Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Why Must I be so Obsessive?

Seriously, I am always obsessed with something. When we first moved it was decorating. I spent forever looking at design blogs and online catalogs. I thought and planned. Now I'm waiting for the weather to cooperate so I can finish the living room and dining room. My obsession has waned as I wait for warm clear skies.

In the mean time, I've become consumed with wedding crap. I don't even know why. I just need something else to think about. We're getting to the point that we're actually spending real money on things and it's terrifying. I'm trying to use as little of our savings as possible. I'm thinking I might be able to get away with only using savings on catering and paying everything else out of "other" funds. I have a pretty good idea of what we're doing for most stuff. Not final decisions, but sort of round about thoughts on most things and pretty decent estimates on costs. The only thing that I'm still undecided about is photography. I want good photography. I want to have nice pictures of the day. But photography is sooooo expensive. It's the thing that is bothering me the most. I want the cool and pretty pics but I get all outraged every time I think of paying someone THAT much money for freaking PICTURES. But then I'm like, but they're so nice! And then I'm like, "do you really want to spend like half of your budget on pictures?" And so on and so forth. So, we'll see what happens there. I'm still researching.

In Ramona news, not much is going on, so I figured I'd throw together a few clips to show Ramona being a technologically advanced baby. Our friends Andy and Holly were down a few weeks ago and Andy brought his iPad. Ramona really enjoyed it. The girl loves making music any way possible!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

This is Getting REAL, son!

So Thursday was our meeting with Pastor Bob. We talked about ourselves and our families. He said he thought we were ready for marriage. (Unsurprising, since we've been together for almost five years, have moved across the country together a couple times, and have a child we've been raising together.) So our conversation was less about how to deal with marriage and more about the actual ceremony. He gave us a general idea of how the ceremony will go, told us how the ceremony can be customized and gave us some sample ceremonies. We meet with him again in May to talk about our decisions up to that point.

I am most likely going to cry at the wedding. I was getting teary eyed reading sample ceremonies in the parking lot of Pizza Hut. I think that was when the whole idea of the wedding really hit me. A lot of people say things like, "Don't get too caught up in the wedding, it's all about the marriage!" By which I believe they mean that the wedding planning and the party and whatnot are one day of the rest of your lives, so don't put too much stock into it. That hasn't been a problem for me because the marriage is really the important part to me. But within all of that, I hadn't really considered the enormity of the actual ceremony. Obviously, throughout our relationship we have had many promises and obligations to one another, but they have been mostly unsaid and merely implied. But the wedding ceremony is my chance to vocalize those promises, and vow to uphold them for the rest of my life in front of God and everyone. It's a powerful moment. It's being decisive and making a choice and having the confidence to say how you feel and what you want. Honestly, as patriarchal as the history of marriage is, the ceremony feels like it will be a very feminist moment. It's saying, "I have the choice to marry any man or no man, but I choose you." And it's not an inconsequential choice, it's a lifelong commitment. It's saying, "I've changed my mind about everything from my favorite color to my faith in God dozens of times over my short life, but I know I won't change my mind about having you in it ever." In every way, it really is a huge, powerful, important, emotional decision.

There is some quote about motherhood that a lot of people use that is something along the lines of, "having a child is wearing your heart outside of your body" and it's very true. Empathy takes on new, unforeseen heights when you have a child. Just the thought of bad things happening to Ramona makes me tear up. I love her in a way that I don't love anyone else, and that I probably won't love anyone else except her potential future siblings. But getting married feels like another form of my heart living outside me. Only instead of my heart just growing into someone else without my control or permission as it does with children, I am purposefully putting my heart into someone else's hands and saying, "Please, PLEASE take good care of this because I really need it. I'm giving it to you because I think you can make it grow bigger than it's ever been and bring me more joy than I've ever had, but I'm quite aware that you could just throw it on the ground and stomp on it at any time." And this wedding ceremony is his chance to say, "Your heart is a precious gift I value and want to protect and nurture. I am deliberately accepting this gift with the understanding that you are trusting me to help you grow and become a better, happier person through my words and actions. I would never throw it on the ground and stomp on it. You must be thinking of someone else; I'm too awesome for that."

And then? We make the same promises again! He gives me his heart (which is very thoughtful of him) and then I have to accept the HUGE responsibility to take care of that sucker FOR-EV-ER. And as I stated earlier, I don't think marriage is about occasionally tending to his heart, but actively helping it grow over time to a huge, joyful, heart that keeps getting bigger even when you think it can't. (We're gonna need a bigger boat. Or flower pot. Or chest. Wherever this metaphor is taking you.) And so the wedding is about vulnerability and responsibility all at the same time. You make a commitment and trust someone else to honor the commitment they've made. It's kind of a big deal.

And I really didn't think too much about it until Thursday night. I knew these things are what marriage is about, but I forgot that it's what the ceremony is about. Now I think I'm more excited for the ceremony than the reception. But I'm still most excited for the marriage.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

My Baby is Learning Stuff!

Wow, Ramona is really starting to know things. This video is her latest trick. We've been working on it for a week or so, and she totally gets it now. So cute!

Also, she was smart enough to eat my Thin Mints, hence her chocolate covered face.

Her other cool trick right now is "reading" her Colors book and pointing to the picture of the ball and yelling "Ball!" I just keep telling Joe, "My baby can read! Just like the commercial says!"

Cool cool cool triiiiiiiicks! Yeah! (She also yells Yeah! during that song on Yo Gabba Gabba. It's awesome.)

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

More Baptism Pics

Joe's mom sent me some more pictures awhile ago, but I finally got around to downloading them today. This picture has most of the people who were at the baptism. (And pretty much everyone looks terrible, which makes it extra hilarious.)
I just like the evil look I'm giving Ramona in that one.
A cute one of Joe and Ramona
Most of Joe's family

Ramona at the church

There were a lot more, but these were my favorites. I felt like garbage today and ended up leaving work early. I'm feeling a lot better now, but I'm hoping bedtime goes well tonight because I'm still pretty exhausted. I really need to get a lot done at work tomorrow, so I'm hoping I feel awesome when I wake up.

Monday, March 21, 2011

17 Months

The Fish is 17 months today. It's hard to believe. After work she and I played in the backyard and then went over to the park to play. She had so much fun on the swings and kept yelling "whee!" and "wow!" After that we went to run some errands at Target and the Fresh Market. I realized that Ramona's mimicking is getting pretty hilarious. She says things that I say all the time and I don't even realize it. Like, whenever I see something I like I go, "Oooooh!" and she kept pointing at things and going "Ooooh!" at Fresh Market.

She's become quite the climber and finally figured out how to get up on the coffee table yesterday. I knew it would happen soon since she figured out how to get on the ottoman recently and they're about the same height. I'm ok with the ottoman, but I've been trying to quash the coffee table because 1) no one is allowed to stand on the coffee table and 2) it's slippery and dangerous, especially when she's wearing her footsie pajamas. She's already had a close call with falling on it.

I have really been enjoying this weather and am bummed that it's going to cool down again. I want spring for real! None of this fake out crap. I mean seriously, didn't the groundhog say spring is a go ahead? Let's stay with this weather. It's so nice to spend the evening outside with Ramona instead of dying of boredom in the house.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Spring is Here

Ramona is loving spring- especially the little burst of nice weather we had last week. She played outside for the first time in a long time and had a great time running around and investigating all the pine cones and sticks in the backyard.

We've been seeing my family a lot lately which has been nice. We went to hang out for my mom's birthday, then the next weekend Erin had the high school musical which she was managing the backstage for, and then this past weekend was some play Kathleen was involved with due to her affiliation with Mitch. Both the plays were enjoyable and I had a lot fun getting to see everyone. Ramona seems to be having fun playing with Mom.

Today we went over to see Joe's parents since we hadn't been over there in awhile. It's weird to deal with how often we should visit our families. Now that we've moved home and especially since we have a kid, it's a balance of trying to not be a burden or a bother and show up too often, and making sure we visit regularly so we can see everyone. I think we're doing ok, but who knows? It's hard to know what people are thinking.

Ramona has added some to her vocabulary- now she says mommy, daddy, up, ball, wow, hi, and bye. She says other things by just repeating things I say, but those are the ones she actually uses independently of my prompting. She also enjoys saying "Arf! Arf!" when I talk about what noise dogs make, and thinks high fives are totally awesome. Her favorite song right now (other than ANYTHING on Yo Gabba Gabba!) is Old MacDonald, which I change to Old MacMony, and she loves to sing the EIEIO part. She has been extra lovable this week due to her enthusiasm for the new things we've been doing.
She's my favorite little lady!

Wedding update- we went to look at Ward Pavilion today and I liked it a lot more than I thought I would. I was worried about the wood paneling and drop ceilings, but it's actually really cute! The wood paneling is more lodge than 80s basement rec room, and the drop ceiling panels are faux wood (or real wood, I didn't look that closely) so they looked nicer. My only concern is that it's a little small. But, we're planning on a small reception, so I think we should be fine. We also have the option of tenting the patio area, so that's something to consider. But I think I'll book it when I get paid Friday. I like that it's
1) directly across from the church
2) in a park, since Joe and I have such a history with the parks
3) not "fancy". Pretty much every reception hall in Toledo is fake fancy in a really cheesy way, and our reception is about being fun and silly not fancy. I mean I want to wear a pretty dress, but that's the extent of the fancy. I want to be happy, not classy. I mean, I'm not going out of my way to make it tacky, but I want it to be casual and fun.
4) adjacent to a little playground, since we're inviting quite a few kids.
5) not too expensive, and finally
6) not requiring a specific caterer so I can pick what I want within my budget.

In other news, I asked my sister Kathleen to be my maid of honor and she said yes! We haven't nailed down the rest of the bridal party yet (except my other sister Erin, obviously, who I need to invite over for an official type bridesmaid request since she was out prom shopping on Saturday.) It kind of depends on how many attendants we want to have, which we haven't determined, and getting Joe to discuss wedding details is like pulling teeth. He wants to be involved and get asked about things, but he takes forever to make decisions which would be fine if we had more than six months to get this crap together but we don't. I'm a little more worried about pulling it off than I thought I'd be (both financially and pure planning-wise), but I'm sure it will be fine. We meet with Pastor Bob this week to get that whole ball rolling, so we are slowly making progress.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

The Sickness

Once again, Joe got sick and made Mony sick, too. Joe was sick Mon-Wed and Ramona started up last night and today was-lay-around-with-a-fever-sleep-all-day sick. It was like having a newborn again. She just laid on me and slept while I did whatever I wanted. It's a nice change of pace, but I feel sorry for my little fish. Hopefully she'll be better tomorrow. I'm fine so far, which probably means I'll get sick over the weekend, because that's how my life is.

We gave up meat for lent, and so far it has been pretty easy. I just eat fruit for breakfast, pb&j for lunch, and something veggie for dinner (so far grilled cheese and soup and vegetarian sushi.) It's kind of fun because it makes me look up recipes and get excited about cooking. It also has taught me that zucchini is called courgette in New Zealand, since they have some good recipes that I found confusing at first because I didn't' know what they were talking about. I feel that I should buy a kitchen scale because all the recipes from overseas call for grams of food.

Wedding-wise we have a meeting with our pastor on the 24th. Tomorrow I'm leaving Joe with the task of calling the venue we're thinking of and seeing if we can look around and get that set up. So things are kind of getting rolling with that. Spring was starting to spring this week with rain instead of snow, and almost everything was melted, but I think it was starting to snow when I came home from work, so it looks like this never ending winter will continue to never end.

Thursday, March 3, 2011


Well, September 24th is going to be the day, it seems. Everyone so far has been open to that date, so I got penciled in at the church today. We just have to meet with the pastor and it will be official. Then I have to plan everything else- which I don't even want to think about right now. But I will have to start thinking about it pretty quickly. We've been putting together a guest list, but that's pretty much it so far. Blaaaaaah- it's a lot to think about.

In other news, we went up to the winter beer festival up in Grand Rapids over the weekend, which was pretty fun. We got to try quite a few beers, and there were some really awesome ones. I had a lot of fun and Joe got pretty goofy. I hadn't seen him so obnoxious since my sister's 21st birthday. We went to Hopcat and got another shirt for the brew blanket and went to Founder's but didn't get a shirt because they were too busy. I had a really great time all around, even though I felt like garbage the next day. I got a nap once we got home and felt much better. It was definitely nice to see friends we hadn't seen in awhile and drink some new beers.

Ramona stayed with Joe's parents while we were gone and even though she cried when we left (and it was the cutest crying ever- she is really into waving right now, so she was screaming but still waving bye bye) she had a lot of fun eating way too much food and even got to take a trip to Toys R Us. So obviously, she didn't miss us too much. She did seem really happy to see us when we picked her up, though, and I was certainly happy to see her.

I'm almost done decorating the living room. I'm pretty much waiting until it's warm enough to paint before I put up the finishing touches (the paint, valances, a plant, a desk lamp, and pictures) so it's just a matter of time. The dining room is pretty much the same story. I need paint, and I ordered a table cloth that hasn't come in yet. I'll probably get some napkins and place mats and a few more pictures and I'll be done in there. The big challenge left there is figuring out what I want to put in the built in cabinets. I'm undecided.

So, I'm excited for spring and painting, warmth and bike rides, sunlight and picnics, but am wondering how I'm going to survive a summer filled of rushed wedding planning, running after a toddler, and going back to school. My mom said that she's interested in baby-sitting Ramona once school lets out for the summer, which will help a lot. But it will still be a crazy busy summer- but I'm always happiest when I have a lot to do, so I'll be fine.