Thursday, July 28, 2011

So what's next?

What crazy shenanigans will we embark on now that married life has begun?

No.  Not so much.  Not saying that wouldn't be amazing, but it's just not on my "what's next" sort of list.  Traveling is not something that either of us have a strong passion for.  

It seems that all of my real answers are just SO incredibly cookie cutter and boring that I debated not even writing a post about this.  But since it is on my mind so often, as a future-oriented person, I figured I would anyway.

DISCLAIMER - about a quarter of the way through writing this post I realize I'm becoming very long winded.  I wouldn't judge you at all if you skimmed through, or gave up all together.

1. School -
School is (fortunately or unfortunately) a major priority for us right now.  My vacation from school will be very short lived, as I'm starting up graduate school in September and the husband (hehe, I think I will call him husband from now on instead of Mark) will be heading back for another year of chipping away at his Bachelor's degree.  Graduation will probably be around the same time for both of us.  I have to meet with an advisor within the first few weeks to map out my course plan, so I'll have a better idea once that happens.

Basically in my counseling program, you are given certain options for tracks that you can follow.  The first decision is whether or not you want to follow along the Community/Agency Counseling path, or mosey on down the path of School Counseling.  I agonized over this decision for a long time before I learned at my recent orientation that you can actually do both! - you just have to start off with the School path and take some of the Community/Agency courses as electives.  Yay!

After finishing all of my coursework, I'll be able to graduate and be eligible for licensure in both types of counseling BUT, I'll have to go on for 12 more credits of a specialization.  Just calculating off hand, my graduation will be in spring of 2013, and I'll take the credits to earn my specialization that fall (and it is possible to be employed on restriction during the completion of those credits).

2. Buying a House
As any avid reader of my blog might know, we have been renting the same house for just over a year now.  The house does just fine for now, but it's incredibly small.  We're taking 10x10 bedrooms small.  Two of them.  And one itsy bitsy bathroom.  Of course, we can manage - but not for any serious length of stay.  I have much higher hopes.

We originally moved here anyway because it was the halfway point between our two colleges, but since we won't be going to school forever (or will we?  gasp) I'd much rather move a bit closer to our families. We're approximately a half hour from my family, and forty minutes from Mark's.  Not too far, but not as close as I'd like to be :)

With our little nest egg of wedding gift money, plus some additional savings over the next 7 or so months, we'll hopefully say goodbye to our current rental in May and be moving into a nice, bigger, possibly fixer-upper place of our own.  We plan to start scoping out the deals on the market around February of next year.

3.  Careers -
What else can I say?  Working an internship and waitressing on the side is not in my forever plan.  But the career can't really come until after grad school is completed.  I might still try my luck at the very few possible full time career related jobs that will accept possession of a Bachelor's degree in Psychology.  Meh.

4.  Starting a Family -
It's no secret that I love children, always have.  Being the oldest of six children has helped guide that along I think, although I can see in some circumstances how that would deter one from having children...but I digress.  Kids are definitely for us.  The problem is figuring out when the most opportune time would be for us to have children.  I have a few different time lines floating around in my head, but for now I plan to pass the time with getting ready whatever I can right now - mainly saving money, prepping my body for a healthier lifestyle, and researching a whole bunch.  And contemplating baby names, none of which Mark and I can ever agree upon.

5. Adopting a New Pet!
We might get another cat.  Probably when we move into our (hopeful) new house.  As a housewarming gift to ourselves.  OMG I'm so excited to have kitty friend for my kitty!  If they end up hating each other I will be so upset.

Ah, yes.  Starting our lives together "officially" has me planning and organizing and freaking out about things that are so far in the future that I can't even picture what life will be like.

Obviously I'm probably a little bit too excited about all of this adult/married stuff.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Married Life

(taken on our honeymoon while we were out to lunch at the boardwalk)

Now that I'm married, the question on (apparently) everyone's mind is "how does it feel?????"

And my answer - "the same."

I guess this might be the downside to living together before marriage, although I'm certainly not complaining. "The Same" old stuff is a happy, fun, and loving home with the two of us and our kitty.
-We've begun to tackle more organizational skills like setting specific goals for keeping the house clean.
--We've merged our bank accounts and have started paying bills out of one lump sum instead of splitting everything down the middle like roommates. We've also begun to tackle saving vs spending, credit card debts and student loans, and all the fun things about marriage (gag).
---We've changed my name on at least the most important and most pressing documents, but that's been an hassel and a half trying to finish. Next on the list is the title and registration for my car, and mailing in proof to my student loans. I'm still baffled by my credit card name change and have been avoiding calling because they always try to sell me all sorts of protections and whatnot whenever I do.

And we've been out having fun and living up the newlywedded bliss! Between our honeymoon in Myrtle Beach, heading out to the zoo, shopping, out to dinner downtown, and crossing our fingers that a camping trip might be in our future before summer ends.

The only problem is that I've been working a ton lately, and with school starting up in about a month I'm starting to get really stressed. I'm worried that since I'm taking 12 credits, which according to advisors from the program is a very full load of coursework, and am working an internship plus waitressing on the side, that studying time will be futile. The problem is that I don't want to give up the internship because I love working there and it's great experience - but it pays so poorly! I guess I'm lucky to be paid at all, people tell me, but I honestly don't know if I would have accepted the job if it didn't pay or if I had known the pay had been reduced since I last worked there two years ago. I'm going to stick with it for as long as I can, but I definitely won't be staying longer than a year.

I'll leave you with honeymoon picture or two: most of them are somewhere floating around the husband's desktop but he's been so picture crazy lately I don't even know where I would begin to try and find one.

View from atop the Sky Wheel

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

wedding recap (final part)

I feel like I'm getting way too long winded with my wedding recaps. There is so much to say, and every detail feels like it is somehow important, but I guess i need to draw the line somewhere so that I can start blogging about life as a newlywed!

The basic jist of the rest of the night:

1. Our first dance was super sweet. I serenaded Mark a little bit.
2. Dancing with my dad was funny and nice. He was really uncomfortable being in front of everyone (again).
3. The bouquet and garter toss were the most fun! If you have a lot of singles at your wedding (which we did) I highly recommend. I didn't think that it was going to be our thing, but it ended up being a blast. Mark accidentally took off the wrong garter though, and I made him put it back on and retrieve the correct one (anal much?)

4. My friends made the night. They really did. We had so much fun, I wished it would never end.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

wedding recap (part 3)

We still haven't gotten our professional pictures back yet, but my neighbor took a bunch of pictures during the wedding and recently gave us a CD of some 75 photos. I've been having technical difficulties with some of these pictures but I'll post what I can!

Our grand entrance was really fun. The wedding party walked in to "Welcome to the Jungle" and Mark and I walked in (sort of danced in) to "Yeah 3x" by Chris Brown. We got up to the head table, and I tried to make my way over to my chair behind everyone, but there was very little space available and my dress was huge! Attempting to sit down and then scoot my chair in was even more difficult. Eventually we tried just laughing a little to break the tension of the room because it felt like a good 5 minutes that I was trying to squeeze behind everyone and then somehow sit down.

Josh, the best man, gave his speech afterwards, but not until the DJ rushed over to rearrange us a bit at the table. Instead of sitting bridesmaids on one side and groomsmen on the other, everyone was scattered in the order that we walked in. He quickly shifted the best man and maid of honor next to us and left the rest alone. Josh's speech was pretty funny - he was "winging" the entire thing and I think he did a pretty good job! He tried to retell the story of how we met and got it a little bit wrong, though. He ended up saying something along the lines of "Waved to this girl on the street, and next thing I know he told me he brought her up to the apartment..." which sounded a little scandalous, and that's definitely not how it happened :)

Dinner was really yummy but it was too hard to eat. For one, I wasn't hungry, and secondly, my dress wouldn't allow much room for food. I at least at most of the bow tie alfredo which was to die for and ended up being a huge hit amongst many of the guests that I talked to. I considered walking around and visiting tables during dinner but it was so hard to move around in that dress, squeezing out of my own table and then between tables and all of that. There was plenty of glasses clinking and lots of kissing at the table too; this picture turned out adorably.

Shortly after dinner we went and cut our gorgeous cake! It was dessert overload at our reception, between the cake, the cupcakes, and dessert trays provided by the venue, it was just crazy! I managed to eat one of the cupcakes and ate some more later in the night as well. I am still just so pleased with how beautiful the cake turned out - exactly what I hoped it would look like! We were nice to each other when we fed each other the cake - I have a picture but I'm holding out for a better one.

There is still much more reception recap to come!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

wedding recap (part 2)

Where we last left, we were about to walk down the aisle (my dad and I). Everyone was outside already and we started inching our way up to the doors and then outside near the cobblestone pathway. I was obviously terrified. My dad kept trying to calm me down, but I must have looked like I was about to faint. For a few moments there I swear I lost feeling in part of my body. It was so surreal to be in that moment! As we got closer to Mark and the "altar" of sorts, I was apparently heard saying "I really just want to sit down right now" of which I have no recollection. Talk about nervous! I'm turning into a basket case that doesn't even remember my own words.

When I reached my mom, we stopped to hug, and as I turned to her we both burst into tears. This was the biggest crying moment of the whole day. I'm surprised that we were able to compose ourselves so quickly afterward. After the hug, we walked a few more steps and here my dad gave my hand to Mark's (awww). It's hard to describe the flutters that I felt looking into his eyes - I definitely felt insanely giddy and a little big giggly, but I tried my best to hold it back. Mark told me I was beautiful and that he loved me dress! I was so worried that he wouldn't like it because it was kind of princessy and poofy and he doesn't typically like dresses like that. He even told me that this was "exactly the dress I would pick" which was really sweet.

The ceremony was a little bit mishap filled. For one, our microphone wasn't working whatsoever. Occasionally it would spit out some horrible feedback sounds, but nothing helpful. So I'm not sure what anyone heard, or if our video footage will pick up any of the sound for the first half of the ceremony. Honestly though, I was so caught up in the moment that I didn't notice we were having technical difficulties until the Pastor pointed it out to everyone.

I pieced together a lot of the ceremony myself, but the pastor added in little tidbits of a joke or a comment here and there. It kind of annoyed me that he wasn't sticking to the script I worked so hard on, but I won't dwell on that.

Two of my brothers did readings for us (and one put up a huge fight but finally came around), and afterwards the mic was handed off to the pastor and the rest of the ceremony could be heard (I think?) just in time for our vows.

This moment ALMOST got emotional. There were some tears in our eyes, but nothing major. I was still feeling generally giggly and giddy, which was pretty surprising. I thought I'd be sobbing all over the place but I guess my happiness was expressed differently. We exchanged the rings, which was a pretty funny moment because neither of us knew when to actually slide the ring on. Finally, we are pronounced husband and wife! Sorry, nobody (at least that I've seen) got a picture of the kiss (which we did practice, so I hope it turned out okay!)
This is quite far away, but here we are walking back down the aisle. It was so crazy to look at all of our family members and friends and cameras and gosh - so hard to describe. It's not often that you see all of the people that you love in one place, and all in support of you and your new spouse. An amazing feeling, to be sure. God is so good.

After the ceremony is when the real frustrations started. I was still quite serene for the most part, due to the severe happiness of the occasion, but we weren't quick enough after the ceremony and somehow fell into an impromptu receiving line. We weren't planning on having one because our time for pictures was limited to only about 45 minutes or less, so this definitely put a damper on things and is probably one of my biggest regrets/worries at the moment.

Picture time was also cut into because I unfortunately had left my engagement ring in the getting ready room, and NONE of the groomsmen or Mark had put on their boutonnieres! So we were a little rushed as there was some frantic running around courtesy of my maid of honor/sister and then the waiting of the guys actually getting the bouts on. Since the guys were late getting there, there has been some speculation of no pictures with groom and groomsmen only. I'll be sort of upset if that is true, but I'm even more upset that we had little to no time to get pictures with our grandparents. Much later in the night we finally got a chance to get some with my grandma and grandpa, but we didn't manage to get any with Mark's grandparents. I spotted them snapping a few with their own cameras during the father/daughter dance, so I guess there is that.

After pictures, our DJ came out to start lining us up for the grand entrance! Reception time was already almost here...

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

wedding recap (part 1)

I've been waiting for the moment when I can finally sit down and try to write everything I remember about our wedding day. It was really such an amazing and special day and I wish sometimes that it wasn't over so quickly. I would love to relive every moment (and plan to we get our pictures and video back).

We went the non-traditional route and decided to spend the night together in our own house. It felt like the right thing to do for us and made me less nervous. That morning I was awoken by my (now) sister-in-law calling my phone at 8:30 AM. She had let her daughter play with the phone and it somehow randomly dialed me. Ha! What are the odds of that, I wonder?

Mark slept in a bit longer than me but I was far too excited to sleep after that. I showered and tried just watching TV and relaxing. After Mark woke up we got in the car and headed to a little place down the road for breakfast. The morning with just the two of us alone was really emotional, and I definitely am glad that we were together and able to have those moments because they were few and far between during the actual wedding.

After breakfast and getting home, we parted ways and I drove out to my parents' house. I was a little early and just hung out with my brothers and sisters, watching TV. I was hoping that some of my bridesmaids would be earlier to keep me company, but most of them got there between 12:30 and 1 for our 1:00 hair appointments. We got to the salon and got started right away. I got both my hair as well as air-brush makeup done.

After the salon, we had some downtime at the house for the other girls to get their makeup done and to get dressed. I was so anxious to just get going at that point. Minutes felt as though they were ticking by more quickly than usual, but not quickly enough for me.

But then FINALLY, it was 4:00 and we could get me in that dress!

We got a few pictures with my family beforehand, then packed in the car and headed to our venue. The day was GORGEOUS, I have to say. Sunny, upper 70s, perfect. I was so worried that the weather would cause us to move the ceremony indoors but it was just fabulous. We arrived at the same time that Mark's parents were arriving and so we all went into the reception hall to get our flowers and see how everything was set up.

O. M. G.

I cannot describe to you my happiness. All of my planning, all of the turmoil, come to fruition! It could not have looked more perfect. I was in love. I can't wait to get some pictures back of our decor. I was especially blown away by our gorgeous cake table and our bouquets! Here is one of our teaser professional pics of my bouquet. I was extremely pleased with the bridesmaid bouquets as well.
After getting settled, we went out into the garden and took some formal pictures with my family and my girls. Our photographer was a tad late, and I was worried that Mark would show up too soon and see me too early, but it all worked out well. I made sure to call him and let him know that if he could make a short pit stop and arrive 15 minutes later it would be in his best interest :)

He apparently did not hear me say 15 minutes, though, because he was a bit later than that. Guests were already beginning to arrive even while we were taking the formals, and so my girls and I headed into the getting ready room to wait it out until the big walk down the aisle. We had a good time blowing off steam by dancing around to Beyonce's "Single Ladies" and taking pictures.

Soon my dad would come back to wait with me as the girls went to line up, and we'd head out to walk down the aisle! ...

Monday, July 4, 2011

wedding week recap

Mark and I just got back from our honeymoon late last night, so it's time to begin recaps of the wedding week! My facebook is blown up with pictures and I'm excited to share some of them with you all.

Wednesday was our rehearsal and rehearsal dinner. The weather was absolutely crazy that day, and so our outdoor rehearsal and rehearsal dinner barbecue were forced to be moved indoors. There was a tornado warning (one that actually touched down not too far away from our venue), torrential downpours, power outages that caused traffic jams galore, but we still managed to rehearse (albeit a little later than scheduled). I was a little nervous that we didn't get to practice everything in the actual garden, but the layout was really very similar.

Our dinner was great. We had it at my parents' house and got fried chicken, and my mom made a slew of side dishes and a few different types of brownies. Later after everyone left Mark and I relaxed in the hot tub with my mom, dad, and sister.

Thursday was my bachelorette party. It took quite the blood, sweat, and tears to plan exactly what we were going to do, but we finally ended up with a plan. We started the night off at PF Chang's (our go-to place for a nice dinner), then went out to a nearby bar & grill that my sister knew of (and could get into, since she's still an under-21). I was somehow forced to sing karaoke, drink a few things I probably shouldn't have, and take some posed pictures with nearly every young guy in the bar. Later we attempted another bar, but unfortunately the Thursday night scene wasn't too exciting. We went back to my friend's house for a bonfire and girl time instead. Here are a few pictures of the night!

The girls at dinner.

Oh nooo.
Not tequila!

Sorry, boys!

Friday was basically a rest, recovery, and preparation day. We also had a birthday party for a friend (who's birthday was actually on our wedding day) and so we headed out that night to the pre-party and a baseball game before calling it an early night. We needed our beauty rest for the big day, and excitement and nerves were running high as it was.

And so to bed we went in high anticipation for our wedding day...