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.