Saturday, April 28, 2012

NFP & Marriage

I thought I'd give an NFP update now that I'm married. Stop laughing! I know I've only been married 14 days! :P

Right before the wedding, my sister mentioned that I hadn't blogged about NFP much lately, so I gave her an update, but didn't have time to update the rest of you. Part of it was because I was super busy with the wedding, and part is because I go back and forth about having the nerve to write really personal thing son such a public forum. My latest feeling is that I want to share it because I've benefited so much from reading personal stories and experiences of other women. I just cringe at the thought of someone finding my blog and learning something they really don't want to know about me... and that I don't want them to know about me! But I did a 12 second cost/benefit analysis in my head and I feel like it's worth the risk.

The update? Don't have a 10 day luteal phase and then be around 3 women who are on their periods the day before your wedding. You know that thing about your cycles regulating with your close girlfriends? Not sure how true it is, but I do know that I had my first 8 day luteal phase ever. So yes, I started my period on the wedding day (Beth Anne, I hate to confirm your worst fears, lol!). And to answer the question you may or may not want to ask, yes, I'm going to be treated for my short luteal phase. It's on the low end of normal, but since I have PCOS the doctor wants to go ahead and lengthen it a bit. I have a progesterone injection scheduled for Monday (at $40 a pop and a two hour round trip drive to get it, I certainly hope he switches over to a different form!).

Back to the wedding day period, I kind of got over it for that day. Nothing, not even our videographer not showing up (details coming soon to a blog near you), could mess up that day, so it wasn't the tragedy I thought it would be. Luckily it was a fairly light day, so I didn't have to panic all day. Diva cup, for the win because I knew I had 12 hours tops, and only went about 8 hours between checking it. I refused to check it while in the dress. Usually my first day is pretty heavy, so I was beyond pleased.

But back to that marriage part of NFP. You know one of the beauties of NFP? It's not "breaking the rules" if you and your husband talk about it and agree. Ok, maybe it's breaking the rules if you talk about it in the heat of the moment and then later want to slap yourselves, but luckily we haven't let that happen. We talked and talked and talked some more, and then decided to do a wee bit of rule bending on the honeymoon. I told Steven that my only requirement was that we were both able to say that we would be overjoyed if God gave us a baby. Though we knew the chances were very slim for many reasons (PCOS being one, me not usually ovulating until day 30-33 being another, etc), I didn't want us going into it saying "We can bend the rules this time because our chart history shows we probably won't get pregnant". We had to go into it saying "we are going to bend the rules and we accept that there is a slim chance it could result in a baby and, if it does, we would be happy". Of course it will be a conversation that we have every month, but the plan right now is that we only bent the rules because it was our honeymoon but won't be a regular occurrence for us.

You guys seriously weren't kidding when you have talked about how much using NFP increases communication. We were having some pretty deep discussions about 24 hours after our wedding, discerning if we felt comfortable going outside the guidelines (which sounds way better than 'breaking the rules'). I already knew I loved using NFP, but I really didn't expect to see the benefits one day into our marriage! I'm not saying it's been easy, but some parts of it have actually been fun. We have the 'every other day' rule throughout our whole cycle for various reasons, and it's created excitement and anticipation. Now ask me again after 9-14 days. I'm sure I'll be slightly less gung ho!

And because I have sooooooooooo many wedding pictures I want to share and this post had the word 'marriage' in it, here ya go!

 This picture looks cool, but was a bit of a nightmare to get. Not only could I not move in that direction in that dress, but I also felt like Steven was going to drop me because I couldn't feel his hand through the dress. So I spent the majority of this shot with a scared look on my face, but the pros managed to get a beautiful shot out of it. I love, love, love our photographers. I told Steven I want to get pictures of Buttercup done just so I can hang out with them again.  We will definitely use them for maternity/baby shots in the future.

 I love this picture because it's not traditional, but even more because, in a few years, the Cathedral will move and this sign won't be there anymore. One day, our kids can look at this and tell us how old we are since we got married when this church was still the Cathedral! 

Our getaway car was one of my most favorite parts of the day! I felt like royalty!

Friday, April 27, 2012

7 Quick Takes- Wedding Photos!

Life has not slowed down one bit since we got back from the honeymoon. I'm not complaining, just giving you my perfectly legitimate excuse why my 7 quick takes have no words this week.... only pictures! I can't say these are my 7 favorite photos, because we received 898 amazing photos this week. But I can say that these are 7 of my favorite photos!

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For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Wedding Memories

How in the world could I post everything that I want to post about the wedding and honeymoon? I'm sure I can't, but I'll try! These posts may be ridiculously long, but I'm writing them more for me to have in the future, so don't feel you have to wade completely through them!

Someone (I can't remember who and am too lazy to dig through posts/comments) said that after their wedding, they wrote down little details they thought of and loved having it, because they were the types of things you are sure to forget later on. We loved that idea, and started it in the airport around 5am the day after the wedding. We also added some honeymoon things to the list, but dropped the list a few days in, in favor of making a photo log so we remembered the details behind some of the pictures we took. I'm going to do an individual wedding post (once I get some pro pics back) and a honeymoon post, with some of the 240(!) pics I posted on facebook, but this will just be part of the list we made. Organizing my posts for myself on 'paper' here- special wedding moments (check), special reception moments, special honeymoon moments, bridal party bachelorette day post, general wedding post, general honeymoon post. I reserve the right to not write any, or write even more than is listed here :). Remember how I said I'd be back to normal posts after the wedding? Ok, maybe in a few weeks!

We took this picture with the timer feature on my camera after we got back to the hotel. I don't know why exactly, but I just love it! I made us sit in our wedding clothes for a while because I was sad about taking them off lol! Steven looked so handsome in his vest and tie, and I loved my dress and wanted to keep wearing it.

Special wedding moments:

  • People honking and screaming when they saw me come out of the hotel and get in the limo. Again, later when Steven and I were having pictures made in front of the church and the reception site, and when we were in the getaway car on the way to the hotel. It made it feel real because people who didn't know us were excited for us!
  • When we pulled up to the church in the limo, and I saw guests outside taking pictures. It all began to come together that this was my wedding day and all these people were here to support us!
  • This might seem silly, but we both really loved that the daughter of one of the wedding committee members (who attended both the rehearsal and wedding, hung out in the back and was SO quiet and good) got really excited when they asked if I wanted the tulle pew bows and I said no. She immediately took them off the pews talking about plans for a skirt... I loved that they were getting repurposed and not thrown away!
  • We had our altar arrangements (which I think were beautiful, but I can't wait to see pics because I didn't get a good look!), but the church was still decked out in Easter lilies! They were all over the altar and we were really excited for the extra, free flowers! Plus, I love Easter (who doesn't?) and it will always serve as a reminder that we were married in the Easter season.
  • The Deacon made just enough jokes to put everyone at ease, but still kept the ceremony sacred. We had responses to give at the beginning, which no one had warned us about and so we had NO clue what to say (yes?, we will?, we do?) so we were both really quiet with our responses, and he made a joke about no one being able to hear us. It actually helped calm both of us down. Later he made a joke about Steven needing to hold my hands because there was some line in the prayer he was about to say that was about holding each other's hands. I don't know why, but we were slightly awkward hand holders during the non-vows standing part.
  • I didn't cry down the aisle, which shocked me since I cried about 10 times on the wedding morning, but I did almost lose it when I was hiding in the choir loft stair well and heard the cantor begin Ave Maria. That song makes me a bit emotional in general, plus I knew it was TIME.
  • I was nervous about details, but not nervous at all about getting married. And Steven was calmer than he is on an average day!!! I thought I'd be nervous and he'd be a wreck, so I was really pleased at how calm both of us were. 
  • The deacon came into my little hiding room before the wedding to check on me and told me how Steven picked his outfit. He said he could either wear an alb or cope- neither are exact pictures but you get the idea, and Steven chose the cope. As soon as he walked in I thought "Wow, that's interesting" because the cope is very mideval looking. Then when I realized he wasn't joking about Steven picking it out, I got such a good laugh out of it. It was totally something Steven would pick- the pomp over simplicity. I didn't mind at all, and actually liked that he let Steven pick because it was some of Steven's personality showing through in the wedding, but it was hilarious to me because of course Steven would pick that! He sent us a thank you card (... for our thank you card lol), and said he is using the tip we gave him to save up for his own cope. It all makes such a sweet memory!
  • While I was hiding out in the room with my sister, they had Steven and his best man stashed in the sacristy. The deacon spent like 30 minutes giving them a lesson on the different types of vestments, and Steven explained the missal to his best man. Super cute! 
  • When we were all done with pictures and they put me in the room to hide and began letting guests in, I realized we hadn't done the one picture I really wanted- us holding hands around a door. The door to the room I was in is a pretty, old door original to the church, but it has a window, so they had to get me with my back to it and Steven with his back to it so we wouldn't see through. That moment of finding each other's hand and knowing we were about to become husband and wife was so sweet. I didn't want to let go! 
Not only was our cake SUPER DELICIOUS, but it was so beautiful that I really did not want to cut it!!! We have been eating leftovers like crazy since we got back from the honeymoon. I'll be sad when it's gone!

I love the entire dress, but the back was my favorite part. Which is funny, since I could only see it with a mirror or in a picture! I also love the super intense bustle that the alterations lady added in! 

I feel like I'm missing a million things, but I guess I can always come back and edit the post to add them. I can't wait to get the other posts written up but, alas, thank you cards must take precedence over blog posts ;). Now.... off to my first day back to work in 12 days!

Friday, April 13, 2012

Last Thoughts From a Bride

Instead of doing a final post of All Things Wedding, I thought I'd ramble aimlessly about my last thoughts as a 'single' woman before my wedding day! Bullet style, because otherwise it will end up a 7 page single paragraph of verbal vomit. And since this week is insanely busy (in a good way) this is now becoming my 7 quick takes. At least you know I can't go on longer than 7 thoughts :). And since I decided to make this my quick takes after writing it, I apologize for the lack of fancy quick takes graphics. But do go visit Jen at Conversion Diary for more Quick Takes!

Last thoughts:

  • Wedding planning was way more fun than I thought it would be. Before I met Steven, I often thought that I really, really wanted to get married but simply couldn't imagine going through the wedding planning process. But as soon as it was my turn, I ate it up! Yes there was stress, but Steven has been an amazing groom and it's made the whole process a lot of fun. I think I'll look back on choosing vendors, choosing colors, and choosing little decor details very fondly. 

  • When we first got engaged we briefly talked about getting married in October of 2011. We quickly dismissed that because my sister's wedding was in August of 2011 and neither of us would have enough vacation for a honeymoon left after that, and we figured it would be a bit stressful for anyone involved in both weddings. Plus, Steven had a mental block about wanting to be together for two years (Jan 2012) before we got married. And I had a mental block about getting married in April because it's my favorite month and I love spring. It's funny though because, practically speaking, it still makes sense that we didn't do last October, but we often have turned to each other and said "If we got married in October, we'd already have been married for ____ months now". And we never would have had the whole living together before marriage sticky situation. As was discussed in Cathsorority recently, some things are more important than practicality (brides to be: take notes!). But I'm glad I didn't have to use fall colors... blech. I'm a spring color girl all the way.

  • I normally pack for trips ridiculously early. Like, sometimes two weeks before and then I just add in my toiletries last minute. It's Wednesday as I'm writing this, we are leaving at 4am Sunday morning, and I just started a small pile of things to be packed. That's how you know the honeymoon is an afterthought to the wedding! I told Steven it will be so fun to get to the hotel on the wedding night and realize we are leaving the country the next morning, because we have been so busy with wedding details that I don't think it's quite hit either of us yet! I am soooo excited to explore Curacao with my husband! (Yes, I just got goosebumps.)

  • I got my eyebrows waxed a week in advance like a smart person. Enough time so if they messed anything up, I could fix it, right? Yeah, except for some reason the wax they put above my eyebrows has totally dried that skin out and it's all gross and flaky. I usually never let them wax above, only below, because above looks fine. But this time I didn't even think about saying it until she was already doing it. I hope the alligator skin disappears by Saturday!!! Oh well, the makeup lady should be able to make me look somewhat normal.

  • Steven and I are having breakfast together the morning of the wedding. I will probably be a nervous wreck, but I think that seeing him and having a quiet moment together will be so helpful. I wasn't really into the whole "don't see your groom until the wedding" thing. We don't believe in luck, so there was no reason not to see each other. I told him we have to get a last picture of us unmarried :). (Rest assured, he won't see me in the dress until we walk down the aisle!)

  • On Wednesday, my sister and sister-in-law left NYC to come to Raleigh for the wedding. They were leaving at like 5:30 am, so when I woke up around 7:30, it hit me.... it is really wedding time because we have our first guest officially en route to the wedding! It felt more real in that moment than it had ever felt! 

  • Well ladies, in dramatic bride fashion, I am off to get married! I'll obviously be absent from quick takes next week, but will be back in full force the week after to share lots of wedding and honeymoon stories and pictures!!!! Can't wait to share it with everyone! Thank you for any prayers you can send our way tomorrow!

Monday, April 9, 2012

All Things Wedding

Before I get started, HAPPY EASTER!

This is part III of All Things Wedding where I give some kind of "top 5" list that is wedding related. I'm thinking I will have one more after this, and then it will be The Big Day. Depending on how the week goes, this might be the last one! These are my top 5 tips for brides-to-be. I've mentioned some before, but I think they are worth repeating.

I’ve said this before and I will say it again, do not feel the need to DIY everything or have every aspect of the wedding be super personalized. I think everyone definitely wants their wedding to feel like ‘them’, but people get SO stressed out trying to make every aspect unique that they don’t enjoy the process. I’m all about enjoying the process (obviously, since I’m in mourning that it’s almost over) so I personalized certain things and other things I went with what’s ‘typical’ (but still beautiful) and therefore easy and stress free. Yes our wedding is about us, but it’s also about everyone else there who loves and supports us and most of all, a sacrament we are receiving and a commitment we are making.

Get a day of coordinator. Seriously. Best money you will ever spend. There are SO many things we would have to delegate out to poor, unsuspecting friends or family if we didn’t have our coordinator. Sure, they would be willing to help out, but I want them to all just relax and enjoy. More importantly, there would be so many things I would have to think of on the day of, that I just don't want to be worried with! I wouldn’t recommend spending an arm and a leg on an actual planner (because I had lots of fun planning myself!) but the day of coordinator is there to make sure your day runs smoothly and you can hand the control over and just enjoy. As a control freak, I’m actually really enjoying relinquishing some of it! I don't know about where you live, but where we live there is a decent amount of competition, so we got a coordinator for a STEAL. Since we booked her, her price has doubled for the package we have! But that means there is probably someone else out there just starting out who is now the 'steal' in town.

If you can’t swing bridal portraits in your budget, definitely have a ‘dress rehearsal’ before your wedding. My photographers are super amazing and my portraits AND session were under $200, but just as valuable as having those portraits for a lifetime was the fact that it was the first time I had everything on. It all worked out perfectly… every last accessory… but I kept thinking, what if the necklace looked bad with the dress or was a really weird length? What if the veil caught on beading? I wouldn’t have known without putting it all on at one time. Plus, if you are like me and having your picture taken for an hour straight feels very unnatural, it’s great practice for the wedding day!

In this day and age, I don’t know if there’s anyone who doesn’t have a wedding website, but I really recommend it for many reasons. The most important was that I had to answer a lot less questions because we gave out the website on our save the dates and reception cards. That way, even if they lost it once, they got it again. We of course have answered plenty of questions, but I know tons of them didn’t need to be asked because we put so much info on the website. Plus, it was really fun to work on together! It also helped to keep us organized and remember what needed to be done. “Oh, there’s a guest accommodation section? Yeah, I probably should pick a hotel.”

If you are a control freak like me, do whatever you need to do to relinquish some of that. I had to do a LOT of self talking, but it has really paid off. There have been so many minor things that I could have let myself get wound up about, but it just isn’t worth it and would cause more than the normal wedding stress. For example, I noticed that some people I knew would need a hotel room weren’t on the block. I gave two of them a reminder. A day or so before the block closed, I checked again… still nothing. I got frustrated, picked up my phone to text another reminder thinking “They have had months to do this and the info has been on my facebook AND the website!”. So I set the phone down, realized that I’m no one’s mother, and went back to what I was doing. It’s not the end of the world if they have to pay full price or stay elsewhere. I did what I could, and I wasn’t going to stress myself out trying to control everyone who I knew needed a room. If they weren’t concerned, why was I? It has also come in handy with some small day-of details that I have told the coordinator she can handle however she feels is best. Will I remember/care if the bridal portrait is in this place or that place? Absolutely not. So instead of using brain cells to make the decision, I let her do it. Ahhhhh, relief. 

It's too late for me :p but what are your favorite tips for future brides?

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Our Easter Menu

Happy Easter!!!! I hope you have fun plans with your family today. I certainly do! This morning at the 7:30 am mass, my fiance will become Catholic! We are so excited and my dad is in town for the event. Yesterday we dyed eggs when my dad arrived, went out for a pre-celabratory dinner for Steven, attended the vigil, and then crashed for a few hours before mass this morning.

Our Easter menu:

For breakfast we are having hard boiled eggs that we dyed yesterday, along with delicious resurrection rolls (now a tradition). Of course, breakfast will be chased by an inappropriate amount of Reeses and Cadbury products.

For lunch/dinner, I'm serving a Smithfield ham. Because me and ham don't know each other well yet, Steven bought a pre-cooked, spiral sliced ham. I just throw a little brown sugar over the top and warm it in the oven. One of these days, I want to go non pre-cooked, but wedding week was not the time to try! I'll also make mashed sweet potatoes (only the easiest thing to make ever... why did I think they'd be hard?) and green beans. We'll have droolworthy mac n cheese as a side, and Sister Schubert's rolls. I have made my own rolls/biscuits before, but it's another thing that takes more time, effort, and energy than I can muster this week. Usually I have a big batch of them in my freezer since the ones I make are quite a bit of work, but we just finished the ones I made (in October!) off in February and I haven't restocked. For dessert I'm making whole wheat applesauce cake with this whipped cream frosting. I haven't tried either before, so I'm excited to be baking something new!

What's on your Easter menu?

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Awesome Homeschooling Blurb

As you probably have read in my blog before, we have decided that we want to homeschool when we start a family. For a month or so (when I had done what I could for the wedding and was just waiting on time to pass), I spent a LOT of time online researching the various homeschool methods, reading families' experiences, and exploring curriculums. Yeah, it will be quite some time before we have children old enough to homeschool, but I actually really enjoy that type of research and had a lot of fun figuring out what might be my approach in the future. When Peter Kim emailed me about a data visualization about homeschool that his team had created, I honestly felt like it didn't apply to me, seeing as we haven't even gotten married yet! But then I clicked on it.... and I was fascinated! I thought I would share it for anyone else interested!

Disclaimer: Please know that I'm not posting this to bash other types of schooling.... I merely find the success of homeschooling really fascinating and exciting. If we had the money, we would have seriously considered parochial school as an option, so I'm not shaking my fists saying all parents need to homeschool :).

Homeschool Domination
Created by: College At Home

Monday, April 2, 2012

All Things Wedding

Welcome to the 2nd installment of All Things Wedding!

Today's is a bit of a bummer; it's about disappointments. I'm not totally sure if I'll want to remember these parts, but maybe when I'm sad the wedding is over I can read this post and not be as sad!

Top 5 Wedding Related Disappointments

I love our church. I mean super love it. It's beautiful, it's got that super awesome church feel (ya know, not contemporary), and it feels like home. But what disappointed me was not their rigid wedding rules, which I actually came to appreciate, but their required $800 'donation' to get married there. How you can put 'required' and 'donation' in the same sentence I'm not sure. They use it for upkeep of the church, so it's not just going into their pockets but still.... I felt a wee bit like I was paying for a sacrament. What I really wanted to do was request that my 'donation' be used in the one stain glass window where Jesus looks sort of nauseated (he's greenish) to be replaced with the normal colored skin in all the rest of the breath taking stain glass windows.

We never got to meet our videographer. Now there's an up side... we haven't met him because he is in SC. We picked him because he is $200+ cheaper than anyone we could find in NC. Isn't that odd? But I've seen his work and may...erm... know a guy who used him for his wedding (super awkward moment of looking at the videos on the videog's website and realizing "hey, I dated the guy in this video!) so he's legit, but there just hasn't been a good time for him to drive 4 hours to us or vice versa. I only care because he'll be around for 6 or so hours on the wedding day, sort of following us around, and we don't know him at all. But hopefully we'll be on cloud 9 and won't even notice him.

Cake tasting. I wanted to be a fatty and go to town. But when they stare at you and you are supposed to slowly savor to judge the texture, flavor, etc. it's really hard. Steven had no problem shoving face. But I was all self conscious and left some cake on my side of the plate... which Steven promptly ate... and then I was sad. We are dropping off two containers to the reception venue. One is for cake to go in the freezer for after the honeymoon, and one is for cake to go in for us to eat when we get to the hotel. There are three flavor combinations in our cake, so I will need LOTS of it.

I didn't lose weight before the wedding. I just didn't have the motivation, and then I self sabotaged because I couldn't believe I didn't have the motivation. I might, might be 10 pounds smaller than this time last year, but that's it. Ten pounds on my frame isn't really obvious or helpful. It wasn't for lack of exercising. We began exercising last Lent and have done it almost continuously since then; it was for lack of weight loss type exercising, and not for lack of eating healthily, but for lack of really controlling portions. I knew what I needed to do, but just didn't do it. Such is life.

And my biggest one of all? Our complete and utter budget fail. You know how I am about money, so not sticking to the budget was hard for me. But really, I set a budget before I ever even looked into how much things cost. Could I have done it for cheaper? Oh, absolutely. But there were certain things I wasn't willing to give up for myself or for Steven and me, and certain things I really wanted for my guests' comfort. So... are you ready? I'm not laying any numbers out here, but I will say that we more than tripled (but less than quadrupled!) our original budget. However, the MOST important thing to me was coming out of the wedding with NO wedding debt. And I'm proud to announce (I had to have something positive in this blog) that we are coming out of it with a little padding because we did such a good job saving... once we had an "oh crap!" moment and started saving like crazy. The other positive? We are already living without one of our paychecks now (because it goes to wedding savings) so there is only one more check to learn to live without in preparation for operation: stay at home mom.

So again brides and wives :)... what was your biggest disappointment? I will move on to happier things again in the next edition!