Archive for November, 2008

Ssssh. I have a secret…

Posted on November 29, 2008. Filed under: deciding | Tags: |

We bought my wedding ring today… and I may or may not be wearing mine while I type this (ssssh, the mister’s in the other room)!

I mean, I HAVE TO in order to blog about it, right?  How else will I describe it to you with the accuracy and detail that you expect of me?  I’M DOING IT FOR YOU.  {That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.}

We took a break from renovating our bathroom (more on that later) to play hooky.  We took a dance lesson (more on that later, too), stuffed ourselves with food, hit Best Buy and Sears… and while we wandering the mall to avoid coming home to more work, we stumbled into a jewelry store that was going out of business.

Take a moment to understand the significance here.  Jewelry. Store. Clearance. 80%. Discount. Y’all know I’m thrifty (fine, fine, cheap) from the fact that I didn’t even want to pay David’s Bridal prices for a dress, so you have an inkling of the joy that filled my heart.

We looked at a plain gold band, a simple diamond band, an eternity band and a pave band with diamonds on all three sides (did I mention the 80% discount?) and we decided that the sparkly simple band looked best with my engagement ring.

While I wanted an eternity band, my desire for an engraved message (more on that later) won out.  Also, I like the sparkliness of the band when I wear it alone, which I expect to do for the first little while after we have kids.  And did I mention that it was on sale?  Warms this cheese’s heart.

{Mr. Cheese just walked in and had a whole conversation with me — all while my hands were practically in his face resting on my laptop — and didn’t notice.  Score.  Um, except that now I’m tempted to see how long I can wear it before he notices.  A little nutty?  Maybe!}

It looks sort of like this (I can’t take a picture of it without totally blowing my secret, so I’ll have to do it when the mister isn’t here):

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We also started a registry at Williams-Sonoma, decided on our wedding party, and I made my first DIY project this weekend (more on all of that later).

{I thought I got caught with the ring when he looked over my shoulder at my screen and smiled, but he was making fun of me for being a blogging addict instead.}

Yippee!  Anyone wanna bet on how long I can wear this thing before he notices?  And c’mon, tell the truth: did you secretly wear your wedding ring before the big day?  You did, didn’t you?  C’mon, you can tell Miss Cheese.

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Wedding parties (no, not the boozy kind)

Posted on November 25, 2008. Filed under: Uncategorized |

We’re a mere six months away from our wedding and we haven’t decided on a wedding party yet.  *gulp*  Wait, wait!  Before you slap my hand for my procrastination, I assure you that this is different than all of the other things we haven’t done yet.  Really, I swear!

I’m having a hard time making the whole idea of a bridal party make sense for us (well, me).  Tradition for the sake of tradition doesn’t work for me.  Things have to make sense to me, in my head and in my heart, before I can move on, so I’m stuck.  (Yes, yes, I was that kid that drove everyone nuts asking, “Why?” all the time.)

Meg from A Practical Wedding put it best:

I’ve been struggling with the idea of traditional wedding party. For me it’s felt limiting and a bit uncomfortable. We have lots of important people in our lives, but somehow they didn’t fit into the bridal party model (not to mention my total lack of interest in picking matching dresses for them).

As a kid I remember thinking it was weird that the woman standing next to my mom in her wedding pictures was someone I didn’t know.  Why wouldn’t she have asked one of her sisters to be her MOH, I wondered, since you just never know which friends will make it through life with you?  So, for my first wedding, my bridesmaids were all family.

I also relate to Ms. Peony, who wrote:

We were adamant that the ceremony was between us and the officiant, no one else. My Mum gave a reading and walked down the aisle with the bridesmaids and my cousin and The Boy’s cousin also gave readings. I wanted my close friends involved and around me on the day, but not too heavily.

Complicating the issue is the mister (of course).  He’s never been married, so while he wouldn’t say it in exactly these words, he’s looking forward to standing with his best friends.  He wants to honor their friendship by asking them to be his groomsmen, and I don’t blame him.

If it were up to me, we’d just have a BM and MOH and be done with it.  I have no question who my MOH will be, so this makes it easy for me*.  We’d honor our families and close friends by asking them to do readings, play music, or sing.  Alas, this is a joint decision, so I don’t know where we’ll end up.

Perhaps a bridal brigade is the way to go…

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… but then, what sense would it make to have groomsmen and not bridesmaids? I’m getting caught up in the idea rather than the point, which is to surround yourself with people who will support you and stand by you, not only on your wedding day but throughout your marriage.  Then again, I can’t shake the feeling that it would be weird not to have bridesmaids if we have groomsmen.

How did you choose your wedding party?  Was anyone hurt that they were left out?  Did you include your family in your bridal party, or did you honor them some other way?

*Full disclosure: I also just plain don’t have that many girlfriends.  I either stick with one or two friend-bridesmaids, throw in some family (but then the wedding party gets big very quickly), or start to include acquaintances (which is my least favorite idea).

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On gender roles and rolling pins…

Posted on November 24, 2008. Filed under: reality | Tags: |

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I never really considered gender roles in my first marriage.  Okay, that’s a lie. I did, but only briefly as I patted myself on the back for escaping the limits of traditional roles.  My ex-husband cooked, cleaned, and took care of the pets.  He made sure that our house was stocked with the necessities, that the lawn was presentable, and that our guests didn’t die of starvation.  We had a rolling pin, a fancy schmancy silicone one in a masculine blue that he picked out and used.

I supervised (and paid the bills).  I secretly believed that I was incapable of doing what he did, so I didn’t even try, but it didn’t matter.  In this day and age, it was something to be proud of, that my husband was such a fabulous “wife.”*

Fast forward.  In the past few years, I have learned to cook out of necessity.  (I like to eat, so it follows that I’d like to cook.)  I am stunned to find myself as “the clean one” in our relationship, always picking up and straightening up and complaining about the rubble.  And the pets?  Let’s just say that even though we try to share responsibility, the buck has to stop somewhere, and that’s generally with me.  When the puppy’s nipping and needs some extra training, when the cat’s coughing and needs a medication adjustment, when somecat pukes and somedog tries to eat it… yup, those all land in my lap.

And my favorite man?  He’s the designated plumbing-fixer, trash-thrower, and chainsaw-wielder.  He mows the lawns (two houses, remember?), deals with clogged drains and does, um, something with the fallen trees that litter our property.  Need something done with heavy machinery?  He’s your man!  Build a fire in the fireplace when all of our wood is wet?  He figures it out!  Starving and in need of a home-cooked meal?  Not so much.

All of this is fine in theory.  The amount of stuff that we feel responsible for is roughly equal, and we definitely help each other out (don’t get me started on the ugly things that laying tile does to a woman’s hands).

But I struggle with it.  I sometimes assume that I’m stuck doing something because I’m the chick, and he’s the dude. When the house is trashed, I wonder why he doesn’t feel the same frustration when he sees it.  WHY do I have to ask for help in cleaning up a mess we jointly created (or, at the very least, jointly benefited from)?  When he innocently asks me, “What are we having for dinner?” when we’re both covered in the rubble from our latest home improvement project, I want to growl in frustration**.  When he calmly suggests that I might train the dog not to jump on people (as opposed to what, teaching him that on purpose?), I have to hold my breath to not respond.  And when a neighbor complements him on having a partner who bakes pies, homemade oreos***, and can throw together a mean spaghetti sauce, I cringe just a little bit.

Who am I, Betty Crocker?

It’s all fine.  I know it’s fine.  I know that this is just who we are as people and humans and how our lives get divided up.  I know that being at peace with the various aspects of myself, be they Betty Crocker or Rosie the Riveter, is part of growing up.  I know that when we have kids, we are likely to go deeper into traditional roles than we are now, and I know that all of this is harder because my role in my first marriage was so not traditional and because growing up, my mom did it all****.  I know that his willingness to trust me with most of the responsibility for our pets, our meals, and our money is a big deal, and that I would have a really hard time doing the same.

So when I start to freak out about being stuck doing things because I’m the woman, I try to sit quietly for a moment and ask myself: Am I doing this because I have to, or because I want to? (Cooking, for instance, which I usually choose to do.) Are there other alternatives that would work for both of us?  (Perhaps we can hire someone to clean up.)  Am I fixating on how it should be rather than what is? (Just ask him to help clean the kitchen.  He will.)  Do we divide things up this way because of our genders, or for other reasons? (Frankly, the chainsaw is too heavy for me to use safely.)  Instead of getting poopy about it, should I be proud? (I do make pretty rocking homemade oreos.)

And I finally bought a rolling pin, after a year of using well-cleaned cans of veggies to roll out cookie dough.  I call that progress.

I’d like to hear from you.  Are you struggling to adjust to your role with your partner?  If you’ve been married before, is the division of labor in this relationship different than before?  Or, have you always been comfortable with the more traditional parts of your role?  Do tell!

*His words.

**What, you don’t growl when you’re frustrated?

***Because I heart you, here’s the recipe for homemade oreos.  Make sure to use dutch-processed cocoa.  Enjoy!

****My parents were divorced so my mom handled everything because she had to.  In terms of “modeling behavior,” that explains why I assume that I have to do it all myself, too, and why I sometimes assume that ANY division of labor is gender-based.

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Where the wild things are

Posted on November 21, 2008. Filed under: reality | Tags: , |

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I’ve mentioned before that we don’t really have a formal budget for our wedding.  Owing to the bazillion home improvement projects we’ve taken on (and have to complete before the wedding), we’re planning to spend as much (or as little) as we can afford as we go.   Projects for our home will take precedent over wedding expenses. I know, I know, not the best budgeting strategy, but that’s our plan.

For giggles this morning, I plugged my guesstimates into a wedding budget spreadsheet (it’s this one).

*choke*

The total was double the amount I had in my head.  DOUBLE!

How did that happen?  Being an analyst-nerd by personality and profession, I did some digging.

  • When I estimated a budget in my head, I only included the basics: dress, the mister’s suit, food, booze, rentals (chairs, tables, etc).  Those big ticket items were less than half of the total amount.
  • I went way overboard on “miscellaneous” expenses — bridesmaid’s luncheon, mani-pedi’s for my girls, makeup, gifts — more than seven times what the budget estimator thought I should be spending.
  • The small amounts really add up.  My spreadsheet had 17 line items under $100, but they added up to more than $700!

What’s the lesson?  I’m betting you all know this, but it was an epiphany for me: planning ahead of time will allow us to get past the shock and make conscious decisions about where our money should go.  Instead of assuming that we can’t afford fabulous flowers (or whatever), we might realize that we can if we cut back on the small expenses.

I think we’ll need wine.  And possibly a shock to restart our hearts — especially when we do the same thing with our home improvement budget.

Your turn.  What was the most surprising epiphany you had when putting your budget together?  Like me, did you find yourself gasping for breath? Did you start with a lump sum of money or are you saving as you go, like us?

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We have a winner

Posted on November 18, 2008. Filed under: contest |

Thanks to everyone who participated in the contest.  As promised, I’ve randomly chosen a winner:

contestwinner

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Congratulations to lmariea!

Our wedding is July 3, 2009 and I’ve been worried since booking our site (a local park/barn) about the heat. Fortunately, the barn just got air conditioning last summer, so the reception will be nice and cool. I would pick the wedding program fans to keep our guests cool during the ceremony and keep them informed (something that both of us value highly, since we’re both reporters!).

I (or Mrs. Bee) will be in touch shortly!

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O-ver-WHELMED

Posted on November 18, 2008. Filed under: reality |

*Deep breaths*

I’m feeling overwhelmed today.

*Deeeeeeep breaths*

Very, very overwhelmed.

*Slow deep breaths*

And panicky.

*Too many deep breaths, now light-headed*

You could call it freaking out.

*Head between knees now, breathing out sloooowly, sucking it up so I can type*

It’s been building ever so slowly, and then I got pushed over the edge into semi-suffocating clouds (because this is a first world problem, I won’t call it drowning) by this: Mrs. Hydrangea’s wedding spread on Project Wedding.

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Wow.  I mean, wow.  W-O-W.  Modern and beautiful, wonderful, completely worthy of a magazine spread.  Wow.

Um, hi.  *waving* I’m Ms. Cheese, and I’m totally out of my league (evidently I’m the wanna-bee** in the corner having an asthma attack and looking upon the star player with great envy).

Do you ever feel like that?  Like you don’t have enough money, time, or (letsbehonesthere) TALENT for your wedding to be that frigging gorgeous?  Like your highest hopes involved candles that didn’t go out and clothes that stayed where they should and a happy husband, but now you want a gobo (when before you didn’t even know what that was)?

Like, with the nasty thunderstorm that is the economy, perhaps you should be socking your money away rather than spending it on a party (albeit a really important and meaningful one)?  But on the other hand, who wants to regret not putting enough time and money and (other people’s) talent into the day they start their lives together?

Like maybe the mister’s strategy (“As long as we’re married, I don’t care”) makes more sense than yours (“Unless we plan for things, they won’t run smoothly and everything will be awkward”)?

I’ll be okay, don’t worry.  Like I said, I get that it’s a first-world problem, but I’m going to take the dog for a walk, try to finish the bathroom tiling, and make a big huge long list of everything.  And then I’m going to have a drink*** and blog about something happy.  I suspect there will soon be begging for help from anyone I can arm-twist and a healthy dose of whining to Mr. Cheese.

{Update: Mr. Cheese, bless him, offered to bring home a beverage*** and talk about it all… so I’ll talk/ cry/ whine and he’ll listen.  Also, I found this in my RSS reader, and I feel better.  Direct quote:

I am huge fan of small weddings attended only by close friends and family… I really can’t think of a better way to celebrate a wedding than sitting under twinkling lights and beautiful banners laughing the night away surrounded by friends.

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“Laughing the night away surrounded by friends,” “twinkling lights”… THAT I think I can do. Still terribly envious, lovely Mrs. Hydrangea, but at least I can put the paper sack away now.}

**Yes, I had to go there.

***There you go, assuming it’ll be alcoholic.  You’re RIGHT.

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Patience is a virtue?

Posted on November 16, 2008. Filed under: emotional, please |

Okay, lovely ladies of the hive, it’s time for another one of the posts where you share your expertise and knowledge, and I bow at your feet for helping me understand.  Fun, right? {Again, I’ll remind you how fabulous and helpful you were when I asked for advice on bras, and dresses, and hair, and gardens… you can’t abandon me now!!}

You know my history with my future hubby, the mess I tend to make of things, and the problems we struggle with.  In looking back, though, I’m always amazed at how patient he’s been as I’ve made peace with my past and figured out this commitment thing.  My brain was at war with my heart; my instincts for self-protection were battling it out with my desire to be settled and trusting. When I was melting down about the pressure of signing a mortgage, he trusted that it wasn’t about him at all, it was about me (who wants to hear, “It’s not you, it’s me”).  I’m in awe of and incredibly grateful that he gave me the time and space to get to this point.

I wonder, though, how much would have been too much?  We all know women who are patient, loving, and supportive with a man who can’t make a commitment.  I suppose that I’m lucky enough to be the messy one in our relationship, in that respect.

Have you been there?  Were you in Mr. Cheese’s position, patiently waiting out the growing pains of a skittish commitment-shy person that loved you?  How did you get through it?  How did you not feel that you were waiting in vain?  How did you know that they’d come through, in the end?

If the situation had been reversed, and Mr. Cheese had been struggling with the enormity of the commitment to marriage, what advice would you have given me?

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Choosing a date

Posted on November 14, 2008. Filed under: deciding |

As I mentioned before, my favorite man and I will be getting married on the property surrounding our house with a fabulous (is there any other way?) outdoor party to follow. We live in Knoxville, TN, as does his family, but my family lives 1500 miles away in and around Las Cruces, NM. Both of my siblings are in college and my mom works at a high school.

We therefore need to choose a date that is convenient for my family in terms of travel, so school holidays are good. In choosing between Spring Break and Memorial Day, the latter made the most sense and also ensures that our property is at it’s prettiest.

Thus began the second productivity-black-hole of my week: the Wedding Planner on Weather.com.  I popped in my zip code and got two graphs, one for temperature and one for precipitation. Let the obsessing over the weather begin!  (Seriously, have you tried it?  You can click on the month and get a day-by-day version.)

knoxweathertemp

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knoxweatherprecip

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Which brings me to my two concerns: that it’ll be rainy and gray, and that our friends will be upset that we’re taking over their holiday weeekend (well, assuming that they want to attend our wedding).

As far as the rain goes, that’s a whole post all by itself (coming soon!). In terms of the holiday weekend, I can’t help but wonder if our friends will be put out at having to attend a wedding over a holiday?

In the end, the needs of my family win out. They’re making the longest (and only) distance trip to be here, and we need to grant them the ability to travel AND have a good time. Our close friends will be involved, helping us out (if only by putting drinks in our hands to calm the stress) throughout the weekend.

As for our acquaintances? We’re not inviting most of them. Our goal is to keep our gathering as small as possible and only invite the people we couldn’t imagine being without. {Note that while this is our current goal, having not set a guest list or conferred with the parental units makes me suspect that this is a pipe dream.} Since it IS a holiday weekend, we think we’ll host a wedding weekend with a variety of activities… and perhaps even a trip to the lake!

Since our planning hiatus is almost over, we’re about to clue our families in so that they can weigh in, and I’ll admit it, I’m nervous.  How did you let your families know, and in what order?  I suppose we’ll start with our immediate families to make sure there aren’t any scheduling issues.  Should we then ask extended families before making it final, or do we just assume that some people won’t be able to make it?

And, are any of you getting married on a holiday? Have you gotten any complaints about the scheduling? Are you making it a longer shindig to make up for it?

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On lost productivity and color addictions

Posted on November 12, 2008. Filed under: inspiration | Tags: , |

Oh, Miss Hot Cocoa, you are an eeee-vil woman.  Remember this post?  The one where you showed me the Pantone site?  Thus began my long slide down the slippery slope of color picking.  And boy, is it niiiiiice.

Y’all might remember that we bought a whole lotta classic mid-century goodness of a house, none of which has been updated since, well, the middle of last century.  Since we’re getting married and hosting our reception at home in six short months (excuse me while I have a panic attack, EEK!), I’m getting my act together and picking paint colors for each room.

At least, that’s my excuse for spending my whole day off playing on the Pantone site.  (At least it was my day off, right?!?)  And now, I’m here to pull you down the slippery slope with me.

Behold, the Pantone Mood Selector. You choose words that describe the mood you want to invoke, and it presents you with a custom mood palette.  (Now you say, “ooooh” in a hushed voice.)  Here’s my mood palette for the bedroom:

bedroomcolormood

The mood I want to evoke in our bedroom is one of comfy calmness, bringing to mind gray t-shirts, soft fuzzy blankets, and the sound of water (like being on the beach on a cloudy day).  Using this tool I chose only words — and the colors I’d been wanting were included! Here’s my palette:

bedroomcolorpalette1Next up, the bathroom (with pics)!  We just finished ripping out the floors and will be repainting and tiling through the end of the week, so I’ll be sharing the color palette, inspiration pics, and the result!

I’m hoping that you’ll help me make sure that the colors we use throughout the house make sense from the perspective of an event venue (please?). I expect that we’ll be using the invite colors (below) a lot, not just because they’re for our wedding, but because they’re my (er, “our”) favorite colors.

Tell the truth: are you spending way more time than you should playing with color palettes?  Do we need to start a support group (“My name is Cheese and I sink too much time into playing with online color tools”)?  Can you recommend any other online tools to feed my addiction?  I’m on a hunt for that one that shows your colors in big round drops (like a paint drip)… do you know it?

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Contest! Contest! Contest!!

Posted on November 10, 2008. Filed under: contest |

I love contests, don’t you?  Okay, really, I don’t love contests, but I do love any excuse to daydream, and this is it, so join me!

Here’s how it works:

1)      Pick one or more products from Beau-coup’s Wedding favors section.

2)      Using that product, please tell us how it would fit a wedding theme. You could tell us about the color palette, table decor, the type of venue, the overall mood, how you would use the product, or anything you can think of. You’re welcome to create an inspiration board or pictures to illustrate your ideas for extra points, but it’s not mandatory.

The deadline for readers to submit their entries is Monday, Nov. 17, 2008 at 11:59pm. One winner per blog will be randomly selected by the blogger and will receive a $75 gift card to Beau-coup.

Woo, hoo!  We’re having an outdoor shindig that I like to think of a cocktail party under the stars.  You know, drinks and swizzle sticks and overdressed people lounging in rustic settings, eating yummy finger foods (ahem, canapes) and dancing to waltzes.  Ohhhh, yea.

And so I need these, right?  If I was a guest, I’d bust these babies open and use them during the reception!

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And we need to fill these with one perfect chocolate or one tiny crispy rice treat… Mr. Cheese loves chocolate and I prefer buttery wonders of goodness.  The boxes are just formal enough to lend some elegance, but with sweet treats inside, are just like us.  Ya know, in our formal duds but sweet and sappy all at once.

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How fabulous would it be to get a monogrammed flask as a wedding party gift?  Very decadent.

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“Happiness held is a seed. Happiness shared is the flower.” Swoon.  We’re getting married in our garden and I’ll be attempting to grow my own bouquet, so gifting seeds fits perfectly.  How great would it be to get pics of the results?

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Your turn.  You have until Monday at 11:59 pm to picka favor and explain how it would fit a theme.  Let the imaginating begin!

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    I’ve been there, done that, got the t-shirt (and divorce papers) to prove it. Here I am again, pledging my life to my (new) love with eyes wide open (and heart racing) knowing full well how emotionally traumatic this can end… and doing it anyway.

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