Looking for me?

Still interested in keeping up with me and my life "after the aisle"?
Come visit me on my new blog, Heather Drive. I hope to see you all on the other side!

Friday, February 29, 2008

Semi-Complete Floor Project

Well, Thursday and Friday brought some bad news and unexpected hurdles for us in terms of our floor project. Thursday was our first day with our contractor, who was scheduled to put in the floor.

As I mentioned in a post earlier this week, we found some rotten subfloor near our sliding glass door, and thought we may have to replace it. After further discussion and evaluation, Michael and I had come to conclusion that we should just replace it--it was looking like if we were going to do it, now is the time. So we told the contractor that. Only one problem--the weather. Thursday and Friday were going to be freezing. Way too cold to have a huge hole in the wall, and way too cold to ask someone to do such work outside.

The contractor came on Thursday morning as scheduled, just to see what could be done, and to see the rotten subfloor himself. He agreed that the subfloor needs to be replaced in that section, and that we should replace the door. However, he had even worse news--because of the way the siding is put on our house, parts of the siding need to be removed in order to put in a new door. And because the siding is vinyl, it cannot be removed in cold weather because it becomes very brittle and could break. So we need to wait for 2-3 consecutive 50+ degree days until we can replace the sliding glass door. And that means the floor can't be finished until then, either. We are in waiting mode with that--we'll just be watching the weather report, but it's likely it won't be able to be done until at least end of March or early April. We'll see. Weather around here can be quite unpredictable.

The good news was that he was able to get enough done so that our space is still liveable. He was able to put in the new floor throughout the whole kitchen area, and a small portion of the dining area as well. That way, we were able to get our appliances back in. We're disappointed about the delay in finishing the whole project, but we're really pleased with how the floor looks in the kitchen. And the wait is really not inconveniencing us too much--the only thing that we weren't able to put back in its place is the dining room table. It's currently in the middle of the living room. But we'll make do.

Anyway, here are some photos from Thursday and Friday, and how it looks now that we have everything back in place in the kitchen!
Mid floor installation.
From the opposite direction. We have that cardboard box up to block off the unfinished portion of the floor. We have to be extra careful not to walk over there because we may inadvertantly damage the locking mechanism on the floor that is already down. The contractor indicated he'd be really pissed if we messed it up. So it's essentially off-limits for us.

The new wine rack location--it used to be next the refrigerator, where the pantry cabinet is now. We went to the liquor store to restock it. :)

With all of the appliances back in.

The transition from the carpet in the living room into the new floor.

Where the floor ends.

The forbidden area. Hopefully we get to see this part finished soon!

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

"Soooo big!"

Michael's sister, brother-in-law, and our nephew came to visit on Saturday. And boy, the baby is certainly getting big. And his favorite little game seems to be the whole, "How big is Brendan? Soooooo big!" He is too damn cute.

Here we are, playing:
I love his little face. He is so damn cute, I could just eat him up.

Here is Michael's birthday present from baby Brendan--"World's Coolest Uncle":
At dinner, Melissa was feeding him his cereal and they wanted him to try applesauce for the first time. It was actually his first taste of fruit. Apparently you start with vegetables first so you can properly condition the palette. If you feed fruit first and get them used to it, all vegetables are going to taste nasty and bland following the fruit.
He was hilarious. The faces he made were priceless. He kept squinting his eyes together and making faces as if the applesauce was too tart. So cute and funny. Here are a few pics of him enjoying (or becoming traumatized by) his applesauce and cereal:

Melissa can get him to smile in almost every photo she takes of him now. It is adorable. Brendan and me--such a happy picture:
Almost the whole family in the living room playing with Brendan: for "tummy time":
Michael and me--less than four months to go now!

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

A whole new look

So what do you think?

When I first started the blog, I sort of threw it together. It has been several months now, and I was growing tired of the same old look, so I decided to give it a facelift. I'll probably do it again after the wedding--at least change the header to include some actual wedding pics, once we get them back.

For now, I like it... it's refreshing!

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Total Destruction

And... we're off! The kitchen project is underway.

We started at about 9:00 a.m. this morning. Our friends came over at 10:15 to help, and then my brother was over at 11. The other brother was over around 12:30 or 1:00. Then my mom was over at 3:00 or 4:00. It was crazy. My brothers went home around 6:00 (I think?) and Michael and I finally called it quits for the night around 8:30 p.m. Bless my family and friends... seriously, they helped so much. We owe them big time.

Here are a few photos from throughout the day...

Tyler and Michael, starting to peel back the carpet to get it out of there. They had fun throwing it over our balcony. Luckily, there were no unsuspecting neighbors walking below.

Goodbye, carpet.
The lovely subfloor.
The kitchen, beginning its own transformation. That is actually one of our countertops/cabinets right there in the middle of the shot. Back when we first moved in, we had to install it over the linoleum because of its size. We uninstalled it to get the linoleum out, and then we will put it back on the subfloor--it will finally be the same height as the cabinets on the other side!

Tyler, ripping up the linoleum. Fun times.

New light fixture in the dining area... yea! I think Tyler and Trevor are fixing creaking floor boards in this shot. Either that, or just ripping out/hammering down staples.
The new pantry cabinet. What a bear that thing was to put together and install. But it is done! I can't wait to see what it looks like once all of our appliances and things are back in place. So much extra storage!
A wide shot of the total destruction. The floor guy comes on Thursday. We have to live with this for three days. Not fun.
We had to relocate all of our appliances off of the floor where the wood laminate is going to be installed. As a result, our living room looks like this. On the left is our washer and dryer. On the right, in the back, is our refrigerator. It's interesting to go get your milk and juice out of a refrigerator in the living room. I'm not a great housekeeper, and I'm not even a clean freak, but this sight totally aggravates whatever OCD I may have. It's maddening. I cannot wait for it to be done and have everything put back in its place.

Our only real roadblock (so far) is that we found some rotting subfloor next to our sliding glass door that leads out to our balcony. The sliding glass door is original to the condo (built in '73, I think?), so it technically needs to go. It is very drafty. But we weren't planning on replacing it... at least not now. However, the contractor told me on the phone tonight that if we have rotting subfloor inside, it is most likely rotted underneath the sliding glass door, too. And he said to cut away the rot from the inside and leave the rot underneath the door is not structurally sound. Lovely. You have to love unexpected costs associated with these home improvement projects, don't you? But isn't that always the way it goes?

We won't know anything for sure until he comes on Thursday, but we're preparing ourselves for the worst case scenario. We'll be going to Home Depot tomorrow night to pick out a sliding glass door just in case.

Catching Up

I spent a good part of last week in bed with some kind of flu virus. I was home from work both Wednesday and Thursday. Luckily, it was a relatively short-lived little bug (thank you, immune system!) and I was good to go by the weekend (which was busy).

Anyway, I have several blog postings that I wanted to get up last week but didn't have the chance. So I'm going to back-date a few posts--scroll down for a few new ones!

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Calm before the storm

We are starting our kitchen project tomorrow. Why we decided we needed this extra stress right now, I'm not sure. It's going to be awesome when it's done, though.
We are ripping out our floors in the kitchen (linoleum) and dining area (carpet) to put down wood laminate in their place. Also, we are adding a pantry cabinet on the other side of the refrigerator to add more storage (will come in handy for the wedding gifts!). Other than that, we are just doing a few other cosmetic things... new molding along the floor in the kitchen, finishing off some countertop things that we didn't do when we first installed it 2.5 years ago, etc. Oh, and we're replacing the light fixture in the dining room. It's so ugly--I have no idea why we didn't replace it when we first moved in. We replaced every other light fixture in the house... why not that one?

Anyway, the house is a mess because we've already started some prep stuff, but here are some photos we took tonight to serve as "before" photos:

From our dining area, looking into the kitchen. Both the carpet and the linoleum there will be GONE! We also want to get a new dining room table, but will likely wait until after the wedding (even though it will be KILLING me! I want to replace it so badly).

A closer shot of the kitchen floor. Nothing in particular that is wrong with it. It's not even that ugly. I just hate linoleum, and we've lived with it long enough.

A wide shot of the dining area/kitchen. The new pantry cabinet (24" wide) will go to the right of the refrigerator there, where the wine rack and Tessa's crate is in this photo.

The demolition crew (AKA family and friends) comes tomorrow morning. Should be an action-packed day.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Banners, banners everywhere

I've officially stopped taking orders for February, March, April, May, June, and July 2008 weddings. I just can't handle any more projects that need to be completed before my own wedding. However, that still leaves me with many projects to complete that were previously ordered. My goal is to get them all done by the end of March so that I can officially concentrate on our wedding.

Right now, I'm in the crunch stage--trying to get all of these projects done in the next several weeks. Last weekend, I began tackling four banners. I've found that it's easier if I do batches at one time. I have to do the cutting, the trimming, the ribbon edging, etc. and I might as well do several all at once instead of doing seeing each project completely through one at a time.

So I did all of the measuring and cutting and attached the ribbon to all four banners last weekend. All that was left to do was the painting. Which is sometimes easier said than done. This week, throughout being busy and being sick, I managed to someone paint all four banners, which are now ready to go. I'll be shipping them out on Monday.

First one was a monogram banner for Vicki, who is getting married in a few weeks. She sent me the monogram (I did not design it), and I painted it for her:

Next are three bride banners. This one is for Sandy, who is getting married on March 29 (black ribbon edging, ivory muslin):

This one is for Christy, who is getting married in May. It is pretty much the same as Sandy's (above), but it is on white muslin instead of ivory:

Finally, here is one for Holly, who is getting married on April 4:

Many more to come soon!

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

The sound of music

Last night, we went and met with a pianist/organist who is a possibility for our ceremony. Our church gave us a list of musicians we can use, so we could always go with one of them. However, the guy we met with is in Michael's martial arts class, so we figured we would meet with him and go from there.

The meeting was pretty uneventful. He played us some of the music choices for the different processionals (mothers, bridesmaids, bride), and recessional, plus some prelude music, unity candle, etc. We didn't make any final choices. Oh, except for the choice for which there was no consideration... "Canon in D." I have always wanted to walk down the aisle to "Canon in D." Overdone? Perhaps. But I don't care. There's something about the song that just makes me feel so... bridal.

I told the pianist and I wanted to use "Canon in D" so of course he began playing it.

A few weeks ago, someone asked me whether I thought I would cry coming down the aisle, or during the vows, or at any time on the wedding day. I said, honestly, that I wasn't sure--it could go either way. I thought perhaps I would be so nervous/excited that I wouldn't cry. Or I could be a complete mess.

Well, if last night's meeting with the musician was any indication--I'll be a complete mess.

We were sitting behind him while he was playing, and as soon as he started with the "Canon in D," I got all teary-eyed. I looked at Michael, who I think was surprised by my sudden emotional reaction, and with a cracking voice, I said, "this makes me cry!"

Oh, those photos are going to be lovely. Can you imagine "the ugly cry"? Picture it in your head.

That's me.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

450 cuts = $4

Last week, we finally printed out our invitations. I designed them in Microsoft Publisher a few months ago. We printed them two to a page, and I knew from the beginning that there was not a chance I was going to cut them all myself. Not just that, but we will have inserts (3-4 per invite) that will need to be cut, too. That's way too much cutting for my little Fiskars to handle. I wanted really clean, straight lines. I also didn't want to spend the HOURS and HOURS it would take to do them all myself.

We have a copy center at work. I called down and asked how much it would cost to cut 75 sheets of paper (for 150 copies of the invitation), and sent a PDF of the document so she could see how many cuts it would take. She got back to me and said $4. I said, DEAL.

So I dropped them off at the copy center downstairs from my office, and picked them up the next morning. And they turned out fantastically. I was a little bit worried handing it off (worried about straight lines, words getting cut off, etc.) but it turned out the slight anxiety was for nothing.

By my calculations, that $4 saved me from making a total of 450 cuts.

Next up: the pocketfold inserts!

Monday, February 18, 2008

Decisions, decisions

Some things were easy to register for. Other things? Not so much.

One of the most difficult decisions to make has been the dinnerware. We are not registering for fine china because frankly, we have no use for it, and more than that, we have no place to store it. So we want to replace our cheap Target dishes with something better.

Currently, we have a light green/dark blue theme going on in our house. In these photos, you can see the wall color (which is the same throughout the "common areas" of the house), and couch color (the couch can be seen from the kitchen and dining area).

We are hoping to get rid of that dining room table right after the wedding. Anyway...

Michael is pretty neutral on this stuff, so I am going back and forth between three different sets of dinnerware. All are microwave/dishwasher safe, and they are relatively the same price. What's a girl to do?

Option #1 - "Misto" Dinnerware at Bed Bath & Beyond

Pros: I like that you can mix and match the shapes. We like the round dinner plates with the square salad plates. Each piece is sold individually (at $5.99 or $6.99 a piece), so it's easy for guests to buy whatever is in their budget.

Cons: In person, the color on each piece is not really consistent. It seemed like some where a lot lighter than others. Not exactly the color I was looking for, but pretty. Also unknown about the durability of this stuff--I've heard of some possible chipping problems, but not sure of the validity of that. No matching/coordinating serving pieces.

Option #2 - "Colorwave Quad" Dinnerware at Bed Bath & Beyond

Pros: I like the color, and the shape. It's "stoneware," so technically speaking, it should be more durable. Very "clean" looking. Has a few serving pieces that go with the set.

Cons: Too heavy? They have more of a "modern" look--will they go out of style? Not as classic? They are sold in sets of four place settings--not sure if that is a con, or actually a pro.

Option #3 - "Fiestaware" at Macy's

With this stuff, I'm not really sure what we would do. I was thinking of possibly mixing up the colors. Maybe getting four place settings in the cobalt (dark blue, top), and four place settings in the turquoise (greenish-blue, bottom). Or, maybe all eight in cobalt. Hmmm.

Pros: I like that you can mix and match the colors. I also really like the colors themselves. Many great reviews on the Macy's website, seems everyone thinks they are really durable--will last for years. Easy to find replacement pieces. Many, many matching serving pieces, placemats, etc. to go along with them.

Cons: Not sure which direction to go with the colors. Also, over time, will we get sick of the colors?

Anyone out there? Thoughts? Opinions? I could use some help making a decision.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Heather called. She wants her life back.

There are 128 days. Only 128 more days until we finally get married, and throw a hell of a party with our family and friends. Arguably, it could be the best day of our lives (exciting). Only 130 days until we leave for almost two weeks in Hawaii, which will likely be the vacation of a lifetime (so fun). Only 127 days to get everything done that needs to be done (scary). Time is certainly ticking.

But not fast enough.

At least not today. Because at this point, I have 128 days until I GET MY LIFE BACK.

People keep telling me to enjoy the engagement, enjoy the wedding planning process, etc. And don't get me wrong--it has been fun. It's exciting to look forward to our "big day," and it's been romantic, in a lot of ways, to go through this together.


The last few days, I've just started to think about what life used to be like before the time crunch started. When we used to wake up in the morning on a Saturday and ask each other, "what do you want to do today?" "I don't know, what do you want to do?" Or when after work during the week, our biggest challenge was figuring out what we were going to make for dinner, and what TV we were going to watch. Maybe we had a few leisurely errands to run. But overall, we had FREE TIME.

Now, every week, it is something different for the wedding. Or projects for someone else's wedding. These projects and tasks seriously eat into our (mostly my) free time. When I have a day or an evening when I don't accomplish something in particular, I feel stressed about it.

For the longest time, we felt busy with wedding stuff, but there really wasn't that much that we had to do. Once we had all of the big things booked, it felt like all we were doing was waiting around for the day to get here. Then December (holiday rush!) hit, then January, and now February. All hell has broken loose.

And as fun as it is, and as excited as I am, there is a big part of me that is just really ready for all of this to be over.

Looking back, I am tremendously grateful for something. I am so glad we chose a June wedding date. When we first got engaged, we talked about a wedding "sometime" in the summer of 2008. I was leaning heavily toward June or September. Ultimately, we decided June was better because of my work schedule. But my other reason, I told Michael, was because I wanted to "get it over with" so we could enjoy at least part of the summer.

Thank God for my foresight.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Program Mock-up

I finally got around to making a full mock-up of our programs. I had been working on the content of the pages for a while, on and off. The wording and positioning and everything on each page still needs some work, but it's basically all in place.

This is a really ROUGH mock-up. I'm going to make several changes for the final version.

The front cover. The name seal thing ended up being too big for my taste when I actually pasted it on there. I'm also not sure how I'm going to end up tying the ribbon. First, I might use 1/8" ribbon instead of 1/4". Secondly, I might just tie it in a knot instead of a bow.

Inside the front cover and the title page.

The wedding party pages.

The ceremony. This is the centerfold page... and I don't like how the ribbon is so thick. I'm hoping the 1/8" ribbon will be better. We'll see.

Left page contains both of our readings so people can follow along. The right is our "In Loving Memory" page.

Last page, thank yous to our parents, friends, and family.
I'm pretty happy with the way it came out. I want to make the inside pages a little bit bigger so that they are closer to the size of the cover. I also need to figure out the best way to print double-sided... the way I did it this time, the "cut" marks did not line up the same way on both sides so I ended up having the edges of the words cut off on some pages, where there was extra space on others. I'll have to play around with it. Finally, I need to figure out a better way to punch the holes for the ribbon. My hole punch only goes so far in, and I ended up making marks in the blue paper by trying to get the hole punch in as far as it would go. Oops.

Just another DIY project to refine and complete.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Finally ordered the veil

I don't know why the veil was such a difficult decision for me. Maybe because I totally brushed them off whenever we were in the bridal stores shopping for dresses. I knew from the beginning there was no way I was ever going to purchase one in the store, so I figured why even look?

Then I ended up ordering my dress from New Jersey, delivered right to my house. So no other opportunities to try on my dress with any veils.

After receiving advice on The Knot, as well as looking at bio after bio with photos of brides' dresses and their veils, I finally made a decision and placed the order. I ordered from Occansey Designs. I heard great things about them, and I love how they customize every veil they make. I found their website easy to work with, and their prices are really reasonable, so I took the plunge.

I heard that the general rule of thumb is: the veil should stop (in length) where you want the eye to stop. Because the back of my dress has some details that I don't want "lost" behind the veil, I decided to go with a longer veil. Since I'm not 100% sure where I'm going to position the veil on my head (I suspect under the hair, but am going to wait until the hair trial to decide), I ended up ordering a custom length--40". Normal fingertip length is 42". I ordered the veil in diamond white to match the dress, with matching pencil edging. I chose for it to be a single layer, "cascading cut," and with custom fullness at the comb--the width at the comb will be 54" instead of the full 72", which will make it not as "poofy" at the comb. I splurged and threw in the extra $6 to get a metal comb instead of a plastic one because I've heard that they stay in place better. Total cost of the veil was $42.98, including shipping.

Since the veil I ordered was custom, I don't have a picture of it (I'll post an update once I get it). But here is one that is VERY similar from the Occansey website. In fact, I sort of modeled my veil after this example.

Front view -- this one has pearl details along the edge, which mine obviously won't have. Also, it has a SILVER pencil edge instead of matching, and is standard fullness at the comb.
Side view -- this picture really helps to show how long it is going to be.

This photo is what made me decide to go with the cascading edges. I just love how it falls down the back and has the "wavy" sides.

I'm still a little nervous about having ordered it without knowing exactly how it will look with my dress, but I'm trying to stay confident that it doesn't really matter all that much. I only plan to wear the veil for the ceremony and photos--at the reception, off it comes!

My bridal attire is definitely coming together... I still need to make my DIY earrings to match my necklace, and I need to figure out what I'm going to do in terms of a garter(s), but I think that is it! I also need to get an appointment for my alterations--probably just a hem (although I fought so hard to try not to need one!) and a bustle. I called this morning and left a message with the woman, so it's just a matter of time now.