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, 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'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 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?!  
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.