Archive for December, 2008

A Year In Review: 2008

Posted on December 31, 2008. Filed under: Thanks |

I have a tradition of my very own for New Year’s Eve, one I’ve had for as long as I can remember.  Every year, I look back at the past year, at the things I’m grateful for, at what I’ve learned, and what I’ve succeeded at and where I’ve failed.  The next day, after recovering from whatever partying I might have done (full disclosure: almost never anything terribly exciting), I put together a few goals for the next year.  Not resolutions, mind you, because I fail at those, but personal goals.

For 2008, I wrote:

  • Talk to Mr. Cheese, even when it’s hard, even when I really don’t want to, especially when I’d rather walk away (even for a little while).
  • Pet my cats, anytime they ask, long enough for it to matter.
  • Refrain from spending money exorbitantly, impulsively, when other people are involved.  {I’d just spent over a hundred bucks on cookie making supplies for a small get together, and was feeling bad.}
  • Do the cash thing.

Last year, somewhere along the way, I vowed to live my life more honestly, with more genuineness and fewer lies, even the small white ones.  I did it! This year, I vow to live my life with more awareness and joy, with less worry and regret.

I mostly succeeded.  I’ll always struggle to communicate (always have), my cats will always want me to pet them longer than I do, I’ll always wonder if I should have spent money after I have, and sometimes I’ll forget to withdraw cash.  But I have been more aware this year — of both the joys and pains of life — and my regrets have been short-term and fixable (like apologizing for raising my voice or not being understanding pretty soon after doing it).

I won’t know for sure what my goals are for this year until tomorrow, but in looking back, I am very grateful to you, this fabulous community of women supporting each other in moving through life.  I have greatly enjoyed sharing my life with you and have appreciated that you’ve shared back.  Our discussions on “the hard topics” have been interesting, inspiring, and soothing.  It’s nice to know that you’re not alone, isn’t it?  You all rock, you give me hope, and you remind me that we live in a world full of wonderful people.

I think that I’ll want to live the next year in the moment, free from worries about things that don’t matter, with a firm sense of my priorities and what matters most: people, family, love, kindness.  I’ll probably vow to be nice (even when I’m not feeling nice) especially with my guy, because even though we’ll always have things to work on and get through (that’s life, after all), with him is where I’m meant to be, and I’m terribly grateful for that.  And, while I’m finally living honestly, genuinely and with awareness, I’m not yet doing it gracefully – I’ll want to find more grace.

So thanks to all of you and best wishes for your new year.  Be safe tonight, and let me know what your goals for the new year are!

Advertisements
Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )

Economic reality

Posted on December 27, 2008. Filed under: reality |

I’m gonna be honest here: I’m not doing a whole lot of what I usually consider “real” wedding stuff.  In fact, I haven’t spent money on anything directly wedding-related in, um, months.  Since I picked up my second wedding dress and paid the remaining seventy bucks, in fact.

All along, I’ve been feeling like a slacker (and a little bit dishonest) for not putting my money where my blog was, so to speak.  If you look through my archives, you’ll see that most of my posts have been about relationships and marriage rather than weddings, and that’s not by accident. I do tend to spend more of my time on energy preparing to be married than to get married, but with the economy the way things are, I want as little of our money tied up in contracts and promises as possible.  While we’re continuing to work on our house and talk about our plans, we haven’t bought any of the many things on our wedding lists.

Now I’m ‘fessing up, because this economic thing isn’t just about me and my cheapness any more.  Many, many friends (on the ‘net and otherwise) are being affected by it, from reduced hours to lost jobs, not to mention the general stress that seems to be pervading life right now.  And that leaves you and I, dear friends, in an odd and often  uncomfortable situation.

Trying to plan a wedding in the midst of all this uncertainty and pain can be… weird.  We just got back from a fabulous holiday with my enormous extended family, all of whom fully expect to be invited (and to be expected to attend) to our wedding hundreds of miles away.  I’m feeling like I can’t ask them to come, but I can’t not ask them to come.  It breaks my heart to think that my people would feel bad at either not being invited or not being able to afford to join us.

Sigh.  So now what?  Well, I guess now’s the time to get back to the basics, to remembering that our weddings are about each one of us and our beloveds, pledging our hearts and minds to each other for the rest of our days.  Our weddings are about celebrating our union with our dearest friends and family, celebrating with food and drink and toasts and dancing, celebrating our luck and blessings in finding and choosing our men.  Our weddings are about finding creative solutions that allow our guests to join us (or not) gracefully and without added stress.

For us, that means that we are adding a hometown reception.  My mom has graciously (and excitedly) offered to host a party for us at her home, complete with dancing and toasting and our wedding duds.  We’ll invite everyone to both celebrations and let them tell us which one they prefer to attend (a couple of my aunts were happily planning a road trip, so they might want to join us in Knoxville).

Look, this economic uncertainty doesn’t appear to be letting up anytime soon, and while that makes life tough, I think it can make wedding planning simpler.  Gone will be the days that we feel like we need to go crazy, to show how much money we can afford to spend, to feel sucked into the wedding industrial complex vortex.  We’re free (free!) to DIY our hearts out, to cut down the craziness, to focus on our people and our dudes.

Join me! Let’s bake our own cakes (or talk our friends into it) even if they’re not perfect, string our own lights (bought at 90% off after Christmas) and maybe (just maybe) cater our own food.  Let’s handwrite our invitations (or, what the hell, use a handwriting font and our $40 Canon printer).  Let’s figure out how to ask for help from everyone we know (more on that later) and let’s make our weddings about the people who love us, not least of whom is that guy we’re marrying.  Let’s spend our time taking goofy couples quizzes with our guys rather than assembling favors that (let’s be honest) might, just might, be more important to us than to our guests.  Let’s see not just how little we can spend on new things for our wedding, but whether we can use things we already own so that we don’t have to buy anything new (um, let’s try, anyway… no promises).

And look, if you’re not affected and neither are your people, I send fervent hopes that your good luck continues.  Have a blast doing all of the things that I, frankly, can’t afford.  But consider, just for a moment, donating to a food bank (even a pet food bank) and joining me anyway!  C’mon… we’ll have fun!

Wanna join me?

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( 1 so far )

Book recommendation: 52 Fights by Jennifer Jeanne Patterson

Posted on December 15, 2008. Filed under: reality | Tags: |

source

I got this book in the clearance rack of the local bookstore when I went home to New Mexico, so my expectations were really low.  Really, really low.  Yet, it turned out to be one of my very favorite books because it depicts the first year of marriage with a good solid dose of reality.  And we know how much I try to stay in reality.

In the author’s words, “This book, 52 Fights: A Newlywed’s Confession, tells the story of how Matt and I survived our first year of marriage without strangling each other.  I’ve written about the challenges we dealt with from coping with our various incompatibilities and our very different families to the sudden absence of the romance we knew in our courtship, our encroachment on each other’s personal space, and my identity crisis.”

Not to be a total dork, but I learned a few things reading this book.  I learned that my idea of what a good marriage is like was way off.  I learned that more women need to write real novels (bios?) about real life, because modeling behaviors matters.  I learned that looking at frustrating issues from both sides (as she does when she tells the story) is a great way to get out of my own head and see some hope.  And lucky for me, I learned all of this in the very early days of dating Mr. Cheese.  When things got rough and my old bad habits cropped up, I’d reread this book to get some perspective.

Favorite excerpts:

(page 101): “For me, Emily’s story [a friend who got divorced] is like one of those near-death experiences you read about, where your life flashes before your eyes.  The fallout of your divorce can be greater than or equal to your pain in your marriage. I realize that the pain of learning to live without Matt would never compare to the pain of losing him.  Finally I’m seeing how much good there is in our marriage worth preserving.  And, when I ask myself, do you think you could find a better partner than Matt, or do you simply want a partner who handles your weaknesses better, I’m ashamed of what my answer is.”

(page 169): “What I’m starting to realize is that when people say that marriage is a lot of work, what they mean is that it’s a lot of self work.  You can’t keep your feelings frozen inside you and expect to be loved.  Nor can you mask your emotions with anger.  When it’s hardest – when you’re hurt – is the time you need to open up the most, letting go of your verbal defenses.  Nobody who takes all of those punches will be left standing in the end…. It’s time we hang up our boxing gloves.”

See?  I’m betting that if you like the style of my posts, you’ll dig this book as much as I did.  And even if you don’t, you can get it on Amazon for under a buck, so what do you have to lose?

Have you read other “real” books about life and marriage post-wedding (but pre-baby)?  Please, share!!

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( 1 so far )

Book Recommendation: Emotionally Engaged by Allison Moir-Smith

Posted on December 12, 2008. Filed under: emotional | Tags: |

source

I’ve promised this book recommendation to a handful of readers who mentioned being disappointed with their engagement experience so far or surprised that it wasn’t all rainbows and butterflies. I’ve been there, too, let me tell ya, and this book helped get me back from the brink of meltdown.

Mr. Cheese and I had a very rough couple of months after we got engaged and I found this book on a desperate trip to the Barnes & Noble self-help aisles. I swear, angels sang and the sun began to shine as I started reading, because it’s not just platitudes. She clearly explains WHY you might be feeling stressed and overwhelmed, and offers exercises at the end of each chapter to help guide you through the rite of passage that is engagement.

The author is a psychotherapist who was taken aback by her feelings during her engagement. With her expertise and experience, she knew that the only way to start her marriage with a clean and happy slate was to deal with the emotions that came up, leading to a book to help guide other brides through an often stressful process.

The biggest takeaway for me was that OF COURSE I was feeling different now that we were engaged. OF COURSE I was not as easygoing as before.  I was now viewing our relationship through the lens of forever.  Suddenly, his “cute” inability to discipline the dog wasn’t so cute.  “You mean I have to deal with this for decades?  And what does it mean for us when we have kids? Argh!”

The book also helped clarify for me the point of an engagement.  I’ve blogged about it before, but I didn’t really understand that the engagement period is a rite of passage guiding you from single life into coupledom.  Viewed from that perspective, everything on my to-do list took on new meaning, and suddenly it was all very exciting.

So, if you’re newly engaged and feeling a little lost — emotionally or otherwise — or if you’ve been engaged and it’s not feeling like you thought it would, buy the book. And if you find a good deal, let me know.  I can’t seem to find mine, and I’ve been looking for it for weeks!  Once I replace it, I’ll do a more in-depth review.

Unless anyone objects, I’ll be posting more book reviews over the course of my Weddingbee blogging, covering topics relevant to couples, from finance to relationships to (of course) weddings.  I’ve bought a whole shelf-ful (hi, I’m a nerd), some of which were more worth the bucks than others.

Do you have any recommendations for me or other brides?  Have you read this one?  How do you feel about book reviews?

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( 2 so far )

Renovating our venue

Posted on December 12, 2008. Filed under: venue | Tags: |

Crazy title, isn’t it?  It’s (fortunately or not) true.  Because we’re having our wedding at home (a decision that both excites me and gives me moments of panic), our home renovations are taking on an additional level of pressure.

Soon (I promise) I’ll take you on a photo tour of our slightly creepy and incredibly outdated home, but right now I want to do a little happy dance about a project that we just completed: updating the main bathroom! *happy dance, happy dance*

Here’s the Before and After:

Beforeandaftercollages

Before: four layers of laminate tiles, a ginormous toilet from before the dawn of time with a HUGE water tank, a fake wood vanity with an unattached (and crooked) sink, and a loose tub surround.  Oh, yea, and the Sears & Roebuck Co. medicine cabinet complete with attached sconces.  And did I mention the golfer painted on the lid of the toilet?

After: bungalow-style tile, modern and space-saving sink (and it’s attached!), Mr. Cheese’s backlit mirror design, a high-efficiency toilet, bright white tub surround, new plumbing (that doesn’t leak!), vinyl wainscoting, kicker and trim, and updated paint (Benjamin Moore, thankyouverymuch).

20082

Muddy Indiana* got the inaugural bath last night, and I took a wonderful bath there yesterday — it’s SO nice to have a bathroom on the main floor again (though we’ve been very thankful for the downstairs bathroom, let me tell ya).

Lessons learned:

– Laying tile is easy; getting the layout right is hard.

– CompromiseCompromiseCompromise (and sometimes wine).  He’s a perfectionist; I am all about getting it done.  Halfway through it occurred to me how incredibly stupid it was of me to argue AGAINST doing something better/ nicer/ prettier.  So I stopped.  And it took forever, but we’ll be happy with it for decades.

– Most grout sealers only last for 3 – 5 years.  THREE TO FIVE YEARS.  Who knew?  So, if you buy a new house, be ready to reseal your grout in a few years, and if you buy an old one, ask the owners when they last resealed it (and if they don’t know, do it ASAP, otherwise water leaks under the tiles and bad things happen).  We paid an exorbitant amount of money for the super-duper sealer that will last 15 years and I’m still bitter about it.

– House projects with your future husband are fun!  Well, okay, doing them is not so fun, but realizing that you are, in fact, capable of doing them together and that your children will one day make a watery mess in that very bathroom is pretty cool.

– (To make this wedding-related) The shelf right below the sink is perfect for a little toiletry kit and the wide hallway outside the bathroom is a good place to put a bench and some embarassing childhood snapshots in case there’s a line to use the facilities.

Would it be too cheesy to put a vertical line of three pics of us on that wall to the right of the window?  I have some great pictures of us making funny faces, but then I’ve heard people complain about other people’s houses that are plastered with pictures of them.

*This is Indiana Jones Jr., our six month old mutt puppy (probably German Shorthaired Pointer, definitely mixed with Tornado).

img_0118

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( 1 so far )

Fun and inexpensive gift ideas

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

I loved Miss Powder Puff’s post on inexpensive wedding gifts, and it got me thinking about other gifts that I’ve loved to receive that weren’t terribly expensive: magazine subscriptions! This year for Christmas, each member of my family is getting a magazine subscription – less pressure than picking out a book, less expensive than clothing they won’t wear anyway, and they’ll get a little gift every month all year long!  So, here are my contributions to the list of inexpensive gifts….

source

As an engagement gift, give bridal magazines: Martha Stewart Weddings, InStyle Weddings, Brides… or all three!  For $24, you get 6 issues of Brides, 6 issues of Modern Bride, AND 4 issues of Elegant Bride.  Throw in the other two ($16 for four issues of Martha Stewart, $5.99 per issue for InStyle Weddings) and you’re still under 50 bucks.  This would also make a fabulous holiday gift for an engaged friend.

As a wedding gift, how about nesting or shelter magazines: Domino, Real Simple, Martha Stewart Living or Food. Domino is only $10 for ten issues!! Real Simple has two subscriptions for the $24 price of one (send one to yourself)! Martha Stewart Living and Food are $24 and $12, respectively.

And, as someone who likes to cook but loves to eat, I can’t leave out the food magazines: Food & Wine…$20 for 12 issues, Gourmet… $12 for 12 issues, or Cook’s Illustrated… $25 for 6 issues.  I love all three (in fact, am drooling now from going to the websites), and I’ll mention that while CI seems expensive, it’s the most detailed of the bunch, with very easy to follow how-to’s.  You can throw in a second subscription for the non-cook of the couple, or consider it a joint gift (while I may be cooking, Mr. Cheese is certainly benefiting from the results!).

Or, for the couple: Money magazine… $15 for a year.  While there are quite a few financial magazines out there, this one consistently offers great topics for couples to discuss.

I’d buy the current issue of the magazine, include a card noting the gift subscription (and a list of my favorite relevant links… like Weddingbee!) and wrap it up with something useful – a mixing bowl or recipe box with the food mags, a throw or pillow with the shelter mags, or a pretty file folder (to hold clippings and inspiration photos) with the bridal mags.  Or, you could go simple: just the current magazine and a card.

{If you’re related to me and reading, consider this a hint!}

Do you give or receive magazines as gifts?  Any other ideas for inexpensive and thoughtful wedding (or holiday) gifts?  Share with the hive!

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )

Saving it until marriage…

Posted on December 10, 2008. Filed under: dreaming | Tags: |

source

Saving the holiday decorating, that is.  After Miss Powder Puff’s post about giving Christmas decorations as wedding gifts (fabulous idea, PP!), and my post mentioning “pre-nesting” as a downside of living together, I decided that we’ll save at least a few traditions for our year as newlyweds.  The mister agreed!  {I’m guessing that part of his ready agreement has to do with suddenly realizing how much time and effort goes into getting a tree, not to mention the decisions — fake or real, cut or live, themes or not, star or angel, breakable ornaments or not, etc, etc!}

I love getting ready for Christmas.  I like to make hot chocolate, put something yummy in the oven for dinner, play holiday tunes (my favorite playlists all come from Starbucks!), and wrestle with the tree.  It’ll be fun to talk with each other about holiday memories and crazy family and traditions we’d like to have with our new family, so we’re going to wait until after we’re married.  Oh, and then we can have a tree trimming party!!

What newlywed traditions (or activities) are you looking forward to or saving for after the big day?

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )

Honesty

Posted on December 9, 2008. Filed under: screw-ups | Tags: |

I thought I knew, long ago when I was planning my first wedding, why people got divorced.  My parents were divorced.  Many of my relatives were divorced. I didn’t have any friends that were divorced, but that’s just because I was young, too young for anyone to have been married yet, much less divorced.

I thought that people got divorced because they weren’t right for each other.  I thought that people got divorced because they grew apart, or because they wanted different things out of life. I thought that people weren’t good companions, or had different ideas of what was fun, or just didn’t like each other very much.  I thought that people got divorced because they weren’t realistic about marriage — that they didn’t think about divorce when they decided to get married, didn’t think it would happen to them, didn’t imagine that it could happen to them.

And so, I thought about it, a lot.  I considered whether he was the right man for me, tested our ability to stick it out once the masks came off, was comforted that we knew each other really well and had the same goals and dreams.  Most of the reasons that I thought people got divorced had to do with the beginning of their relationship (reread the paragraph above and you’ll see that it’s true).  Did you pick the right person?  Did you consider the alternatives?  Do you know where you want to go (and does he, and are they the same place)?

I was wrong.

We got divorced not because we were wrong for each other (though that’s the comforting thought that I retreated to for years), we got divorced because we forgot that love is a verb, not a noun, and that it’s most important when it’s hardest.  We got divorced because we pushed apart instead of pulling together, in hundreds of little ways that added up.  We got divorced because we thought that if the big things were in place, the little things didn’t matter… but they do, even more, because those little things are what make your life what it is.  And me, I also got divorced because I couldn’t, wouldn’t ask for the solace and comfort that I needed, didn’t set aside my sense of self-preservation to be loved.

Success in a relationship is a tough and sometimes lonely road, and failure is often easier to justify.  I know this, having done both.  Failing at being a good partner feels better.  I can convince you — and myself — that I was justified in not forgiving, in not forgetting, in not being understood or loved.  I can go to lunch with a girlfriend and we’ll talk about how horrible and wrong he’s been, how insensitive, how unthoughtful.  And it might even be true.  But being a successful partner means accepting that, and forgiving, and loving, and choosing to stay and fight for us rather than doing what feels good, even when it’s best for me as an individual or when pushing away can be justified.

I thought that being married would mean I’d never be lonely, and so when I was, I thought it was my marriage that was the problem and not my expectations.  I thought that if the big things were in place, the little ones wouldn’t matter, when in fact those little things are dangerously capable of pushing you away from the one you love.  Nothing is too small to be a threat.  I thought that venting my frustrations and looking for solace in other people was okay, and it might have been, had I also been able to go to my husband and ask for comfort.  I thought that asking for what I needed meant that something was wrong, but that’s part of growing up — knowing and asking for what you need, because people aren’t mind readers.

Talking to your fiance about everything before you get married is good and necessary.  Making sure that you know him well and are compatible is important.  Thinking ahead and envisioning what you might do or say during the tough times will help.  But in the end, being married is a daily commitment, to honesty and fairness, to submission of some of your individuality to the needs of your family, to enough maturity and trust to ask for something you need.  There are times that you want to rail against the unfairness of what is, and you can, but you must also accept that whether it should be isn’t the question – it’s what you’ll do next that’s important.  Or else divorces happen.

If I could go back, I would tell myself this: you must believe that there is no such thing as divorce, that you will get through the tough times together, that he will be his best if you are your best, and if you’re not, you will be again.  Relationships are sometimes a game of chicken, with either of you waiting for the other to do the hard thing first.  Whether you think it’s right or fair, you be the one to do the hard thing first.  Be willing to hope and try and get your heart broken, because it will be, even though you’re married, it will; but this man can help you heal the hurt if you let him.  If you feel that you must make a choice, make it be about how you’ll recover together, not about whether you’ll recover together.  Vow to get help when things get bad, even if you don’t think you need it.  It’s not being disloyal; it’s being human.  And give yourself time.  Nothing will ever be as bad as it might seem in the moment, and if it takes a bit of loneliness to make it through, you can handle it.  Print your vows and display them where you can see them when things get tough, and use them as a meditation or prayer if you need to.  You’re loved, and you will love in return.  You must believe.

{This is not the complete story, of course.  It can’t be, since you don’t know me or my ex-husband, and blog posts are not books.  I try to distill specific “do not’s” out of my failed marriage as I prepare for my new one, and this is just one of them.}

I’m not going to end with a question on this post.  Feel free to comment if you agree or disagree, to ask follow-up questions; or because you can relate… or not.  It’s okay either way.  It’s a tough subject, after all.

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( 1 so far )

On shacking up

Posted on December 7, 2008. Filed under: reality | Tags: |

Okay, I realize that this is a controversial topic, and I’m bringing it up not to judge anyone who’s already made the decision, but because once upon a time I was faced with that decision, and I Googled the heck out of it to get some perspective.  This post is an attempt to offer my experience to anyone in that position, Googling “living together” or “engaged before living together” or “cohabitation.”  I’m going to leave out any reasons that aren’t specific to living together before marriage (like “waking up next to the one you love is awesome” — it is, but marriage isn’t necessarily a factor there).

Five reasons I wish we didn’t live together:

  1. I worry that we get into habits that I don’t want us to continue after marriage, simply because we let them happen by default.  Let me explain: before we were engaged, we still sometimes danced around uncomfortable topics because we didn’t want to “jinx it” (yea, yea, that’s my explanation, anyway).  It feels like before I knew it, I was always the one cleaning up the kitchen.  I wonder if, had we waited to cohabitate, we might have discussed those kinds of things first.
  2. Pre-nesting happens.  We are fixing up our house while trying to plan a wedding and it can get overwhelming.  Also, we are holding off on buying things that we registered for, but sometimes you have to break down and buy a rolling pin, you know?  I think it might have been more fun to move in together after our wedding and then start nesting.
  3. Impatience.  My biological clock has started ticking (freaked me the heck out when I first lusted after someone’s baby at an airport!) and because we already live together, I find myself wishing that we were married already so we could start talking about babies.
  4. Roommates.  We have a roommate, and I’ll just say I haven’t had a roommate in like a decade (that’sallI’msayingaboutit).  If we’d waited until we were married, we undoubtedly would not have a roommate (who wants to live with a married couple?).
  5. We had to have some uncomfortable discussions about money and file a ton of paperwork to protect each other in case something happened.  As far as I know, in every state your spouse has a legal and financial right to your stuff if something happens to you, but no such thing happens if you’re not.  So, we had to update our beneficiaries on our life insurance, and we should have (but haven’t) gotten power of attorneys and stuff like that.
  6. {This one’s a bonus reason…} Wedding dresses (and underwear and veils and such) are hard to hide, as is wedding gossip between a girl and her MOH.

Five reasons I’m glad we live together:

  1. It’s more fun and normal and easy than I thought it would be.  I’m the one who has trouble with the idea of commitment, so living together reassured me that life together would be great — because it is.
  2. We figured out the toothpaste situation.  Long, long ago I read an article about compromise that stuck with me.  One person was frustrated that the other never put the cap on the toothpaste.  The solution? Two tubes of toothpaste!  We figured out that as long as we buy the toothpaste with the flip cap, one of us (*cough* Mr. Cheese *cough*) will actually remember to close it.  Essentially, the little things that drive us nuts are getting worked out as we go, without the added pressure of being “newlyweds.”
  3. We’re learning to merge our finances before the stress of saving for our wedding really hits.
  4. Projects (even/ especially wedding projects) can go late into the night before we fall into bed in exhaustion without anyone having to drive home.
  5. We could theoretically be saving money.  In our case, we’re not (we’ve kept his house as well as the new one) but there could be financial benefits.  I don’t think that’s a great primary reason to live together, but it is a nice side benefit.

Initially I wanted to wait until we were engaged before living together, but this house became available and practical considerations changed my mind.  I did wish that we’d waited until we were engaged — I think I would have felt more “legitimate” when we moved in, but that’s just me.  We were certain we’d be getting married when we bought the house, though, just no ring. 🙂

By the way, if you’re considering living together before getting married, I recommend this book:

Shacking Up: The Smart Girl’s Guide to Living in Sin Without Getting Burned

This article on MSN Money is good reading, too: “Protect Your Finances When You Move In Together.”

Will you share your experiences?  Did you wait to be engaged before living together? Did you move in together before being engaged?  Did you wait to live together until after you got married?  Why or why not?

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( 2 so far )

Things that are better since being engaged

Posted on December 5, 2008. Filed under: life is good |

I was working on a sewing project last night (I know, I still haven’t told you about it, but it’s because I’m not finished yet!) and I noticed how much I enjoyed pinning fabric, which I usually hate, because I liked the way my engagement ring sparkled when I spread my left hand to hold the pieces in place.  It got me thinking about other things that are better since we’ve been engaged.

  1. Meals with the future in-laws.  My fiance’s family is very small and very close, so I tended to feel like an intruder when I joined them for meals, especially for special occasions.  Since we’ve been engaged, I’ve felt less like an interloper.  Mr. Cheese and I have noticed that we’ve had more fun with them lately, and I wonder if this is why?
  2. Home improvement.  Rather than working on projects for the sake of temporary aesthetics (I was a happy renter before we bought this house), we’re now “building a home together.”  Every decision has more meaning, from paint (is it washable?) to bathroom tiles (will children slip on them?), so I’m enjoying the decision-making much more than before.
  3. Cooking.  This is likely one of my strange quirks (there are many), but before we were engaged, I only had fun cooking for us if it was an elaborate meal.  That’s how you cook for your boyfriend, right?  You try to impress him!  Now that we’re engaged, deciding what we’ll be eating each day is fun because the pressure’s off (and also, I’m lucky enough to have a man that could care less what he eats, but enjoys the heck out of it once it’s in front of him).
  4. Dinner with the neighbors.  We live on a fabulous street with very close neighbors who have twice-yearly block parties, among other things.  The mister already lived on this street before we bought our house together, and I always felt a bit like a temporary resident.  Everyone else is either married* (seriously) or comes solo, so I was the exception.  Now, I’m not… we’re official!!
  5. Sewing.  I like to look at my sparkly ring, and it keeps me from hating sewing so much.

I’ll keep updating this list as I think of or discover more things.  What have you found to be more fun or enjoyable since you got engaged?

*We have a couple of same sex couples on the street, and I count them as married for this purpose (even though they can’t be — don’tgetmestarted).

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )

« Previous Entries

    About

    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.

    RSS

    Subscribe Via RSS

    • Subscribe with Bloglines
    • Add your feed to Newsburst from CNET News.com
    • Subscribe in Google Reader
    • Add to My Yahoo!
    • Subscribe in NewsGator Online
    • The latest comments to all posts in RSS

    Meta

Liked it here?
Why not try sites on the blogroll...