Monthly Archives: February 2010

February Showers Bring…

Giant puddles of slush and make rivers across the road on the way to school.  Welcome to the great state of Maine in the winter time.  But even though the weather is awful, I think it’s about time we talk about something sunny and beautiful:  our flowers!

Let me begin by telling you about my amazing fiance.  When this whole wedding planning process got started, he thought it would be a pretty simple process.  Heck, I had a few moments of that one myself.  We. Were. Wrong.  Flowers were one thing that surprised him the most.  I would blither away about what I wanted for flowers for hours, and he would nod along (probably falling asleep inside) and definitely wanted to go to the florist with me, Mom Library, and FMIL Library.  How interesting he found the experience, I don’t know, but at least he was a trooper!

Secondly, let’s talk about the amazingness of Future Aunt M.  Mr. Library and his younger brother K are the only two children on FMIL Library’s side of the family.  Since no one else had children, the two boys were pretty spoiled (in a good way).  When I entered the picture, Aunt M was one of the first ones (besides FMIL Library) to have a girl in the family.  She would send me mail during college, gave me Christmas presents when everyone else thought I was too new, sent Mr. Library and I to Disney World when we graduated from college, and now writes me emails to remind me of how great of a teacher I can be.  She is definitely my aunt.  When Mr. Library and I talked about wedding planning, she jumped in and blew us away by stating that she would be taking over all of the flower expenses.  Um… what?  Yes.  All of them.  She didn’t care that I wanted peonies and that they would have a heftier price tag.  Whatever I wanted, she would buy it.  We were floored, but incredibly thankful.  It took a huge burden off from all of our shoulders.  I had been planning on ordering flowers wholesale and making our bouquets, but now we could relax and let the expert do it!

(Source)

Following Aunt M’s recommendation, Mr. Library, FMIL Library, Mom Library and I jumped into my car and headed to Pooh Corner Farm Greenhouse in Bethel.  We actually thought we were lost because the road was so narrow and became dirt at one end, but five minutes later we reached the front of her farm.  Now, you may be wondering why the greenhouse is named “Pooh Corner.”  Yes, it does have to do with the stories of Pooh and Piglet, but it has an extra element.  Carole, the lovely owner, actually owns many of the real life animals that live in Pooh’s stories.  She owns a wallaby named Roo, a pig named Piglet, a rabbit named Rabbit, and a donkey named Eeyore.  Piglet was walking around the building when we met with Carole, and Carole seemed a little concerned that he would freak us out.  Apparently she has lost a few brides to the fact that she has a pig running around.  Not me!

She had tons of books and magazines around, but I already knew in my heart what I wanted.  Yep, I was that bride, the one who comes in with everything but the actual flowers.  When Carole started filling out the paperwork, she casually asked what I was thinking.  “Fuschia peonies with six white roses, please,” I very calmly (but quickly) answered.

Something like this, but a lot more fuschia and a lot less white. 

(Source)

“Oh.  Well you certainly know what you want.  Peonies… hmmmm…”

That hmmmmm wasn’t a good thing.  Our wedding was a week later than the “late season” for peonies.  Honestly?!  Nooooooooooooooo!  I had had my heart set on peonies forever, long before I had even thought about marrying Mr. Library.  I swallowed a little of my panic and asked her what the availability would really be like.  She could tell that my bridal heart was breaking, so leveled with me.

“I am going to try my absolute hardest to get those flowers.  However, what would your second option be for a flower if I cannot get them?”

“Well, I want fluffy fuschia flowers.  What are my options?”

FMIL Library suggested hydrangeas because “they were pink.”  That’s not fuschia.  Veto!  Carole suggested that she could open up some roses in a similar color, so I went with that.  I really don’t want a bouquet of all roses, but I guess I will have to suck it up for the color.

“Okay, so what’s with the six white roses?”

Ah, I expected this to come up.  I must have six white roses because that is how we are honoring our deceased grandparents.  We each only have one grandmother left (Dad Library’s mom and FMIL Library’s mom), so I wanted to show our love for them and their guidance in a different way.  I want to have them on my journey to the altar, so I will literally be carrying them with us as we are wed.  I love it.  (This will also be explained in the programs for the guests.)

With that set, we went on to boutinnieres.  This was where Mr. Library had some say, but his face looked a little like a question mark.  Carole helped with some options, so we picked white roses, fuschia roses, blue bachelor buttons and fuschia freesias for different people.  Our moms jumped in with their thoughts, though Mom Library stayed a little quiet during times, and about an hour later, we had everything pretty much set.  There were a few key lessons learned during our time, though.

Bachelor Buttons (Source)

Fuschia Peonies (Source)

Fuschia Freesia (Source)

Calla Lily Boutonnieres for the grandmothers (Source)

Lesson One:  To some men, dark blue is the same thing as cobalt blue.  To a florist, they are not.  Please explain this to men before taking them to a florist.

Lesson Two:  You won’t always have the same taste as your FMIL.  Own up to it and stand up for your ideas.  This is your wedding, though some help is nice.

Lesson Three:  Know your flowers beforehand.  And what kinds of arrangements might go where.

Lesson Four:  Love the florist you are working with.  I do.  Carole is wonderful and laidback.  And thank goodness!  I feel completely secure going with her and cannot wait to see what she turns out!

What are you doing for flowers?  How did you find your florist?

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Shredding Before the Wedding

Please excuse my brief absense from the blogging world.  Schools in the Maine and Massachusetts area have begun to post some teaching opportunities, so I have been hot on the trail for new jobs for next year.  I haven’t been officially told that my position will be cut at my current school, but we all see the writing on the wall (right next to the graffiti in the girl’s bathroom).

I have, however, been focusing on the wedding in the midst of the working world stress.  My main focus has been on the shredding.  No, not the paper goods that get the best of me when I am making 110 seed envelopes, but the shredding of my muscles!  About three weeks ago, I purchased The 30 Day Shred from Jillian Michaels, the female personal trainer on NBC’s The Biggest Loser.  It had been written about all over the Weddingbee boards, and people seemed pretty pleased, so I figured that it would be worth the $10 on Amazon.com to try it out.

(Source)

Good.  Ness.  Jillian Michaels knows how to make you work your butt off!  The DVD has three levels, each level being a twenty-minute workout.  The first time I popped it in, I thought, Hey, twenty minutes and it’s over.  No biggie! Hah.  Yeah right.  I hadn’t eaten breakfast, which was a huge mistake.  I got about ten minutes through it and had to sit down, sweat streaming from my forehead and into my eyes.  I was lightheaded and parched.  Did this woman want to kill me?  Actually, yes.  She says so in workout level two.  Lesson learned:  Make sure you have adequate blood sugar before working out!

Workout number two went better.  I made it all the way through, but there was no way that I could do all of the exercise sets to the max.  The positive thing about the how ordeal was that I was engaged (don’t mind the pun!) and kept coming back for more.  I could actually feel my endurance kicking into gear by the fifth day.  My (girly) push-up count went from a total of 19 to a total of 29.  My quads got a lot harder and created new shapes I hadn’t seen before?  (Hey now, what’s that lump?  Is that a muscle?  And where did that space between my theighs come from?!)  I love it.

I love it for many reasons.  I love it because I break a sweat in my livingroom and don’t have to join a gym.  I love it because I can hook my iPod up to the livingroom stereo and listen to Lady GaGa as I struggle through moves.  I love it because I can feel the workout the next day.  I love it because I am seeing little results.  And I love it because it is boosting my self-esteem.

Truth be told, I have never had great body image.  Let’s call it a consequence of being “the other sister.”  Most people would come into our family and compliment MOH Library on her looks.  One person went so far as to say, “Wow, Sister Library!  You could be a model!  And you, Ms. Library… well… at least you’re smart!”  Ouch.  It didn’t take long to figure out that I had not been blessed with the looks in my family.  I was also a very chubby child growing up.  My eating habits were awful, and my figure reflected that.  It wasn’t until my senior year of high school that I started getting in control of it.  But the self-esteem never kicked into full gear.  Sure, I can walk into a room and talk to pretty much anyone, but I don’t always have the best outlook on what I look like.  Working out on a daily basis has helped me feel better that I am being proactive and am doing something that’s great for my overall health.  It beats being a couch potato!

(Source)

Now, I am not in this to be a size two with Michelle Obama arms (though that would be awesome), but I have heard it said that weddings are like marathons.  You need energy and stamina to get through the day, even though you are running on adrenaline and feel like you are floating on air.  We’re also walking for a whole heck of a lot of our honeymoon.  Sitting on the couch for long periods of time won’t help either of those cases.  I want to feel good about my body, feel good about my stamina, and feel good about all the places we get to go on our honeymoon!  Plus, Mr. Library has decided he will join me for workouts when he is home, so we become a Jillian-loathing team!  Thundercats GOOOOO!

Are you doing a pre-wedding workout?  What have you tried?

If You Can’t Say Anything Nice…

Mom Library likes to quote the old adage “Weddings and funerals bring out the truth in people.”  Wow, that’s for sure.  Of course, for the longest time, I thought she meant this regarding family members and close friends.  Oh no, my friends; it’s much more global than that, for better or for worse.

(Source)

Exhibit A:  Old acquaintances.  This is one of the more positive times when people have come out of the woodwork to talk wedding shop.  Senora H, Mr. Library’s high school Spanish teacher (I took French next door), is one of the sweetest women to grace the hallways of our alma mater.  Seriously, they are lucky to have kept her this many years.  A petite woman in her mid-fifties, Senora has a way of putting people at ease and making them feel interesting.  When she saw that I was substitute teaching at the end of graduate school last year, she was quick to say hello.  After asking how Mr. Library and I were, she immediately asked about the wedding plans.  Both of her daughters had already gotten married, so she could relate to the different emotions and planning issues Mr. Library and I were facing.  It was wonderful to hear her side of each subject, being that she was a seasoned expert in Mother of the Bride.  She gave great advice, neat ideas, and a lot of smiles.

Exhibit B:  Coworkers.  This one is a double-edged sword.  Let’s start with the positive.  As of last weekend, there are three of us at my middle school who are getting married some time between July 10 and August 7.  I was the first one engaged and started off the school year with wedding planning already in progress.  A, my co-coach for field hockey, got engaged sometime in September and decided to get married the week before me.  M is the latest addition.  Her boyfriend proposed last weekend, and they decided immediately to get  married the first weekend in August.  God speed to her with planning!  It’s great to have people going through the same planning ups and downs at work, especially since we can just look at each other and know how it feels to plan EVERYTHING in the world.

The negative.  Luckily, this category is short.  It revolves around one particular coworker who has found the need to pick apart every wedding selection I have decided to share with her during our lunch duty.  This lady, who will be referred to as R, is a wonderful lady with a heart of gold, but she tends to have the mind-to-mouth filtering system of one of the Bravo Housewives of New Jersey.  When I mentioned that Mr. Library and I would be having our ceremony on a bridge, she turned her nose up and berated me for not having it in a “Jesus appropriate” setting.  Her words, not mine.  I also got a lecture on how weddings were a place to be civil and completely sophisticated, so our plans on maybe smooshing a little cake would be totally outlandish.  Well, chalk two up for being outlandish.  Now, in all of this, I never really asked for any opinions, so it was a little hard to take the negative.  I guess that’s the risk you take with sharing.

(Source)

Exhibit C:  The completely, 100% eavesdropping stranger.  Oh, how I wish I were kidding.  While waiting in line for our H1N1 shots, Mom Library and I started talking about our To Do list for the wedding.  The woman in front of us decided to tell Mom Library that she “had no right to tell [me] what to do because [I am] the bride and you just can’t talk any sense into brides.”  Uh… do I know you?  This butting-in continued for the next twenty minutes until the offender’s phone rang.  Saved by the bell.

Which opinionated exhibits have you come across during planning?

Buckets of Things to Do

When life-changing events happen, I often find myself reevaluating what I would like to accomplish in life.  I think a wedding fits into the category of life-changing, don’t you?  In that case, here is my bucket list of things to do in life:

  1. Visit every Disney park in the world.  (Thank goodness there are only four thus far!)
  2. Get married (working on that one!)
  3. Buy a house.
  4. Visit as many different continents as possible.
  5. Get my writing published.
  6. Go through the rainforest on a zip line.
  7. Stand on a volcano.
  8. Make a huge difference in at least one of my students’ lives.
  9. Get a dog. (I’ve never had one!)
  10. Become a pretty good photographer.
  11. Learn how to speak Italian.
  12. Learn how to make fancy desserts.
  13. Learn how to decorate cakes.
  14. Teach a student how to read better and ENJOY IT!
  15. Get either another Master’s degree or a Ph.D.
  16. Visit as many different countries around the world as possible.
  17. Be someone’s godmother.
  18. Be someone’s Matron of Honor in her wedding.
  19. Adopt a pet or a human.
  20. Learn to make clothes
  21. Celebrate 50 years of marriage with my husband.

That’s all I can think of so far, but I am sure it will grow.  I already crossed “be on national TV” off my list this week thanks to the Today Show, so who knows what will be next!

What are your life goals?

Preemptive Mini-Moon: Day Three

It was the final day of our trip, and I was ready to go home, not because I wasn’t enjoying myself, but because I just wanted some unscheduled time for napping.  Getting up early and walking around all day was zapping the energy I was currently coasting on, so I knew I wasn’t much fun to the rest of the group.  That being said, I wanted to make the most out of our last day in the city.

Task one:  Be on the Today Show.  Big dreams?  Yes.  Completely possible?  Maybe.  Let’s give it a shot.  We left the Bronx early-ish so that we didn’t have to drag our butts out of bed too early, but we wouldn’t be too late for the show either.  When we got there, this is what we found:

*Crickets… crickets*  Yeah.  I had completely forgotten that the Today Show team would be covering the Olympics in Vancouver, so they wouldn’t be showing anything here in New York.  Oops.  A little disappointed, we decided to take the opportunity to look for a breakfast spot.  We went into the NBC store, where Mr. Library and I purchased our new “Top Chef” cooking apron, and realized that Kathy Lee and Hoda were on… in New York!  We rushed downstairs and got prime spots behind the co-hosts.  I made a phone call to Mom Library and she indeed saw us on TV!  I was bouncing up and down behind Kathy Lee, probably looking ridiculous, but oh well.  Check that one off from my bucket list!

More walking ensued from there, and we ended up walking back to the subway to go to the MET.  We made a few stops along the way to look at different sites.  We met up with K’s best friend L and toured the MET for hours.  I also got yelled at by guards about five times for either being too close to the pieces (hey, art needs to be appreciated in its finest form!) or for taking pictures when I shouldn’t have (um, hi.  That’s where putting up signs would be handy!)  In the end, we saw some beautiful artwork that will stay with me for quite some time.

We then rushed back to the car, ate a very questionable lunch in Chinatown, and plopped down into our seats for a very long ride back to Boston.  I was a little cranky from the exhaustion, but all in all, our trip was great.  Thank you, K, for putting us up and showing us around!

Have you been to NYC before?  What were your favorite parts?

Missed a day?  Read Day One and Day Two.

Preemptive Mini-Moon: Day Two

Day two started with sleeping in a little.  Mmmm I love me some of that!  We obviously still set an alarm, but it was very relaxed.  Once everyone was showered and ready to go, we headed out the door for a lovely brunch at a place called “Popovers.”  There was a tiny bit of a wait, it being Valentine’s Day and all, but within fifteen minutes, we were seated at a cozy booth in the corner.  If you ever have the chance to go here, order the Lemon Twist pancakes!  They are so amazing!

Central Park was right down the street from the restaurant, so we walked over.  I had never been before, and being such a huge “Friends” fan, I was pumped!  We walked around a little loop (one of the loops used in the movie “Bride Wars” when they are running through the park) and came upon the Belvedere Castle.  It was suggested that you pay $3 to go up into the highest roof, but I ignored the sign, which led to some comments from the lady stationed at one of the desks.  Sorry, but I’m not paying to walk up your stairs.  You shouldn’t put “optional” on the sign!

We decided that our full tummies could use a little more stretching out, so we decided to walk around the East Side for a while.  We cruised around some of the more iconic locations while we drove there, like Times Square, Lincoln Center, the coffee shop that Seinfeld was based around, and Broadway.  Once we found a parking spot, the rest of the day was spent on foot.

Little boutiques, cute tucked-away bakeries, and flower stands sprinkled the streets with color and some delicious smells.  While my experience with one boutique worker wasn’t the best for my self-esteem, the cannoli that came after was much better.  K purchased an adorable brownie for one of her friends for Valentine’s Day and we headed back to the car.  It was time for the piece de resistance:  the Top of the Rock Valentine’s Day trip!

The Top of the Rock is what it sounds like; the top of Rockefeller Center is surrounded by thick sheets of plexiglass and is open to paying customers.  Trust me, it provides some striking views of New York.  Though it was finger-numbingly cold, we toughed it out and made it into a romantic situation.

After about twenty minutes of being outside in the wind (exhibit A:  my nose), we decided it would be a good idea to go inside for a little bit.  We stumbled across the most amazing room where you are assigned a color when you enter.  The color follows you around the room!  Check it out!

Super cool!  If Mr. Library and I build a house and have loads of money, we want a room like this.

To cap off our night, we did a quick trip to St. Patrick’s Cathedral (yes, Miss Sox, I did make my three wishes!).  If Mr. Library and I could have our way, we would be getting married in a cathedral like this one.  It’s incredible.

Soon after, we realized we hadn’t had dinner, so K and Er took us to Mama Mexico for some Mexican food.  I have to admit, it was good, but I think it would have tasted better had it not been 10:30 PM and had I not been half asleep.  After that, it was “put Ms. Library to bed” time because I certainly was not the life of the party.  Teaching really takes all of your party animal away during the first part of vacation!

Tomorrow’s another day!

Missed something?  Read Day One

**All photos are personal photos**

Preemptive Mini-Moons: Day One

Or “How to get yelled at by a ton of people in three different locations.”

Happy belated Valentine’s Day!  The past few days have been a little busy to say the least, but now that I have returned, I have ideas to share!  Let’s start at the very beginning (a very good place to start!).  I am now on school vacation (yippee!), which means that I had some time to visit Mr. Library for a few days.  He had a long weekend thanks to Presidents Day, so we decided to take advantage of our time together and travel.  Travel to where, you ask?

New York City!  Groomswoman K lives there with her parents, and she was always asking us to come visit, so we took her up on it.  There are some excellent deals to be had on buses from Boston to New York ($30 roundtrip through the Fung Wah bus line), so with our bags packed, tickets purchased, and iPods ready, we took a four hour bus ride to the city that never sleeps.

I have to say that not only was I excited to go to New York to see the sights (I hadn’t been since the beginning of fifth grade), but I was excited to travel with Mr. Library.  New York is a location that neither of us are very familiar with – or comfortable, for that matter – so I wanted to see how we would do working as a team to figure things out.  Rome and Dublin will be similar situations, so it was a great test run, though we did have a guide for most of New York.  So, here is how our trial “mini-moon” went.

The bus dropped us off in one of the most random locations I have ever seen.  Seriously.  It looked like the bus driver just decided to pull over on a side street and called it good.  Only when the driver’s helper explained that there was no parking by their New York “office” because of Chinese New Year did it start to make sense.  We grabbed our bags from the under-bus storage compartments and headed up the street.  To where?  Uh, your guess was as good as ours.  K was running late, and our bus came in a half hour early, so we had some time to kill, which would have been fun if I didn’t have my suitcase to drag behind us.  But we trooped on anyways.

There were tons of jewelry stores, but none that looked all that interesting, so we kept walking.  Finally we saw a side street with scarf/handbag vendors, so we stopped to look.  (Okay, so I stopped to look and Mr. Library felt like he had to.)  Down the very same street was Little Italy!  We had no idea these two iconic neighborhoods were so close together.  This would definitely come in handy for lunch!  But first… we waited.  For K.  For probably another twenty minutes.  We were frozen and a little lost, but eventually she found us and whisked us and our luggage away to Little Italy for some lunch.

We ate like kings (and queens).  Mr. Library had spotted a restaurant that offered a two course prefix menu for $12.99, so we decided to give it a whirl.  It was a good life decision.  The two courses were (1) a pasta dish and (2) a larger protein dish.  I didn’t think it was possible to be served so much food for that much money.  Full and satisfied, we caught up on what was going on in each other’s lives, paid, and headed straight for our next sightseeing location:  the Statue of Liberty!

Mr. Library had never been to the Statue of Liberty before, so it was a “must do” on our list.  I had visited when people were still allowed up into the crown without reservations, but I was pumped to see it again.  We met up with K’s friend Er and her childhood friend E, jumped on the ferry, and visited the statue on the last trip of the day.  Goodness, it was cold, but we got some pretty awesome pictures anyway.

After being frozen and with our feet aching, we decided to call it a day.  We went back to K’s house in the Bronx, ordered some pizza, watched “Wedding Crashers”, and by a majority vote decided to stay in for the night.  Well, we did have to drive back into Brooklyn and a part of the Bronx to drop Er and E off, but other than that, the night was done.  And I was exhausted.

Next up:  Day Two (or The Day Mr. Library and I are Told to Get a Room by Two Ladies from Texas)

Do you plan on traveling before your wedding?

**All photos are personal photos**