Monthly Archives: July 2010

Last post of July

Hey dudes – I’m leaving you again. We’re going on another minivacation! Woo hoo!

We’re taking the beasts so that they can take over our lives, like so:

Jake assumes the appropriate kitty position

daphne meanders over: "what's going on over here?"

"well, there appears to be enough room on this newspaper for two."

Please note Daphne and Jake holding paws. Aww.

In other news, Miss Octopus and her sister and cousin invited us over last night and it was so fun!  We took pictures – I suspect they will appear on the interwebs soon.  Wait with bated breath!

Are you doing anything fun this weekend? What does August hold for you? What are you excited about/dreading?

(we’re going on mini-vacation, August holds a ton of wedding planning, plus working shorter hours, wedding plan like whoa, and getting a marriage license/making the final decision on our name change – all of which I’m excited/anxious about. See you in August!)

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A taste of the crazy, or Woo hoo! Wedding planning!

Whoa, guys, we’re in full-on wedding mode.

Things to talk about, for your previewing pleasure and my own accountability:

  • Favors! Delicious, yummy, aromatic (in a good way), growing favors. Can you guess what they are by that description? Probably not. Though I may have already told you.  Is it wrong to give it away on my blog? Are these things supposed to be surprises? Since when do I do “supposed” to? Interesting things to ponder.
  • Invitations. Dude, the amount of work that goes into one piece of paper (oh, wait, wedding invitations are actually like 20 pieces of paper) is ridiculous. That said, I am in love with our invitations.  Also in love with the fact that regular stamps will work for them, no fancy stamps for us!  Also I am very pleased that friendly helpful people work at the post office and are happy to talk to me about 1. my blog, 2. my wedding, 3. cute places in Arlington, and 4. cats and dogs. What more could you want in a post office (hi Tess!).

Um, I guess that’s it.  But we’re doing stuff, like, all the time. Writing vows and maybe at some point thinking about ceremonies.  I feel like for the past few months I’ve been wanting to plan our wedding but trying to do so without being that crazy girl who’s planning her wedding way ahead of time.  Now it feels like the right time frame to be doing the things we’re doing, and I’m kind of enjoying it.

Also, taking a weekend off of planning is helpful and makes me much happier to plan afterwards.  Things we still need to work on:

  • Rehearsal dinner. We think we need one, we want one, we have no idea where to have it or how to pay for it. Fun!
  • Honeymoon. What? You mean study for organic chemistry right after your wedding, but in a pretty place? Okay.  But seriously, we should probably plan our honeymoon.

And for your entertainment, here are some before and after pictures of our apartment, because it is fun; I like the insides of houses and maybe you do, too?

the study/2nd bedroom, BEFORE

study/2nd bedroom AFTER

If you come visit, you can stay in here! We’ll replace the big ol’ chair with a futon. When we get rich. Soon, yes? Of course.

main bedroom BEFORE

Turtle is thinking, “Hmm… I’m not sure about this color.”  Don’t worry, Turtle, we’ll fix it!

main bedroom AFTER

empty dining room

FULL dining room!

Hmm I feel like comparing the full to the empty makes it look cluttered. But it’s cozy, not cluttered, I swear.

empty future living room

cozy living room

You so want to come visit, right?

Lastly, I am hella stressed out/anxious/pretty much freaking out all the time with a million different things that are happening in our lives.  Oddly, I am in a rather good mood… it just feels like I can’t breath. No biggie.  But seriously, I am sort of crazy right now so if things seem disorganized and chaotic, it’s because they are.  Enjoy!

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I vow to stay calm while writing our vows

Phrase of the day:

This is so hard. Have I mentioned that this is hard?

Guess what we’re doing?

anxiety

Writing our vows.  You know, doing just the most important part of wedding planning, in my humble opinion. Or not-so-humble opinion.

This process has, I think, been the hardest part of this whole wedding planning experience, and also the part with the most pressure.  We have to represent ourselves and say it all in a way that other people will understand.  And while a wedding is not a show – I think most of us can agree on that – you also have to keep in mind that there will be people watching and yes, I do want to bring a tear to an eye.  Not the most important part of the whole thing, but I want our vows to be meaningful and moving – first to us, but also to the people who are at our wedding to see the transformation from two separate people to one little family.

No pressure, no pressure.

So all this time, we’ve been sort of talking about how we should write our vows soon.  We’ve been collecting sites with vows on them, looking at examples, taking snippets from here and there.  We spent a day by the lake doing a little exercise for our vows, writing down what we loved about the other person, and then writing down what we wanted to promise or bring into the marriage ourselves.

fun vow setup at the lake

This was all well and good.  And then we sat down together to try to put all of these ideas and phrases and all of this love into a coherent paragraph or two.

And that conversation ended with both of us yelling at each other.  Because of course we had different ways of doing it – we’re very different people, even though we have the same goals for our relationship and our marriage, and we approach writing and editing from very different places.  So my surprising lesson was that before we could write our vows, we had to figure out how people do that in the first place.

how we felt after trying to express our love together

Surprisingly, I haven’t been able to find much information on this.  I have found lots of peoples’ vows that they have written, places where people said, “we wrote our vows together,” but no one is really talking about how they did that.  Did one of them sit down and write them?  Did they pass something back and forth?  Did they do it together?

We are far from done, but here is what we have done:

  1. The exercise mentioned above.
  2. We sat down together and read out loud phrases we each liked individually – if we both liked them, we put them into one Word document.
  3. We went through the document and made everything we really liked bold.
  4. Turtle spent some time on her own writing some things – her own words, not just these other peoples’ words – and then we went through it all again, bolding and discussing.
  5. We realized that we just couldn’t collaborate in real time without getting frustrated with each other about the process.  And trust me, it’s extra frustrating when you’re arguing about how to say you love each other.
  6. We each sat down at the same time in the same room with our own computers with the same document, and are writing our vows.

It turns out that I had been thinking all along that we were going to have the same vows.  Part of this is is because we want to have a Quaker marriage certificate/Ketubah.  Basically, we want a big, beautiful piece of paper with a pretty picture on it and our vows written at the top, and then to have everyone at our wedding sign to say they were there and that they support our marriage.  It’ll be something like a combination of these, English only (no Hebrew), and with lots of lines for signing:

click on image for source

click image for source

Today, though, was the first time we talked about possibly not having the same vows.  Our ketubah/certificate/big-pretty-thing could have sort of a combination of our vows and cover all the major things we’re trying to say to each other.  So now we get to each write our own vows and figure out how to put them all together! Fun!

But seriously, how would you go about this process?  And do you ask people to edit your vows? Doesn’t that seem a little personal?  And now that we’re each writing our own, do we share them? Are they secret? Someone please answer my questions and fix everything for me!

“This only feels like the most important thing that will ever be written or read.” – Turtle

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Blue Bridal Brigade

To be perfectly honest, bridesmaids’ dresses are not something in which I am willing to be terribly invested. You have all heard plenty about how much trouble I have dressing myself – and you expect me to dress a bunch of other people? Who all have different styles and different body types?

Um, H to the L nooooooo thank you.

That said, we did want to have some coherence in our bridal brigade – the people we asked to be in our bridal brigade are super important and incredibly helpful, and we wanted them to be recognizable.  We also wanted them to be comfortable, and, especially given our current relationship with money (read: we have very little and are still trying to be alive, keep our pets alive, and plan our wedding), wanted them to spend an appropriate amount of money for them, whether that meant a lot o’ monies or a little bit o’ monies.  This meant having a lot of flexibility.

First, we narrowed it down as far as colors go: navy.  That was easy.

Then we emailed out pictures of dresses we liked, and then various people emailed us back. Simple, right?

Well, yeah, except their emails said things like, “What about this dress in brown?” or “Hey, when are you going to be sending out your invitations?” or “I am thinking of wearing a pantsuit.”

Okay, the pantsuit would have been fine, but no, not that dress in brown.  All we picked was one color! Do everything else however you want!  After struggling with my frustration and guilt for a few minutes – we really weren’t asking much, right? Was it wrong of us to dictate a color? Should we be offering to buy our brigade’s dresses? – I realized that it was not that big a deal.  So I wrote back, said blue only, and rumor has it people have dresses.

Here are some dresses we considered, modeled by my lovely Moh:

Are you really making me stand here so you can take pictures for your blog?

Fine, Ill tolerate your crazy Seahorse antics.

effortlessly beautiful, with me looking, ahem, casual in the background

looooved this dress! loved it like a dinosaur. Hi sister! It looks like you're trying to be a dinosaur here! Safe to say this one's a no?

uh, if i hold my breath and arch my shoulders it stays on...

I’m pretty sure no one got any of these dresses, and I’m pretty sure at least two people have their dresses.  And I’m just not willing to be stressed out about it.

Steel City Bride said something interesting today about bridesmaids’ dresses:

I don’t necessarily think bridesmaid dresses need to be re-wearable. I think they should fall soundly within a reasonable budget (however “reasonable” is defined for the women in your party) and I think they shouldn’t be something that the bridesmaids would be embarrassed to wear again (a highly unflattering cut or material, for example), but other than that, I dunno. Wearing a dress that the bride chooses, even if it’s not necessarily something you’d choose yourself, is kind of a hallmark of the bridesmaid experience, I think, and it’s one that I didn’t feel compelled to revolutionize.

I think there’s a lot of freedom in that.  And if I was the bridesmaid, freedom for me: hand me an outfit, I will wear it and try to look good in it.  But for us, now?  It was wayyy less stress to let people do what they want.

Where are you on the spectrum?  Do you want your options, or your dress handed to you?  Do you even notice bridesmaids at weddings? Tell me about your favorite dress! Readygo!

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Adhesions and Alterations

I suppose now that I’ve declared myself “back”, I should act as though I’m back. I’ve decided that once you convince more than four people to read your blog, it’s sort of your responsibility to give them something to read.

oh, uh, hey there, readers. come here often?

Two things have made our wedding seem more *real* than others: our invitations and getting our dresses fitted.  And since we haven’t sent out our invitations yet (I’m sure the Knot would disapprove… as would my grandmother), I will tell you about our dress fittings.

We bought our dresses at David’s Bridal, and picked them up a few weeks later.  I’m not entirely clear on why they have you going back to the store so many times, but here is my understanding of how the process works.  Please tell me that you also think this is a bit ridiculous:

  1. Try on dresses. Pick one.  Pay for it, but don’t take anything home. (Your dress = somewhere mysterious… possibly at the actual store?)
  2. Get a phone call weeks later that your dress has arrived. Go pick it up. (Your dress = at home)
  3. Go in for alterations. Leave your dress and measurements. (Your dress = at store)
  4. Pick your dress up, take it home. (Your dress = at home)
  5. Bring your dress back for steaming. (Your dress = at store)
  6. Bring your dress home. (Your dress = at home)
  7. Wear your dress at your wedding.

I had no idea it was this complicated.  Why can’t they fit you when you pick up your dress, then hang onto it and steam it for you before you pick it up?  There’s probably a reason, but I declare it a silly reason.

Anyway, they called us last week to confirm our alterations appointment, and to be sure to bring the dresses, shoes we would be wearing, method of payment, and undergarments.

Uh, undergarments? I think I forgot to think about those with all the other stuff that’s been going on, like, you know, life.  I start to panic a little – my MO these days – and Turtle reassures me that it’s fine, she’ll go buy us some undergarments the day before our fitting while I’m at work.

You guys, this is so not what I think of when I think “bra”:

click for source, where you can buy your own non-bra!

First, that is totally not my body. Just in case you were wondering.  I’m pretty sure that body has no bust, and I have quite a bit of bust.  This contraption looked pretty silly on me.  Second, the way it works is that it adheres using your body heat. TOTALLY CREEPY.  And third, it works. Also totally creepy.  So you adhere these two cups to your bosoms, and then once they’re on there pretty well, you clip them together.  You can use the clasp to achieve a bit of a push-up effect. You can also use this contrapment to feel like someone is walking around groping you all day long. And not in the sexy-time way.

Anyway, we arrive, dresses (big, heavy dresses) in hand, and no one is there to help us.  We have no idea where to go.  Finally, someone shows up and says, “Are you here for alterations?”  When we affirm that we, the two women carrying giant bags of dresses with shoes in our other hand, are looking for alterations and do not know where it is, the clearly-offended salesperson helps us find it.

At this point I am really, really anxious.  I definitely did not shave before this appointment.  I am looking pretty dykey today, and I am here with my lady – the one I am marrying.  I have had a few not-so-great experiences with David’s Bridal, and I am bracing myself for another crappy experience, a la, “Those are your shoes? You are going to shave your legs before your wedding, right? Aren’t you going to grow out your hair?”  I admit that not all of these fears are entirely rational, but they are fears.

Never fear, dear readers: our alterations person was the sweetest person ever.  Turtle was nervous about what was happening and she kindly told us about her past thirty years of sewing experience.  She heard our concerns about length and bustle and comfort and she addressed them happily and calmly.  Mary Jo of David’s Bridal – you are wonderful.

Halfway through my alterations, another woman came in to have her bridesmaid dress altered.  Let’s just say that she was definitely straight, and there we were, a pair of lesbians in our wedding dresses, hanging out.  I’m always a little nervous in these situations – how will people respond? It’s not that I felt unsafe at David’s Bridal getting fitted with this stranger next to us, but it is not fun to bear the brunt of someone else’s biased disapproval.  Point being: I was nervous and a little bit antsy and couldn’t figure out if it was better to ignore her (awkward, since she was two feet from me) or make small talk (awkward, I’m nervous and don’t know her).

So at one point she says, “So, are you two friends? Are you getting married close to each other?”

And my lovely, calm, beautiful Turtle smiles and says, “Same day.  To each other.”

My world froze for a minute.  Would this woman storm out? Would our alterations lady from Brazil suddenly refuse to work with us?  Would we have to get new dresses, would we have to leave quickly, what was going to happen?

That woman smiled, and said, “Oh my goodness, THAT’S GREAT. Congratulations!”

And Mary Jo said, “Wow, congratulations, congratulations, good for you!  That is wonderful!”

And then we all stood around smiling.  And then went back to the alterations.

My dress, which is at the store, feels more like my dress.  And wow, I felt pretty in it.  I declined the fancy poofy slip, I declined the enormous breast cups, and insisted on making sure it was comfortable.  And I can’t wait to wear it.

For your entertainment, a few non-dress-giving-away pictures:

forcing your fiancee to wear pretty head things is fun!

see? she loves it!

The whole process feels a little silly to me, but I admit that the bigness of it, the little steps all becoming one big thing I check off the list, is making it feel closer, more real – in a good way.  Wearing the dress and looking at myself in the mirror made me feel amazing – not because the dress looked good (though it did), but honestly because I knew that the next time I wore this dress in front of a bunch of people they would be people I am really, really looking forward to seeing, people I love, people I can’t wait to be surrounded by.

I can’t wait to get married* in this dress, to this lady:

photo by Ellie Leonardsmith

*Ahem, after we send out invites, write our vows, etc. Really, I can wait, if only so I have a little more time to plan.  Don’t worry, Grandma, we’re still getting married! Invite coming soon, I promise!

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I woke up and wedding stuff was everywhere!

Oh, hello there! Long time, no see!

We did this cah-razy thing and went on vacation.  Some people might consider it “a  weekend” but I say if you leave early Friday and don’t come back till mid-day Monday, you leave the computer at home and sleep a lot, it probably counts as vacation.  Plus I want to pretend I’m all luxurious and can do things like take vacation.  So we went up to camp, spent some time with neighbors, spent some time with my mom and brother, slept, and read books. And napped. Did I mention we slept? I was apparently suffering greatly from being awake for too long, but don’t worry! Problem solved!

assuming the position

Daphne understands the importance of a good, solid nap

I guess while I was busy sleeping, wedding things began to happenOne, if you read this on my actual blog – isn’t the new header pretty? – take a peek over at that lovely little countdown clock on the right.  I thought it was really cute and that I was being funny back when it said 100+ days and it said, “Uh, plenty of time.”  Haha, oh Bird, you so funny.

getting married in days

Right.

Anyway, we are now in the window of time that constitutes as close to a month and half away as two months away, and we should probably do things like mail our invitations. All one of them. Hahaha more funny jokes!

Two, we are in the under-sixty-day window of time, which means we could apply for our marriage license any time now!  I have no idea if this is actually exciting or just theoretically exciting.  Either way, our town hall is pretty and fun to visit, so that in itself is exciting.

Three, Turtle got her wedding ring! And oh, it is pretty.  Mine is still being made… story coming someday, if you’re lucky.

Four, we have an invitation!  A friend is designing them for us, and once they’ve been sent out and people can see them, I will tell you about their glory, their struggles, and our debate over what texture the belly band should be.

Oh Bird, there you go again. Hilarious.

AND THEN! Guys, I’m up to number five here.  Look at all this wedding stuff I haven’t been blogging about! Lots! Five – we had our dress fitting yesterday.  And it was pretty great.  A whole post in itself.

So that’s what has been happening.  I have loved my computer vacation, but I hope someone missed me (yes? was it you?) because that would make me feel special.  I have not enjoyed being overwhelmed by catching up on blogs since I got back, but it turns out that the world doesn’t end if you click “mark all as read” and move on.  A tinge of guilt for a portion of a second, but then you’re fine! Moving on to the next big thing.

I’m sure I have exciting things to say soon, especially about dress fittings and invitations (did I mention I’m in love with the one invitation we have? I am. In love.).  In the meantime, how are you doing? What did you do this weekend?  What was the best not-really-a-vacation-vacation you have taken?

my perfect vacation (yes, rereading Harry Potter)

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First Wedding Nightmare

I’ve been reading some other peoples’ wedding blogs and various people have posted about wedding nightmares.  Not “it was a nightmare!” but actual “I went to sleep and dreamt that the back of my dress was missing or no one showed up or the cake was made out of dirt.”  And I was like, “Silly brides, don’t worry! You’ll be fine.”

Well, last night I had my first wedding nightmare.  And I know other peoples’ dreams are really boring to read about, so I’ll try to keep it brief: I dreamt that suddenly it turned out that TOMORROW was September 18th and we were getting married.  And that was that.  Only everything was sort of in real time, so our dress fitting isn’t until next Tuesday and my suit – the muslin version – hasn’t even arrived in the mail.  Oh, and our vows are written only in the sense that we have a pageful of phrases.

i think giant red clips add a nice little something do a wedding, don't you?

So yes, my DreamSelf could have stood up there in a dress that’s a little too long with her fiancee in a dress that’s a little too loose (we could pin it in back, I guess?) and say things like, “I promise to always find time to play with you, I vow to slow down, I thee wed.”  Sweet.

I suspect that this is happening because 2 months is creeping up next week, and then from there we’re talking weeks to go:  7 weeks, 6 weeks – I know that it’s more than a month, but it’s just weeks.  Also, I’ve been trying to stay calm by reminding myself that all we need is each other and the people surrounding us – but my lovely dream last night reminded me that while we don’t need dresses that fit perfectly, it turns out that is something that I care about.

Any countdown advice?  I was the kid in school who went back and forth between two extremes: I was either up the night before starting a paper or I had finished it three weeks earlier.  There was never a gradual progression of studying/paper writing, and this whole wedding planning thing is a gradual process.  But everything will be okay, right?

me, dressed as a bride who is FREAKING OUT

Okay, yes, it will, and I know that.  But any advice on trusting that everyone else will be ready (suit-makers, caterers, bridesmaids in dresses, people who are making quilt squares if we ever actually send them the cloth)?  This is definitely the right way to start a Wednesday – stressed out and ready to do something about it.

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