February 22, 2010

And the love affair continues

It's no secret I am in loooove with The Dave Matthews Band. IN LOOOOVE, I tell you. I have been for years. And by years, I mean like, 16 of them. Really, my relationship with DMB is the longest I've ever had. And quite frankly, it's been AMAZING.

But seriously, when he keeps producing songs like this one, can you blame me?

~via YouTube~

I've loved this song since the album came out, but this is my first viewing of the video. I love how the band begins to file in behind him and how the music builds to the 1 minute mark when the magic happens.

February 21, 2010

Better late than never

Introducing Madelynn Ann - 8 lbs, 1 oz., 20.5 inches long.
It's pretty safe to say that the whole family is 100% in love.

February 20, 2010

NAILed it

I'm not a girly-girl. Meaning, I don't put a lot of emphasis on, what I consider to be, indulgent maintenance. I am hygienic, for sure (don't freak out), but I have never really been into waxing, or highlighting, or spending more than $15 on a haircut. For a solid 5 years, though, I got my nails done every 2 weeks, like freaking clockwork. I wore - cringe - acrylic tips forEVER. Why I was obsessed and thought this was like, THE BEST IDEA, I will never know. Possibly because I was a big-time nail biter in my younger years. Possibly because I thought it made me look classy...? Whatever the reason, I spent $30 twice a month for someone else to sand down and destroy my natural nails. Do you know how much money that is?? I just barfed thinking about it.

I took the impostor nails off a few years ago and have concentrated on nursing my natural nails back to health. I've gotten really into painting them (myself...I can't bring myself to go into a nail salon to have them done, for fear I might cave and get THE TIPS put back on) and I love to experiment with different colors, based on my mood and the season. Today, they are a pale pink, but tomorrow, who knows?

I am loving these looks:


~bling bling~

How do you wear your nails? Do they change daily? Are you an acrylic gal, like I used to be?

February 18, 2010

Tell me baby, what's your story?

Sometime this week (cross ALL your fingers for it) my baby cousin is having a baby. She's not technically my BABY cousin...she's only 6 years younger than me...but I BABYsat her so I mean, baby.

She is smart (minus her questionable taste in music - YOU KNOW WHAT I'M TALKING ABOUT, E) and funny and is definitely the cutest little pregnant woman I have ever seen. I am so stoked that she's going to have a kid, and while it won't be all sweetness and rainbows, I do know that she is going to make an amazing mother.

I threw her a baby shower in early January. She and her mom drove to Houston because I'm selfish like that a lot of her really good friends and sorority sisters live here. We had food and cake and mimosas - no shower is complete without champagne, I am convinced - and played the gross, "Guess the Baby Poop" chocolate diaper game. That game is really sick, by the way. I don't want babies, but I am so terrified that, after seeing that game played at so many showers, if I ever DO have a child, I am going to wake up to the thing crying in the middle of the night, walk to it's bedroom in a state of exhausted delerium, start changing the poopy diaper and suddenly shove my face in it, because HEY! Last time I did this it was Snickers!

If you know me, you know showers just ain't my thang (I battled with my mom about having a wedding shower...I lost), but I was SO PUMPED to throw this one for my cuz. I went all out - totally cleaned my toilets with the fancy cleaner - which also means I MADE the gift I gave her. Yeah, I KNOW. Wild.

The baby's name is Madelynn Ann, and this is what she got from her second cousin, but will definitely call me AUNT Cheryl:

That's right. I made that. Thank you, Internet, for the inspiration. I was really pleased with how it came out and E has hung it up near Maddy's crib, so that's awesome ;)

Maddy is now officially 2 days late, and E is uncomfortable and anxious and kind of pissed, but I am appluading Baby M already for blowing off the cliche of being a Valentine's Day babe. She's clearly stubborn like her momma, and if this "wait-out" is any indication of what kind of child she's going to be, I anticipate liking this little girl very, very much.

February 17, 2010

The proposal story

We thought it'd be more convenient to have our guests RSVP to a wedding website rather than via return cards, so I found a template online and set it up (you would think someone who worked for a company who builds websites would be more creative, no?) and there are all these pages of STUFF to fill in, like an "About Us" page, which - really? Like someone who knows absolutely nothing about me is going to be at our wedding. And even if there is an aunt or uncle on the other side of the family who doesn't know a whole lot about me save for the fact that I am marrying their nephew, really they're going to want to read a cheesy bio? Is there a quiz later?

What I am trying to say is that the pre-made sites are kind of lame and we did the best we could with what we had. We tried to make the words on the pages sound as if we were talking to our guests and I think we did a decent job of making our voices evident. See if you can tell what SK is like by his written words...

The story of the proposal does not begin with a romantic, moonlit meal on the coast of Jamaica. It actually begins several weeks previous on what was supposed to be a standard, mid-week meal with Cheryl's parents at the Saltgrass Steakhouse sometime shortly after Thanksgiving. Standard. Tommy and KJ. Cheryl and me. Food and drink.

Dinner went as usual with the women electing to entertain with the news and social judgments of the day, and the men choosing fewer words than sips of bourbon or whiskey. When dinner ended, the women left to go shopping and I figured I'd be on my way home until Tommy invited me to have another drink at the bar. My response was cool and in the affirmative, but my heart raced. Though I had planned on doing it later, now was the perfect time to ask Tommy for his approval to propose to Cheryl. Not that I'm a fan of tradition-- which will be evident from the horseshoes and ping pong that will be at the wedding--but asking the father's approval seems to be a great way to fool everyone into believing that I'm a great guy. Which I am to be sure.

The prospect of asking Tommy's approval to propose marriage to his daughter filled me with a trepidation verging on paralysis. Fortunately, I didn't have much time to think about it once we were sitting in the bar and, of course, I was swimming in the bravado afforded me a couple whiskeys. What exactly was my fear? Was it a fear of physical violence? Would Tommy literally beat me mercilessly for even thinking I could marry his daughter? The thought may seem ridiculous, but a person can only hear so many samurai sword jokes before the myth becomes truth. Was it fear of rejection? That too might seem ridiculous as I had been, in a sense, a part of the family already for some time (a fact evinced by the booby mug given to me one Christmas-- a rich family tradition), but there is a significant disparity between the tacit appreciation Tommy and I had for one another and the vulnerability inherent in explicitly asking for his approval-- his acceptance. Either I'm cool or I'm not. No getting out of there without the answer.

The conversation was pleasant as we spoke about family, focusing most of our attention on our admiration and hopes for Cheryl's younger brother Kevin who is in the Air Force and will most likely be deployed to Afghanistan in the coming months (the justification for such a hastily planned wedding--gotta make sure Kevin can be there). I'm sure there were other topics of conversation, but they don't exist in any part of my memory as at the time my sole focus was to find some witty segue into my primary concern of the evening.

Something to be understood: Heroes have the ability to fight against the inertia caused by fear in the face of various conflicts. The hero maintains the acute ability to act appropriately and effectively, but, more importantly, to think quickly in order to triumph over myriad adversaries.

As it turns out, I am no hero.

I could think of no witty transition and ended up settling on something quite the opposite of clever, "Well, enough about (whatever we were talking about), I need to talk to you about something." Yep. Brilliant. No time to turn back now.

I laid forth the plan for the proposal and Tommy listened with what seemed to be amused solemnity. Here's me at the tail end of explaining my plan, "... and that's when I'll ask her to marry me, but I wanted to get your approval first."

Tommy responded immediately with a tension-easing, jocular, "Do you know what you're getting yourself into?"

I laughed, relieved by his humorous response.

"No. Really. Do you know what you're getting yourself into?"

Oh. Not a joke. Less relieved.

The conversation turned into a rational discussion between a father who truly loved his daughter and wanted to be sure she'd be cared for and the man who would be doing so. It caught me off guard, but it was perfect. All topics were up for discussion. He asked questions about children and family and Cheryl's disposition which can be, at times, cantankerous (to be polite). (As a side note, Angry Cheryl will be perfectly manageable as I've learned several coping strategies for such behavior by watching Tommy deal with Angry KJ. In short, I am to shut up my mouth, nod my head in compliance, and let the storm blow itself out.)

My answers were apparently sufficient as immediately after the interview Tommy shook my hand firmly, smiled slightly, and said he would be pleased with the marriage. I was so filled with euphoria that I didn't even have the common sense enough to ask Tommy if he wanted to have another drink to celebrate. Oops. There'll be plenty of time for that though. I was out the restaurant shortly after, filled with confidence and sure that no other part of the proposal would be tough. Asking Cheryl would be no task. And it wasn't.

Fast forward to New Years Eve Eve and Cheryl and me in Jamaica. After a frustrating 12 hours of traveling we were still dressed in our stinkin' travel clothes, but at least at our resort sitting in an outdoor restaurant right on the water. The moon was bright and full. The breeze was cool and soothing. The water smelled clean and tumbled in lightly. She had no idea. I asked. She said yes with tears in her eyes.

We spent the rest of the evening making phone calls to family and friends. By "we" I mean she because while she called, I watched college bowl games. It seemed a fitting beginning to the engagement; we often enjoy each others' company while doing completely different things. It's cool. And though I was watching the games, I really just enjoyed listening to Cheryl laugh as she spread the news of the proposal.

Was I nervous when I asked? My hand was shaking a bit and my heart was beating fast, but I'm sure I wasn't nervous. It was one of the easiest things I've ever done in my life. I have no fears for this relationship as the thought of Cheryl always fills me with the most profound sense of happiness and contentment.


February 16, 2010

It's been a while...

Hello, lovies. It's been a while - a looooong while - since I have posted anything of substance on this thang. Life has officially gotten in the way.

Between wedding planning, work and WORKING OUT (Jillian Michaels, you are an evil hag and I love to hate you) SK and I haven't had much time for anything else and, woo-hoo, was it starting to take it's toll. So this past weekend we didn't do much; stayed indoors and recharged. It was necessary.

February 9th marked 4 years together for me and the Husband-To-Be, so we celebrated with a downtown date on Friday night. Ya'll, this is A BIG DEAL. We rarely venture downtown anymore - more because the 40-minute drive home is kind of perilous and irresponsible after a few drinks, and less because we're boring and so so so suburban now...or at least, that's what I tell myself.

We went to an awesome restaurant in the Heights called Shade (<--- check it out!!). The website says it's new, but it's been around for at least 4 years. It's where I took SK for his bday dinner the first year we were dating and HOO-BOY, let me just tell you how good that sucker had it even 3 weeks in because it was a restaurant we found by walking around his neighborhood and holy smokes was that place pricey for a gal with minimal income and a teeny-tiny credit limit. Really, the place isn't anymore expensive than a Babin's, but when I was just 6 months into my first real job ever, working on paying off debt I had racked up in college and putting money into a car I didn't take care of like I should have, I really had no business being in a place like that. It worked though - 4 years later and he's gonna marry me ;)

Aaaaanyway...dinner at Shade was uh-mazing, as usual, and then we went out to a bar to meet up with some friends who were in town for the weekend. I drank a liiittle too much and was definitely feeling it the next day.

The rest of our weekend was full of a little more of this:

and some of this:

...and this:

...aaaand this:

***So we TOTALLY fell off the wagon this weekend...I get it. But oh man, it was sooo good!***

Also, the weekend included some of this:

Some planning for this:

And a whole lot of this:

***What? You don't clean in booty shorts and stilettos? You're doing it wrong***

The wedding is only 10 weeks away (HOLY SHIT) and we still have a lot of stuff to do, which at times, stresses us both out, but overall it's been fun and easy and smooth. I am trying to keep this from becoming an in-your-face I'M GETTING MARRIED blog, but really, I don't have much time for anything else right now, so I'm about to get all up in your face! Forgive me. And if you're not interested, come back after May 1 of this year, because it's going to be all kinds of weddi-fied over here until then!

Coming tomorrow - the proposal, as told by SK himself ;) Get excited!

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