Monday, December 22, 2008

Ho Ho Ho!

As Christmas looms mere days away, I've taken to considering how, or if, our lives will be different when we're married. Honestly, I'm having a tough time thinking of many.

Mike and I have been together for going on 12 years (will be in February). This will be our 12th Christmas celebrated together. We've lived together for almost 3 years (only 2 of them in a row...). If there was a fight to have, we've had it. If there was a decision to make (kids and the like not included), we've made it.

Holidays are a stressful time for a lot of people, and the Bel-Grage house is no exception. This year was the first time in 12 years we've done Thanksgiving together. Last year at Thanksgiving time, we had the following conversation sitting in the then brand-new townhouse.

Kristin: So you're doing things with your family and me with mine again this year?
Mike: Yup.
Kristin: You know, we'll be officially engaged this time next year.
Mike: Yup.
Kristin: We should really consider doing Thanksgiving together next year, since we'll be engaged and all.
Mike: Sure.

And that was that. For 10 months we didn't consider it. Then Thanksgiving, as it does, came around again. And of course there was some "discussion" about how it should be handled. In the end, we just did two Thanksgivings, one earlier in the day, one later.

Planning for Christmas is quite similar. We've combined Christmases for a number of years, but never consolidated. There's always the trip to my dad's, the trip to his parents', the trip to my mom's, the trip to my aunt's. It's always a crazy, hectic week. But, as Tim Gunn says, we make it work.

This year, for the first time, there's actually some consolidation. With the power outages and storms, neither of our parents have the time to get things ready at their respective houses for Christmas. So this year, they're coming to us! After an evening of fun at my Dad's, followed by a late-evening party at family friends of Mike's parents', we'll have Christmas morning and dinner at our house. I've been all aflutter trying to get things cooked and organized, and we've had our share of "discussions" about this as well, but, overall, things are running smoothly.

As I've been planning, and baking, and prepping, I've been thinking. What's going to change when we're married? How will this all be different? Will it mean more or be more complicated? And I don't know the answer. But I have a sneaking suspicion that it can't get more complicated, short of popping out some kids.

So why bother? If we're already living together, already combining families and holidays, already living our lives, why bother get married? If nothing is going to change, what's the point?

I guess, for me anyway, it's a line in the sand. It's a day to stand and scream at the universe, "I love this man. I am going to spend my life devoted to creating a life together with him." Being married isn't going to change how we celebrate holidays, how we resolve conflict, or even how we love each other. But it will cement that love in the traditions and vows that we will share with our parents (for better in some cases, and for worse in other), grandparents, great grandparents, and great great grandparents.

Merry Christmas everyone! And a healthy and joyful New Year!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

The Dress... and what comes next

So I did it. I finally called and bought my dress! I'd been dragging my feet a little bit, waiting to save up the money, and then spend that money on bills instead. Finally, this week after a lovely and generous Christmas bonus, I finally had no financial excuse and called Country Bridals in Jaffrey. When we made the trip out to Jaffrey this summer and finally decided on my dress, I was measured and picked my size. With that in place, all I had to do was call and give them my info. So exciting! As I mentioned, I'm not posting pictures of my dress on here, but if you want to see it, just let me know and I'll send you the link!

Now that the dress is ordered though, another, very serious realisation has taken hold of my brain. I have to wear it. For a whole day. And be photographed in it. More than I have ever been photographed in my life. And these are not pictures I can make silly faces in to distract from the rest of the image. Or pictures I can (or want to) look at once and pretend I didn't see.

I need to get me to the gym!

I am not a slender girl. I haven't been for pretty much my entire (very short) adult life. I have a bad relationship with food and a worse relationship with the gym. Earlier this year, I joined Weight Watchers and lost (and kept off) 20 pounds. Which is a good start. I don't expect to look like a person I am not at my wedding. I'm not looking to lose 80 pounds, or even 60 pounds. But I'd like to look like a better version of me.

So I'm going to go to the gym. Not just because I want to look good in my wedding pictures, which I do. But because I want to be healtier. And I want my body to be in better shape, for me, for Mike (*giggle*), and for the children I'm going to have in a few years.

I don't expect crazy results. But I think with a few good decisions, repeated over the next 9 months, I could do pretty well!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Centerpieces - Take Two

So I know I had my centerpieces all picked out. And they were super! And I'll likely still incorporate a lot of the candle stuff still.

But I discovered these:

A recently wed bride from NYC was selling these vases on one of my favorite wedding blogs (I read a lot of them). It was such a great deal, and Lissa-the-Amazing is picking them up for me!

I really love the cranberries and would like to do them for our wedding. But since we're getting married in September, we might be a little early for cranberry season. But we'll give it a go! I can always buy fake ones, but that just seems so silly...

So this is the new plan. For now anyway. Do you think it's enough on it's own? Or should I get some candles to go around it? (They'd have to be in glass because of restrictions from the Puritan)

Monday, December 1, 2008

When the 'moon hits your eye...

So we've started thinking about the honeymoon. Well we've been thinking about the honeymoon for some time, but now we're actually doing something about it. Not a whole lot, but a search on Orbitz here, a conversation with my grandmother there. Nothing serious, but a good start.

We've always wanted to go to Italy for our honeymoon. Long, long ago when the earth was green and Mike and I were first dating (read 1996) we used to hang out at the Mall. Cause that's what you do when you're 14. And my favorite store to wander in was always Prints Plus. It was kinda like a pop-art museum. They had all of these awesome prints hung up (and some really lame ones, with led lights in them, but I digress) and they changed the pictures from time to time. Well there were two pictures that were my absolute favorites. The first was a picture of Venice, all orange in the sun set, with the gondolas and the buildings silhouetted in black. I was completely enamored with it. And for our X anniversary (I can't even remember... that's awful... maybe 2nd? 3rd?), Mike bought it for me. It was the first poster I put up in my freshman dorm room when I moved in. The second picture was this gothic painting of a little girl with a teddy bear in her pj's, blowing bubbles off an old building with a gargoyle reaching out to catch one. I swore two things in front of those pictures (a very hallowed place, indeed): one day the picture of the little girl would hang in my living room, and I'd go to Italy for my honeymoon. Mike got the picture of the little girl framed shortly after we moved into our house last November.

Senior year of high school there was a group trip to Italy planned by one of the Latin teachers over February break. I jumped at the opportunity. And I think deep down, Mike was a little upset that I went without him. But even though I've been there before, I think the experience will be completely different this time around. I was there so long ago and never once left the hotel except when I was with the group of everyone. So I'm really excited to explore it as an adult. :-)

The one place I'm most excited to go is San Marco Square in Venice. You've seen it in movies and commercials. It's the big huge square with all the pigeons.

When I am having trouble going to sleep because my mind is racing and I'm stressing over something, this is my happy place that I go to. There's a cafe in the first corner of the square with outdoor seating. And I'll sit on a chair with a cappucino and look out at the water or just stir my coffee. And I'll be asleep in an instant. I didn't get to go to the cafe when I was there - because we were there during Mardi Gras week and it was SO packed. And it costs more to sit in cafes then to just get a snack and move on so we never stopped. But that's what I most want to do. I want to sit at the cafe, and get a cappucino and hold my husband's hand.

Just thinking about it makes me so happy. The first time I went to Italy it was the first time I'd ever been out of the country. I was just SO excited I could barely think. And I just let it all wash over me. I had no expectations except to see things I hadn't seen. And I remember my 18 year old self stopping in the middle of the street in Florence and thinking, "This is the happiest moment of my entire life. Right here." And while there have been some really good moments since then, that unbridled joy is still unmatched. It was just all consuming happiness. I don't know if it'll be the same when I get to go back, but I have a sneaking suspicion that bringing my new husband and experiencing it all with the freedom to roam and wander will make it all the more special.