Wedding Week!

It’s finally here, and I feel wonderful. I really do. Don’t get me wrong, the stress is still there. How could it not be with the biggest event of my life to date looming right around the corner? But mostly I’m just so excited and so ready. I went to sleep last night thinking, “If I wake up, and it’s Friday, I’m totally ok with that.” I feel like that’s a good place to be.

Part of this readiness comes from a very productive weekend. I needed to take Thursday off so we could apply for our marriage license (!!!), and a four day weekend was the perfect amount of time to finish up any big projects at a pretty leisurely pace. When I wasn’t working on stuffing welcome bags or writing out place cards, I was doing absolutely nothing. Seriously. I watched more TV this weekend than I have all year, and it was glorious. I forced myself to just lounge around relaxing as a self imposed calm before the storm.

I keep trying to think of things to compare this experience too, but I have honestly never been this excited in my life. It’s just layer upon layer of excitement. Like, first I get excited about marrying Chris then I remember I’m seeing my whole family including my wonderful grandparents this weekend. Then I remember that I’m having this huge party with an open bar and cake and all my friends. Then I realize I get to wear the dress I’ve literally dreamed about all year and the beautiful ring I picked out. Then I remember how we’re going to ROME! It’s just insane amounts of excitement.

I’m at work through Wednesday, and I wondered how I would feel about that, but I’m glad. It gives me a chance to finish up some lingering projects and leave for the honeymoon with no worries, and the normalcy is nice. The weekend was perfect, but the days almost passed too slowly! Work is making time go by at something closer to normal speed which is nice.

I’ve made a pact with myself that I’ll do all I can through Thursday, but when I wake up Friday morning, I’m letting go. Whatever doesn’t get done won’t get done and whatever falls apart will fall apart, but I am planning on just soaking it in and enjoying every minute. I can officially count the days on one hand, and I’m just so ready to tie that knot!

The Struggle is Real

File this one under first worldiest of problems I guess. You know when you’re stressed about something and you know the stress is there like a low level buzzing, but it never really manifests itself in a way you can clearly link to the stressor then suddenly it comes to bear over the dumbest thing? No, just me?

Obviously, I’ve got some anxiety about this upcoming wedding. I’m in a much better place than I was last month, but even if I were the calmest person alive, having a huge event where you are the center of attention just two weeks away would freak anyone out. Usually, the stress comes in bursts. Meeting with vendors usually causes it because they tend to (helpfully) bring up 30 things I haven’t thought of at all.

We met with the Deacon who’s marrying us for the final time last night, and he detailed exactly how the day will go. It was very helpful and exciting because it gave me a vivid picture of the day. Still, we left and my mind was buzzing with a long list of to-do’s.

I tried my best to calm down and relax, but I still ended up going to bed with a busy mind and a lot of anxiety. Predictably I woke up later in the night, restless, and since I was up, decided to run to the bathroom. On my way I noticed my favorite pair of flip flops, the only ones I wear that make my every four daily commuting miles of walking bearable, lying on the floor and thought, “Oh I should put these away before Layla chews them.”

Layla, while generally a very well behaved dog, chews EVERYTHING. She’s eaten pillows, blankets, her own food bowls and every one of the cats’ toys (poor guys). She never does it when we’re around, and you can’t correct behavior unless you catch a dog in the act, so it’s been hard to curb. We can’t give her edible bones because they cause a lot of digestive upset, and rubber bones cause her gums to bleed (vet says it is due to trauma to her teeth in her pre-rescue days- somehow food bowls cause no problems hmm). So, we have gotten better about putting things out of her reach, but like I said, my mind was elsewhere last night.

So, I go to pick the shoe up by the straps, and can’t grab it. That’s when I realize that the straps were missing. Totally gone. She are the entirety of two sandals worth of thick (more than an inch) leather straps. Ate them. It’s not that the shoes were ridiculously expensive (but they were not cheap). It’s just that they were my favorite. They took a long time to break in, but afterwards they fit wonderfully. I won’t be able to explain why this got to me so much because it is an admittedly stupid thing to be upset about. Still, it wasn’t the shoes. It was the stress.

So, I lost it. Not on Layla of course (the least effective thing to do with an anxious dog is yell at her). I just locked myself in the bathroom and sobbed. For minutes. Like many minutes. As I was crying, I knew it was so stupid, but that only made me more frustrated. I cried until I hyperventilated then decided I had to pull it together. I got myself off the floor and back to bed but couldn’t fall asleep for hours.

I actually woke up feeling better this morning. The stress needed to come out, and I’m actually sort of glad it was in the bathroom in the middle of the night over a pair of flip flops. Chris was wondering why I was out of bed for so long last night and up relatively late today, so I first made him swear he wouldn’t laugh at me, then I told him my saga.

And see, this is why I’m marrying him. It’s such a dumb thing to get upset about, but he just put his arm around me and said he would have been really upset too (he wouldn’t have because he’s better at taking things like that in stride, but it was nice to say). He rubbed my back and told me he wants to buy me new flip flops. He’s a good man. We’re good for each other really. It made me feel much better, so I guess a pair of destroyed shoes was a blessing in disguise. Thanks dog.

Bachelorette Weekend!

This past weekend was my bachelorette party, and I had so much fun!! My sweet bridesmaids put so much work into crafting the perfect weekend, and they kept me in the dark about the whole thing! I’m a very hard person to surprise (because I’m a control freak who needs to know the details of everything!), but they pulled it off!

It started Friday afternoon once I got home from work. I walked into my house only it was full of food and drinks and beautiful flowers!

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My sister was already there since she’s flown up on Tuesday, so we started getting ready to go out. Soon, the ladies started showing up, and every one was such a surprise since I didn’t even know who would be coming. Once all the girls were over, we headed to the first event which was dinner at Cervantes in Cranford. We had a million tapas and a few pitchers of sangria. Our waiter was having a lot of fun with us too, and the atmosphere was just perfect!

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After dinner, Judy’s sweet dad picked us up and drove us back to my house where we played games, ate cupcakes made by Judy’s mom and chatted all night.

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The next morning, we headed to Watchung Reservation for a little hike to start the day. Layla certainly appreciated being included. She is one of the girls!

After our hike, my mom brought us all lunch from Panera. We ate and took turns showering before heading to town to get manicures and pedicures! The girls made me wear my tiara and sash, but I think it sorta confused the nail techs. Still, we had fun talking about weddings (with Laura’s wedding just passed and Steph’s and Ashley’s coming up in the fall, it was a pretty popular topic!) and everything else and getting excited for our big night out!

I still had no idea where we were going, but the girls encouraged me to get as fancy as I wanted, so I went all out. How often do you get to wear a white cocktail dress?

When the limo picked us up at 5, I was definitely ready to find out where we were headed. The girls were insistent on keeping me in the dark until the last possible second! All I knew we that we were going to Chelsea. My guess was Dos Caminos, but I was wrong.

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When we finally pulled up to the restaurant, and I saw the sign for Buddakan, I was so excited! I had never been before, but I had definitely heard of it, and it was such a fun surprise! Jen met us in the city which was another great surprise. Dinner was fantastic, but it was really the cocktails that stole the show. I got to try 2 of them, and they were delicious.

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The restaurant was so cool and swanky inside, and we even ran into another bachelorette party from the Midwest. They were so sweet, and we congratulated each other on our upcoming weddings!

After dinner we hit a few different bars on our walk uptown to Penn Station. We had discussed a few different options for getting home (our limo driver was a jerk, and we were not interested in using him for the ride home) but ultimately decided the train would be the most fun (and cheapest!) option. I loved our little tipsy trek uptown. We got to try a few different places, and it was a beautiful night to be walking around the city.

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Once we got to the train, the exhaustion hit us all. It had been such a long day. One of Judy’s friends picked us up from the station in his Hummer. He was super excited to be driving 5 ladies around, and we had fun in the Hummer! We snacked some more and watched a little Bring It On when we got home before finally collapsing.

Everyone headed out he next morning, and I did a quick clean up before napping away the morning. Chris got home not long after everyone left. He’d been out at his bachelor party at a cabin in the Poconos. The highlight of his weekend was a day at the shooting range. We had fun comparing notes, took the dog for a walk and generally recovered from our fun weekends.

I actually surprised myself with how much fun I had. I was definitely excited about this weekend since we got engaged, but the girls really blew me away. Judy planned every detail perfectly and took care of everything behind the scenes which made what I’m sure was a very tricky weekend look effortless. Her family basically sponsored our whole weekend between driving us around and providing 90% of the food. My sister flew all the way from North Carolina only 3 weeks before the wedding to celebrate with all my friends. My mom even joined in on the fun! Everyone who came was so down for anything and kept the mood upbeat and fun all weekend. Some of the girls were only meeting each other for the second time, but everyone seemed like they were really having a great time which made the experience so much better for me. I always love it when my friends are friends.

Oh and Anastasia unfortunately had a difficult conflict come up and had to miss the weekend, but I know she put a lot of effort into planning, and I could tell which little details were her idea. It was sad to celebrate without her, but luckily I get to do it all again in three weeks!

I’ve had kind of a stressful two months on the friend front with way more drama than I’ve had in my life (and that’s saying a lot since I was in a sorority). It’s all been so silly and distracting from what should be a fun time. This weekend was a great reset. The girls who came out and celebrated really are just the best friends I could ask for. It was an important reminder to put my energy towards the people who matter and ignore all the other noise.

So, I woke up today exhausted and happy and completely grateful that I know such an amazing group of women. Every time I look down at my hot pink toes this week, I’ll smile about this awesome weekend!

Perspective

Just wanted to pop in with a quick story from my weekend. I woke up early and went for a run Sunday before church. Legit have not done that this year, but it was pretty perfect, so I’m already planning the next one. Anyway, I was plodding along through the park when I spotted this girl about a quarter of a mile ahead in a bright orange shirt.

Just like that, she was my rabbit. She had come off of a longer trail, so I don’t doubt she was running much farther than I was, but still I set my sights on her and decided to make it my goal to pass her. I had to really work to close the gap, but I did. I was all proud of myself for being such a speed demon (hah!) and passing this chick. I kicked it into high gear for my big moment so that I could put some distance between us to avoid her passing me. I was really going and just as I passed her and started to get that prideful grin, this guy flies by me. Just blows me right out of the water.

And then I thought, life really is all about perspective. Even when you’re passing someone, someone else is passing you. And you wouldn’t even know it. It’s a nice reminder that I should strive to be better than I was a year, a week, a day ago than to be better than everyone else.

So, there’s that. Happy Tuesday!

One month to go…

It’s amazing what a difference a month makes. Last time I checked in, I was a bit frantic. Logic says I should be totally insane right now, but I’m actually… feeling really wonderful.

I don’t know when the switch flipped. Actually, I do, but it’s stupid. Lately, my witch doctor approved diet has been slipping. With my own shower, Laura’s wedding and Steph’s shower, I’ve been eating way more sugar than is recommended. I’m not beating myself up for it or anything. It’s important to indulge and celebrate! But now that we’re 30 days out from our wedding, I’ve been telling myself it’s time to get serious again. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t partially motivated by the thought of losing some weight, but mostly I just want to feel really healthy on the big day. With all the stress, the odds are not in my stomach’s favor, so I’m trying to stack the deck with a great diet. Obviously this super strict plan does NOT include my upcoming bachelorette party where I plan to eat and drink all the things.

Anyway, I’ve been gearing myself up for my new recommitment by telling myself, “You can do anything for 30 days.” It’s a technique I use when I run (remember when I used to run? Lol). I always tell myself you can do anything for 5, 10, 20 minutes. It works for running, and it worked now. As soon as I started thinking like that, 30 days felt so short. Like incredibly short.

I remember when we started booking vendors 16 months ago and thinking it would be FOREVER until the wedding day. I remember last July, after we’d already been engaged for five months and thinking, “We still have a year to go. I’m gonna be so over it by then.” And there are days where I look forward to the honeymoon more than the wedding, but I’m 100% more excited than I thought I would be at this point.

I went for my final dress fitting last night. The other two times I’ve tried the dress on, I’ve had a crew with me. It was so, so fun to pick it out with all my girls, and it was really sentimental and special to get my measurements with the moms and my sister. So, I was a little nervous to go by myself. I mean, I can’t even put the thing on without help! But it was a rainy Wednesday night, so I went with apologies for missing it and instructions to take a million pictures.

I am so glad I put on my dress one (semi) final time by myself. Trying it on in front of people felt like a dress rehearsal for a big production. Totally exciting but not entirely real. Standing last night in the dressing room with mirrored walls spinning around by myself, it totally hit me. This is the dress I’ll be wearing when my life changes. This is the dress I’m going to marry the man I love with my whole heart in. This is so real.

The next time I put it on I’ll be surrounded by people from the minute I step into it until the moment I collapse in bed in it. And while I fully intend to wear it around the house doing dishes and watching TV (like that friends episode where all the girls (including pregnant Phoebe) buy wedding gowns), it’ll never be the same. I am so thankful I got some quiet time with “my lady” as the lovely alterations women kept referring to “her.”

I think what’s changed the most for me is realizing that I really will be entering a new phase of my life in 30 short days. I saw a future with Chris from the moment I met him, so there was never a doubt in my mind that I’d spend the rest of my life with him. As such, being engaged hasn’t felt too different from dating. We’ve always been committed, and we’ve always discussed a future together. I’m thankful for these past 16 months because we’ve grown so much stronger together, but going from Chris’ girlfriend to Chris’ fiancé and preparing to be his wife has just felt like a natural progression.

Then it hit me, I’m gonna be a wife. Oddly, taking Chris out of the picture was when it really hit me. My status is changing and not just in the Facebook sense. I know not much will really change. I’ll still wake up (grumpily) and pet the cats and take the dog out for potty. But still. I’ll be a married woman. I’m not really doing a good job at articulating this. You’re probably thinking, “Um what did you think you’d be after the wedding? A werewolf?” But I guess it felt so natural I didn’t think about it.

Now I’m thinking about it, and I can’t wait to be a wife. I know it’s going to be more difficult than I can imagine to make our marriage last. We have an equal chance of success and failure. I’ll have to decide every day (sometimes more than once) to be a part of this relationship, but I feel ready for it.

Throughout our engagement, we’ve seen Love take some pretty serious blows. Marriage has gotten a bad rap, and it’s been humbling at best and discouraging at worst. But as we picked our readings last week, a theme emerged. Our first reading is about being a light to the world. Being an example simply by living our lives with the values Christ taught us. Our second reading reminds us that love never fails. I want us to be that love light that makes someone else think they can do this too. I’m ready to take up that cause. I cannot wait for the first day of our marriage and the rest of our lives together.

Photo an hour

I got a new phone this past weekend. My main motivation was the camera on my old phone was scratched, and all my pictures had spots on them. In honor of a fully functioning camera, I decided to try taking a picture an hour Saturday. Here goes:

7am

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Up too early, but the so is the dog so out we go!

8am

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Coffee and a crossword in the sunroom.

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9am

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Dog park which was surprisingly crowded for so early.

10 am

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Exhausted and ready to head home.

11am

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Sunny run.

12pm

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Yard work for some. Naps for others.

1pm

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Off to New Brunswick!

2pm

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Entree tasting!

3pm

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Cake tasting

4pm

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Visiting the church

7pm

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Unpacking groceries. With help.

9pm

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Orange is the New Black!!

12am

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Bed time.

As you can see, I missed a few hours in the evening, but it was still a pretty fun experiment!

What’s up Wednesday

So what is up? Well, wedding stuff mostly. Last week we went to the church after work and, along with 5 other couples getting married this spring/summer, decided on our musical selections for the ceremony. It was actually a really cool night. The choir director explained to us how the ceremony or mass would be structured then played us a few different options for each musical selection. For the processional/recessional, we actually got to head up to the choir box while he played the selections on the organ. I gotta say, sitting there overlooking the aisle and alter while he played Canon in D was pretty awesome. I could totally picture myself walking down the aisle to meet Chris, and I got goosebumps!

This week we met with the Deacon who will be marrying us to formally declare our intent to marry. Basically, we had to separately answer a series of questions with the Deacon to make sure neither of us was being coerced into the marriage and that we were both prepared for the commitment. It sounds pretty dry, but some of the questions were very sweet, and it’s just one more step towards this becoming very real.

Outside of church stuff, our invitations arrived, so we’ll be picking those up this weekend. We’re meeting with the photographer next week, and my hair and makeup trials are confirmed for June! Originally they would have been this weekend, but my bridal shower is June 1, so I figured I might as well get some use out of cute hair and makeup. I ordered what I hope will be THE shoes along with a matching clutch. I might attempt my first (only?) DIY with these shoes. More on that to follow.

Otherwise, life continues to speed up as we approach the summer. Chris was out of town for Travis’s bachelor party last weekend. Luckily, my girls (Debbie, my mom, Molly and Layla of course) kept me company. My birthday is right around the corner, and we’ve got a fun night in AC planned!

Looking ahead, our three year anniversary is at the end of this month, Chris’s birthday is less than a month away and then wedding season officially begins. We’ve got our first wedding Memorial Day weekend. Both our bachelor/ette parties are in June. July is our wedding of course. August should be a nice repreive, but weddings pick back up in September. It seems stressful, but it’s nice to have so much to look forward to.

I’ve been running a little more. I actually got out there twice (a 3 miler and a 4 miler) last week! After the second run, my hamstring did start to nag me, but I think I ran a little too fast because it was rainy and cold, and I just wanted to be done. I’m not training for anything, but I would like to run the Newport 10k in May, so I’d like to get a solid 6 miler in before then. I haven’t lost as much fitness as I expected, and I credit that to luck and consistent use of the spin bike.

Taking a break from running also gave me some more time to focus on strength training, and I think I can notice a small difference in how quickly my leg muscles fatigue. Going forward, I’m really going to make an effort to balance my workouts. I’ve actually grown to love the weights, and I don’t think running all the time is something that works for my body. I seem to wear my muscles out pretty easily when I’m running consistently, and that leaves me unable to do much of anything. As much as I miss running often, I’d rather it take a back seat then spend so much time laid up.

My stomach has been sooooo much better. In addition to following the witch doctor’s suggestions, I’ve been making an effort to go “grain-free” or “paleo” as much as possible. I’m not sure which is making the difference or if it’s the combination of both, but I honestly feel like a new person. I miss pasta and sugar and WINE a lot too though. I don’t love restricted diets, and I think I have a tendency to take them too far. Further, I suck at paleo eating because I don’t eat pork or lamb, and steak is too expensive for my budget, so chicken gets old real quick. I’m hoping to introduce some foods back in a controlled way in the coming weeks in order to determine what exactly was causing so much stomach discomfort.

This weekend we’re hoping to get some lingering house projects (the basement, painting upstairs) out of the way while also enjoying (potential) warmer temperatures. Spring has (finally) sprung.