Sunday, March 28, 2010

Two Become One

We did it!!! Here is a little snapshot of a moment during the ceremony! More to come...we are honeymooning in the Smokey Mountains...but stay tuned!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Down to the Wire

In just 5 days....
I cannot believe that by this Friday night, I will be a married woman. So strange and surreal. There were definite moments in my life when I thought I would never see this day. And now, here it is...just 5 days away from being a reality.

I am happy to say that my shoulders feel lighter with every decision that is finally made and every task I get to cross off my list. Finally, the list is actually getting smaller, instead of a new task taking the place of the one I just crossed off.

So now, finally, I am starting to get excited about my wedding. I've been excited about my marriage, but it just seemed like so much work to get to it! But the each detail comes together, I can finally see a picture of it. And I am so excited.

This week was big. Because my rehearsal was this Saturday, I had to get a lot together. I had to have my programs done (searching high and low for affordable paper! I mean, most people are just going to throw it out). But I couldn't do the programs until I decided on the music. I finally picked the paper - a great find from Office Max. The picture is below, and the programs are turned counter clockwise and folded. Only $6.99 for 100 sheet. Sold!
And by Thursday, I finally (I mean, finally) decided on the music for the ceremony. I went back and forth over the bridal processional - almost using this song. I first fell in love with this song when I did a solo trip to Shelter Island. I remember sitting on the hood of my car at the beach, just listening to this over and over and thinking that I'd love to walk down the aisle to this someday.

Well, it was close; it almost happened. I had mixed reviews from the family, but in the end, I wasn't confident with it. The bagpipes just sounded too harsh and squealy.

In the end, I decided to go with "Anne's Theme" performed by Bronn Journey (he is a harpist). It is from 'Anne of Green Gables' - which was my FAVORITE growing up! This version is very beautiful and doesn't sound movie-soundtrack-y at all. When we had our rehearsal on Saturday (I will get to that in a minute), I knew it was the right choice. It was perfect for the church we were having the ceremony in. It all fit.

For the family processional, I came across this piece, "Wedding on the Mountain," which again, worked great in the church. I also used quite a few other pieces from Robin Spielberg for the prelude music. I threw in a few classical songs, but overall, that just felt too formal for me. The soft piano felt much better.

So yes, the rehearsal! We had it this Saturday, the week before the wedding. My sister (MOH) lives upstate, and she was coming down already this weekend for my other sister's baby christening.

The best part about it was when I was practicing walking down the aisle with my dad. I looked at James, just to sort of test it out, to see what it would be like. Would we be nervous? Anxious? Relaxed? It was good to see that we both looked and felt just happy and relaxed. We were looking at each other and not all around - and I love that we were smiling and we connected. And I was fine to take that as a pleasant foreshadowing of what is to come.

We were going to have a informal breakfast after the rehearsal, but a lot of the guys couldn't make it for various and sundry reasons (and James will NEVER argue about passing up a social gathering if he can watch the college basketball tournaments instead), so it ended up just being a girls breakfast. My bridal party was having my bachelorette Saturday anyway, so we just made a day of it.

It was fun and simple...mani's and pedi's, a stop in between for some cheese and crackers and a glass of wine, and then tapas at a fun place called Toast, where fondues are their specialties.

And so, here we are....Sunday night. Still lots to do. Fine tuning the seating charts, a little more printing of inserts to go with the favors. The centerpieces still are not made (although my manzanita branches did finally come in). I still have to finish moving out of my apartment and moving into our house - that probably is causing me the most stress, 2nd only to the stress I feel about trying to get all my stuff done at work before I'm out for the wedding (I am missing 6 days of school, right on top of a week and a half spring break. Sweet!).

But I feel relief that it is just one more week of the craziness - I can run it out for one more week...and then the big day will be here...and then the honeymoon begins...


Monday, March 15, 2010

A Girl's Moment in the Spotlight

Although everyone wants to I want to be noticed, I am not really that comfortable in the spotlight. This became all the more apparent to me this weekend.

On Friday, my coworkers at school along with my junior and seniors threw me this AMAZING shower. I was totally stunned. No clue. The woman who usually was in charge of 'faculty showers' had resigned earlier this year, and no one had taken her spot. The staff is too thoughtful to not do anything, so I thought they might do a little cake at a teacher's meeting. Well, this was no add-on to a meeting. It was a food and salad, gifts, decorations, invitations and the big 'Surprise!' I was so humbled and honored. And a little embarrassed.

It was a little awkward having all of this attention on me. I mean, it is just me. But with everyone just looking at me (albeit lovingly and with smiles) - I definitely felt slightly uncomfortable!

And I had the same sensation at my other shower last month: Nice...but awkward.

And I got that feeling a few other times this weekend. I finally have gotten around to the beauty regimen - which has definitely been lacking attention these days. I did the airbrush tan on Friday night as a test and got my highlights done on Saturday. All this primping - I can be girlie sometimes, so it felt nice - but as I was doing all this, it just reminded me that I am going to be center- stage on that day. James, too - but by and large, wedding typically are the girl's moment in the spotlight.

And I started getting a little nervous!

I also had to pick out my processional music this weekend too, and I tried to envision walking down the aisle...and it hit me that everybody would be looking at ME!

I understand that these are my friends and my there will be no criticism in their faces...but for a moment...I started to feel a little unnerved.

I am a teacher, and I am used to standing in front of people all day and having them scrutinize every hair that is out place, every wrinkle in my shirt and every swipe of chalk across my pant leg.

But this is a little different. On this day, I actually care what people think. On this day, I want to really try to be beautiful. And succeed. It is the day where it is sort of OK for you to be the center of attention. It's OK for you to take great pains to look your very, very best. And for people to notice. And honestly, I don't quite know what to do with that. But I'm not gonna lie - on the other hand, as nervous as it makes me, there is something appealing to me, too.

I struggle with feeling narcissistic and shallow. I typically like to be the background person, and I am more comfortable helping out behind the scenes than being center-stage. So, it feels a little weird feeling having this event that is all for you. That you planned it yourself.

So where that does leave me? Well, for one, I am going to try to enjoy it while I have it. I doubt I will ever get this much attention again in my life. And that is fine. But while I have it, I am going to try to just soak in the love I am getting and this special time where people really are going out of their way to show they care.

And although I am not used to it, it feels nice.

But at the same time, I don't want to lose sight of the importance of this day by focusing on the externals. Although I do think the attention and beauty and fawning do have their place, the MOST important thing is the covenant James and I are making with each other and with God. And long after the compliments fade and my fake tan wears off and my make-up is smudged by hugs, there will be James and there will be me. Together.

And that is why we will even have the spotlight on us in the first place.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

The Favor Debacle

I had mentioned in a previous post the issues I had had with the favors. I had gone back and forth if I really wanted to do them or not. James and I are more on the missionary-strain, so I was leaning initially to just doing a donation in leiu of favors.

But, the more aesthetic side of me won out and there was something I really liked about having something pretty and theme-oriented left on the tables. So, I decided to go with favors. And, really, I did want to thank my guests in some small way for coming.

That being said, I didn't want a favor that was useless or could be eaten or thrown away. After much thought, I decided on bookmarks. James and I had our first 'meeting' at Border's Bookstore while we were both there checking out CS Lewis books. We didn't meet actually that day, but a year later. Randomly. But we both vividly remember the encounter and truly believe God brought us together at the right time (for the full story, see here).

So, I thought bookmarks were perfect. Useful. Not overly feminine. Related to our story.

Trying to find a suitable bookmark was tougher. They either looked cheap or very girly. But then I found the perfect one:

I loved it for a few reasons. Number one - it didn't look cheap. Number two - it had a great folder we could personalize and have printed in our color. Number three - it wasn't too girly for the guys. And number four, I had already decided that I wanted crystal trees for some for the centerpieces, so I thought this was a great tie in.

Well, after all my agonizing indecisiveness, I took the plunged and ordered them only to find they were back-ordered EVERYWHERE. Until April 29.

I was so bummed. It had taken me so long to come up with that where to start all over again? I tried to go the tree route for bookmarks again, but most of them were fall-themed.

So, I tried my luck at, where artist sell their hand-made items. I hunted and hunted - and hunted - hours of previewing merchandise - and contacted a few vendors to see who could custom make 140 bookmarks. In 3 weeks. With a custom tree theme. And a Scripture verse. For about the same price.

I met a ton of great vendors but I landed on one who worked SO HARD for me - Allison from Allison Paper Crafts. She responded immediately and almost instantaneously, she was shooting me over samples, working within my price-range, adjusting the look to exactly what I was asking. She was amazing. And, I contacted her probably last Thursday or Friday and the bookmarks shipped this morning. She was outstanding. And it cost me less than the tree bookmarks originally would have. So, this is the finished product:

With a small spot for our initials and date on the back:
All in all, the favor debacle ended up being a really.good.thing.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Little Bits of Life...Together

I did get James to take me out to dinner last night :)

We both just needed a break from Wedding World. We took a walk through our new neighborhood, since it was such a nice day. It is a cute little town - emphasis on 'little' - just a deli, pizza place, diner, thrift store, Chinese take-out, post office, luncheonette...but it's enough. We went into the thrift store and talked to the owner for a while - he gave us the run down on the town and community. It just had that small-town fee, which isn't common on L.I. It was great, though...the cliffs that overlook the Long Island Sound are actually within walking distance.

Then we tried a new local restaurant - we are HUGE fans of the Entertainment Book! We've found so many great places in there...and we go out to eat WAY more than we would without it. This Italian restaurant was great...felt like a quiet, quaint Tuscan hide-away. Food was delicious. They even gave us the discount without punching our Entertainment card, so we would come back again. Such a good peaceful, relaxing night...

Today we didn't really re-enter WW, so to speak, but we were reminded of it. Often. But in a good way. In church, lots of people were coming up to us, asking when the big day was. James was quick to answer, 'Two weeks and five days,' with a boyish smile on his face. And it felt great to see people's genuine enthusiasm for us.

Then we finally decided on our mattress today...Bob's Furniture is amazing!!! They even have a cafe there where they give out FREE coffee, ice cream, cookies, lemonade, iced tea while you shop. Excellent customer service and excellent deals!

We opted for a mattress a little more expensive , but it actually comes in a his side/her side. I like plush, he likes firm...Neither of us were willing to give up 20 years of sleep (it comes with a 20 year guarantee) so we splurged on the his side/her side. I think it was a smart idea.

As a bonus, we treated ourselves to one of those electric fire places. The sales guy - Arnie (such a doll! Took so much time with us!) - told us that it costs 3 cents an hour for the heat, and it throws off ALOT of heat. So, James convinced me it would be economical to get would add only an extra $10 to our electric bill a month - and would cut down the oil majorly!

A fun trip to Costco afterward - our first excursion shopping there together. That was successful, too. We just had a good time grocery shopping and picking up a few things for the house. And I think we were a good team. It just felt fun.

So, it was just a little bit of doing life together today...nothing overly exciting, but it just felt all 'new' to me...and it felt really good. These are the little things of being part of a couple that I have so looked forward for years. And it was nice to be actually living it a little today. It was overly romantic or it didn't have this dramatic background music. It was all 'normal' stuff...but it felt special to me.

We had a few conversations pertaining to the wedding, but I think we are passed stressing over it. It will be what it is and it will be wonderful. And by the end of the day, we will be married. So, it's all good.

Two weeks and five days...

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Last Saturday Morning to Myself

I have had a terrible time sleeping the past few weeks. I keep waking myself up early (as in, I just can't sleep, not that I set my alarm clock to get myself up) because I am constantly running through all I have to do.

Today I woke up at 6. Then 7. And I forced myself to stay in bed til 8. I was amazed when the clock showed 9:20 (which is really's 15 minutes fast - 0r supposed to be - I mess up the time every once in a while when I set my alarm, adding a minute here or there). That little bit of extra sleep helped slow me down. I am a bit more calm and relaxed today - the first time in a while. Not rushing out for an appointment or frantically making phone calls or packing up my apartment. A lot of that still needs to be done, but I don't feel the urgency of it today. Thankfully.

And I realized this is the last pre-wedding Saturday morning to myself. Next weekend, I have a hair highlighting appointment and then our food tasting after that. The weekend after that is our rehearsal - we are having a morning rehearsal and brunch to follow. The weekend after that, I will be waking up in our hotel room, the morning after my wedding.

It's kind of a weird feeling...all of these lasts. Stuff I sort of took for granted...going upstairs to grub a dinner from my parents, having my nephew who lives upstairs come downstairs to watch The Office with me, having my parents puppies peak their faces through the staircase railing to say goodbye as I walk downstairs...

This has been life for me for a long, long time. I don't know that I have ever had a life change this big...not since college maybe. It's weird to think that 36 years of doing things is about to change. It is a good thing, but the only way I can describe it is surreal. I feel like I am a character in a story, acting out a part. It doesn't feel like me yet, like this is my life. It's all good, it just feels strange and unfamiliar...but strange in a good way.

No major wedding plans today...a few phone calls, a little bit perusing on the internet. But I think I need today to just be at home - in my apartment and at home in my life at present - and not make plans or arrangements for my life in the future.

That being said, I am going to enjoy doing laundry, grading papers and convincing James to take me out to dinner tonight.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Honeymoon - Check!

Insert James and Katie here:

OK, finally - the honeymoon is booked! Nine nights and ten days at a luxury cabin in the Smokey Mountains in Tennessee!

Mountain Laurels, here we come!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010


Yeah, that's me. It's been 8 days since my last post. I'm so bummed because I so want to be able to devote more energy and time to blogging...but...I just don't have it.

I started this blog for alot of reasons...for myself, to connect with others, to track my journey to my wedding, to voice my epiphanies and other random perceptions. And I just feel kind of crappy that I fell off the boat for a while.

I'm struggling to write this post...should my voice be cute and upbeat, spilling out the dizzying list of all that has been happening, contributing to why I haven't blogged? Do I pour out my raw, dismal feelings at the moment? Do I just post something, so I don't lose my momentum and bail altogether?

The long and short of it is this...I have so many pressing obligations that I have had to force myself away from the computer. And it kind of sucks, because this is something I really enjoy. But when I have a demanding full-time job, another part time job, what feels like another job in planning a wedding - and a relationship and upcoming marriage that needs my time and energy too...I just have to devote my attention to the immediate.

So where does this leave my blog for the moment? Well, I am still here. I don't want to abandon it all together. I don't think I could. I love the friends I have made here and I love where it's going and I love the creativity energy I feel when I write. Although it's not getting the attention it deserves, it is not going anywhere and hopefully it will survive this phase of malnutrition and neglect.

But I've seen how it is so easy to lose your rhythm, even when you miss just a few days. And sometimes, I am such a perfectionist, I don't want to post unless it is the 'perfect' post. Which will never be. So, if I am going to blog at all these next few weeks, I'll have to get over that real fast.

Just so you know...all of the busyness has been for good things. So many wonderful blessings and God-stories sprinkled over the past few weeks. It started with my bridal shower on Feb. 21st...and all of the wedding plans have snowballed from there.

We are still choosing a honeymoon spot (almost done), I needed to search for car rentals (will be done once we officially book the honeymoon), we had to pick out wedding bands (happily, I can say, 'Check!').

The items for the centerpieces have been ordered, the shoes and jewelry have been purchased, the dress is at the seamstress as we speak I type. I hit a snafu with the favors - finally picked out one I loved and went with our whole theme so well...and they are out of stock EVERYWHERE. The manufacturer is out of them. So, back to the drawing board with that.

We've been mattress shopping...hopefully that will be fixed this week, did the taxes (First-Time Homebuyer's Credit is a beautiful we can really go ahead with all of these plans)...and I met with our sound rental guy tonight. Still have to decide all of the music (we have the musicians at least), finalize our menu and have our food tasting. Buy gifts for the bridal party.

And each step is SO INVOLVED!

So anyway, that is what I have been doing, and I do hope to re-emerge from time to time over the next few weeks. I apologize for not commenting or reading or being M.I.A. If you don't see me, it's pretty likely that I have been taken hostage in WeddingWorld. But word on the street is that my release date is somewhere around March 26. And it will be nice to live in the outside world permanently again.