange experience for us, possibly because there has been so much excitement and emotion around this event up until that point, and then we go to this office and to these people, it's just a part of their daily job. lol

Ultreya! Onward and Upward...

Matthew and I attended the October Cursillo weekends and I think we both enjoyed the time with God and our brothers and sisters in Christ.  For me personally, I thought it was an excellent addition to our marriage prep.  I met some amazing women who I look forward to getting to know better as time goes on.  And I even got some ladies to participate in my "30 Days to the Altar" exercises with me everyday!

Busy, busy, busy...when do we get to rest?!

I know...AFTER the wedding, right?!  Well, I'm happy to say that a lot of things have gotten done since my last post, and some of that is due to Matthew taking on a few tasks in hopes of getting everything finalized in time for us to be able to sit back and actually enjoy a few days before the wedding.  (Yes, we really are hopeful about this!)  Here are some of the things checked off the list:

  • We had a great dinner meeting with our DJ Peter K and our Emcee Scottay.  I especially enjoyed giving Peter our "do not play under any circumstances" song list hee hee
  • We ordered/purchased the wine for the reception...finally!
  • We ordered a Ketubah!  (This is actually something we are very excited about and will explain in more detail a little later)
  • We met with Deacon Dennis and Colleen for dinner one more time before the wedding to review our ceremony details
  • We had our linens consultation and discussed some final details with our caterer, which was fun
  • AND, we had our engagement session with our photographer last Friday down on the beach at the Hotel del Coronado - with Sophie, of course!  We had a lot more fun than we thought we would have!  It kinda surprised us both!  And Sophie went NUTS when I took off her leash and let her run around the beach.  She even ran right into the water and raced down the beach in the shallow waves.  She was so full of joy! I didn't realize until then how much she loves the beach...just like her Mama ;)
Here's the picture that truly captured us as a family on so many levels...

I immediately ordered a 24x36 of this image and it arrived yesterday!  We can't wait to see what this amazing lady does with our wedding day photos!!  In fact, she was so impressed with this shot (with absolutely no ego in it at all - nobody could have orchestrated this incredible shot except for God, and she's humble enough to know that!), she ordered a studio sample to display in her studio AND she plans on submitting it for a photo competition!  How honored are we that we are the lucky subjects of a potentially prize-winning shot!?!

What fun would a wedding be without a "visit" from The Doctor? (Who!)

I recently surprised Matthew with something fun for our wedding...our very own Tardis!  About a month ago, I came across instructions to make a Tardis card box for your wedding, so I got this crazy idea to make one!  Since I'm not too crafty and don't really have the extra time to make one myself, I approached my retired cousin Grace, who just finished doing a bunch of DIY projects for her daughter's wedding.  The funny thing is her husband ended up making it instead and it came out looking amazing!!  Matthew was thrilled to see it :)  Here's a pic of it:
  

Lastly, as I mentioned earlier, Matthew has been helping me with some tasks, including chasing down the last of the RSVPs and securing the caterer for our rehearsal dinner, and he has been very helpful!  Thanks honey! :)

With only 2 weeks to go, I still feel like there is a LOT that needs to be done and I'm hoping I can knock out a lot of them over the next couple of days....like finding my bridal shower gift list so I can send my thank you notes!! (Yeah, I really did lose it...lol)

Goodbye, Madre...until we meet again in God's Kingdom


Sadly, one of our wedding guests will be unable to attend our special day after all.  Our friend and prayer partner, Mother Antonia was called Home recently, so we figure Jesus simply wanted her as His special guest for our wedding, and now she'll have an even better seat at the ceremony than she would have had.  We will miss this Saint dearly, though we know she will live on in our hearts and in the hearts of the many, many lives she touched, and we pray her legacy will continue to live on through her Sisters of the Eudist Servants of the 11th Hour.  Meanwhile, we will celebrate her life today in the Feast of All Saints and hope to be reunited with her one day (many, many, many years from now, please!).

Until next time...here's another one of our favorite Bible verses for you:

"For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." (Jer 29:11)


Tuesday, October 15, 2013

30 Days to the Altar

ONE MONTH FROM TODAY!!

Wow.  I can't believe our big day is only a month away!  We've been engaged for six months as of last Sunday and it feels like it's only been half that time.  They say "time flies when you're having fun" and we certainly have been having fun!  I can't believe our "engagement" will soon be over; it's kinda sad.  We'll just have to make the MOST of these next 30 days to enjoy this engagement bliss before we say "I do" and dive into married life.

That's part of the reason I gave myself a deadline to have all of the major (and most, if not all, of the minor) tasks completed by the time we were 30 days out from Wedding Day.  Needless to say, I've been a tad stressed over the past week or so...and if you've been keeping up with my blog throughout all of this, you are well aware of that.  Add to that Matthew leaving for Cursillo midway through last week, and now I'm getting ready to head up the mountain myself in a couple of days.  Of course the week I head up there is the same week we hit 30 days before our wedding!  LOL

Most of the time, I work very well under pressure.  So I've actually been able to get a lot done since my last post (some of which has been with the groom's help even!) and I've had a lot of fun doing it!  Despite "Sparky's" best efforts to derail me!!

This week we have a couple of paperwork items that still need to be sent to the wedding coordinator at the church, and there are a few other time-sensitive tasks that need to be checked off before I can check out for the next four days.  Oh yeah, and then there's this thing called work in which I happen to have an important deadline to meet before the end of the week.  No pressure.  Oh, and did I mention I'm in a contest with my Beachbody team this month?  (Sometimes when I get involved, I REALLY get involved...ya think?!)  So I need points for this contest and YOU can help me! :)  If you want to help, please let me know!  I could use all the help I can get right now hee hee [shameless plug]

Dance, Baby, Dance

I thought it would be a fun idea for Matthew and me to take a couple of dance lessons before our wedding in preparation for our "first dance."  Mostly because I have two left feet and don't want to be embarrassed or step on his feet too much (or worse, step on my dress and have a major wardrobe malfunction!).  Matthew was skeptical about it but he went along with it...Little did we know how much fun it would be for us!  We had another lesson tonight and had a blast again!  Our instructor is the best; a really fun guy who "gets" sarcasm, which makes Matthew very happy.

More Music, Sweet Music

While Matthew was up on the mountain with God and lots of men last Friday, I scheduled a site visit at the church to check out the Parish Center with the caterer.  The only problem is the caterer didn't show up (Sparky).  Apparently he'd called me the day before to reschedule but I never got his message.  Nonetheless it was a productive visit for me, and after I met with Gerry (the parish hall guy), I met with the organist to discuss the organ processionals.  We met to review the music I selected for the wedding party and bridal processionals for the ceremony.  When she played one piece (the one I *thought* I wanted), it just moved me straight to tears!  It took me by surprise for sure.  As a comparison, she played a couple of other popular tunes, and...nothing.  I asked her to play the first one again...more teary-eyed silliness.  We agreed we should probably go with that first one!  I think sitting up in the choir loft overlooking the church sanctuary helped it kinda come alive for me.

Love & Laughter, Satin & Lace, and Red Velvet too!

Saturday was a busy day and FUN FUN FUN day!  It was the day of my bridal shower!  I woke up quite early that morning - partly because of excitement and partly because of the busy day ahead.  I started the morning with LOTS of time before having to leave the house and somehow managed to get a late start out the door.  Go figure.

My first activity of the day was to drop off Sophie at her boyfriend Bruno's house so they could play together all day.  From PB, I ran to North Park for my makeup trial.  I was excited and nervous about this one, and I ended up loving the makeup artist and what she did!  Bonus:  the feedback I got from everyone that day was extremely positive, reassuring me.  From North Park, I made a quick stop up in the UTC area for a wax appointment that was not exactly well-planned - because of my makeup being first, all she could do was pluck my eyebrows instead of wax them (oops!).  From there, it was off to PB again to Betty's house for my shower.

I was absolutely overwhelmed by all the love!  Ya know, bridal showers are funny...and I never thought about it until I finally experienced one on the "Bridal" side of the shower.  Birthday parties are one thing. They're fun, your friends and maybe some family all come together to celebrate the day you were born...and usually you have more than one of these during your lifetime.  In fact, if you're lucky enough, you had these kinds of "all about me" parties when you were little - in some way, shape or form.  But it's a different kind of "all about me" gathering than a bridal shower.  This (you hope) is a once-in-a-lifetime kind of event. It's almost a rite of passage.  People aren't gathered to celebrate an event that occurs in your life every year; they're gathered to celebrate a VERY significant event in your life that will only occur once. Ever.  And to celebrate the love of you and your fiance that will soon be solemnized through marriage (and in our case, a Sacrament of the church).  So admittedly, it had a bit of an "odd" feel to it - in a GOOD way, of course.  I'm having trouble articulating this feeling; perhaps those of you who've had your own bridal showers can somewhat understand this feeling that I'm struggling to put into words?

Anyway, I think everyone present had a grand time, and I got a little taste of what the wedding will be like - at the end of the party, I felt like I hadn't had a chance to really talk to anyone!  In fact, so much fun was being had that my MOH (who many of you now know!) decided to forgo the games that typically accompany a bridal shower because we were all busy having fun already, and she felt the games would only interfere with the fun (or something like that).  I remember at one point, after having only eaten half of my lunch, my plate was taken away and replaced with an adorable cake for me to cut.  (And strangely, I felt like I should be blowing out candles before cutting it! LOL)  It was a yummy red velvet cake (my favorite) shaped into a double heart with "Laticia & Matthew" on one heart and our wedding date on the other heart.  It was from a bakery close to my house.

After cake, we gathered in Betty's family room for the opening of presents.  Okay, so this was kinda weird at first.  I mean, when was the last time YOU sat there and opened all of your presents in front of everyone while they just sat there and watched?  Not Christmas. Nope. And probably not since you either had your first baby, had your own bridal shower, OR were a LITTLE KID, right?  Yeah, weird.  Again - in a GOOD way.  It was actually super fun!  I'm sure it was a lot more fun for me than it was for everyone watching, unless I happened to be opening the gift they brought.  The theme of the party was "linens and lingerie."  Well, most people forgot about the linens part and stuck with the lingerie - not that I mind!  I LOVED everything!!  And I can't wait until the honeymoon!  Those of you who contributed all of that satin and lace can rest assured that Matthew is going to be One. Very. Happy. Husband!! So thank you! :)

To Top It Off...

The last exciting thing I want to share from this past week is our custom cake topper!  The designer has been working on it these past few days and has been sending me progress pics along the way.  I don't want to spoil the fun entirely, but I just HAVE to show you this one pic she sent me.  I absolutely cannot WAIT to see the full piece in person!


Does this look like anyone you might know? ;)

My Last 30 Days...

So tomorrow (or today if you are reading this on Wednesday) I am starting a very special challenge I'm calling "30 Days to the Altar" with my friends.  I've invited everyone to join me in my final days as a single woman for a fun challenge that will make us all stronger by Wedding Day.  We'll be doing various exercises everyday for the next 30 days, increasing in number as the days progress.  I'm really excited about this and a lot of my friends have agreed to join me, which is probably the most exciting part for me!  It's not too late if you would like to join in on the fun.  Just find me on Facebook or send me an email and I can send you our schedule so you can follow along with us.

Lastly, if you've received an invitation and have not yet sent in your response card, PLEASE DO SO ASAP!  Thanks :)

Until next time, I leave you with one of my favorite quotes from the man responsible for giving us the Happiest Place on Earth...quoted in what I think is the greatest Disney movie ever:

"Around here, however, we don’t look backwards for very long. We keep moving forward, opening up new doors and doing new things… and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths.”  - Walt Disney

Monday, October 7, 2013

40 Days....

In the Bible, 40 is pretty significant, particularly 40 days.  (So significant in fact, there is a website devoted to it! See for yourself here.)  For example, after Noah built the ark and loaded up all the animals two-by-two, it rained for 40 days; likewise, Moses spent 40 days up on the mountain with God; Goliath came for 40 days before he was slain by David; Jesus fasted for 40 days in the wilderness and walked the earth for 40 days after his crucifixion.  Pretty significant, wouldn't you say?

If you notice, those 40 days were always followed by something very significant.  The Earth was restored and renewed; Moses' face shined; "little" David slayed a giant; Jesus was tempted by Satan; the apostles were sent out to share the Good News and grow the church...

As I reflect on this concept of "40 days," it appears God intended this 40-day time period as a time of reflection, contemplation, and preparation; a "holding pattern" leading into a time of renewal or new beginnings; a kind of transition period or "bridge" before a significant event or conversion experience.

I occasionally half-joke about the four years I spent in Arizona as my "40 days in the desert" because it was a very significant time of conversion and renewal for me.  As I reflect on my life since returning from Arizona, I see how much my time there truly was preparation for my life back here in Cali.  It truly was a major turning point - my life has been significantly different as a result of my experiences in the desert.

So here we are...40 days before our wedding.  Similar to the Bible, a significant event will follow these next 40 days.  Perhaps unlike Noah and Moses, we are fairly certain of the event - God willing and all goes according to plan, Matthew & I will become husband and wife..."and the two shall become one."  Beyond that, I suppose we truly do not know what is in store for Mr & Mrs W other than we will begin a new chapter in our lives.

While these next 40 days will certainly be busy with preparatory tasks such as check writing, tux and gown fittings, parties, etc - it will also be a time for Matthew and me to get closer to God as we reflect on our lives up to this point and think about our future together as husband and wife.  Many people thought we were crazy for agreeing to serve on Cursillo weekends a few weeks before our wedding.  We know who is in control, though, and we said "yes" in full faith.  As it gets closer (Matthew leaves for his Cursillo this Thursday), I can see now that we are both being given a wonderful opportunity to experience one last Cursillo as unmarried children of God.  Another weekend up on the mountain with Christ.  And those of you who have experienced Cursillo KNOW what it's like after one of these weekends!  The fact that we will be experiencing the Sacrament of Marriage just a few short weeks after Cursillo is no accident.  God has been preparing us for this from the very beginning, and I look forward to us both being filled with the Spirit ("on fire" even) as we stand before God and celebrate this once in a lifetime Sacrament together.


And now for a little wedding planning update...
I actually got a lot done last week in spite of all the stress I was feeling at the beginning of the week!  I think I got all the accessories ordered.  (Oh man, stay away from those wedding websites!  Seriously cute stuff all over!)

On Thursday night, we had dinner with Deacon Dennis and Colleen for our last "official" marriage prep meeting to take care of all our "Sacramental" paperwork needed for the ceremony.

Saturday morning I had my hair trial which was a lot of fun!  My MOH Heather came with me, and my cousin Roselyn dropped off some awesome family pictures for me, including one of my grandparents wedding!  After I got my hair all teased, curled, sprayed and played-with, Heather & I went shopping to find my rehearsal dress.  It came down to two dresses, and neither of us could decide between them. So I texted pics to my Mom and a handful of other girlfriends.  ALL of them said the same thing "I like them both."  Gee, thanks ladies. You're a lot of help! LOL  Well, I ended up getting both because they were so great, and with a coupon and the sale going on at Macy's, I basically got a 2-for-1 deal.  One dress will be for the rehearsal and one dress will be for the honeymoon.

Saturday evening, we had friends over for some white wine tasting to help us select our white wine for the reception.  We had some appetizers and Matthew made crepes for dessert (yummy!!!).  It was a lot of fun and we found our winner(s)!

Finally, on Sunday we went to the jeweler and selected our wedding bands.  Our "regular" girl was on vacation, so another lady helped us.  As we started looking for Matthew's ring, she told us most rings take 4-6 weeks to be ready - WHAT?!  (Oops...)  Once the owner saw us (and recognized Matthew), though, he promised us he would get them done in 3-4 weeks. (PHEW!)  I had a lot of fun helping Matthew choose his band, and the one we chose for me reminds me of my Grandma Sarah's wedding right for some reason.

After such a fun weekend, I am now fighting a nasty cold today.  (Boo!) Oh well, better now than later, right?!

And with that, I shall put myself (and hopefully this cold) to bed. Please keep Matthew in your prayers this week as he prepares to head up the mountain for 40--- I mean 4 days :)

Monday, September 30, 2013

Just Another Manic Monday, so Take a Chill Pill

Please, Mr. Postman

Well, as of Friday 9/27 (which happens to have been the first date we had in mind for our wedding...mostly me actually lol) our invitations have been mailed, and as I wrote in my Facebook post that evening, there's no turning back now! :)

Surprisingly, I felt a big wave of relief come over me as Matthew & I walked out of the post office that night.  I realized these invitations have been a major cause of stress for me for the past month or more, between ordering samples, deciding on which ones to get, ordering them, assembling and addressing them, getting the stamps for them, bringing them to the post office...pretty much the entire process.  So I'm pretty happy it's all over.  Now it's all up to the postal service to deliver the mail in plenty of time!

I'd like to take a moment to say something about our guest list.  Matthew and I wish we could invite everyone we know to enjoy our special day and witness our participation in this once-in-a-lifetime Sacrament.  As I'm sure you all can understand, we simply cannot afford nor fit everyone we know and love (or even like a lot) in one place with our small budget.  If you do not receive an invitation from us, we hope that you will understand and not take offense or think ill of us.  We still like you and hope to celebrate with you some other way in the future.

So the invitations are sent, great.  Time to relax now, right?  Not so fast...

Earlier today, despite working out and having my daily oh-so-yummy and nutritious chocolate Shakeology, I started stressing out again over all the little things that need to get done in the next month.  After being unable to get anything done, I decided I needed a break and some fresh air.  So, armed with some clippers, I walked out to the backyard and decided it was time to give the rose bushes a good whack.  Truly, they did need to be trimmed, as did a lot of the "viney" plants on and around the fence.  After a good 20 minutes or so of cutting, snipping, trimming and whacking away, all the dead rose blossoms are gone and there's a big pile of "stuff" in the middle of the backyard lawn.  As Sophie watched me, wondering what the HECK I was doing to her backyard, I have to admit it was very therapeutic for me!  I'll go back out there later this afternoon and pick up the mess ;)

After making some lunch, I realized I forgot to take some very important vitamins and medication this morning, which probably had something to do with my stress level today.  (Hey, if any bride out there is planning her own wedding in less than six months and does NOT have the need for anti-anxiety medication, more power to her!  You are a better (wo)man than I.  Seriously.  Judge me if you will, but I'm just being honest ;)

Bottom line:  I have decided it's time to call in the troops...er, the bridesmaids...for some damage control and assistance.  For delegate I must!  I've already got my NYC friend working on programs, menus, etc for the big day - thank you Wendy! :)  Now I may need to solicit some help from my RI friend...Marcia, I'll be calling you very soon! LOL

That is all for today.  Thanks for letting me vent :)

Now I shall take a big, deep breath as I remember...I CAN do all things through Christ who strengthens me!

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

The dream is slowly becoming a reality

A "no-fluff" update today...

The last couple of weeks have been very productive!  My maid of honor helped me realize that I'm still doing pretty well and I'm right on track.  I seem to mostly have lots of little things left.  The only "big" things left are buying the beverages for the reception, arranging the food for the rehearsal dinner, sticking stamps on the invitations and mailing them, and picking up the marriage license!  That last one is probably the most important one of them all ;)

Last week I booked our hotel room for the big wedding night, booked my Mom's flight out here from Denver, received the invitations, and hosted a little invitation assembly party!

Matthew and I also started checking out various wines for the reception.  BevMo is having their big 5-cent wine sale, so we picked up a couple of reds and had a little wine-tasting on Saturday.  Then on Sunday, we had our invitation "stuffers/addressers" taste them as well.  Next weekend we'll try out some whites.

Also last week, we had another marriage prep meeting/dinner with Deacon Dennis and his wife Colleen.  We met at their beautiful home and had another fun evening!  Our "prep" is pretty much done now, but we're meeting them again next week for dinner because we all enjoy hanging out so much!

Something fun happened when the invitations arrived last Saturday.  I happened to be in kitchen when I saw the mailman pull up to the house.  So of course, I greeted him at the door excitedly saying "I've been waiting for these!! They're our wedding invitations!"  He was very nice about it - he smiled, said congratulations and with a "have a nice day" he was off to deliver mail to the rest of my neighbors.  Meanwhile, I ran into the house and excitedly opened the box.  I was expecting "reality" to finally strike me when I laid my eyes upon our beautifully, custom-made wedding invitations.  Instead, I got all giddy with excitement and ran off to show them to Matthew! :)  Instead of a dose of reality, it got me really excited!!  They came out beautifully and even a little better than I'd expected.

The wedding invitation assembly party was originally my Grandmother's idea, and she was going to host it on Sunday of last weekend, which we both were very much looking forward to!  Unfortunately, Grandma wasn't able to host it so we moved it to my house.  [Don't worry Grandma - we'll find something else fun to do together in preparation for the wedding! ;) ]

My dear friends Betty, Casie and Danielle came over for the fun and Matthew even hung around, despite the extreme levels of estrogen, and made crepes for everyone.  It was a lot of fun and I am SOOO grateful for their help!  There was no way I'd have been able to do all that myself!  The morning even started out with a surprise visit from my Dad and his girlfriend Robin, who dropped off some wine, brunch and a really cool gift.

There are a few appointments that need to be scheduled, and Matthew & I have another (hopefully our last) trip to Macy's planned for tomorrow night.  My goal for the next 30 days is to get as much done as possible so I can R-E-L-A-X for the last few weeks before the wedding.  Next month is going to be super busy with our Cursillo weekends, and I will be picking up any loose change I see on the street to get ready for all the "balance due" deadlines coming up!  Speaking of which, if anyone out there is looking for a great workout program or an awesome meal replacement shake (or both!), I'd be happy to help you!  You'll also be helping with our wedding budget ;)

Until next time, remember to always..."Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding..."  Peace.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Music, Sweet Music and a Little More Progress

Wow, two updates in less than a week...what's the matter with me?

(Note: I just read this post before publishing it and noticed it kinda reads like "Random Thoughts by Laticia" so I hope you find it amusing and not confusing!)

I'm just a little excited right now because I feel like I'm making some great progress.  TODAY is the 60-day mark on Ye Ole Wedding Countdown, and I've decided against the panic attack that is threatening, despite its best efforts.

Last week was a bit crazy, which makes it kind of amazing that I got that last update posted on Thursday, but it had to be done.  For those of you who know about Cursillo, well, Matthew & I both said yes to preparing Rollos for the upcoming October weekends.  Yes, knowing our wedding would follow a few weeks later...it's who we are, please don't judge us ;)  Call us crazy if you will...we know it already!

A "rollo" is simply a 20-minute talk about a certain topic presented during the Cursillo weekend.  My topic is "Laity."  I was scheduled to deliver my talk (as in speak it to a group of people) this past Saturday.  I started working on it a week ago Sunday (yes, that's right...giving me only one week to prepare a 20-minute talk).  Amazingly, I managed to pull it off, and I have to admit, when I read it aloud to Matthew Saturday morning before delivering it to the group, I wasn't feeling too confident about it.  However...have I mentioned before that God is good?  Well, He is...and He delivered another miracle.  I nailed that talk.  Thank you, Jesus!  I'm "only" the backup, but now I know that it is a solid talk if God decides I need to be the one to deliver that talk on the weekend.

So knowing I had to deliver this talk on Saturday morning, what did I do?  Well, I made plans for Matthew & I to meet with our dear friends Danielle and Patrick to discuss the music for our wedding ceremony, of course!  (Sorry, we "should" have been at Team School...or I "should" have been at home working on my rollo...again, don't judge.)  Patrick is our music leader for our friends who will be our ceremony musicians, so it was kinda important to discuss this with him.  He made an awesome dinner of locally-caught white sea bass and we all had a great evening together as we starting preparing our wedding ceremony.  We were able to choose all but a couple of the songs we wanted, and after having a better idea of our music, Patrick suggested we secure an organist to accompany the music group.  So this morning I emailed the local church organist to see if she is available and how much she'll cost...ugh...stay tuned for more sticker shock :-\

...I mentioned last week that the invitations were finally ordered, and I've been checking the status of the order every hour in anticipation of receiving it!  To ease the stress of what's to come when I do receive the order, I had a lovely conversation with my Grandma Sally this morning.  During our conversation, she offered to help assemble and address the invitations when they arrive.  We've decided we're going to make a little party out of it :)  It'll be fun, and I'm really looking forward to it!

And on that note, I just received some excellent news a few minutes ago:  My invitation order shipped this afternoon!  Yippee!  The order is supposed to arrive on Saturday, which will be a [Big Sigh of Relief]!

...Matthew & I have begun thinking about what kinds of wine we want to serve at our reception (dubbed "the Big Bash"), which means the next few weeks should be fun as we sample different wines and decide which ones to serve.  We're mostly white wine connoisseurs, so if any of you red wine drinkers out there have any great-tasting, reasonably priced reds to recommend, please send them our way.  If it weren't for our budget, and if I was the sole decision maker, I'd opt to serve only Laetitia wines ;)  Their Pinot Noir is an excellent red.

...Finally, later this week, we will meet with Deacon Dennis and his lovely wife to continue our marriage prep.  We're meeting at their house instead of a restaurant this time, so it should be a really fun time.

...and last night I started looking at the "Together for Life" book to start selecting our ceremony readings and prayers, and I noticed something - Instead of hyperventilating, I started getting excited!

God is indeed good.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

A Doggie, A Mouse, and some Expensive Paper

Sophie:  Cutest Boxer Ever Steal-er of Hearts

Allow me to take a short break from my wedding planning...

Today is Sophie's third birthday!  It's kinda hard to believe that three years ago today, as I had just gone into escrow on my new home, an adorable little Boxer puppy was entering this world who would change my life forever just three months later.
Sophie at 3 months; look at those eyes!!
I remember my tennis instructor Juan telling me that his mom had a brand new litter of Boxer puppies, and my response was something like, "Whoa, slow down and let me get into my house first!"  He knew I wanted to get a Boxer one day, and he also knew that I was buying a house with a yard for that very purpose.  Three months later, after I'd been in my house for less than 2 months, he brought it up again.  "We've got 3 left!" (out of a huge litter of twelve!)  "Is one of them a girl?"  "Yes, and you will fall in love with her like I did!"  My good friend and tennis partner Danielle was no help as she encouraged me to consider it.  Before I knew it, Juan had tagged me in the above picture of her, and oh, those sweet eyes immediately captured my attention and stole my heart!

Long story short, Juan drove her up from Mexicali where she was born so we could meet, and the rest is history.
I can't believe she was so LITTLE!
Those of you who know me well know how much I love this dog.  She's my baby girl and I will do anything to protect her.  She is absolutely the sweetest (and cutest!) Boxer ever and quickly finds her way into the heart of everyone she meets.  Her favorite game is chase and she will do anything for chicken.  I am so thankful God brought her into my life, and I pray that we continue to enjoy each other for many more years.  And she's VERY excited that she gets to keep Mr. Matthew, who is now known as Daddy.


A Date with my Fiance and a Mouse at the Happiest Place on Earth
As I was going along planning our wedding, I discovered that the 100,000+ Hilton points I thought I had were no longer on my account.  This quickly sent me into a tiny panic attack because we were planning on using those points for our wedding night at our favorite San Diego hotel.  A call to customer service resulted in planning a trip to Disneyland!  They agreed to reinstate my points if I "stayed 'n paid" for one night within the next 6 months...DONE!


The day after Labor Day is historically the BEST day to go to any amusement park in California (especially my FAVORITE place!) because all the kids have gone back to school by then.  So Matthew and I drove up the night before (on that Monday), stayed at the Hilton Anaheim, and got upgraded to a top-of-the-building Disney View room!! (possibly because I noted in the reservation that we were recently engaged - hee hee).  The World of Color show had just started as we got to the room.  It was very cool to watch it from above!  The next morning, I was excited to see Space Mountain from the floor-to-ceiling window! Awesome!!

Our day was filled with fun and laughter, and a little bit of running around...despite the unusual heat and humidity of the day.  It was so hot, in fact, that we rode Splash Mountain well before noon so we could cool off:


Breaking with tradition, we rode Star Tours first, and afterwards Matthew had some fun building his own light saber:

Because we are planning to come back during our mini honeymoon in November, we bought Annual Passes - it was only $5 more when you combined our ticket prices for this time and next time, so why not?!  
WOO-HOO!!!
After we got our passes, we kinda relaxed and didn't feel so rushed to "make the most out of our day so we'd get our money's worth."  So we spent about half the day over at Disney's California Adventure, a park Matthew had never been to until then.  I think he was sold when we ventured upstairs at the Vineyard place and enjoyed a cool glass of wine in the shade above the park.

The highlight of our trip had to be Cars Land at CA Adventure.  Matthew & I love the Cars movie, and entering the park was like walking right into the film!  The longest line we waited in all day was for the Radiator Springs Racers, and it was actually worth it!

Here's a panoramic shot of the ride that Matthew took while we ate lunch nearby:

We also had fun walking through Luigi's Casa della Tires:


After another water ride (the Grizzly Run), and some frolicking around a "forest" sponsored by the Wilderness Explorers troop of which Russell is a member (hee hee), we headed back to Disneyland for a couple of rides and some shopping before the park closed.  OF COURSE we had to end the day on the best ride ever:

After all of the fun we had, we dragged our tired bodies back to the car and drove home... ugh!  For all future trips, we will definitely stay overnight and drive home the next day, like we've done before.  Having to work the next day was also a tough one.   The good news:  I got my Hilton points back!!

"Only $0.60/card..."
As if everything else about wedding planning didn't give me enough sticker shock, I got another dose as I started the task of ordering our wedding invitations.  I've gotta hand it to the marketing teams of these websites.  "Only $0.60/card" sounds great!  So I excitedly clicked "Customize" and started to go through the little wizard.  I couldn't believe all the little things these companies want to charge you for - lined envelopes, return address printing, multiple colors, etc.  The first time I went through this exercise, the final cost was over $500 - for PAPER?!!  

So we looked at some other designs, I went back to the drawing board, and the order was finally placed last week.  Phew!  I think I stressed over that one item on my checklist for well over a month.  Once they arrive, I'll be able to relax for a little bit before it's time to work on some of the details of our special day, which is very quickly coming up on 60 days in the countdown... yikes!


Other wedding planning stuff:  
1.  I had my first gown fitting (as mentioned in my previous post), and I got a great compliment from the seamstress!  "You better not lose anymore weight!"  Hah!  That truly made my day, until I got the bill for the alterations to take in the gown :-\  Actually, from what Heather said, it's a very good price for what I'm getting done, which is the bustle and the taking-in of the dress.  Fortunately it doesn't need to be hemmed.

2.  I think I've settled on a reception centerpiece and will probably make it a DIY project (meaning, my out of town bridesmaids will have something to do for the wedding when they arrive that week...wink, wink).

Well, thank you for reading!  Until next time...please keep both Matthew and me in your prayers as we prepare to work Cursillo weekends in October, just a month before our wedding.  

We've certainly got our hands full between now and the "Big Day" and we definitely don't need any distractions or obstacles from that ugly, annoying little dude with the horns and pitchfork. 

Cheers!

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Hit the Easy Button, not the Panic Button

Today marks "80 days to go" and I can't believe it is approaching so quickly.  In fact, I've got to admit I've had some days where I wanted to hit the panic button.  When we reached the 90-day mark, I just about had a panic attack...the head-spinning, difficulty breathing, feel like the world is spinning out of control kind.

"I still have so much to do!" I thought to myself.  I still have vendors to book and invitations to order!  And then the bridal store called..."We just wanted to let you know your gown has arrived!" the cheery voice on the other end of the phone said to me.  (Gulp!) "Okay, great," I said, trying to sound excited...while inside my head I was screaming "NOT YET!  I'm not scheduled to deal with you until September!"  And then she continued with "We will only hold your dress for one week."  Gee, no pressure.  I had it in my head that I didn't even have to THINK about my gown until after Labor Day, so of course I hadn't even begun to think about WHERE I would store it until the big day!  At least the alterations lady will keep it for awhile.

So...what does a bride-to-be do after a phone call like this?  Call her MOH of course! (That's "Maid of Honor" in wedding-speak.)  After Heather successfully talked me down off the ledge, reassuring me that it's MUCH better to have the gown arrive 3 weeks early rather than 3 weeks late, I called the bridal store back and made an appointment for my first fitting, which happens to be today after work :)  Heather and I are going together, and it's been on my mind all day!

Okay, so wait a minute...Is it really as bad as I think it is?  Of course not.  I've really got it all under control, mostly.  In fact, there is not all that much to do in the way of "big" things.  We've had the major items done for awhile now, we managed to knock off a few more items on the list this past month, and there are more to be checked off very soon.  Technically, all we really still need are Matthew's baptismal certificate and the marriage license and we're good to go.  Everything else is just fluff, right?  Time for this BTB to relax, breathe, and reach for that cool, glass of sweet Riesling...err, I mean reach for that Easy button.  This is fun stuff!  Really!! :)

More Registry Fun...

At the beginning of August, Matthew & I attended a "Sip 'n Scan" event at Macy's Home Store in Mission Valley.  It's not as glamorous as it sounds - basically, you check in and are handed a scanner and a sugary "mocktail" and sent on your merry way in search of items to create your Macy's registry.

After browsing for awhile, we selected some smaller kitchen accessories we missed at Great News, some bedding upgrades, a great set of everyday dinnerware, and some bath linens before the scanner died.  This led us back to the registration area where we spent our remaining time browsing China patterns and deciding what we really wanted to do about China in general (insert political joke here).  We scanned a bunch of items in one pattern, and then, all of a sudden, a different pattern caught Matthew's eye...and that's about the time the lights flickered and a young man's voice said it was almost closing time.  So we called it quits and decided to return later to "really" decide on China and continue looking in other areas we missed.

Penguin Suits

I think I was secretly dreading the task of getting the tuxedos arranged.  Having never worn a tux (nor ever planning on it), I don't know the first thing about them except that wearing one can turn just about any man from Joe Schmoe into James Bond instantly.  I also knew that Matthew owned his own and so does at least two of his groomsmen, potentially complicating matters a bit if they differed in style.  We knew there were a couple of guys, including my Dad, who needed a tux, so we decided to go to a tux shop together and get it all figured out.

A couple of weekends ago was my cousin Theresa's wedding.  Since there was a 2-hour gap between the ceremony and the reception, Matthew & I spent the time going to a tux shop to check things out.  When we were finished, I turned to him and said "I could never have done this without you!!"  We decided on a great style for the guys and successfully checked off another item on the list!

Makeup and Mirrors

Last week I found an artist who I am really excited about!  She specializes in brides who don't wear a lot of daily makeup and want a more natural look for their wedding day (PERFECT for me!!), and I am really looking forward to working with her!

I'm also doing a little research to see if doing our own reception centerpieces will be less expensive than going with the florist, and in the process I found the 12" round mirrors I was looking for so desperately!  Thanks to my bridesmaid Casie, I got them for less than Wholesale Flowers' price! :)  Now I just need to choose between two different designs I like and decide if it's worth DIY-ing them or just letting the florist do it.


Engaged Encounter

Our Catholic friends and family know what this means, but allow me to explain it to those of you who may not be aware of what it is.  Think "Pre-Cana."  It's a weekend away with 39 other engaged couples where you share (privately) with each other learn tools to help you have a successful marriage.  Basically, it's all about communication and developing intimacy and unity in your marriage; laying a strong foundation now so that you can better deal with the hard stuff that your marriage may face down the road.  And it involves a LOT of listening, writing, sharing, repeat for 2 1/2 days.

With Sophie in great hands staying with the McCays and playing with Bruno all weekend, we headed up to Mission San Luis Rey in Oceanside.  When we arrived, we discovered it was the feast day of San Luis Rey and they were having a big celebration for him on the mission grounds.  We were quickly directed around the party traffic and to the "retreat center parking lot" away from the festivities.  After our "retreat" started, we did have to pause for the fireworks at one point, and it was a nice treat to see them - we were SO CLOSE to them it was eerie!

We met some nice couples, and particularly hit it off with one of the team couples (probably because they're from New England ha ha).  Our respective roommates were nice to get to know also (even if they did make us feel a tag "older.")  My roommate is a "new" nurse and her fiance is a firefighter, and they're both from good ol' East County.  A few Godincidences we discovered as we conversed with them:  She knows Deacon Dennis (who is doing our marriage prep) because she grew up going to OLPH; the deacon doing their marriage prep is a deacon I know from the last Cursillo weekend I worked!  And finally, we found out they own a BOXER!  Not only that, they're already members of the boxer meetup group that I organize.  "He" (the firefighter) hasn't been to a meetup in awhile but now that they know us, they're going to try to make it to some now.  'Tis indeed a small world in which we live...

Overall, the weekend was a HUGE success and Matthew & I had an amazing experience!  There were a lot of good conversations, some new discoveries, some reassurances and affirmations, and a beautiful ending where I received a red rose from my betrothed :)

As I said in my Facebook post yesterday, words cannot adequately express how amazing this weekend was for Matthew and me.  It was definitely a pivotal point in our relationship and we have SO much to look forward to as we prepare to enter into this beautiful Sacrament of marriage.  I think we're finally ready for this!  God is SO good, indeed!

And I cannot tell you how emotionally and physically exhausted we both were after we got home late Sunday afternoon.  After a long nap and some dinner, we realized neither of us had enough energy to even drive down to pick up Sophie!  Fortunately, Danielle was going to be in the area on Monday morning, so she brought her to us...and it was nice to have the pack back together again.

So...it's getting there.  If someone could go around the world in 80 days, we can certainly pull off an incredibly fun wedding celebration in that time!

I leave you with a fun "list" that I found quite entertaining (maybe it's just because I've got "wedding planning brain").  I can honestly say I can't quite identify with the last two items on the list, and I hope it stays that way ;) Click here to see 12 Signs You're Planning a Wedding

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Flowers, Photo Booths and Registries

Wedding planning update!  But first I have a question:  WHERE did July go?!!

Over the past few weeks, I've had some fun with the wedding planning, and toward the end of the month Matthew even got to join in on it!

Photo Booth LOVE!

Let's start with my favorite:  I think this was the vendor I have been the most excited about booking for our wedding.  Shortly after Matthew and I discussed wanting to have a FUN wedding, I came upon the concept of having a photo booth at our reception.  Love. At. First. Sight!  Little did I know at the time, this tends to be a current trend AND some of them out there like to charge a LOT for their services!

Fortunately, I'm marrying the "King of Free" and I've learned a thing or two from him. Plus, I hate paying full price for anything :)  Remember that bridal fair I attended with my Maid of Honor and mentioned in a previous post?  Well, they had a Photo Booth vendor!  Heather and I loved them!  As I shopped around, I quickly realized they were offering the best deal around, particularly with the "bridal fair discount" offer.  So, if you'll be joining us on our special day, please be on the lookout for the photo booth during the reception...and feel free to bring your own props!  (Some will be provided, although I got the okay to bring others as well; just make sure they're labeled.)

Not sure what to think of this Photo Booth idea?  Here's a fun story for ya:  One of our friends shared with us about going to a wedding that did not have a photo booth and how they discovered that the wedding next door did have one...so they went next door and photo booth-bombed/crashed the wedding just so they could join in on the photo booth fun! :)

I can't wait to see what our crazy friends and family members do with this fun "attraction." Please keep in mind, in lieu of having a Guest Book for our guests to sign, we have opted for a Photo Booth, so please play along with us!  Even if you don't want to do anything crazy, we still want to know you were there celebrating with us!  Come on, it'll be FUN! :)

Roses are orange, orchids are blue, if you must take my leg, please leave the shoe!!!

I have to say, I'm kinda proud of myself on this one.  Having worked at a florist for a few years in college and beyond, I knew a thing or two about petals and stems and could speak the lingo pretty well (even after all these years)!  I even had more fun selecting this vendor than I anticipated (Do I keep saying that for every one?)  This time, I was prepared for sticker shock and was hardly disappointed...although... ;-)

Over the past couple of weeks, I received some good referrals from friends, made contact and set a deadline for myself.  There were two vendors who got back to me in a timely manner, so I met with and received proposals from each of them.  One of them impressed me at our meeting in a number of ways, including knowing what we needed for our Marian devotion flowers (better than I did!) and being openly mindful of our budget throughout the process.  We hit it off well and I left feeling comfortable about contracting with this one.  I met with the other florist the next day, and while there were other things that impressed me about this one prior to our meeting, we didn't have the same chemistry.  Her proposal also came in several hundred dollars higher and came with little in the way of details about flowers we'd discussed using (particularly, loves/likes/dislikes/hates).  So I went with the first one!  (I'm no fool hee hee)  I'm a little sad it's over, but I will have fun working with this florist on the details as it gets closer to November :)

Wherefore art thou Registry?

What woman doesn't enjoy going on a shopping spree, especially when she's not emptying her wallet at the end of it?  Right?!  Well, as difficult as it may seem to understand for some of you, this hasn't been the part of wedding planning that I've been the "most" excited about.  Don't get me wrong, I was definitely looking forward to it, and I totally "get" the purpose of a registry.

On the other hand, my Prince Charming isn't exactly "thrilled" with shopping, hadn't quite warmed up to the idea of a registry to begin with, and I was thinking in the back of my mind "What do we even NEED?!"  The answer to all of this came in the form of Great News!  And I don't mean the kind you never hear on TV (he he) or the stuff Jesus talks about (although nothing beats that kind of great news!).  What I mean is "Great News!" the KITCHEN STORE!

So, how do you help your fiance get over his apprehension about a wedding registry?  First, reassure him we are NOT "asking" for or expecting gifts, and explain how helpful a registry is to our guests who "want" to buy us gifts by taking out the guesswork for them, and, most notably, start by registering at his favorite kitchen gadget store!!  As soon as the consultant said "Let's start in the knife section" I knew he'd be okay.  At one point, the consultant couldn't scan fast enough and she even kept having technical difficulties with the scanning device!  We both truly enjoyed this fun shopping spree experience.  We added a lot of "nice to have" items as well as some great "upgrade" items, and of course we put some "fun" stuff on there too...of course. :)

And here's a great pic to sum up our fun day:
Matthew and our friend Marc who joined us toward the end

Throughout all of this photo/floral/registry fun, I also found my hair stylist!  It turns out I have a cousin who does special event and wedding hair - woo-hoo!  So of course I'm getting the family discount ;) and I'm meeting with her in a couple of weeks for some practice time.

The next sticker-shocking item I'm eager to cross off the list:  the invitations!  Let's hope they don't take my other leg - what will I do with the cute shoes I bought for the wedding festivities?!!

Thanks for reading! xoxo