Saturday, September 27, 2008

Thank You!

Thank you so much to Leah and Kirsten and everyone who helped them with the engagement party last night.

We had such a wonderful time!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

And then there were three...

Just a quick, non-wedding related post.

Yesterday morning Mike and I had to say goodbye to one of our kittens, Spike. For the past month, his little body has been fighting a virus and yesterday morning we held him in our arms and said goodbye.

Spike and Drusilla were an engagement gift for Mike back in July. Over the past the 2 1/2 months, we have been so very lucky to have Spike as a part of our lives. Before he was sick, he spent hours bounding up and down the stairs, teasing his older brothers Jake and Chewbacca, and adoring his little sister. He would follow Mike around the house and cuddle with us while we watched TV. He'd wake us up in the middle of the night purring in our ears.

When Spike got sick, we did everything we could to help him. He spent a week earlier this month at the animal hospital ever day, and spent every night back home in bed with us. He was quite the cuddle bug, curling up in the nook of our arms at night, purring loudly and falling to sleep. After 6 days in the hospital, he seemed to make a turn for the better. His temperature was down and he was eating again - chicken and gravy flavored baby food.

A week back at the house and Spike was cuddly as ever. He was sluggish and tired, but still followed us around the house to curl up with us wherever we were. He wasn't eating on his own, so Mike had to force feed him baby food with a syringe. He certainly didn't like it but he never ran away and within two minutes was always back on Mike's lap.

Over this past weekend, Spike made a turn for the worse. He had stopped eating on his own completely and had started peeing around the house, a cat signal that something is very wrong. Yesterday morning, I brought him back to the vet hospital. The doctor was less than optimistic.

After another series of tests and x-rays, the mysterious virus was FIP. Most cats are exposed to FIP and respond normally but Spike's little immune system couldn't handle it. The vet told us that there is no treatment for FIP and that, at most, Spike would have another day or two, and they wouldn't be comfortable. Mike drove down from work and we held Spike as he purred and purred. Even at the end, as sick as he was, he knew how loved he was.

Our little family is having a rough couple days but we'll make it through to the other side. Thank you to everyone who has been so thoughtful and supportive to us. We love you all.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Our Negative One Year Anniversary

Ok, so I may get some flack for this being super cheesy but this is a wedding blog after all....

So today is our negative one year anniversary. And we're celebrating it. Well kinda. We're going to make a nice dinner and maybe not play video games and watch DVR and ignore each other all night. That kind of celebrating. Which, for us, is a pretty big deal.

I know it's kinda silly that we're celebrating a negative anniversary, especially when we still have a perfectly good one to celebrate - our dating anniversary, February 28, 1997. But I think this is a good chance for us to try the new anniversary on for size, see how we like it. It's going to be pretty hard to break the habit of calling our dating anniversary "our anniversary," since we've been using that for going on twelve years. But I think it'll be fun to have both. And if you think I'm giving up the other one, you're mistaken. :)

Beyond the cute, silly negative anniversary celebrating, can we stop for a minute and remind ourselves that we're getting married in a YEAR! Woooooooo Hoooooooooo. Like an actual, real year. 365 days from now. The little countdown widget I have on my homepage is at 365! I put it up there almost a year ago, when we first picked the theoretical date, way before we were ever engaged! It's so freaking exciting.

Do you think Hallmark makes negative anniversary cards?

Monday, September 8, 2008

We've got a hotel

After the realization that we were getting married on NASCAR Race Weekend, I went into overdrive (tee hee - pun intended) looking for a place to reserve a block of hotel rooms. My goal was to be as sneaky as possible and hopefully use the fact that we were still a year away to my advantage. It's a touch deceptive, sure, but if they're going to jack the prices up for an event I couldn't care less about, I figured it was only fair.

Despite a handful of calls and some disapointingly unresponsive sales people, our guests will have the option of staying at the lovely Four Points Sheraton. We've reserved a block of 15 rooms for our guests at a perfectly reasonable rate.

I stopped by the Sheraton the other day and it's a lovely hotel. I'm hoping people will take advantage of the decent rate (any number of people can stay in the room) and be able to enjoy the party without worrying about driving a long distance. We're even working with the hotel to get a shuttle bus to pick guests up from the reception so everyone can enjoy themselves to the fullest.

Getting this contract signed certainly eased my worry about the hotel. Leaving plenty of room to worry about other things... like the cake, flowers, wedding bands, the two weddings I'm going to over the next three weeks, waiting a whole year to marry my best friend, actually paying for my dress and everything else, finding a decent price for transportation/limo, the plethora of craft projects I've invented for myself, the save the dates.... you know, not much. :-)

We're getting married when?!

I have a tendency to think highly of myself for certain things. It has always been a point of pride that until two years ago, I never had a cavity. Another recent point of pride is how I am seemingly way ahead of things in the wedding planning department. I don't think I'm terribly conceited, but these are things I'm proud of myself for.

Well both bubbles were burst this week.

After not going to the dentist for two years for lack of dental insurance, I had an appointment this week with a new dentist highly recommended by Leah.
Dr. Raymond Bolduc of Auburn Dentistry was delightful. He was extraordinarily thorough, taking x-rays and inspecting both them and my teeth very carefully. He then took color pictures of my teeth to show me what he had seen both during his inspection and then compared to the x-rays. I was very impressed. He, however, was not. We found a few cavities - and I was pretty bummed out about it. But we have a plan in place for getting them all taken care of and I should be good as new in no time. Well, in some time, but not too long.

On the wedding planning front, I was so excited to tick the photographer and tasting off the list that I figured I'd start asking around about hotels. My first stop was to the brand spanking new Fairfield Inn in Hooksett, a mere 1/2 mile from our reception site.I was really hopeful that this would be THE place. Since we weren't having our reception at a hotel, we wanted a way for people to get home safe and sound after an evening of revelling. The proximity to the reception site made it perfect. I scheduled an appointment with the very delightful sales manager.

I was really pleased when I went in. The Fairfield Inn in Hooksett has only been open for seven weeks and everything is shiny an pretty. The decor is lovely and everything is fresh and clean.

And with that we've come to the point where my little wedding-bubble burst. The very delightful sales manager walked out with the contract reserving the rooms. She explained that she'd checked her event calendar and it turns out that our wedding is not the only event happening in the state of New Hampshire that weekend. We're getting married the same weekend as the NASCAR race!

While this certainly won't interrupt my plans to blatantly ignore said NASCAR race as I do every other race, there is a slight problem. The race is a big deal in New Hampshire. A huge deal. A "locals-avoid-the-highways" and the police redirect one lane of traffic on the highway to go the other way kind of big deal. Hotels from the border up through Concord will be booked up, and at higher-than-normal event rates. Ack!!

The very delightful sales manager proceeded to give me what I considered to be a ludicrous price offer. I politely thanked her for her time, took the offer and left the hotel.

Well crap! What am I going to do now? I proceeded to call around to a few other hotels. One of them was completely BOOKED already. I thought I was planning ahead! It's more than a year out for goodness sake. After a deep breath, I did what I do best, I compiled a spreadsheet of all of the hotels within a reasonable distance and called up each sales manager and asked for a quote.

I've heard back from a couple, and still waiting on one. I'm cautiously optimistic. But I know one thing for certain. Those save-the-dates I was considering not bothering to send out? They're going to definitely have to go out - and with hotel information on them!

Free Food!

So one of the fun things about planning a wedding is free food. Free cake, free snacks, free dinners! Last week Dad, Amy, Mike and I went down to the Puritan for a tasting. Yum-o.

I don't know what the policy is here - do I share the menu? Do I not? Do I tell everyone reading this blog (Hi Leah, Hi... ummm... me...) everything there possibly is to know about the wedding before it happens so it's not even remotely surprising or interesting by the time September 19th comes? Am I really trying to void the entire point of this blog with this babbling little entry?

*deep breath*

Hi there! Sorry about that. :-) Back to the tasting.

Mike and I knew going into the tasting a few things we HAD to have. We had to have scallops wrapped in bacon, they're his favorite. And we had to have prime rib, cause well, I wanted it. And it's generally pretty hard to mess up and is yummy and delicious. But mostly because I wanted it. We brought Dad and Amy along because my palette isn't exactly refined... While I like a bunch of food and read way too many food blogs, there are certain things that I still don't like all that much....
I know, what red-blooded American doesn't like ketchup?? That'd be me. Mike and I wanted a better perspective, and Amy and Dad like food, so they were happy to join us for some of the free variety!

We met with Barbara, the facilities manager at the Puritan and she was excited to show us the food. Since we already knew we wanted scallops, we didn't need to taste them. So for appetizers, we started with asparagus spears wrapped in phyllo dough with asiago cheese and then mushroom puffs. While I didn't really like the asparagus part, the phyllo dough and cheese was yummy, and I was hungry enough to pop it right in my mouth. Something those who know my eating habits are quite impressed about. Though I wasn't the biggest fan, both Dad and Amy agreed they were pretty tasty.

The mushroom puffs on the other hand - huge hit. They were flaky and gooey and tasty all around. Instead of stuffed mushrooms, they were mushrooms stuffed inside phyllo. They were awesome. They immediately made it on the menu. The asparagus, while pretty good, didn't make the cut. And we ended up going with a not-tasted spinach and cheese spanakopita. I'm sure they'll be delicious!

After appetizers, we moved on to chicken. I knew in advance that I wanted to do a beef and chicken choice (with the understanding that any dietary restrictions would be easily managed) so we needed to try some chickens! Barbara had ordered us a stuffed chicken, a chicken cordon blue, and a grilled chicken with special sauce. I know, creepy name, but that's one of the most famous dishes at the Puritan.

The chicken tasting was very Goldilocks. The first one was too dry (the stuffed chicken), the second one was too tangy (the 'special sauce') but the third one was juuuust right (the chicken cordon blue).

Barbara had tried to warn us that the stuffed chicken was, as she put it, "generic wedding food" but I like stuffing, so I asked to try it anyway. Well she didn't steer us wrong - it was kinda bland and boring and definitely not their best offering. The Special Sauce chicken was certainly yummy, but there was a pretty strong terriaki sauce flavor to it that I just thought was too tangy and too... terriaki-y. Amy agreed. But the chicken cordon blue was awesome. It used the same special sauce as the grilled chicken, but the ham and the cheese of the chicken really helped to mellow out the sauce and give it some nice extra flavor. All four of us were big fans.

And with that, it was settled! We officially have a menu!

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Photographer Visit

Mike and I drove up to York, ME this past weekend to meet with the second of the two photographers we're considering for the wedding, Amy Root-Donle.

As you may remember, we narrowed our choices down to two photographers, the aforementioned Amy and also Geoff Forester. After the DJ, we think that the photographer is one of the most important vendors to consider. It is through them that we'll be reminded of all the best details and moments of the wedding that will likely go by in a blur that day. So we have to trust them to do what we cannot - be level headed and observant and in all places at once that day when we're going to be much to busy giving each other googly eyes and, I imagine, hugging just about everyone we know.

We met with Geoff a couple weeks ago and were very impressed with him. He showed us a variety of his work, some selected shots and, most importantly, a full wedding album. This was important for us because we knew any photographer worth anything could get a select amount of great shots over a variety of weddings, but we needed someone who could capture all those great moments in our day. And he had a dog at his office, so he was a big hit with Mike.

We met with Amy this past weekend at her home/studio in York, ME. The drive up was absolutely worth it! Her work is really fantastic. And beyond that, she made us SO comfortable the instant we met her. She was pleasant, professional, thoughtful. She talked about her style, how she works, all that. And when Mike told her about our idea of our exit out of the church, she was almost as excited as he was! Someone who can get that pumped about our silly ideas is good in our book!

Our plan now is to hash out the details and try to book her as soon as we can!

Next up... our tasting at the Puritan!