5 months!

Today marks the official 5-month countdown until the wedding! I don't know whether 5 months is that much more important than 6 months or 4 months, but it feels like one big, long homestretch now that it's (just about) 2009.

I didn't get as much done over my 10-day vacation as I would have liked, though it's not surprising since I was out of town and/or busy pretty much the whole time.

A few of my next to-dos are:
(1) get back to working out regularly again
(2) finish designing and order the invitations
(3) think about wedding hairstyles, cake styles, favors, bridesmaid gifts, etc.
(4) come up with a plan for flowers & ceremony decorations

We've started our pre-marital counseling (just 1 session so far) and we're looking forward to the rest of it... it's so good to have that to help us focus on preparing for our marriage, when it's so easy for me to just plan the wedding.

We're also thinking about all kinds of home improvement projects and what we can or should afford... painting, upgrading the kitchen, upfitting the bathrooms, putting in more security like kickproof doors and tempered glass (after increased break-ins in the area, including my neighbors across the sidewalk).

And finally, less than 7 weeks until Hillary's due to have my first niece! I can't wait :).



Holy cow - I do not know where all of December has gone!  Sorry for the lack of post in the last 3+ weeks!  This has been a very strange month and season for me - it's hard to even put into words how it feels.  I've been feeling a lot less festive than in previous years, mostly for the obvious reason of not having mom here.  So the Christmas season just hasn't had its normal appeal, and I can barely remember what it's supposed to feel like and be like.  I thought I'd have these vivid memories and more acute pains of loss at this time of year - and I certainly have missed mom a lot - but it's more of a dull emptiness than I expected it to be.  Just the feeling that things don't matter and there's no reason to do anything special.  The fun is taken out of gifts and surprises and parties and baking and everything.

Plus, Christmas just seemed like a minor deal this year, since the real things I'm looking forward to will happen in the coming months - my new niece and my new marriage :).  I'm just focused on those things I guess.

But nevertheless we did have a little Christmas celebration today.  Hillary, Allen & dad came over to my house around 11:30 this morning and we had some sad pancakes with thin batter (my bad).  We weren't really doing gifts this year, but dad did give us gift cards to Harris Teeter, me a couple shirts and Hillary a check for her windshield replacement.  Then Hillary gave me the luggage she got as a Harris Teeter giveaway and I gave her a couple baby outfits I've picked up at random times on sale.  We watched some of the Christmas Story movie and later made some potatoes to take to my aunt's house for dinner.

Christmas dinner was dampened by the fact that my uncle spent the entire afternoon & evening at the emergency room with his dad who had fallen and needed stitches in his ear.  But the rest of us had a subdued dinner and gift-giving and that was that.  Tomorrow we'll go to Hickory to see my dad's sister and her family.

I do have some pictures and a video though to make this post worth something :)...

These are my wonderful Christmas presents from Wade and the Tapps.  Wade got me (us) the 42" flatscreen, and his parents bought us the TV stand and graduated shelf.  All together it makes the house look so much sleeker - and I finally, for the first time in my life, don't have the smallest TV of everybody I know!

I joined the Tapps and their good family friends in Kiawah for the first half of this week, which was fun and relaxing.  (They stayed there for Christmas, but I came back Christmas Eve.)

Paisley had her first experience with the beach and had a blast!  What's not to love about running free on a wide open beach with 3 other dogs and tons of new things to explore?

In typical fashion, she had to chew on all the new things she saw - including dead horseshoe crabs - gross.

She's not a fan of water, but she did ok with the ocean.  She was scared of the tide, but it was hilarious to watch as she tried to escape it when it came toward her.

Here's me and Whitney (Wade's sister).

This is the Tapps' dog Duke who is quite a character - we all love him and his crazy antics.

Duke and Paisley are two peas in a pod, just running and chasing each other - they had so much fun.

Some more running.

Here's Wade probably trying to get them to fetch a piece of driftwood in the ocean.

Aww, so cute.

One more of us.

I had a little video of Paisley being scared of the ocean but it's not wanting to upload, so I'll try again later.


Engagement pictures!

Our engagement pictures are finally ready!

The password is Bella.


Thanksgiving Old & New

We had our first big holiday without mom this week...  I don't know what I expected, but it went very well under the circumstances.  There was a big piece missing, and the day of preparations was not as full and lively as it was with her, but I believe it's a testament to how well she prepared us for life, and how much of her lives on in us, that we can still carry on and be a family and do a big Thanksgiving dinner like she would have.

It was fun to reminisce with pictures from last year's October Thanksgiving that we had when we didn't know if mom would live until the real Thanksgiving.  She walked us through and taught us how to do the turkey, from removing the innards, to rinsing and patting dry, to making the stuffing and getting it in the turkey, to pinning all the flaps and putting it in the oven.

Here she was teaching us to dry the inside with paper towels before stuffing it.

This is my favorite - me, Hillary and my aunt Laurie all learning how to do this from the pro!

This year, through a collective effort of Hillary, dad and me, we pulled off a pretty good turkey if I do say so myself.  We all collaborated to make the sides as well - I made sweet potato casserole, Hillary made potato rolls and tore the bread for the stuffing, dad hosted and bought peas and sauerkraut, and my aunt Laurie made apple pie and cranberry relish :).

Us with our turkey :)

Golden brown coming out of the oven (even if it was a touch overcooked!)

Ally and Paisley enjoyed their Thanksgiving bones from my dad in the yard all day!


It's a hard life

Wedding dress shopping

In my last post, I said I got my dress at David's Bridal for $99...  well, I did get that dress...  and then I had buyer's remorse and ended up getting a different dress at The Wedding Mall for $399!  I'm much happier with that one though, and a friend is going to help me sell the other one on Ebay, I hope :).

These are some pictures of the first store I went to...  Don't worry, none of these are THE dress, and I cropped my face out of most of them so Wade's not getting the whole picture before the big day.  These are all $2,000-$4,000 dresses so that was definitely not happening!

This one was my favorite at this store, but again, $3,000 was not in the budget for a dress!

Also pretty

Really heavy at the bottom of this dress, even if it doesn't look like it

I did like the waist detail on this one

Very lightweight (dupioni silk)


Wedding updates

I am so THANKFUL for various things that have been going well and falling into place recently for the wedding. The first couple weeks I was stressing out about lots of details that were frustrating and not coming together, but God has been so gracious lately and given me a bunch of incredible blessings:

(1) Wade has been the cutest fiance ever :). He's willingly come with me to meet with vendors, participated in wedding discussions, gotten excited with me, and even separate from wedding planning, he tells me he loves me constantly and is so excited for our life together.

(2) We were able to change our date to May 30 with no problem. There were several conflicts for June 13 with people in the wedding party, and most of the other dates around ours had conflicts as well. But the church and country club were still open May 30, and we're able to do an earlier wedding & lunch reception to get it within an affordable range with our guest list.

(3) I got my dress! And it was only $99! On my third outing to look at dresses, I went with my aunt to David's Bridal and found a dress I really liked. I didn't buy it right then because I had one more appointment set up at another store, but the next day, the sales guy called to say he found out the dress was on sale for $99! And the size in the store really fit me and shouldn't need any alterations except adding the loops for the bustle, so I just went and picked it up this weekend - done!

(4) I've been going back and forth on what to do for the cake. The club charges $1 per person "cake cutting fee" if you bring in a cake from another vendor. The club's social director told me their cakes start at $2 per person, so I was going to just go with that because I'd never be able to find a cake for less than that from another vendor. Then the pastry chef told me the cakes start at $4 per person, and I was back at square one because that would not fit in the budget. But today I learned that we get a $2/person credit towards the cake because of our reception, so it'll work out for the club to do the cake after all!

(5) I really like our photographers. I found them on the internet, but then found out that they've done the weddings for multiple people that Wade and I know. They're a husband and wife team and really fun. We did engagement pictures this weekend with all the beautiful fall leaves around, and it was a blast. I can't wait to see the pictures in 2 weeks!

The next things to do, I think, are finding a good DJ, florist, and looking for honeymoon spots. DJ recommendations are very welcome, because I definitely don't want somebody that's obnoxious or weird. And if anyone has a good place in Mexico for a honeymoon, let me know - we think that's where we want to go.



I've been tagged by Kristin, April AND Amanda over the past month and a half to give 6 or 7 quirks about myself, so I should probably not shirk my blogging duty any longer!

(1) I always use white-out to correct mistakes when I'm writing - I cannot stand to cross things out! I use white-out in my journals, on my desk calendar, in class notes when I was in school, on birthday cards, you name it. I bring it with me when I go out of town and write in my journal. I even use white-out in my journals that have cream-colored paper, because it still looks better than a big black spot.

(2) I'm a little obsessed with calendars and writing my schedule in them. For instance, on my Outlook calendar at work, in addition to work meetings, I schedule in my workouts, TV shows I watch, every social event, important errands, church, birthdays, anniversaries, countdowns, Wade's schedule, my sister's pregnancy weeks, Carolina basketball & football games, etc. I also have things color coded with like 10 different colors for all the categories.

(3) To eat apples, I cut them in exactly 12 slices - in half, then each of those in half, then each of those I make a v-shaped cut to take out the core, then cut each of those in thirds. I don't like them cut with those little apple-corer things, or with a curved or haphazard cut to take out the core. It has to be a v-shape.

(4) I have 2 light switches at the top of my stairs - one that turns on the upstairs hallway light and one that turns on the stairway light. But each light also has another switch (at the opposite end of the hallway and at the bottom of the stairs), so up or down can be on or off depending on which one you used last time. I like to keep the 2 that are together going the same direction, so if they are going opposite ways I'll flip one and then walk to the other switch to turn the light on or off, depending on what I'm trying to do.

(5) I have even more specific procedures for cleaning and organizing the kitchen... When loading the dishwasher, certain types of plates go in certain slots, certain bowls go on the bottom rack while other types go on the top, silverware is loaded handle down in the bin, glass cookware and metal mixing-type spoons can be washed in the dishwasher, but only if it's almost full and I'm about to run it. Other cookware, pots, knives, etc. can only be hand washed. Dirty dishes stay on the right-hand counter beside my sink and they move left as I wash them, rinse/drain them, and then dry them on the left-hand counter.

(6) I don't really want to list any more of my OCD habits because it's a little embarrassing :).

Do you think I'm going to have a hard time after I get married trying to live with a boy? :) Or, do you think Wade is going to have a hard time after we get married? We better start that premarital counseling ASAP. Haha.


If you have not yet voted

I received an email forward today, and thought it was too important and too compelling not to post here. This is from Randy Alcorn on his blog, randyalcorn.blogspot.com, but I agree with it probably 100%. Even if you normally stop reading the second you see "abortion" because you think it will be another crazy, dogmatic Republican Christian who equates the party with loving Jesus, please don't. Randy is not John McCain's biggest fan, and neither am I. But his point is still very valid I think:

When someone says, “Abortion isn't the only issue,” I agree. If neither candidate were committed to the legalized killing of people, any people, then I would say, by all means weigh and measure those other important issues and make your choice. But can you seriously argue that these other issues trump the killing of millions of innocent children, not just now, but in the decades to come under a pro-abortion Supreme Court that could have been a pro-life Supreme Court? Don't you believe that though there were other issues in Nazi Germany besides the killing of Jews, Gypsies and the disabled, that all those other issues were trumped by that one?

I am not excited about John McCain in every area. But when I compare him to Barack Obama in the overriding issue of our day, the right of preborn children to live, there is a stark and radical difference. In America right now, the rights of Jews to live is not on the table. The right of unborn children to live is on the table. The killing of the unborn is the holocaust of our day. Where do you want to have stood on this issue? Where do you want the man you vote for to have stood on it? If your grandchildren ask you one day whether you voted for or against the right of children to live, what will you say?

Would John McCain be a great president? I don't know. Maybe he wouldn't even be a good president. There are so many claims by both candidates that their words seem like wind to me. I don't feel like I know a lot. But I do know for certain that one candidate defends the right of the unborn to live, and the other is utterly committed to be sure that it remains legal to kill them. In one sense I'm not voting mainly for John McCain. I am voting for McCain because it's my only way in this election to vote for the right of unborn children to live rather than die.

Now, if you think that's an overstatement, that the difference between the candidates isn't that great, or they will not influence the future of abortion in this country, I challenge you to look at Obama's dogged commitment to the legalized killing of unborn children, backed up by his 100% pro-abortion voting record. And look at McCain's repeatedly stated commitment, also demonstrated by his voting record, to oppose the legalized killing of children. If you think your presidential vote is not for or against unborn children, you don't understand the significance of the Freedom of Choice Act or the significance of the balance of power of the Supreme Court with the Obama judges who are certain to be pro-legal-abortion and the McCain judges who are virtually certain to be anti-legal-abortion.

But is it too strong to say that Obama is “pro-abortion”? He’s not pro-abortion, just pro-choice, right? Wrong. What would you think if a politician said, “I'm not pro-rape, I'm simply pro-choice about rape. And though I would not choose to rape a woman, I believe that every man should be free to rape a woman if that is his personal choice.” And what would you do if that politician promised the rape lobby that if he is elected president, the first thing he’ll do is to sign legislation that would invalidate all the state laws that restrict rape in any way?

I don't think that anyone has the right to vote for a candidate who is committed to legalized abortion unless you are willing to watch the video link below showing you exactly what abortion does.


If you are not viewing the video to see what happens as the result of an abortion, then I hope it's because you know the truth. But if you refuse to watch this because it is too horrific to look at a dismembered child, then don't you think abortion is too horrific to be legal? And too horrific to be supported by your candidate? And too horrific for you to vote for by voting for him?


Things I've learned in 4 days of being engaged

1. Facebook is ON IT... they already have every ad that shows up on my pages geared toward weddings!
2. It's harder than I thought to make sure the ceremony and reception sites are not too far from each other, distance-wise.
3. The initial budget vs. guest list examination can give you a heart attack (or at least elevated blood pressure).
4. Wade can only stand talking about wedding things for an hour or so before he needs to do something else for a while and take a break :).
5. Looking at bride magazines is way more fun than working (and way more fun when you're engaged than before that).



On Sunday, October 19th, Wade surprised me with an EARLY morning proposal and a day trip to New York City!

He woke me up at 5:30 a.m. and read a couple Scripture passages about husbands and wives, and then just said "Kim, will you marry me?" I had tears running down my face as he read the Word to me, and then I just hugged him and finally got the "yes" to come out of my mouth and not just scream in my head :). He took out my mom's diamond ring and told me that we would go together soon to pick out my own setting for her diamond. Then he told me I had to get ready because we had a big day ahead of us.

I didn't know what we were doing, but I got ready and we drove off in his car, and I couldn't believe it when we pulled into the airport! Then we checked in and I saw the destination was New York City - total craziness :).

We actually got bumped to first class on the way there - nice - and then we arrived early for our first activity, so we walked around Central Park for a little bit.

My handsome fiance (!) in Central Park

Showing off the ring :)

By 10:30, we had made it back to Hunter College for church at Tim Keller's church, Redeemer Presbyterian! It was awesome to start our day and our engagement with worship and great teaching.

After church, we had reservations for lunch at Tavern on the Green. The picture above is on the way there, walking through Central Park again.

I had a very STRONG drink at lunch made of peach schnapps, mango, grapefruit and vodka. We learned that this was a restaurant much more concerned with presentation than with quantity, as Wade ate his 4 tablespoons of crab bisque and 1 waffle for like 25 bucks :).

After lunch, we made our way across the city to Times Square. It was busy and crazy and loud like New York is, but really pretty weather by that point - it had warmed up enough to feel great in the sun and chilly in the shade. While we were there, Wade was taking a picture of me holding up my ring hand, and this cute lady came up and said, "It looks like somebody just got engaged - do you want me to take your picture together?" She was so nice and took 3 pictures from different angles (not at our request - she was just so excited, she kept saying "and one more"). She said she was there celebrating her anniversary with her husband, and she just so excited for us it was so cute. As she was leaving, she said enthusiastically "Have a great day... and have a great LIFE!" Too funny.

At 3:00 we had tickets for The Lion King! Of course you weren't allowed to take pictures inside the theater, but the show was so amazing! All the colors and songs and amazing costumes - it was incredible, even with a screaming 2-year-old sitting directly behind me. The show was almost 3 hours long, so when we got out it was about dinner time.

We wanted to do something New York-y and didn't have a ton of time before we needed to head back to the airport, so we grabbed a slice of pizza at a little place and then got ice cream (one of our favorite things to do :)).

After that, we walked around for a little while longer, and passed Radio City Music Hall and Rockefeller Center.

By that point, we were getting REALLY tired, so we decided to just go ahead and get a taxi back to the airport. We called a bunch of family and friends while waiting for our flight, and then finally got on the tiniest plane ever, crunched ourselves in our 3 square feet of space, and made it back to Charlotte at 11:30 p.m., utterly exhausted and happy :).

It's still so surreal and crazy to call Wade my fiance and start to plan wedding details (out loud - you know I've done my pre-preparations behind the scenes ;-)). But I couldn't have imagined a better man to spend the rest of my life with, and I know my mom loved him and would have been so proud and excited for us now. His parents will make the best inlaws, and my dad gets another son-in-law to tip the male-female balance in our family his way.

Stay tuned for updates on the plans :).


Paisley turns 2!

Happy birthday sweet Paisley!  You've grown so much :).


First and last beach trip of the summer

Last weekend, I spent 4 days at the beach with some of my best friends from college.  It was GREAT to get away, to catch up with everyone, to be silly and girly, to get a little sun, and to have great conversations about our lives with these girls who know me, love me and share an unbreakable bond.

From L to R: Marcy, Jessica, Susie, Lindsay, Diana & me

Friday night, we stayed in and cooked pasta for dinner...  and perhaps had a little too good of a time.  Let's just say, the wine in Marcy's hand was only the beginning :).

Saturday night, we went out to dinner to a little Mexican place we found...  not seafood, but it was much cheaper and had gluten-free options for Marce.

We live around the corner from each other in Charlotte, and yet we had to drive 4 hours to the beach to actually catch up and hang out!  Marcy and I had an interesting time finding gas in the small SC towns we passed through, but luckily it all worked out and we didn't get stranded.

Diana displaying the plate where her Mexican food once was.

I got home from the beach to find a WONDERFUL surprise waiting for me - my leather chair finally fixed from where Paisley chewed it up last summer!  Wade's parents wanted to get it fixed as my birthday present, but the leather shop was booked from June til September, so they just got it done now.  

If you can't tell, they replaced the leather on the front part of both arms and both sides of the ottoman.  It's not an exact color match to the original leather, but I think the variation gives it a little bit of character & uniqueness :).  I can finally sit in the chair without worrying about stuffing falling out and having to cover up the eyesore with a blanket!  THANKS ROD & JOLI!


No photography tricks here

I promise I did not pose Paisley like this... I just looked up the other day and she was in exactly this position. She's so funny and cute.

Also, my car recently hit 100,000 miles! The '99 Honda Civic has served me well. At this rate, it'll last until I'm 35 (though I hope it doesn't have to).


Not Yo Momma's Women's Retreat

This weekend I was in Montreat with 70 women from Hope Community Church for our "Not Yo Momma's Women's Retreat." It's always a blast, with a lot of Hope-type shenanigans.

On Saturday, some of us went on an extended hiking trip... extended by the fact that we ALL failed to see the huge stone marker for the trail we intended to go on, so we went on a trail that led nowhere for quite a while before finding the one that actually went to the top of the mountain.

The North Carolina mountains are SO pretty! And it was about the most gorgeous day we could've asked for.

This is an annual competition at the NYMWR called the Bag Game. There is a paper grocery bag on the floor, and you have to stand on one foot, bend down and pick it up in your teeth, without falling or touching the ground. Then you rip off a piece of the bag, so it gets shorter & shorter. Last one to be able to pick it up in her teeth wins!

This year we had 2 bags - one for 5'6" and shorter and one for 5'7" and taller. That made it much more fair because we have lots of barely 5 foot women at our church that win every year. Our community group represented well, with the "tall" winner (Megan, above), the "tall" runner-up, the "short" 3rd place, and the "tall" 4th place (me!).

The fun and games had to continue, of course, so we had the brilliant idea to attempt a cheerleading pyramid... despite the fact that I don't think any one of us was ever actually a cheerleader.

Here's the triumphant pose, right before Christy fell and broke her wrist :(. She subsequently spent 5 hours in the emergency room in Asheville getting it X-rayed and set. We all felt SO bad, but Christy's a tough cookie, so she laughed it off and made the best of it.

Next up, the beach with a bunch of college friends this weekend! I can't wait!