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.