Tag Archives: games

Pretty pretty pictures

We had our “official” engagement shoot with our amazing photographer last night.  I can’t talk enough about how awesome Ellie is, and how anyone needing a photographer in/near Boston/Providence should probably use her.  Awesome.

Anyway, I have my first day by myself in a long time (Turtle is in Maine) and I promised myself I wouldn’t spend a lot of it on the internets, so no more comments/deep insights, just some pretty pictures for you!

Photo by Ellie Leonardsmith

Photo by Ellie Leonardsmith

Photo by Ellie Leonardsmith

I kind of can’t believe how amazing these pictures are. I’m not sure what we’ll be doing with them all yet, so I don’t want to share many – I’m feeling protective of them, but they are too beautiful not to share a couple!

I had a read in a few different places that doing an engagement photo session can really help get you comfortable with your photographer and with having your picture taken, and I didn’t think much of that until I experienced it.  It took us a little while to settle in, but then it was so fun.  It was especially nice because Ellie is a good friend of ours, and we got to have amazing pizza and beer afterward.  That, my friends, is a good photo shoot.

Some more of Ellie’s awesome skills:

Okay, so much for sharing just a couple of pictures.  But omg, pretty!!!

So here’s what this felt like: getting dressed up in things we felt attractive in (for me, of course, one dress, one dykey shorts-and-collared-shirt outfit) and walking around our favorite, important places being affectionate.  Things are hard off and on these days – something I’ve talked about before – and we just walked and talked about those things and how we love each other and do want to get married and will do the work.  It was wonderful to have a space where we were just supposed to be affectionate: no talking about the hard things or the piles.  And then, as I mentioned before, we got amazing pizza, beer, and time with good friends.

And now I’m home alone with two dogs, two cats, and a big apartment.  Not feeling motivated to do much of anything, which is silly now that I have all this time and space to myself!  Maybe the afternoon has big things in store for me… or maybe just a book and a glass of wine.

What are you doing this weekend? Want to hang out with me? Did I already mention two dogs, big apartment, and wine? What more do you need?

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How to throw an awesome engagement party, Part 3

So you’ve heard part 1 and part 2 of our excellent engagement party, and hopefully I can tell you about the rest of it in this last post!  After the scavenger hunt madness died down, we collected in the living room for a competitive round of Bird/Turtle jeopardy!

[A note: our real names are not really Bird or Turtle.  Surprise! I am not going to type our real names, because I don’t necessarily want a Google search for us to end up here, but I also not going to take our names out of the pictures I post.  For the purposes of showing how awesome my sister is, and how clever this jeopardy set-up was, I will disclose in writing that our names begin with M (me) and D (her).]

I’ll spare you the suspense…these are our names:

My awesome sister incorporated the first letters of our names into each category:

Some of the questions (and answers) were:

Where was their first unofficial date? (at a work event… teehee, dating coworkers is a good idea?)
What was Turtle’s motto on their first date? (“Flirt more, think less.”)
Who named Daphne? (Turtle did! Again, I’d like to point out that this whole dog thing was her idea.)
Who proposed first? (I did!)
What “alternative” holiday do Bird and Turtle celebrate in December, and what do they do on that day? (Solstice, go for a walk in the woods.)
What body parts are missing from one of D&M’s cats? (At the time, acceptable answers were a toe or an eye, but now we can add teeth to the list – he had them all out last week. Poor One-Eyed Jake.)

The board, in all its glory:


We made an effort to have the teams be more or less even and comprised of people who knew both of us.  I don’t remember what all the teams’ names were, but they were clever and silly.  I think one of them was Team Fabulously Good Looking.

A portion of said team looking fabulously good.

Again, I don’t remember all the team names exactly, but these wonderful people were members of a team called something along the lines of Team Third Place.  You can see the confusion on their faces.

This is a portion of Team Kangaroo, or something equally irrelevant.  They could also be referred to as Team Mom, since both of our moms were on this team, and no one else seemed to participate much.  Team Mom won!

My lovely sister, who put everything together and MCed the game.

The lovely Turtle, who kept score and drank tea. She’s so pretty.

After the game was over and we handed out the prizes, people began to drift away and had more dessert and tea.  After a little bit, my sister returned from retrieving some food in the kitchen and said, “All the gay boys are clustered around the coffee, wondering how you know all these things!”

Apparently it has now been determined that lesbians remember every little details (dates, who said what, etc) and gay men don’t even think of those things!  The guys kept saying, “Do you know where your first date was?” “No, do you??”

I’m not sure everyone does, but I remember dates and Turtle remembers details, so between the two of us, we can put together some pretty impressive jeopardy questions!

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How to throw an awesome engagement party, Part 2

A week ago I started to tell you about the awesome engagement party my sister put together for us.  You saw the fabulous crafts we put together and you oohed and ahhed over the prizes for the games.  So now, to your delight, the games themselves! Or at least the first one.

A little background first: once it became clear that we wanted to have an engagement party and that someone wanted to put it together for us – and that people wanted to come! – we had to figure out what people do at engagement parties.  From what I could figure out, the party is supposed to be an event at which the two families meet, everyone sees the ring, and the bride is given gifts.

The issues here were that:

1. The families had already met.
2. We didn’t really want to make a big deal out of our rings (we both have them, we both love them, and our relationship is so not about the jewelry).
3. We didn’t want to ask for gifts.  This all happened in mid-January, only a couple of weeks after Christmas, not to mention that my birthday is two days after Christmas, and Turtle’s birthday is the day after mine.  So gifts felt like asking a lot.  Plus, we don’t really need more stuff.

So we decided to just have a day where we could be surrounded by the people we love and get people to meet each other before the wedding, so that on our wedding day, people are comfortable and social and it’s a big fun party.  Obviously, the best way to do this is to get people to talk to each other, and the best way to get strangers to talk to each other is through games.

We came up with the two games I mentioned before: a human scavenger hunt, and Turtle/Bird Jeopardy (side note: since I’m not playing roller derby, I will now refer to myself as Bird, since that’s what Turtle calls me. Sorry for any confusion. It’s also shorter to write).

For the scavenger hunt, Turtle and I sat down with the list of people who had RSVPed for the party and came up with interesting facts that we knew about them and that seemed unique to them.  Some of these included:

Connected with Bird over their mutual appreciation of crossword puzzles/Scrabulous and tea?
Got “doored” while riding a bicycle and put the bruised pics on Facebook?
Got Bird sick on her 21st birthday with one shot?
Has never met Bird before today?
Has pictures of Turtle’s 4-year awkward phase at an all-girls Catholic high school?
Has written three books?
Helped Bird and Turtle survive their first encounter with fleas?
Hiked the Appalachian Trail for their honeymoon (two acceptable answers)?
Is addicted to NPR?
Is the tallest person here?

Once everyone had arrived, we handed out the papers and pens and made sure everyone knew there were prizes.  Then we sat back and watched!  By which I mean we kept running from one room to the other, laughing as people declared loudly over the absurdity of some of the facts, and as people stumbled over the answers (“Wait, did I meet you in a swimming pool in college?” “Uh, no.”), and as we realized that some facts applied to multiple people at the party (lots of my friends seem to have been doored while riding their bicycles. Shocking.).  One thing that struck me right away was that all of my friends and family were in one room, and all of Turtle’s friends were in the other.

All of my friends and family hard at work in one room…

…and all of Turtle’s friends/family in the other room!  It seemed like no one would get all the answers!  We kept hearing people saying, “I have no idea who X is!” and I would sort of nudge, “Maybe you should go ask the people in the other room…”

People in the same rooms were definitely having a good time.

Even my little brother was doing the best he could and holding his own quite well, if I may say!

And then, finally, people began to cross the doorways and seek out the people in the other rooms!  There was mingling! We gave people a five minute warning and began to check in to see if anyone had answers…

Turtle checking out her mom’s guesses.

I think my dad gave up after a bit, but he tried!  We hung out and took pictures while people finished up, and then we took them all to a side room and scored them.  My mom and sister were the top two!  Not surprising, I guess, though I maintain that it wasn’t rigged.  They each got to pick a prize and then the rest of the prizes were saved for relationship jeopardy, coming up next!

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How to throw an awesome engagement party, Part 1

One thing that sort of surprised me after we got engaged and told everyone about it was how excited some people were to make things happen!  And by some people, I mean my sister.

My sister is two and half years younger than I am and took a job in Chicago after she graduated from college last spring.  It was so exciting that she had finally graduated and might be close to home… and then she accepted a stupid job in a stupid city far away.  Luckily for me, stupid Chicago messed everything up and my fantastic sister had to move back to Boston, where she can be excited about wedding stuff close by.

So we got engaged and some of the first questions we got were, “Should I be planning a party? What are my responsibilities as your mother/sister/important person?” And we thought to ourselves, Hm, this would  be a good excuse to throw a party.

What the internet told me was that the engagement party is a place for families to meet for the first time and to announce the engagement.  This was kind of silly, since we’d already announced it, and our families had mostly already met.  So we just used it as an excuse to surround ourselves with people we care about and have a good afternoon!

My sister organized the whole thing along with one of Turtle’s best friends, who lent us his house.  It was a potluck lunch, so no one person had to worry about providing for everyone.  My sister took charge of putting together a jeopardy game and Turtle and I put together a human scavenger hunt.  We even got prizes for everyone!  I think we may have been more excited about the party than anyone else, but I guess that’s how it should be.

While Turtle & BF were out getting food for our potluck contributions, I set to work being crafty.

Here is our pretty stamp and squares I spent way too much time cutting up.  It didn’t take too long before I stopped caring whether the edges were straight.  Careless = the new chic.

I found some ribbon I had bought years ago and never found a use for… until now!  Used our three hole punch in a creative way to get two holes into the cards.  Just for the record, I LOVE the ColorBox inks.  The other stamp pad worked fine for what we needed it for, but is not very high quality, so steer clear if you want something nice.

One challenge I ran into was stamping things evenly!  The tree had a knack for being faded right in the middle, but if I pressed too hard then I would get bad brown edges all over everything. Stamps are hard.

Once I ran out of prizes to stamp, I decided we needed party favors!  M&Ms to the rescue!  I think we ate more than we bagged, but here they are! My mom had bought me this little heart- and star-shaped paper holders probably 5 years ago, which came in handy.  It was great how much stuff I already had for this impromptu project.

One of our really good friends gave us this beautiful frame for Christmas, but we hadn’t put anything in it yet – perfect for thanking everyone!  I stamped our special stamp lower down on the paper so that the date and names were hidden, and then used individual letter stamps to spell out the “thanks for coming.”  Again – casual = chic, right?

At this point I stopped letting the little lines on the edges of the stamps bother me, as you can probably tell.

Prize number one!  Well, number two, since I showed the bottle of wine a few posts ago.  This probably gives you a good sense of our friends and family.  We also spent our first date EVER doing the Sunday NYTimes crossword, so of course it felt important to represent that.

Other prizes: a coffee/tea mug from REI, a bottle of our favorite wine (PromisQous), a coloring book with colored pencils, a gift certificate to Not Your Average Joe’s (one of our favorite local restaurants), and two CDs of music that we like and have been important in our relationship.  I would have been excited to get any of these, if I may say so myself.  I suppose I’m somewhat biased, since they are all or they represent some of my favorite things.

Here is our human scavenger hunt!  Again with the somewhat sloppy spelled out stamps.

We wanted to get people who didn’t know each other very well to start talking to each other, and to find interesting facts and want to learn more.  For example, one of the questions was, “Who met (me) in a swimming at (college)?” The funny part was that the person it was didn’t know she was the answer, which led to more funny conversations.  (Side note: I’m realizing I talk about Rumble a lot on this blog.  Hi Rumble!)

Turtle and I came up with the questions out at dinner one night.  It was a lot of fun putting together this list, and even more fun watching everyone try to figure out the answers!

Up next: the party itself, scavenger hunt and jeopardy included!

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