Update 19: 133 Days to Go!

I went against my better judgment this morning to write a blog post. Let me tell you something: I have a lot to do this weekend. However, if I can continue to blog once a week on Saturday mornings (at a minimum), I think it’s a habit I’d like to keep.

Wedding Central

It has officially begun: the house is turning into wedding central. Now that we are onto the last vendor we’re going to need—the transportation company—everything we have left is details, details, details. Last weekend, I began the myriad of purchases that need to happen for decor, gifts, and favors. One week later, we’ve got boxes and bags starting to accumulate in the dining room, foyer, and even the garage.

My primary goal in all the decor elements is to try and make setup and breakdown a smooth process for myself and everyone who helps out. For that, I’m talking numbered storage containers and a master list that says what items go in which container and where they go during and after the wedding… (yes, I’m neurotic). Now that we have a better understanding of our honeymoon departure (more to come on that below), we may not be there for break-down, so I want to make it easy on the folks who are. Y’all may roll your eyes now, but it’ll help!

DIY Kickoff

As of this week, I have officially started what will be a huge part of the next few months: wedding DIY. Surprisingly, the day isn’t quite as DIY as I would have thought and I’m grateful for it. On my list is our invitation suite, along with other printed materials, our card box (which I’ve already started), favors, dessert labels, table numbers, and various forms of signage. All things considered, I think it’s a pretty decent list to tackle in 4 months. Of those, the favors are going to take the longest, which is why I have already started the process!

would like to keep most of the final pieces a secret until the day of, but I will be sure to share some sneak peeks along the way! You can grab a quick look at the first DIY project I’ve started—the card box—here. I wasn’t finding one that I liked (that was reasonably priced), so I bought an inexpensive box and have decided to wood burn and stain it! The wood burning is done, but not without accident (essentially stabbed myself with the tool). However, it gave us an additional hashtag: #burningthewoodward, so not a complete loss! lol

Honeymoon Bliss

Yesterday, we received proposals from our travel agent for two variations of our honeymoon itinerary. The first included two cities: Bangkok and Phuket (which is what our original plan was); the second was three cities: Bangkok, Chiang Mai, and Koh Samui. Essentially, after we spoke to our travel agent, she got in contact with her connection for Asia destinations. Based on the types of things we wanted to do and the time of year we were going, they wanted us to consider the three cities of option 2. Well, after reviewing the proposals, we couldn’t have agreed more.

Once we finalize everything I’ll share more about it, but so far it looks like we’d be getting into Bangkok the 11th and leaving the 14th, flying to Chiang Mai until the 16th, then flying to Koh Samui until the 21st (this is the beachy, relaxing portion of the honeymoon), before flying to Bangkok so we can fly home on the 22nd. The itinerary looks incredible and we are definitely feeling the excitement. More to come soon!

Keep On Keepin’ On

One of the things I am trying to do is stay proactive. These last four months are going to fly and are only getting busier with each passing day. I know I am doing very well when it comes to time, but I don’t want to feel too comfortable. We are in a really good spot and I’m going to work to keep it that way!!

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I wish there was a countdown: House Update!

“So how is your house coming along?”

To answer the question everyone kindly asks: the process is moving slowly, but the house itself is not coming along—there’s no house to speak of yet.

Six weeks ago, we were ready for permits and blueprints. We had even received an email telling us they’d be ready soon and we should schedule a meeting to come in and sign off. Well, we went in for that meeting on Jan 6, but were notified that they forgot items on our blueprints and that they would need to go back for edits. However, our sales rep still had us come in because there were things we could sign off on in the meantime. It was annoying, but any progress on our house at this point is good progress.

Turns out, the fact that we added the sunroom went over someone’s head and when the words, “you didn’t get the sunroom, right?” were uttered, I felt my blood temperature spike for a brief moment. However, it became clear how incredibly numb we’ve become to the house situation and its many road bumps, because it barely affected us past the initial frustration.

“It is what it is.”

A couple rays of light

Not all house-related news is what we’ve become accustomed to. In December, we were informed that, due to the grading necessary on our lot, the builder would need to add a basement walk-out to stay up to code (aka free upgrade for the Woodwards-to-be). To add another level, we learned in our last meeting that it isn’t just going to be a standard door leading out; it’s going to be a sliding glass door! Which means that, way down the road, when mommy has to move her home office to the basement because the babies have taken up all the bedrooms, she’ll have plenty of natural light! Yay!

Fast forward a few days to an email asking for us to call our sales rep (this can’t be good). Turns out that, because the builder now needs to add the walk-out in a certain location, but we decided to remove the standard deck from the back of the house, we were in a cosmetic pickle. Originally, we chose to forego the back deck because our plan is to create a nice patio off the back of the house. However, if we had simply left the house without a deck or stairs, going in and adding those things down the road would be much harder and if they added stairs, not a deck, they would be super steep. So our rep was advising us to add the deck back on.

Safe to say, the back of our house now has a sunroom, basement walk-out, and a 10′ x 10′ deck. I always wanted the deck, so I’m thrilled.

In the meantime

We’ve been keeping our spirits high by taking this extended period of time to track down furniture. One of the challenges with buying a home for the first time is figuring out how to furnish it—more specifically how to afford furnishing it. We had our apartment, which was a combination of items we had previously, hand-me-downs, IKEA furniture, and Home Goods splurges. Truth be told, I loved our first apartment and everything in it. Was it my dream space? No. But it was comfy, it was quirky, and it was ours.

However, as we begin our lives as a married couple, there is the obvious desire to upgrade in our new home. After 25 years of living in someone else’s home or in a space you can only do so much with (due to building restrictions and on account of being young and broke), we’re ready to turn this house into what we’ve been aching for. Of course, that all still comes at a price and, let me tell you, furnishing an old, small apartment (with help from family) is not the same as a 4 bedroom, 2.5 bath house with a formal living room, dining room, kitchen, breakfast nook, family room, and a sunroom. Granted, our house is not very big (fun fact: Nick and I have always liked smaller, cozier spaces—who knew!), but it’s still more rooms than we are used to as a couple!

As with the wedding, we have a strong desire to have significant savings when all is said and done. So while we want our home to look beautiful and cohesive, we still have to be budget conscious. That’s where the internet has come into play! If y’all haven’t looked into your local area’s sale groups or Marketplace on Facebook, you’re missing out. For months now, we have been scouring the wonderful world that is Facebook for local people selling furniture. We’ve found pieces that are finished and ready to go, alongside plenty that just need a little love and a fresh coat of paint. The best part? We’ve gotten great deals on all of them. So far, we’ve purchased an oak round dining table (pictures of how we refinished that below), 4 chairs to go with it (thanks Ash and Don!), a sofa for the formal living room (we got this before we moved out of our apartment), two nightstand dressers, a sofa and loveseat combo for the family room, a coffee table, a dining room hutch, a dresser for the guest room, a sideboard/cabinet, and a vintage tea cart we’re picking up today! From what I can remember of the pricing, I’d say we got that all for just under 2K. We looked at a sofa/loveseat set in a furniture store and those two items alone were like $3,500.

We’ve also been fortunate enough to call dibs on some other hand-me-downs to round out almost all of the other furniture we’ll need besides some additional dining side-chairs, furniture for the sunroom (not sure what we’re doing in there yet), additional pieces I’ll need in my office, and rugs. I have a laundry list of refinishing projects and a few more pieces to build (already did our coffee table for the family room (pics below), even though it needs to be re-stained), but the amount of money we’ve saved is simply unreal because of our unfortunate luck with buying a house.

To wrap it up

In the end, I know I’ll be grateful that our house wasn’t done before the wedding. For me, if we aren’t moving in April, I wouldn’t want to move until after we get back from our honeymoon anyway. I’ve always known deep down that would be a lot to handle and we will simply have to manage as we have managed the past year and a half. These delays not only give us more time to slowly find, build, and refinish the right furniture for us, our new home, and our wallets, they give us more time to save for the days post-wedding, honeymoon, and settlement—something that has been instrumental to us thus far.

I hope to say that, later this week, we sign off on blueprints and our house moves to construction, but regardless, we know it’ll get there eventually and it’ll be worth every minute of this process. To hear my fiancé—as someone who, for most of our house hunt, considered a house to be nothing more than a structure and property—call it the “perfect house” the other day, on our long drive to get furniture in PA, was sheer perfection.

We’ll get there… and our appreciation for it will be tenfold.


Now here are some pictures of the furniture we’ve refinished/built already!

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Dining nook table and chairs before!

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After stripping and sanding (easily the worst part of refinishing). You can see the chairs mid-painting in the background!

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Table after! Never got pics with the chairs, but I’ll post one down the road!

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Time for my first house-related build: family room coffee table!

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Just a girl and her (borrowed) miter saw

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Coffee table during

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After! Color still needs redoing (too red), but it’s almost there!

Update 18: 140 Days to go!

I hate to admit it, but I have a few drafts sitting in my account that never got finished. I’ve gotten into the strange habit of starting to write, but then allowing myself to get distracted (usually by wedding items), and the next thing I know, it’s hours later and I still haven’t finished the post. With our schedule being what it has been, that’s meant I needed to either cut things short and rush, or they didn’t get finished at all. My mantra for the next 140 days (eek!) is “one thing at a time” and right now, that thing is writing.

It’s a wedding update!

Wedding Bands: When it comes to the wedding, we’ve been busy. After a few visits to the jeweler, we have officially ordered our wedding bands and we can’t wait to see them in a week or so. Word to the wise: confirm business hours before you make an unscheduled trip to see a wedding vendor.

Honeymoon: Last week, we had the exciting task of speaking with our travel agent to get the ball rolling for our honeymoon. If you didn’t know already, our original destination was Bali, but after it was announced that a volcanic eruption was imminent, plans changed. While we were able to get past the disappointment pretty quickly, the reality of starting research from scratch set in and I wasn’t about it. I knew how much we had going on and starting that whole process over didn’t interest me. Fortunately, we were pointed in the direction of a travel agent who is now taking care of the details for our honeymoon to Thailand.

The consultation call we had went very well. We think she did a fantastic job of hearing what was important to us and where we wanted to focus our attention. All her suggestions were in line with what we really wanted to do, so we felt confident leaving things in her hands at the end of our call. We did receive an email telling us that a third city was recommended to us, based on the things we deem priorities, so we’re just waiting to hear back on a proposal so we can get that wrapped up!

Registry: Last weekend, we finally set up our registry. We went to two locations to get the ball rolling and, for the most part, it went very well. It took some adjustment when we got there to keep all parties focused on the task at hand, but when we got into a groove, it was pretty fun. To be quite honest, my anxiety was getting the better of me, but I was blessed with one of those “here’s some perspective” moments when—oddly enough—I lost Nick in the store for a minute. When I went looking for him, I rounded a corner to see that silly fiancé of mine across the store, looking at a toaster, but with his hand inside, pretending to be electrocuted—effectively sending me into a fit of uncontrollable laughter. It was my favorite part of the day and a reminder that, no matter how stressful this process has become, that incredible weirdo will be waiting at the end of the aisle for me… and that’s all that matters in the end.

Frost Yourself: The next day, I enlisted the help of one of my bridesmaids to come shopping for shoes and earrings with me. A task that I thought would take an hour or so ended up being an all afternoon/evening affair (I guess I cared after all—who knew); but we were determined to find the perfect set. I originally planned on going alone, but was happy I decided against it; she got me through with flying colors in more ways than one and we had a lot of fun. Now that the shoes I ordered just came in the mail yesterday, I’m all blinged out for the big day! Just need some extensions and unmentionables (oh la la), and I’m all set!

Moving forward: I have set an ambitious goal for myself of wrapping up as many of the details as I’m able by the end of March/April, so we can sit back and relax in the final months leading up to the big day. I’d rather tackle the necessary last-minute details when the time comes and not add to the list unnecessarily. This weekend is all about purchasing a few items we need for decor, favors, and my personal ensemble, plus starting our wedding stationery—all tasks I am very excited for.

That Crazy Life I Mentioned

Here’s where I want to get real. I promised as much transparency as possible with this section of my blog, so long as it doesn’t affect other people, and I’m going to give that.

Fact: In the grand scheme of things, I haven’t enjoyed planning my wedding very much.

We have had some pretty great moments in planning this wedding and—don’t get me wrong—I can’t wait to see it all come together and know it’s going to be worth it in the end; but, there have been so many unforeseen obstacles and disappointments that I’ve been left with a sour taste in my mouth.

We have a lot going on in our lives right now and, let me be perfectly clear, we did not plan for all this to be happening simultaneously. However, that’s how things worked out and we just have to roll with the punches. It’s safe to say Nick and I simply can’t wait for the dust to settle. We’ve been caught in this sandstorm for over a year and a half now, with the house hunt, wedding planning, and work just swirling around us incessantly. So yeah, we can’t wait for the day we wake up on a beautiful Saturday morning in our new house—as a married couple—with nothing to do, knowing that all of this is behind us. But that aching desire to see it all over has made it that much harder to enjoy ourselves during a time we will not get back. Throw in those obstacles, disappointments, and personal struggles with anxiety, and you’ve got a difficult mindset to overcome.

But… I’m trying.

I don’t want to miss these last 140 days. I don’t want to let obstacles, distance, or other people ruin my experience anymore. Because I know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that the day I get to wake up and say, “I’m getting married today,” will be the best day of my life… and none of this will matter when I am walking down that aisle, saying my vows to my best friend, or dancing the night away with the people we love the most in this world.

For the first time in a while, I feel genuinely excited about what we have left to do. It isn’t all that much, but the goal is to be mindful, present, and remember what it’s all for in the end. This process may have looked different than I always pictured, but it’s time to embrace and celebrate every twist and turn before it’s gone.

Update 17: 154 Days to go!

So apparently I’m not so great at having a Saturday morning without a blog post. Hey, I’m not complaining—I love when I feel the urge to write… and CAN. Question is, what on earth do I want to talk about? I have bits and pieces from different sections that I could touch on, but I’ve got the wedding on my mind, so I’m running with that (as you probably guessed from the title).

Ring-ing in the new year

Yes, I already used that pun on Instagram, but it works. Last weekend, Nick and I paid our first visit to our jeweler to discuss wedding bands. It was an exciting day for me, but mostly because I was excited for Nick. This is a kid who doesn’t wear jewelry, with the exception of watches and the bracelet set he asked for at Christmas, so I was excited to see him try wedding bands on. For me, things were simple; I have my engagement ring and want a band to match. I had already made the decision to do a plain band to save money, so the hard part on my end was over.

The band on my ring is custom, so a custom band with diamonds is more money than I’d like to shell out for myself. So, I’ve decided to start with a plain band that matches the contour and width of my engagement ring, with the intent to perhaps get the diamond band down the road for an anniversary, if feasible. I could note here how people have already done the “disappointed head tilt” at hearing me say I am not getting a diamond band, as if there’s something inherently wrong with that, but I will just leave it at the passive aggressive statement and move forward. 🙂

So, my half of the consultation was easy. Nick, on the other hand, had to take in and digest all his options: gold vs. titanium vs. cobalt, vs. all the other metals rings come in. I could see we had two price points: one around what mine will be and one… higher. I knew where Nick’s head was going as I listened to the jeweler do his sales pitch, but Nick isn’t a diamonds kinda guy, so it’s not like we were talking anything too extravagant. I felt that, at the end of the day—though any chance to cut costs has me intrigued—I’m sitting here with my beautiful engagement ring… the band budget goes to Nick.

We are going back today and Nick is ordering his white gold wedding band haha.

Breaking it down

We are three days away from the 5 month mark (eek!), so I’ve been feeling ready to get down to business and start wrapping up the loose ends. I started a wedding notebook a while back and it’s been put to good use. I needed a space where I could simply write notes, reminders, lists, etc., so this seemed to be the best solution. Because organization is incredibly important, I start with a “just get it on paper” list every so often. There’s no order to it; I just get it out of my head. Once that slows down, I can then break it into relevant lists.

Each night in the second half of this week, I’ve dedicated some time to working on the updated list and its contents. But, let me tell you, this is definitely the fun part. Besides transportation, the honeymoon, and our registry, the remaining big items are done; I can’t describe what a relief that ends up being. So my list is now filled with follow up emails to vendors, budgetary to-dos, purchases, and the “little things.” The list is long, but certainly more fun than stressing about choosing a vendor before someone else does.

Budgeting Blues

One of the things I had on my mind was the impending influx of payments we’ll be dishing out. To book most vendors, we’ve had to put down a deposit, so we’ve already made a number of payments, but since we’ve crossed the six month mark, more deposits have been made and, as I said, it’s time to tackle the little things (which means spending money on the little things). I found myself suddenly (and unnecessarily) fearful of our larger payments coming due for vendors and not having the funds available.

To put myself at ease, last night, I sat down and took a look at our payment sheet. I essentially took the total cost for our current vendors, subtracted what we’ve already paid, then subtracted that number from what we have currently saved in our budget, in order to see how much we have left to play with. Our honeymoon budget was then subtracted, to give me a final number for how much I had available for everything else (based on our current savings).

My nerves kicked in because I have us saving until we move into our house, which will likely be after the wedding. It was the mentality that if we are saving up until the wedding, what happens to the 100% of payments that need to happen at least a few weeks before? However, after my reality check, my nerves were silenced and I know how much we have available to keep the ball rolling.

All in all, we are in a really exciting spot. We have a busy 5 months ahead of us, but again, we’re to the fun part, in my opinion. I have to wrap this up quickly because we have to not only go order our rings, but sign off on the blueprints for our house!!!

THAT MEANS DIGGING AS SOON AS THE GROUND IS READY! AHH!

Ok, more to come soon!

Day 17: 21 Day Fix—Round 2

I ended last night with a journal entry, so I am starting today with a blog post.

Good morning, everyone, and happy Wednesday (which feels like Tuesday—aka my kind of Wednesday). By now, most people are back in the swing of their routines, slowly creeping out of the bitterness that comes with going back to work after the holidays. For me, the transition has been smooth, because we are super busy right now. However, my first full day back at work yesterday came with a real challenge.

That challenge reared its ugly head at 10am. I can’t recall what I went to look at, but I tilted my head slightly to do so. Upon resuming a neutral position, the lag between the time it took for my head to be upright and my vision to match, began it’s slow, dizzying stretch. My vertigo lasted the entire day and night from that point, with constant spinning from 10–4. After 4, it was intermittent, but still happening.

If you’ve been following along, you’ll also know 10:30/11am is around the time I like to do my workouts. I pushed those until noon to see if that would give the vertigo time to subside, but it didn’t. I was faced with a choice: let my condition stop me (after a week of skipping workouts due to the holidays and illness) or accept the challenges and see where it goes. I chose the latter.

Each time I exercise, I need to do so with caution. I get vertigo every day—sometimes in small amounts here and there and sometimes so bad, I’m left with no option but to lay in bed—so exercising cautiously is already part of the routine. However, this was the first time I went into a workout on a medium/bad day—a day when I was already spinning. The workout itself wasn’t actually so bad. I had to work harder to figure out the best way to move my head and eyes, needed to take each new workout slowly until I figured out how much it triggered the spinning, and had to be aware of my surroundings. I stumbled a few times, but it wasn’t debilitating.

But then I had to lay down for crunches.

This, I needed to fight through. I knew I would be laying down, so there was no fear of falling or getting hurt. But I laid there for a second watching the ceiling spin above me, fully understanding this was going to be an experience. But, I did it. I finished the workout, ended up getting sick after the nausea kicked in, and moved on with my day.

Just this morning, I was scrolling through the Vestibular Migraine group I’m part of on Facebook and there was one woman—who has a great sense of humor—who commented that “[she] got fat.” Cue the flood of comments saying the same thing has happened to a ton more people. Now, many seem to feel it’s whichever medication they are on (and I’m taking a natural route, as opposed to medications), but many people, like me, feel unsafe with this condition (and rightly so). I work with it each time I exercise, but have to believe that being active and healthy is only going to make me better.

We all have obstacles when it comes to our health and no two people are exactly alike. I’m sharing this because there is no “one way” to do things and we all have unique needs and challenges. But, just like the exercises themselves, there are modifications you can take with everything. I know I have days when exercising isn’t an option. Like I said, I was constantly spinning for 6 hours yesterday and that was medium/bad—not my worst day. But, on the days I am well enough to exercise, I should.

2018 is a year of great change in our lives and I’m starting right here with my own self. I am putting better things into my body, trying to tune into my needs with more care, and placing my attention on not just my physical health, but my mental health as well. It’s why I’m blogging right now instead of tackling the mound of work I have to do. Living with Vestibular Migraine is part of the package now and I’m ready to keep working at getting healthier with it in tow.