Saturday, December 31, 2011

Happy New Year!!

Happy New Year, dear friends, family, and readers.  May this next year be the best year of your life.  May you be more prosperous and happy than ever before.  May sadness never darken your home, and may God's light live in your heart through 2012.

I'll conclude my last post of the year with two pictures of happy times of yore.

Friday, December 30, 2011

Reflections on 2011

2011 has been the best year of my life.  I was telling Matt yesterday that I wish I could do it all over again – not because I would change anything, but because it was all so wonderful and amazing. 


God has been so good to us.  When I think of the bad things that happened in 2011, they weren’t debilitating or overwhelming.  I lost my job, and found a temp job.  Matt lost his job and cut his thumbs, but financially we were okay, and he found an awesome job in August.  Weird things happened with the car, but we paid for them and moved on. 


So you see why I want to redo last year?  How can anything possibly top this?  How can 2012 be better than 2011?  It’s only downhill from here!!


In 2012, I expect that I will find a good job.  I expect to decorate our house beautifully, and host many a happy game night or dinner party.  I expect two of my closest friends/relations to get engaged, and I have a friend getting married in March, and I’m looking forward to her wedding.  I expect to take a super fun road trip/Vegas trip with Matt, a camping trip this summer, and hopefully a tropical vacation next Christmas time. 


My prayer for this New Year’s Eve:


God, bless us in 2012 as much or more as you have blessed us in 2011. 




Favorite Memories of 2011


New Year’s Eve 2010 – Matt and I “met” for the first time, and we subsequently started dating.



March 21, 2011 – Matt and I got engaged.



April 2011 – Renaissance Faire



May 2011 - THOR



June 7, 2011 – Engagement Party



June 17, 2011 – Saw Les Miserables



June 25, 2011 – I turned 24.



July 2011 – Taking Matt to the OC Fair for the first time


August 14, 2011 – Matt’s 25th Birthday



September 2011 – Applepicking with the boy and my family



September 2011 – We bought a car



September 2011 – Engagement pictures


October, 2011 – Bridal Shower



November 2011 – Shanna’s Party



November, 2011 – Vegas with Gina



November 2011 – Wedding Shower



December 2011 – Bachelorette with Beth and Katie



December 17, 2011 - Married

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Christmas 2011, Remembered

Christmas was a busy affair.  We spent Christmas Eve with my parents, watching Pride and Prejudice and making Christmas goodies.  We opened presents.  Beth gave me pajama pants, and I think that was my favorite gift of this Christmas.  I do love pajama pants. 

That evening, we went to Shanna’s fondue party.  We dipped French bread in cheddar and parmesan cheese, and cooked chicken and beef in broth.  We left shortly into the chocolate fondue, because it was getting late, and we needed to get home. 

Matt’s parents, Christmas Day

Christmas Day was spent at church and at Matt’s parent’s house.  We had turkey, stuffing, apple raspberry pie, sweet potatoes*, mashed potatoes, and cornbread.  Matt’s parents gave us cookware for Christmas, and we got a variety of other items.

Trinity and Matt, Christmas Day

The day after Christmas was spent with my family.  We started in the morning by reading the Christmas story, eating cinnamon rolls and an egg/sausage casserole, then having a gift card exchange.  Katie was in charge of that, and it was interesting.  She asked each person what a little known fact about them was, and then when it was time for the exchange, she read the fact, and whoever guessed the right person got the original person’s gift card.

Reaching for the gift card, Day after Christmas

Example:  Jane’s little known fact is that she played the tuba in high school.  The person in charge reads this fact out loud, and Jack guesses, “Jane!”  Jack then gets Jane’s gift card, and is not allowed to guess for any other gift cards.  The person in charge takes the last gift card after everyone has guessed.

My cousin Chris, Day after Christmas

Matt is off work this week, so he cleaned the whole house and is doing laundry.  Such a wonderful husband!

Matt & Me, Christmas Day

* The Cuff family never fails to call their sweet potatoes “yams”, but yams are typically not sold in the USA.  Yams come from a completely different food family originated in Africa, and they are starchier and dryer than sweet potatoes.  The USDA requires all foods labeled “yams” to also carry the label “sweet potatoes”.  So if you purchase “yams”, you are with great certainty actually eating “sweet potatoes!” 

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Married, Day 12

So Christmas is over, and I’m starting my job hunt in earnest.  After this week, I have 13 weeks left at my job, and I’d like to find a new position right away.  It’s hard, though.  Most positions are either offered through a temp agency (but I’m already with one), or they only want to pay $10 – 12/hour.  Here in California, to make ends meet, I need at least $14/hour.  And that’s cutting it close. 

Other than that, I’m just a little bored.  I’m coming up with a new list of projects to accomplish.  My goal is to each month make one home décor item, one Christmas decoration, one Christmas present, one personal item, and one baby item.  No, I am not getting pregnant right away.  But Matt said we can think about it in two years, so that means I’ll have 24 baby items ready to go, right?

Other than that, married life is fine.  We should get our wedding pictures back this weekend, and that will be lovely. 

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Married, Day 5

On Monday, Matt and I had picked up a chuck roast for Tuesday dinner.  Then Gina told me she was moving cookie decorating to Tuesday, so we were saving the roast for Wednesday.  Then Gina told me on Tuesday that cookie decorating was back to Wednesday, but I was already at work.  No time to put it in the crock pot. 


So I had Matt put the roast in the oven.  I had him sear the roast on both sides, then place it in a Corningware on top of some carrots.  Onions were sliced on top, and some small potatoes were on the sides.  It was quite good, but I prefer crockpot roasts.  They are more tender. 


I got a recipe chain email.  I rarely participate in those, but I think for recipes, it is a good idea.  :)  I sent it to my mother, and she sent it to her friends, so I have gotten quite a few great recipes this morning.  I can’t wait to try them. 


So Matt is supposed to wake up and shower at 5, and then wake me up at 5:30.  But this morning, the alarm went off at 5, and I went to turn it off (being half asleep!).   Unfortunately, Matt did not wake up until 6, making him slightly late getting off to work.  Now I am supposed to let the alarm simply ring until he wakes up – um, but what if it wakes me up?!? Do I just lie there??



Review of the Flower Market

My mother and I went to the LA flower mart two days before the wedding.  It was a Thursday, and we arrived at 6 AM.  Now, I got married in December, so my experience might be different than for someone marrying in the spring/summer. 


We parked on the roof of the California Flower mart (in between 7th/8th street – the entrance is on Maple), and since we were there only an hour, we paid $1.75 for parking.  Entrance was $2/person, but bring dollars!  The man had no change for us, so we had to leave our keys with him.   We walked around the California mart, and then crossed Wall Street to the LA flower mart.  Now, it is really easy to miss it!  There are lots of other stores around it.  The only way I figured out where it was located was the person sitting there waiting to take entrance fees.  Note: your $2 will get you into both markets.


My mom and I did a quick walk-through of each mart.  There were very few prices listed.  I’m sure we were supposed to bargain, but instead, we just bought from the seller with prices listed.  They were right at the entrance of the LA flower mart.  Their flowers looked great.  I also got some purple flowers from another seller for $4.


We purchased:


4 kinds of carnations (20 – 24 each): $4 each


3 kinds of pink/purple roses (20 – 24 each): $12 each


20 – 24 cream roses: $14


3 bunches baby’s breath: $4 each


I’m sure we could have bargained more, but it was about $90, which was my limit, and it was all the flowers we needed.  My mom has fern growing in the back yard, so we added that to the arrangements.


We made 5 bridesmaid’s bouquets with a dozen roses each, some baby’s breath, and some fern.  My bouquet was 2 dozen cream roses, purple flowers, fern, and baby’s breath.  It was really heavy!!!  We had enough roses to make boutonnière’s and corsages for 6 guys and 2 ladies.  The carnations were for the centerpieces, along with some baby’s breath.  Mom also made a baby’s breath halo for the flower girl.


We took a wagon with us, which was a really smart idea. 


We brought the flowers home, put them in a large bucket with water, and covered them with a sheet.  We kept them in the garage, so it was about 50 degrees.  I also trimmed all the stems, since they had closed up over the journey home.


The roses held up well.  My cream ones were barely opened by the wedding, and the colored roses were about halfway open.  We kept everything in water until right before the wedding.  Then we wrapped each bouquet end with ribbon, and stuck it with two straight pins to keep from unwrapping.  I saw tutorials on Martha Stewart’s website, and I highly recommend it for ideas.


Note:  They had peonies in December, but it was about $30 for 8 flowers. 



Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Married, Day 4

I’m trying to figure out how to decorate the apartment.  My style is French cottage, with lots of blue and purple mixed.  I’m thinking of thrift store shopping on Friday, since I am off.  Gina wants me to host a New Year’s Eve brunch, but I need the apartment in better shape, first.

I’m working on finding a new job.  I discovered that collecting unemployment is actually pretty hard to do as a temp, since after the assignment is over, you have to constantly call to ask for employment, or the agency will tell the EDD that you are quit your job.  You can never reject an assignment, either.

I had that interview at UCLA on Friday, but I don’t feel that great about it.  I wasn’t completely solid on the stupid Excel test, which they developed themselves.  Even agencies don’t ask you to know all the things UCLA asked!!  So I’ve applied for a few jobs off Craigslist, Indeed, and Monster.  I have 14 weeks after this week, so I should be able to find something.  My requirements are: good work environment, adequate training for the job, health insurance, vacation/sick days, and at least $28,000 a year.  It would be awful to work for that little, but that’s how much we need in order to pay all the bills.  After this many years working, I know I’m worth at least $32,000, but since most people want to pay $10 – 12/hour for an admin, I’ll be lucky to get $14.

Actually, the best thing for me to land a career track position in an insurance company as an assistant.  Most of those jobs want you to have a few years of clerical experience, and since that’s what I have, that would be the best job for me.  And it pays about $36,000 - $40,000.   I applied for two jobs like that, so we will see what happens.

Last night, I lit a Vanilla Spice candle to make the apartment smell good.  I thought we could let it burn all night, just fine, but Matt thinks it’s too dangerous.  I’m of the opinion that if it fell over, the melted wax would extinguish the flame right away. 

Tonight is pot roast and laundry.  I had Matt pick up paper to make Christmas paper chains, and we are going to cut out some snowflakes.  I need to get into the Christmas spirit.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Wedding Memories, Documented

What do I do now?  For the past 6 months, most of Matt’s and my free time has revolved around the wedding, save the few occasions with friends.  I’m tired from the wedding.  I’m tired of the wedding.  I know I said earlier today I didn’t want to talk about it, but I need to get my memories out before I forget about them.  I need this documented.

The day wasn’t really a blur.  I remember waking up at 5:30 and finishing most of the place cards – which were then forgotten.  :)  Which mostly turned out to be a good thing, except two of my friends were sitting by themselves, and left early.  I took a shower,  but didn’t wash my hair.  It got a little wet though.  I had put it in a bun to keep it dry, and then forgot to avoid the shower head.  So I got slightly wet.  Oh well.  Then Beth moussed my hair, and I started to steam my wedding dress.  I couldn’t get all the wrinkles out, so about halfway through the morning I broke out the iron, using that on most of the train.

Trinity and Beth spent the night, but Shanna was the first to arrive.  Then Brittany came, then Gina.  Gina and Brittany went and got coffee while Beth started to work on putting hot rollers in.  Shanna worked on Trinity’s hair.  (It was amazing.)  Tiffany arrived right before 8 am to do makeup.  She started with Brittany, then Trinity, then me, Gina, Beth, and Shanna.  Beth did Gina’s hair, and Shanna did Brittany’s.  Beth then worked on her own hair, and Shanna did hers, and both Shanna and Beth worked on mine. 

We were finally ready to do about 10:15.  Mom and Dad had loaded up all the cars with stuff to go.  Trinity and I went in my car, and I listened slightly to Car Talk.  Mostly I just was thinking.  I asked myself, “Was this really what I wanted?  Was I sure I didn’t want to call it off?”  Each time, I realized I just couldn’t wait to marry Matt, the love of my life. 

When we got to church, I unloaded the car.  I had the flowers, Gina’s dress, and my wedding dress.  We got there about 11, which was an hour late.  Aunt Debbie and Aunt Ruthie were already in the kitchen doing the food.  I saw the cake.  It was gorgeous.  Just what I wanted.  :)  The Santa’s showed up and helped do the food, which was wonderful.

We set up in a classroom, and I spent about half an hour running around.  Then I got dressed.  Mom helped me into my wedding dress.  I had lost the modesty panel, so we pinned white fabric into the space it was supposed to be.  Then we went and took pictures.  Shanna yelled at everyone to get them in position. 

Then we went and touched up our makeup.  We wrapped the bouquets and pinned on the boutonnières.  Mom put my veil on.  We both almost cried.  It was probably my favorite moment of the day. 

Not a lot of people were there at 1, so we waited a while.  Still not a lot of people were there, but we started.  I think we were only about 15 minutes late. 

Then I walked down the aisle.  I remember listening for the cue.  But we still walked faster than I anticipated.  I couldn’t see Matt.  He was hidden behind the guests.  I remember Dad giving me away.  And then the ceremony started.  Shanna sang her lovely song, Robert and Gina read.  Then Andrew got up.  Instead of reading “I carry your heart”, he read the lyrics to “That’s Amore.”  Had he read a couple stanza’s and then said, “No, I’m just kidding.  Here’s the real poem,” I would have been happy.  It would have been funny.  But it wasn’t funny, and I don’t know what to do.  I haven’t gotten an apology.  It’s my favorite poem – has been for almost 12 years.  Matt thinks I should let it go – but here’s the thing – you only get 1 shot at a wedding.  And I worked so hard to make it good.  I don’t know if I’ll ever trust Andrew with anything of importance.  But… life goes on, right? 

The minister deviated from the carefully crafted script.  He completely ignored the ring ceremony I wanted.  I wish Matt would have let us hire someone we knew would stick to our script, but he insisted we hire a minister.  I’ll never go to Calvary Chapel Monrovia though.  No use fretting – he is out of our lives. 

My bouquet was extremely heavy.  Gina had to take it early. 

The vows were perfect. 

The unity ceremony went off well.

Then we were married.  The recessional CD didn’t play.  I should have checked it first, but we ran out of time.  We went and walked out anyway.  :)

We got to say hi to everyone in the receiving line.  I’m glad we did it. 

Then we went to sign the marriage license.  Gina and Robert were the witnesses.   Then Robert announced us in the social hall.

The food was amazing.  I loved the cucumber sandwiches, the ambrosia.  We had a good about of food.  No one went hungry. 

Then we played “Wedding Jeopardy”.  Trinity and Sharon led it.  Then we did the toasts.  Gina’s was great.  Shanna’s was funny – it was an Irish toast.  I said thank you to my aunts.  Mom read a sweet story to me.  Dad was awesome. 

Then we cut the cake.  It was chocolate raspberry and vanilla strawberry.  Matt didn’t know what we were supposed to do.  Also the knife broke.  Oh well.  :)  We did not smash cake in each other’s faces. 

People were starting to leave, and tear down.  So I decided to end the reception an hour early, and at 4:30, we did the rice/flag waving.  Rice was everywhere!!  :)  It was awesome. 

One of our friends paid for a hotel room for us in Anaheim.  We stopped at the house, changed, opened presents, and I got a lot of my stuff.  I cried when I left.  I’ve lived in that house forever.  Leaving – knowing I am never coming back – is super hard.  I’m still tearing up.

We went to Hotel Ménage and spent the night there.   We got room service and watched Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.  Or Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.  The old one – whatever.  I fell asleep part way through it, and woke up about 5 AM.  I took my hairpins out, washed all my makeup off, and Matt and I took off to find the vending machines.  They had toothbrush kits but not comb kits.   I had forgotten a comb/brush, so I used tons of conditioner and got all the tangles out in the shower.  Then I blew dry my hair in the right way.

We had breakfast at the Spires on Ball/Euclid, the same Spires where my parents had their first breakfast together.  It was quite fitting.

Then we went to the church to grab all the tuxes and return them.  We had gaming later that day, and then after that, we grabbed groceries and went to our new little home. 

Did I love my wedding?  I did not love planning it.  I loved the way I looked.  I loved my dress.  I loved the flowers.  I loved the way the wedding party looked.  Dad was SO HANDSOME.  He looked good.  Almost as good as Matt.  :)  I loved that we spent less than $5,000.  I did not love that we had to decorate at 9 pm on Friday.  I loved that we used the same wedding song as my grandparents, and we were married on their 62nd anniversary.  I loved that we remembered my Aunt Beckie, who is with Jesus.  (We donated to Susan G. Komen for the Cure.)  I loved that I was surrounded by my family and friends.  I am so glad that my family is completely awesome.  Even Matt said my family is amazing.  :)

So, I think I did love my wedding.  We have so much support and love from those around us, and it really showed.  I am so happy, and I think this next year is going to be really awesome.  I’m so excited to share it with you, my readers.


We are married.

Updates later when I am not so exhausted, and I actually feel like talking about the wedding.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

10 Days Out

Well, dear readers, the time is drawing near.  And after my complaints previously, Matt and I decided to heck with what we planned, and we are rearranging the reception.


We can comfortably fit 144 people, which is grand, because including us, 117 have said “YES! We are coming!”  So that leaves about 25 extra seats for lame people that don’t RSVP.  (Just kidding.)  So now I am working on a seating chart and place cards.  It’s almost finished.  I need to find out two peoples last names and then I can print it out. 


We added cucumber sandwiches and radish sandwiches to the menu, as well as fruit and cheese platters and veggie platters.  The ambrosia, cupcakes, and cookies will round that out, and we will have lemonade, tea, coffee, and water to drink.  Wedding cake will complete the menu.  So it should be a rather light luncheon.  People won’t be able to stuff themselves, but they will not leave hungry.


After we eat, we are going to play games.  I am scouring my family’s game cupboard for at least 20 games to have available, and then we will pick up 8 – 10 sets of playing cards, along with instructions for playing different kinds of games.  We may also pick up some 100 piece puzzles. 


After that, we are going to do open mike toasting, and then we will cut the cake.  At about 5:30, Matt and I will take our leave, and then cleanup.  I think it will be a very fun time.

Monday, December 5, 2011

The weekend, relaxing

Guys, this weekend was so nice.  I spent Friday night in NoHo, and Matt and I ate tacos and watched House.  I also chipped my tooth – I was in bed, holding my phone over my head, and I dropped it!  Oh no!  It’s barely noticeable.


On Saturday we met with Pastor Schork, of Calvary Chapel Monrovia. He will be marrying us.  Afterwards, we went to the fashion district, and I got earrings and pretty things for my hair.  Then we went to ULTA, and I got a couple lipsticks for the wedding.  That night, I dyed my hair… for the first time in like 18 months… tried the nail polish for the wedding (pretty!), and did a facial mask.  I feel pretty… J


Sunday was super low key.  We went to church, but left almost immediately.  It was just too cold.  Matt was in a jacket, and he was freezing.  I was in a dress and cardigan, and it was just awful.  We got movies from Blockbuster, did the grocery shopping, and went back to church that night to make the programs and menus for the wedding. 


A very relaxing weekend, but with only 12 days left until the wedding, it’s crunch time!!!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Not gonna lie...

I'm feeling a little upset right now.  I'm not in the mood to track down RSVP's for the wedding, because everyone that didn't RSVP is saying no.

So maybe I should just go with the assumption that they won't show up.  

And that's really disappointing to me, because HAD I KNOWN only about 100 people would make it, I would have had sandwiches or pasta or something.  I would have tables and chairs.  I would have seating charts.  

But I thought more of my family would come.  I thought more church people would come.  It doesn't help that there's no church directory, and I know a lot of people didn't get an invitation.  

It's not that I want more people there.  I just was misinformed, and I planned a wedding with bad information.  Oops. Well that sucks