April 29, 2012

Engaged Encounter weekend

I am playing catch-up on my posts right now, I've been a busy little bee this month and next month is shaping up to be pretty crazy as well.

Last weekend Kevin and I attended the Engaged Encounter marriage preparation retreat at the Visitation Monastery in Mobile. It was an action packed weekend - if your idea of action is sitting in metal chairs with thin pieces of foam for padding and listening to talk after talk about marital issues, of course.
One thing we both loved about the weekend was that there were no awkward ice breakers or weird group activities aimed at making us meet new people. The entire idea of the weekend was for us to focus on each other and God. Needless to say, with 30 other couples sharing a small area, we did meet some people, but nothing crazy. My roommate was another girl named Sheila - I guess our team leaders thought that was funny.
Anyway, I wouldn't say we really learned anything new about each other, but we talked about some sticky issues (hurrr hurrr - this is an NFP joke) and topics that we might usually stray from in usual conversation. The grounds of the monastery were absolutely beautiful, so serene. Our priest for the weekend was a 27-year old newbie who was working this weekend for his first time. He was great. If our journeys find us in Mobile, we'd definitely drive out of the way to go to his church.
 The structure for most of the weekend was about like I expected. They'd have a talk on a topic. Then pass out a sheet of questions. Then the boys and girls would split up to write our answers in our ever-important notebooks. After a designated period of time, we'd reunite and privately discuss our answers. It was nice and predictable but it meant my butt hurt from all the sitting and I felt like a 90-year old woman having to keep my leg propped up.

 I'm just going to post some of the pictures I took throughout the weekend. We had a lot of fun, but it was very tiring.
The nuns make their own Heavenly Hash. YUM!
The retreat hall and girls dorms. The boys slept on the older, right side of the building

Our notebooks. <3
Our candle at the sweet little Love Feast they threw for us.
We graduated!

April 27, 2012

Countdown: 6 months!

This 6 kind of matches my blog background!
Holy smokes, I can't believe how fast time is going! With only 6 months left until the wedding day I'm feeling kind of stressed. Okay, more than kind of stressed. A lot of stressed, really. I haven't picked out my dress yet, and for those of you in the know - those puppies take 4-6 months to ship. I'm working on solidifying my caterer. I need to pick out bridesmaids dresses after I pick out my own, of course. Thankfully I do have the big tasks taken care of. Being in the hospital and on bed rest for that week after Easter really threw a wrench in my plans. I just now ordered Save the Dates, so they'll be going in the mail a little late. Hopefully my guests will forgive me! I've got a couple blog posts in the can waiting for me to write them, so look for those here soon!

What will you be doing on October 27? I hope it's coming to my wedding, but if not - do you have exciting plans?!

April 26, 2012

Bridal Barbie Dreams

Behold! Wedding Fantasy Barbie, circa 1990
What I'm about to say may surprise some of my readers, but I've been a drama queen my whole life (I can hear you laughing). I lived most of my childhood fighting my mother's notion that, "Children should be seen and not heard." BUT WHY? Life was better when I was singing or dancing or attempting to entertain my fellow Girl Scouts during serious ceremonies.

One thing I WAS serious about, though, was Barbie. I loved Barbies. I loved baby dolls, Barbie dolls, any kind of plastic mannequin toy that I could dress her up, change her shoes, and fix her hair.

I remember as I was approaching my fourth birthday, my gal pals in my preschool class and I would chit chat on the playground and dream about what we wanted for our upcoming birthdays and Christmas. I had my sights set on Wedding Fantasy Barbie. She was everything my sweet little mind thought a bride should be. I just knew that she would be the be-all-end-all of my Barbie collection. She was it. Her beautiful flowing white gown, her delicate veil and corsage. And that choker, oh that choker was to die for! From what I remember, she was pretty expensive as Barbies go and my mom had already prepared me for disappointment by telling me that I would not be getting Wedding Fantasy Barbie for my birthday, maybe Santa would bring it.

I was also seriously a PawPaw's girl. I was his right hand girl, getting to ride in his dump trucks from time to time. So imagine my euphoria when in front of all of my family and friends, at my fourth birthday party, I open... WEDDING FANTASY BARBIE. My PawPaw had secretly gone to the store (which he didn't do very often) to buy me this special Barbie. I was ecstatic! I'm even caught on tape bragging to one of my bffs, "Ninna ninna, I got it before you!" I was such a gracious hostess. :)

While my style may have changed since loving that shiny choker, I'm still so excited to be planning my big day.

Did any of you have that one special toy when you were younger? Or tell me what you dreamed of as your "Wedding Fantasy" as when you were little. AND GO!

April 20, 2012

An Odd Anniversary

Two years ago today we heard the horrific news that there was an explosion on the Deepwater Horizon oil rig, killing 11 people, who each had families at home, and sending millions of barrels of crude oil into our precious Gulf.

Amid the shock of hearing this news, residents of the Gulf Coast feared how this mass of oil would effect our beautiful shores. Little did I know how long the oil would flow from its dark origin, but also I had no idea that somewhere in Missouri at an engineering school, an anxious senior ready for graduation, was about to land his first job and be sent to my home to help clean up.

I have no doubt that the forces that brought a Missouri boy to Mississippi in the wake of the largest marine oil spill in history are anything but divine. When Kevin and I are often asked how on earth we met, we just smile and say, "The oil spill."

While I hate this tragic event had to happen, I thank God that it did. I often wonder if it hadn't happened, how I'd ever have met my true love. God truly has a reason for everything good and bad.

So today, we won't exactly celebrate, as we head to our Engaged Encounter marriage preparation retreat, but we give a bittersweet, "Thank you," to the creator who brought us together through a terrible tragedy.

April 15, 2012

Project: Recovery

So I'm very embarrassed about how long it's been since my last post. Even given the best excuse I have, I should have been posting on my blog! Just a quick update on why I've been less than active in my wedding planning and in the blog-o-sphere.

Determined to Travel
I planned to spend Easter in St. Louis with Kevin and my future family. The Tuesday before my Wednesday flight to STL I woke up out of bed with what felt like the most intense leg cramp I've ever had. I jumped around for a while, but it didn't go away. This immediately raised a concern with me considering my grandmother had a very similar incident at the onset of her blood clot back in January. I went on to work and dealt with the pain for most of the day. I called in to my gyno since I figured if this was a blood clot, it might have something to do with my using contraceptives. He ordered a blood test, typically successful in detecting blood clots. The doctor himself called me that evening (while I was having a pedicure and having the painful spot on my leg massaged) and told me that the test came back negative, that I should be good to go on my trip. My instincts told me to pursue it further, that I really felt it was a blood clot, but I knew if it was, I wouldn't be able to go on my trip (can we say stubborn).

Easter in St. Louis
Throughout the entire trip to St. Louis, I enjoyed myself but was in pain for most of the time. Visit to the zoo, shopping trips, engagement photo shoot, all these activities I did but while wincing with the pain in my leg. I even visited a lovely little dress shop (that will get its own post) with my future mother-in-law.

By the time Easter Sunday rolled around, it was nearly unbearable to get out of bed for church and I even had to partially sit during the kneeling parts of Mass. As I flew back Monday, I had to hobble through the massive Atlanta airport. I was offered a wheelchair but declined. I visited another dress shop Monday in Mobile when I landed. When we finally got home Monday afternoon, I was exhausted and in pain. Monday night I asked my parents to take a look at my legs and see if anything looked strange. Unbeknownst to me, my left leg was swollen nearly twice the size of my right and it was red. I went to the ER immediately.

Hotel de Hospital
I was admitted to the hospital Monday night with nearly 100% blockage of blood clots in my left leg from my knee to my ankle. Scary. Stuff.


I stayed there through Wednesday and am now home adapting to life on blood thinners. Injections in my stomach twice a day and bloodwork a few times a week to get my Coumadin levels were they should be. My diet no longer can include foods high in Vitamin K (my favorites) like leafy veggies and green stuff. :(

I plan to do some retroactive posting about the recent wedding developments including bridesmaids receiving and accepting my invitations, dress shopping, etc.
Kevin driving us to the zoo.
On our way to have our engagement photos taken.
Loved this flower arrangement!

Thrift store finds! Jackpot!
Not digging the blue gown.
Happiest site of my life, breakfast in bed! ;)

My sweet flowers from family
My trusty friend. I wanted to take this bad boy with me.
I kept accidentally pushing the red button instead of the green.
Sweet fiance was so happy I'm alive, he got me a Kindle!
$70 a pop for these shots. Not very fun.

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