Friday, July 31, 2009

Bahamian Vacation

Craig and I returned last night from our six days and five nights in the Bahamas at the Sandals resort just outside of downtown Nassau. On the day we arrived the island was in the midst of a torrential downpour which slightly dampened our spirits but provided a soothing background for a much needed four hour nap. The rest of our trip was filled with lots of sun and time spent relaxing by the pool or on the beach. I was able to finish the seventh Harry Potter, read an entire Jane Green novel and get three-quarters of the way through The Time Traveler's Wife, loaned to me by my friend Emily. Our time wasn't spent entirely in the sun though - there were daily naps which were a necessity after the sun drained our energy in the morning, two days full of sand volleyball for me and one afternoon of pool volleyball with both of us against a nice couple from Long Island, as well as three nights spent at one of the two casinos located on the island. The resort was nice and although there were a few frustrations (late luggage delivery, no beach towels available and slow drink service at meals) all in all we had a fantastic time. Here are just a few pictures of our vacation with the complete collection located here:
A view of the shoreline of the Sandals resort's private island located 1/4 mile from the mainland.

Craig and I headed out to the Crystal Palace Casino (where I met my adopted Jewish grandmother Annabelle) after dinner one night.

Another view of the private island - this was probably my favorite day because there was really no one around to bother us and I could sit on the rocks with the waves rolling in and read my book in peace and quiet.

The view from our hotel room out to the ocean.

After dinner our first day out in the sun.
Although we had a great vacation and really enjoyed just spending time with each other, we were both ready to get home. My biggest reason for wanting to come home has four legs, a white stripe down the middle of her nose and happens to be curled up next to me on the bed in a deep nap.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Guilt Stricken

Angie woke me up at 1:30, 3:30, 4-something, a little after 5:00...the times get a little blurry after that...this morning to use the potty outside. After a few trips I was worried about what was wrong with her digestive system so I carried my LED flashlight downstairs with me and spotlighted her butt while she used the bathroom in the darkness of the night.

You should have seen the glare I got from my dog.

Unfortunately, my worst fears were confirmed...Angie had diarrhea...again. Sigh. I waited until this morning to make sure that it wasn't a one-off thing and sure enough around 9:30 she had another...experience. I called the vet and made an appointment for 4:00 this afternoon. I felt like I was overreacting a bit so hastily making an appointment for her, but after she had been so sick a couple weeks ago, I wasn't going to take any chances.

Sure enough, I was correct when she tested "faintly positive" for Giardia, which is kind of like a tummy virus for dogs and cats. I feel absolutely TERRIBLE because this disease is passed through the infected stools of other animals or through infected water. I know that it's just something that happens - animals and humans get sick. I know that my house is clean and so is the yard...but I just feel so guilty. Like I didn't take good enough care of her the first time so now she's sick again.

In my defense, the vet did say that Giardia in the area that I live has the tendency (for whatever reason) to be a little stronger and more resistant to medication. It's not surprising that she has another bout with the illness and now requires stronger doses of the medicine. I'm just hoping that she gets better quick because she is due to stay at my parent's house with the cousins starting a week from tomorrow while we are out of town vacationing in the Bahamas. I would really like to leave town knowing that my darling dog is okay...and not going to get Andy and Annabelle sick.

As we were leaving the store, I felt terrible for little Angie because she had lots of awful tests run on a particularly...sensitive area of her body so I stopped by the toy aisle. Yes, I know that indulging children is bad, but she has chewed through most of her toys and I have had several people tell me that Nylabones are the strongest toys to buy for such skilled chewers like Angie. I bought two different ones and right now she is thoroughly enjoying one...we'll see how long they last. The good news is that the Penicillin shot that she received has already worked as she is much perkier than she was a few hours ago.

But I still feel guilty.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

My Worry List

I've been a blogging fool lately and I think it's because blogging gives me a chance to get thoughts out of my head and somewhat organized onto "paper" or at least where I can sort them out visually. I think I'm just a little overwhelmed with...everything...right now. I know what you're thinking: "How stressful is summer vacation?" For those of you who know and love me dearly, know that I can make a day at the spa a stressful situation. So here is my current list of worries and hopefully by putting them out on this blog, I'll be able to see things more clearly and therefore ward off any impending anxiety attacks.

She has been VERY stubborn lately and absolutely does not follow instructions when being told to go outside to potty. Today it all came to a head when I tried to pick her off a bare and not blanket covered couch (my mistake) and she released her entire bladder on the couch cushions. I yelled at her...with obsenities...and she got really scared of me. And then I felt bad, but I was still pissed about her pissing all over the couch. Luckily the couches are Scotchguarded or whatever and for those of you who visit my house...they are safe to sit on. But regardless, I'm still frustrated with her stubborness and my own reaction to her stubborness. I think it might be time to institute some doggie training classes.

There are a few things that are really stressing me out about this whole wedding thing: bridesmaid dresses, bridal portraits and engagement photos. I don't like picking out clothes for other people that they will only wear once which I am making them pay for. I know that they are all my friends and love me dearly and are thrilled to be part of my wedding...I think that makes me feel guiltier about having them buy a dress! As for the photo sessions, I'm just really confused about how, when and where to schedule them as well as what we're going to wear and how I have to do my hair and do I need flowers?! And unfortunately, Craig is no help for any of these problems.

I'm changing schools this year because of the fact that I am marrying Craig. I won't be too far from my former school and I'll actually be closer to our house. I'll be the head volleyball coach and I'll also teach 6th grade PE classes which is pretty much my dream job because I'll get to wear work out clothes everyday of the year. But on the other hand, I'm extremely nervous because now I have to be in charge and do everything that I promised the principal I could do. I'm not going to try to go into this year with lofty aspirations of turning the entire athletic program around...after all, Rome wasn't built in a day...but I do want to be successful and have everything run relatively smoothly. I'm leaving my comfort zone and I never do well with that. Unfortunately, right now there isn't too much I can do to quell this anxiety and I'm anticipating that it will only grow from now until August. Also...I haven't even packed up and moved out of my old classroom and so I have to do that sometime at the beginning of August as well.

Next week will be an incredibly busy and chaotic week for our little household. Craig has his big NCAA certified basketball tournament starting on Wednesday and ending Friday but in the meantime he is frantically trying to wrap up any loose ends as well as putting together the brackets and coaches packets. He has been spending a lot of time in the Man Cave working on stuff and it is generally staying out of the rest of the house, but his stress definitely has spread and I'm nervous for him that everything will get accomplished and in the way that he wants it to be done. Unfortunately I won't be much help to him next week in preparing for the tourney because I will be at the high school volleyball camp all week from early in the morning until the late afternoon. Volleyball camp is always fun - but I'm nervous about having to leave Angie in her kennel for the first time for a full day. And to top off a busy week, we are leaving for the Bahamas on the Saturday directly after all this craziness and that means packing, shipping Angie to my parents, and making sure I have the proper clothes and plenty of books to read.

I guess those are all my big worries but I still have a few little ones:
- I have two friends coming over to swim in the morning and I have to pick up the house. They both have never seen the house and I want to make sure that it looks pretty for them. Granted, I probably could have avoided this stress by getting off the blogosphere and actually picking up and maybe that's why I'm frustrated with myself.
- My calendar is not updated right now and there are a lot of things that we have to do that are coming up. I feel all out of sorts with my schedule and I...again...should probably get off the bed and the computer and actually write my stuff on the calendar.
- Harry Potter VI: The Half Blood Prince comes out in theaters tonight at midnight and it's the first time since HP III that I'm not going to be in line at midnight with my college roomie Lauren to watch the movie. I feel guilty. Isn't that ridiculous?!

Okay...I'm getting the hint and getting off the computer...must detach self and actually get work accomplished. Might feel better afterwards perhaps? Will let you know.

Vendor List

We've gotten quite a few things done for the wedding so far...

The Marriott at Champions Circle in Ft. Worth -

Elizabeth's Bridal in Hurst - they don't have a website, but they are the most wonderful ladies in the world. Made the dress shopping experience much less painful than I thought it would be.

Mobile Music PBP -
This husband and wife team came highly recommended by two close friends of ours and I was blown away by how organized and personable they were.

Static Sixx Photography -
Another husband and wife team who became wedding photographers because of their love of taking pictures. The husband is really talented with photoshop and I'm looking forward to having really artistic pictures of our wedding.

Hot Chocolates -
The daughter of a very good family friend is the co-owner of the bakery and they produce not only beautiful works of art, but cakes that taste good as well!

Flowers on the Mound -
A friend of Craig's mom who has recently gotten her own flower shop. She was very organized and had great ideas that built on the vision that I had for our wedding.

BIG Things left to do:
- Bridesmaid dresses
- Tuxes
- Save the Date and Invitations

This fall I'm going to take my bridal portraits in Deep Ellum (during the day) because there are a ton of bright buildings and funky places to take pictures. But don't worry Mom, I'll get plenty of pretty photos on the day of the wedding. We're also going to take our engagement photos and I'm totally lost on where to take those or what to wear. I know that we need to incorporate sports and school somehow, but I also want some funky pictures as well...and yes, I want to have Angie in a few pictures too. Hmm...any ideas?

Not at My Wedding...

A long time ago when my friend Jennifer was beginning to plan her wedding, our mutual friend and my fellow bridesmaid Meggie and I accompanied Jennifer to a bridal show in Plano. It was this experience alone that made me realize a very important lesson that I would like to share with you...

Everyone gets married. No matter the size, the shape, the social status, the likes or dislikes, the quirks, the trashiness...everyone in the world seems to find their counterpart and then plans a wedding to celebrate their love.

Which means that there has to be a multitude of wedding products available in the world to accommodate the different wedding desires of each person. I don't mean to be a wedding snob or anything because I'm sure there are people out there that totally disagree with my particular choices for the wedding but...just check out these sites.

- I originally googled "tacky wddings" hoping to score a few pictures that I could put up on my blog of things that I definitely DON'T want to have at my wedding but there are just too many pictures to cut and paste! If you scroll down to the Star Wars weddings...I have a feeling my reluctant Ring Bearer might be a little more enthusiastic if I promised him a Yoda costume for walking down the aisle...complete with light saber.,0,2402436.photogallery

- My main goal for the wedding? Not to end up with our pictures in this line up.

- I have total faith in our cake makers...but I'm a little concerned about Craig's grandious idea of the UT stadium cake ending up on this website.

I keep googling different things about "ugly," "tacky," "disaster" weddings but I seem to be getting the same pictures over and over...

100th Post!

It's been about 2 and a 1/2 years since I started posting and I have now reached my 100th post! Hurray for me sticking with something for this long. It's amazing how much things in my life have changed since my very first post.
Today Craig and I went and got another thing accomplished for the wedding: our wedding bands. Although we didn't buy them, we know exactly what we want and how much they cost.
This is my engagement ring - it's a traditional diamond solitaire but with a more modern twist with the thicker band and squared edges.

Here is what I have picked out for my wedding band - the diamonds are set into the band and don't go all the way around. Initially I will get just one, but would like to acquire another one in the future for the other side of my ring. After all, I like things to be symmetrical!

Here is the wedding band that Craig chose for himself - it's made out of tungsten metal which doesn't scratch and it also has a more charcoal gray sheen to it instead of the bright white gold of the traditional mens wedding band.

Monday, July 13, 2009

"Soccer Mom"

This past weekend was the first weekend that I had to be separated from my baby, Angie. Craig and I packed up our stuff and loaded her up into the car and dropped her off early Friday morning at my parent's house before we drove down to a basketball tournament in San Antonio. Although she knows my parents and the cousins, Andy and Annabelle, it was hard to see the look of abandonment and fear in her eyes as we walked out the door and left her in my mother's arms.

Sigh. Being a mother is tough...even if it is only to a 20 lb. bundle of shedding fur and flying tongue.

During our trip, I got a glimpse into our future together as a family as I watched other families with players unload out of their SUVs. In the backs of every Tahoe or Suburban sat stacked numerous gym bags, coolers and grocery sacks full of "road trip snacks." Every mom seemed to come equipped with Gatorade and bags of chips for refueling in between games.

I sat away from the main group of parents, seeing as how I didn't really know any of them and I'm typically a little shy when approaching large groups of people, but also because I love the coach of their children's team. And frankly...I didn't want to hear any negative comments about the coaching, the players or the refs. As coaches, Craig and I tend to believe that while a player is on the field or the court, there is only one person she or he should be listening to - and that's their coach. There parents in the stands, although very educated or very well meaning, don't always understand the greater idea that is running through the coaches mind during the game. Believe me, we always have a gameplan and unfortunately, it doesn't always involve your daughter, or the actions you keep shouting at your daughter! Will I want my children to perform their best during whichever sport they decide to play? Of course! But at the same time, I want them to be a team player and pay attention to their coach, because that's the person who is in charge - I'm just there for support.

Well, that's the plan anyways.

Upon seeing our future as a family, I'm okay with it. Our mutual love for kids and sports brought us together and that's where we will find joy in our lives as a family.

"But wait," you might say, "what if your kids aren't (gasp) ATHLETES? What if they enjoy...marching band?" Well, Craig and I have discussed that possibility and his comment was that he's going to be the loudest parent cheering for their kid during the marching band presentation at half time. BUT...he also added that our kids will have a basketball put in their hands at a very young age.

All in all, we definitely had a good time in San Antonio, but we were also very happy to pick up our pup and then get into our own bed on Sunday night! The next three weeks are going to be pretty hectic with Craig having two big three day tournaments, me at volleyball camp next week and then we're off to the Bahamas for a week!

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Catching Up

It's officially been two weeks since Angie has joined our home and her overall performance has earned her a B. Here is the breakdown:

Advanced cuddling: A
- Angie excels at snuggling up and quickly falling asleep. She is always up for any cuddling no matter where she is or what is going on around her.

Bathroom Differential: D
- Although this week has been better, she still struggles letting us know when she needs to go outside. We are also working on her "submissive wetting" issues.

Social Skills: B
- She initially earned a C, but improved her grade by bonding with Craig. She could improve in her interactions with new people by not being so scared and shy.

Physical Education: B
- Angie is a good walker but needs to improve by not stopping at every new smell. She has definitely learned how to play with her toys, but could raise her grade by not destroying every toy given to her.

Following Directions: B
- Angie loves praise but is quite stubborn when it comes to initially following directions. She will do what you ask, but it takes a lot of cajoling on our part sometimes.

Peer Assessment: A
- Except for a few run-ins with Andy over sharing a ball (understandable) Andy and Annabelle very much enjoyed their time with Angie at our house. She snuggled very well with Annabelle and also played well with Andy, for the most part.

Other news from our house includes:
- Angie did have to go into the vet on Thursday because of a bug that she picked up which made her tummy not feel so well. She was put on antibiotics and a bland food diet and is feeling much better today (Saturday) but she isn't allowed to go to the 4th of July party because we don't want to get the cousins sick.

- We have our flowers, cakes and party favors done for the wedding! Hurray! That is a big load off our shoulders and next on my list is bridesmaid dresses, save the dates and invitations. I just need Craig to get me his list completed of invites and then I think we'll be ready to go!

- Michael Jackson's death is incredibly sad and tragic, but more sad and tragic is the way his life ended up and how he will be remembered - probably not for his music, but instead for his eccentricities and sketchy judgment with children. Having said that, Michael Jackson reminds me of the old phrase "which came first - the chicken or the egg?" By that I mean: was MJ created by God as the eccentric and seemingly emotionally unstable person that he was, or did circumstances (abusive father and intense media scrutiny) create his troubles? I'm inclined to think that the fame at such a young age combined with a rather unstable homelife leads to disaster for people...look at Britney Spears and Lindsay Lohan compared to Justin Timberlake. All three had loads of fame at a young age, but JT has a supportive and strong family background, where Brit and Lindsay don't. Okay, I know that it sounds a bit presumptuous to assume that I know all about all these people's lives and backgrounds but I do read a lot of Perez Hilton as well as I believe myself to be pretty intuitive. Regardless...the whole situation is very sad for several reasons and I just hope that the media lets this story rest pretty soon so that the children and the family members can move on with their grief and their lives in the best way possible.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Wedding Flowers

Yesterday evening, Craig and I went with his mom to a florist who is a good friend of his mother's to discuss the flowers for our wedding. I really liked the florist - she was straightforward and honest about what would look good and be the most cost efficient as well. I am finding that my little folder of wedding inspiration pictures I've gotten off the web is the best idea I have had yet. When we went to the florist, I had all the following pictures printed off on two sheets of paper, as well as grouped together according to topic. I also had a list of the flowers that we would need for people and the contact information of the florist on there as well.

When we sat down to initially discuss what I wanted, I just handed her the stapled sheets of paper and she was pleased and a little taken aback at how prepared I was. What can I say? I am approaching planning this wedding the same way I approach everything else...I over prepare for everything so that I am in control of the situation and I make sure I get what I want. I just know that if I didn't have these pictures, the whole wedding planning process would be an absolute nightmare for me and I do want to enjoy the next eight months.

Ceremony Flowers:
Our wedding site is outdoors and will look something similar to the above picture. It is on a golf course and so the natural scenery is pretty beautiful. There is an white metal arch (smaller than this one) and I think we're just going to wind some silk ivy around the front just to soften it a bit. Behind the arch is a small landscaped flower bed that has rocks, bushes and should have some flowers come next March. This will save us on flowers for the actual ceremony. Along the aisle, the hotel does provide a runner which will have petals strewn down it by my beautiful little flower girl, Emma. I'm just going to be saying continual prayer for wonderful weather on our wedding day, March 13, 2010 and I encourage you to do the same.

Along the aisle chairs of the first two rows, we are going to have the exact same flower decoration as the one above. This is just going to designate the family and close friends chairs as well as make the front of the wedding site pop a little bit. Every other aisle for the rest of the chairs we are going to have a toned down version of this with just white roses and greenery.

This is probably my most favorite thing about the flowers so far. I am in love with my centerpieces. I am expecting about 200 people at the wedding and that means with 10 people per table about 20 tables with centerpieces. I definitely knew that I didn't want to do the same thing at every table and I also wanted varying heights at each table. So this is what we have come up with: half the tables will be "high" tables with tall vases filled with Granny Smith green apples and brown stick looking things. Around the base of the vases will be a round mirror provided by the hotel and plain vanilla votive candles. The "low" tables are going to have small square vases filled with water and three green hydrangea flowers, again on the mirrors with candles. I think for the table decoration we are going with cream or ivory linens and then a "T" formation of alternating brown and green sheer material. I am super excited to have this part of the planning out of the way because I was very stressed about making sure that the reception looked good.
Below are several different examples of bouquets that I found. I don't really remember all the flowers that we chose, but I can tell you that my bouquet will be mostly white with green accents and my bridesmaid's bouquets will be the opposite with mostly green and then a little bit of white accents. My bouquet will have a little more loose feeling - almost as if I picked wildflowers from the ground while the bridesmaids will be a little more tightly packed together.

The boutonniere for Craig will reflect my bouquet with a mini Calla Lilly and the groomsmen's boutonnieres will reflect the bridesmaid's bouquets with green and white orchids.

Overall, picking out and discussing flowers made me very excited - partly because we're getting closer to being married, but also because I just want to see my vision come to life. On a separate note, I was reading in one of my bridal magazines and it recommended that a bride meet with at least THREE different vendors for each aspect of the wedding (cake, flowers, DJ, etc.). That absolutely floored me! I don't have that much time to devote to researching and meeting with all those people. is summer vacation, so I COULD have that much time if I wanted to, but frankly...I don't want to devote my entire summer vacation to meeting with people and discussing the same thing over...and over...and over. That statement just seemed a bit ridiculous and I feel very lucky that between the two of our families we have been able to find quality vendors either through family connections or high recommendations.