Christmas Approaches

Christmas is three days away and I've still not mailed out save-the-dates. Part of this is because my mother was inviting everyone she'd ever met while I was having a meltdown in the corner hearing loud cha-chings as the invite list grew. I mean, I don't know about you, but I'm not made of money.

So we've cleared up a few things: 1) She's paying for some (maybe all?) of the reception so I can breathe easier and 2) she's finally accepting that I really just want something small/intimate. So, while I'm not disinviting her people, I'm just not inviting them. If someone wants to throw a fit about it, I'll just explain the whole "small/intimate" concept. Because, really, who wants to go to a wedding? It's not like the opera or tickets to Oprah, right? Right.

So, I've got a ton of ideas and the save-the-dates need to be addressed and mailed, but I'm relaxing over the holiday. I plan to attempt to get save the dates out in the week after my mom returns from England. I say attempt because my mom has a hard time with deadlines and schedules and sticking to a timeline.

Best Christmas, Hannukah, Ramadan, Kwanzaa and any other holiday wishes to you all.

-- xoxo, Kelly

Read more about "Christmas Approaches"...


Mid-Holiday Meditation

Whew ... Thanksgiving's over. We made it out alive. I must say, though there were a few in the bunch who tried to sour things up, no one else supplied the energy necessary for the negativity to gain momentum.

An uneventful Thanksgiving is what I strive for, so I slapped the "success" label on it after everyone finally left at about 9 pm Thursday night. I made out pretty OK with birthday gifts: an espresso machine and burr coffee grinder from billy; dish cloths, glass fruit bowls and a wire cooling rack from mom and erin; a framed picture from ashlee; and a sapphire-pendant necklace from marlene (billy's mom).

unfortunately, i'll spend my actual birthday (sunday, nov 27) stamping save the date cards at brenda's house. i'm hoping that i'll get over it as billy presented me with breakfast in bed this morning and i convinced him to give me the rest of my present a day early. yes, there's more. i also received the first three Harry Potter books in hardcover.

Now, I've read all 6 books, however, I borrowed the first five from a friend. Over the years I've collected books 4-6 but I never managed to get the first three. Therefore, this was a real treasure trove. I plan to begin re-reading the series immediately. I read books 1-5 in the span of about a month, so a lot of it really ran together. I must say, out of the movies, Prisoner of Azkaban remains my absolute favorite. Goblet of Fire runs a close second, though. I have a feeling that Order of the Phoenix will blow both movies out of the water.

In other non-wedding news: My friends Jessica and Ben from UNCG gave birth to their first child, a boy named Noah Henry. That's a very good, strong Appalachian name in my opinion. I'm not really close to them any longer, but I am so happy for them. They live an enchanged life to which Noah Henry will only add laughter and joy.

-- Kelly

Read more about "Mid-Holiday Meditation"...



I am thankful for my family and my health and all those things...

But dude. Last year when I hosted Thanksgiving, it was smooth sailing - no one complained about the time, no one moaned about having to bring something, no one came up with reasons why we had to do their part for them.

This year is completely different. I don't know if it's because other people really wanted to do Thanksgiving and think that we usurped the holiday (which, c'mon, speak up!) or if our families just really don't want to participate.

To be honest, it makes driving across here and yonder to eat with everyone on Thanksgiving almost worth it. Notice I say almost - the fact is, it's completely unfair for our one- and two-person household family members to expect us to eat full meals at each place. That's why we decided to just do it at our house and have people come over if they wanted... Simple, really. Majority rules.

Because I am the cooking 2/3 of the holiday meal by myself, preparing the house by myself and will wind up cleaning by myself, I've decided to make some executive decisions about next year. Yes, we will have Thanksgiving dinner at 4 pm sharp -- 3, 3:30, or 5. Yes, will only be having turkey or ham -- not both, unless of course you want to bring one. No, I will not buy the ingredients you need to prepare the dish you're bringing. And, no, you cannot make your dish at my house -- if you can't make it ahead of time then we won't be eating it.

Does everyone's family make things this difficult or is mine the only one?

Now - on to wonderful wedding updates:

* I think I've finally decided on centerpieces. I want hurricane glass filled with green apples, pears and grapes, along with miscellanous green herbs like rosmary and sage. I will tie a lavender ribbon around the belly of each glass.

* My ideas for favors have gone from super cheap to super time-consuming. I think I've finally settled on putting together green and purple tissue flowers filled with candies. I'll attached a word to each flower: hope, love, faith, wisdom, etc.

* I have wanted a single-flower type bouquet, but I think I've seen the light. I saw a beautiful bouquet of purple and green garden roses, lavendar, lilac and bells of ireland. just gorgeous. i think some variation of that will be perfect. I want to do a hand-tied ribbon and I plan to create a dragonfly charm to hang from the bouquet.

*My cake toppers are coming together. I want green-iced cakes with purple flowers on top. Nestled in each bunch of flowers I'll put a green crystal dragonfly brooch. I found two beautiful ones on Ebay -- and both are now in my possession. I need just one more.

* I've planned my cake display: three separate cake stands of different heights to hold the cakes (three obviously), purple glass of various shapes, sizes and hues around the cakes and green fruits (like in the centerpieces) scattered around the glass.

Okay. So I'm really excited about things and I wish I could just do it all and get it over with. Alas, there's much more to do. For example, I still have to meet with a few potential cakemakers (though now I'm thinking we could make it from scratch), nail down a photographer and get my save-the-dates and invitations out the door -- just to name a few.

I hope you all have a very happy Thanksgiving full of grateful family and friends.

-- Kelly

Read more about "Thanksgiving"...


Here's The Update

In the time since I last posted these things have happened:

-- My sister is home from England for a month-long visit. So far we've only hung out at the house, but she will accompany us to see HARRY POTTER opening weekend at the IMAX. I'm still smarting over the fact that opening night of HP at the IMAX was sold out. I should've expected it but damn!

-- I've designed and ordered save the date magnets, and chosen both my invitations and embossing style. I've also chosen a theme: Dragonflies. When I lived in Greensboro, there were no less than three local artists who were also good friends who were supposed to paint dragonfly murals for me when I finally bought a house. None of them are around to do that, but my dragonfly love has found a way to carry on. Don't tell anyone, but I saw some dragonfly wallies that would be SO CUTE in a nursery.

-- I've switched jobs at work. Now I write for the travel industry instead of the health care/lab market. The difference is that my work load is shuffled and I've wound up with a daily newswire and a bi-monthly pub. I think the actual amount of work is the same, just spaced differently. The travel industry is drastically different from my previous markets - but hopefully it'll help me stay on top of cheap travel options.

-- My father's area was hit by a tornado this weekend. Luckily, neither he nor his children live in the path of the twister. After I knew everyone was OK, I had a brief flash that maybe someone else is now traveling to the Land of Oz. I know it's stupid, but have you read the books? I just did for the first time (my knowledge of Oz is all from Hollywood) and I feel like a different person.

-- My sister (Erin), nephew (Matt) and mom played Trivial Pursuit Jr for Matt's birthday after his birthday dinner (which was a hit - Raspberry Chipotle-marinated tenderloin, oriental greenbeans and homemade mashed potatoes with gravy). Erin dominated the board, but I was the only one to answer correctly on all the pies. Therefore I win. But it was funny how much Erin enjoyed playing the game - looks like there's a boardgame geek in all of us.

-- Did I mention that I chose my colors? Dark lavendar and mint green. I love them together and it's very dragonfly-ee. For favors, the girls are going to help me make glycerin soaps (one with a lavendar bud, one with a mint leaf). I love being crafty!

OK - I think that's really all that's going on. As always, I'm wrestling with my mother for control, but if I weren't I'd think something was wrong.


Read more about "Here's The Update"...



I am finally happy with a save-the-date design. It might change depending on the paper I choose, but I'm confident I can translate it nicely to a different sized canvas. On this weekend's agenda: trips to Michael's and Joanne's for paper supplies.

In other news: Ashley comes home late Monday for a whole month of schlepping around town for a slew of beaming brides and brides-to-be, myself included. She'll come bearing an early birthday gift of multiple pashminas to fill out my winter wrap collection. I'm a scarf person - and Billy told me I look cute in tobbagans so I might try one this season. I usually avoid them - having a short, round face doesn't help when it comes to hats of any kind!

Ashley will also be bringing some fabric samples for the wedding dress. I've been collecting pictures of dresses from bridal mags that have some feature or element that I like. We're going to sit down with my slush pile, put together the most flattering combo of elements and then Ashley will draft the pattern.

Then we'll comb the fabric stores until we find THE fabric for the THE dress. And that'll be one more thing off my plate. Between the dress and the invitations, I'm a little ancy.

Hope you have a happy Halloween!


Read more about "Save-the-Dates"...


Pictures As Promised

My mom and I went to Depot Park. She loves it as much as I do. We also walked up to the art studio ... beautiful art on the walls, shiny hardwood floors, floor to ceiling windows -- it would be the perfect place for an indoor reception. We'll see how it goes, but my Plan A is an outdoor reception -- although my ideal reception is a sit down dinner at a local restaurant (where I don't have to set up or clean up). I've sort of handed the reception over to my mother, so ...

Here are some shots of the park. My caveat is that it's been a rainy, gray week. These would have been better had the sun been shining.

This is where Billy wants to hold the wedding. He likes the open space and that it's protected from the main roads. I can see its potential, but it seems very cold and like it would require a lot of proppage to make it wedding-y. My mother and I are discussing having the reception in this space if the weather is nice.
This is the cute train that sits off to the side of the fountain. We'll probably take a candid wedding photo on it somehow.

And this, my friends, is where I want to hold the wedding. Going there again today with my mother only solidified my desire. We could set up seats on either side of the brick - and if we have any attendants, they would stand on the brickwork around the fountain. I think it's quaint and would require minimal effort to wedding-up.

Leave me a note in the comments section with your thoughts!

Read more about "Pictures As Promised"...


Fall Is Here

After a long, hot American summer, fall is settling in. My mind is happy about this because it's more conducive to pumpkin carving, Halloween decorating and trick-or-treating. Plus, fall means we'll soon see a splash of brightly colored leaves and pumpkin spice lattes are already heating up the local Starbucks.

But my body reacts very differently to the change of seasons. I'm sluggish and tired and uninspired. I want to snuggle into my pillow each morning and wear long-sleeved jammies every night. Unfortunately, the weather is damp and gray, but still humid. And humid is tricky. It makes you think you're cold until your back starts sweating.

Weather confusion aside, things are going well. My mom and I are slowly putting together a wedding plan. I have a friend at work who's getting married two months after me and she's been planning for at least 6 months already. She kinda gave me the "bless your heart" look when I told her we'd have this going in 8 months. But, I have faith.

I really will post pictures of Depot Park tomorrow!

Read more about "Fall Is Here"...


Hurricane Tammy

I keep trying to post, but my paragraphs of rambly wedding and weather stuff just disappears. What's up with that?

Here's the non-poetic version:

1. It's raining. We're in a serious drought, but damn! I wanted a day-long shower that would satiate the earth. Instead, we're looking at a week-and-weekend-long steady rain that prevents any outdoor activity, including bicycling, dog walking and kid playing. The plants are loving it - the herbs are sprouting buds and massive mushrooms have popped up everywhere.

2. MissyPants, aka Daphne, loves the rain - absolutely loves it. Like, she runs in circles and rolls around in the wet, muddy grass. Back when rain was common - think, May - and lil pants was a wee pup, she was so afraid of rain she'd shake and hide. I am both amused and disgusted by her new found love.

3. My mother and I have a date to go over to the park this Sunday. She's not sold on having the wedding there, and while I don't need her approval, I do want her to feel okay about our decision. She also wants to gauge how difficult it will be to hold the reception at the park. She wants to cater for us. I was planning a lunch followed by cake reception, but if she were to do it we'd have an hors d'oeurves and dessert reception. Both sound yummy to me!

4. I've decided on wedding favors, reception flower arrangements and cake. Well, I know what shape my cake will take: square. I still need to nail down colors (completely dependent on the dress) and a guest list. Ashley and I are going to sketch out dress details when she comes in November. I'm excited - we keep emailing each other little ideas and sample patterns.

5. Ashley had an audition for a big-budget movie! I'm not sure how things went, but I've got my fingers crossed for her. She signed with an agent earlier this week, so things are snowballing in a good way. This means she can apply for a work Visa and stay in the country without having to marry someone. I am very happy about this because it means she can finally live on her own terms without worrying about how her personal status will affect her career.

Hmm. I've re-created a lot of paragraphs. I will post this now before I lose everything again!

Read more about "Hurricane Tammy"...


The Woes of Wedding Planning

I'm trying to not say mean things in this blog, but I'm watching Oprah today about sexual offenders and how America needs to take the streets to stop these people from hurting our children. It makes me angry and sad. Neither of those feelings have a place here.

We're debating everything about the wedding these days except for the date. We're set on May 20. But, what about wedding showers, bridal showers, guest lists, save the dates, etc. All the stuff that in theory is really simple ... in reality, I'm beginning to feel a little overwhelmed.

And what's worse is I'm beginning to think I'm going to have to pay people to come. It makes me feel weird that I don't know enough people - family, friends and otherwise - who would want to share the day with us. I think in my head I expected to have to deliver the invites with armed security. The real truth is no one's clamoring for one.

So, I wanted an intimate ceremony, but I think I wanted that by force, not necessity. I'm getting over it though. I think 30% of me (the vain part) is reeling and very worried about the event being disappointing. The other 70% is relieved and just wants to get the show on the road.

I've been told to expect this type of internal conflict. Maybe next time I'll tell you about my other conflict: How to balance being a feminist with being somebody's wife and somebody's mother.

-- Kelly

Read more about "The Woes of Wedding Planning"...


The Moms

Billy and I made the rounds today to announce our engagement to our parents. My mom seemed shocked, but happy. She fawned over my ring and tried to plan the whole wedding. She was all we can have it here and your sisters will be bridesmaids and the boys need to be in it too...

I had to slow her down. Of course, I understand her excitement. She raised 3 girls, the youngest of which is 25, and for a while no one seemed to be even close to a walk down the aisle. I suppose she wants to pour all her "wedding hoohah" into one big blow out under my name. Too bad I'm not a big blow out kind of girl.

So, while my mom wants a multiple-bridesmaids-jr-groomsmen-gala-event, she'll be very happy with my low-key-brunch-affair-to-be-remembered. My plan is to have a wedding that's comfortable and very "me" and that every enjoys. I watch Bridezillas -- none of those people seem to actually enjoy being a blushing bride. I don't want to go that route!

After going to my mom's, I headed over to Billy's mom's (Marlene). He came home to watch the race -- and I didn't make him come with me. His mom is always commenting how I don't call her or visit her, so I figured this was my opportunity. She wasn't as excited as my mom, but I could tell both she and Billy's stepfather, Phillip, were happy for us.

I think Marlene's more excited about the wedding chain of events -- picking out a dress for herself and being consulted on all the other stuff, including my dress, flowers, etc. And, especially, having a reason to dress up. I can't wait to see how this goes.

-- Kelly

Read more about "The Moms"...


Patience *Is* A Virtue

A short week after my moaning and whining and Voila! ... I'm "officially" engaged.

Here's the story (and, yes, it's cute):

Billy's parents came over to have cake and ice cream with us for Billy's birthday (it was Friday). His mom and I razzed him a little about not proposing yet, but it was very good natured and came on the heels of him razzing us about not doing stuff for him.

They left late (and slightly tipsy). Billy and I continued to joke and laugh even after we went to bed. His mom had given him a dragon tchotchke, so I told him he needed to make some shadow boxes to put his balsawood dragons in (and the tchotchkes can go in a box somewhere :P). He made a joke about how he can make anything from wood, "it'll last 100 years, but it won't be pretty."

So somehow that led to me asking for a ring.

Billy: "You want me to find you a ring, baby?"
Kelly: "Hello, yes! But don't make it out of wood!" So he starts rooting around in our room.
Kelly: "And don't even come back over here with a wire hanger!"
Billy: "You know you don't let me keep wire hangers."

I fell out laughing. When I looked back over at him, he was holding out an open box, inside it -- my beautiful engagement ring.

At first I didn't know what to say or do, but a few seconds later, I just started laughing again and yelled "You are such a trickster!!" and grabbed up my ring. It fit perfectly. Billy will probably never admit it, but I think he got teary eyed and possibly was crying a little bit. It was so funny and endearing -- such a typical Billy and Kelly moment.

Earlier, when his parents were still here, Billy made a wise crack that had us both in stitches. I grabbed his hand and said, "This is why I love you." After he slid the ring on my finger and we were laying together laughing, he said "And this is why I love you."

It's official: We belong together.

-- Kelly

Read more about "Patience *Is* A Virtue"...


Another unproductive weekend

I have a feeling the weekends between now and the wedding will fly by. Here's a secret: We're not engaged yet...

I know, I know! Who plans their wedding without the crucial proposal-on-bended-knee? Here's the explanation: I'm a planner. Billy's not. I'm a do-er. Billy's not. So while he's harrassed me for years to get married (and have a kid - which apparently is a package deal), when I finally said "ya know, i think we should go ahead and do it" way back in february ... he was shocked.

Or stunned. or scared. I don't know. I'm trying to be patient and understanding. The problem is - neither patience nor understanding come naturally to me. So, it's a learning process.

Anyway, another weekend down. There's a huge part of me that wants to count up the weekends and begin the mental countdown. But a larger part of me is just wants to stop thinking about it!

Season premieres of Desperate Housewives and Grey's Anatomy tonight - both of which make me happy. With House, Lost, America's Next Top Model, the O.C., Arrested Development, Desperate Housewives and Grey's all showing new episodes, it may prove difficult to get anything done at night!

-- Kelly

Read more about "Another unproductive weekend"...


Web site on its way

I bought our domain name: www.quinones-miller.com (which is not fully propagated and assigned yet, but is on its way). I considered several more exciting domain names, including www.kellyandbillywed.com, www.kellyandbilly.com, www.we'regettingmarried.com, etc. Logically, though, we thought it would be easier for some less Web-obsessed folks to remember the site if our domain name was obvious. And so it is.

In other news: I've decided that in my next life I'll be a stationier. Actually, Verve Ink may be getting its feet wet already as I design and prepare my own save-the-dates, invitations, RSVP cards and thank-you notes. I'm going to try several different designs to see how far my imagination can take me. I also plan to design and print Javier's Halloween and birthday party invites -- and may even attempt a "season's greetings" line.

All this hinges on getting my work done -- which I'm still not quite focused on doing. I also need to load Photoshop, Illustrator and Quark on my laptop so that I can doodle away in the comfort my living room.

Back to work!


Read more about "Web site on its way"...


Lazy Days

I've spent the day procrastinating -- something I'm very good at, mind you -- but still managed to get a few things accomplished. they are:

  • 1. I cleaned up glass and corn after Javier plundered the fridge in search of Dora yogurt and sent a bowl flying to the floor. Luckily there were no injuries.
  • 2. I held a productive coaching session with my supervisor this morning. It came right after conducting my final interview for this issue.
  • 3. I drove over to the gym and chatted with the owner about being the mother of a boy -- and I worked out, of course.
  • 4. I threw dinner into the crockpot and set it to be ready around 5 p.m. tonight

What I'm not doing is transcribing my five or six interviews and working on the big file that's due tomorrow. Instead of working now, I'm doing Web site stuff and plan to do work stuff after dinner tonight from the comfort of the living room. This is made possible by Sony returning my repaired laptop on schedule this afternoon.

As for the Web site, it looks awesome - thanks to Amy, Web designer extraordinaire. Anyone interested in a Web site as pretty as ours should contact through Verve Ink (link on the right).

Read more about "Lazy Days"...


Getting There

Billy and I are closer to making definitive plans while Amy and I are still in the early stages of the Web site design. I think we could whip it up in no time if we were both in the same place, but instead she does something on her end, loads it on a test page and then I make comments from my end. That's time consuming!

We packed up Javi and Daphne Saturday afternoon and headed over to Depot Park. I was going to bring my camera, but we weren't dressed for pictures. We had to pick Javi up from Mimi's house -- and he looked like a crazy rag-a-muffin, complete with big poofy hair and Spider-Man socks pulled up to his knees.

Billy decided he likes the Pavillion area better than the Fountain area because it's more secluded, has more space and allows for more creativity. I'm still not sold, but I could see his point when at least six people came and went from the fountain area while we were there. One of those people was a homeless guy bumming money. I'd hate to have to cut somebody for begging from my wedding guests.

We let Javi strip down to his shorts and run through the public fountain with some other kids his age. He thought that was the coolest thing ever.

Fun kid news: Javi learned to snap this weekend. He's been trying for years, but he finally got it. In fact, he snapped so much, he blistered his snapping fingers! One blister popped, but the other is stubbornly protruding from his thumb. He's so proud of himself!

I plan to load pictures of the park by the end of the week, so stay tuned.


Read more about "Getting There"...


Depot Park

We ordered lunch to go from Fresh Choice and explored Depot Park in full sun.

I really like the wrought iron and brick work in fountain area. Of course, it's a bit crowded inside the fence, the old train is on display (i'm not a train fan) and there's not much foliage to block out Carthage St, but if our guests' backs were to the street it might not be so bad. I also think downtown Sanford is much more bustling during lunch hour on a weekday than it would be at brunch time on a weekend.

The other option is a spacious greenway called the Pavilion. It is flanked on one side by the stage where jazz bands and orchestras frequently perform for Thursday In The Park. The other side hosts benches and lacquered picnic tables.

I think I've decided that Depot Park is the best option for our plans, so now I have to decide how it's going to work. If we used the fountain side, we would only have to set up chairs because the fountain provides a great backdrop. If we go with the Pavillion, we'll need to set up some type of altar or arch to stand in front of -- otherwise we'd seem lost in the space.

Good news: Our friend Angela has offered to play her violin on the big day. She suggested the wedding march, but I don't know that I want something that traditional. I may work with her to find something that a) she can play and b) is wedding-ish.

My next step is to go back to Depot Park tomorrow to gauge how trafficked that area is between 11 am and noon. This time Billy will have to tag along. He's a typical man (so don't expect regular updates from him), which means he wants to be included in the decision making - but only after I've narrowed down the playing field to two options.

I'll let you know how it goes.


Read more about "Depot Park"...


Wedding site dilemma

I am debating between two wedding sites: Depot Park (DP) and Holly Hill Daylily Farm (HH).

DP is definitely cheaper, more convenient to possible guests, can accomodate our date and I like downtown Sanford. HH may wind up costing more, but we won't know until they decide if they'd even allow us to have the wedding. Also, we'd have to do it in June or July - which would make our honeymoon rental much more expensive.

Of course, HH would be much prettier, but Amy and I have discussed different ways we could frou-frou up DP. I suppose I won't be able to make a firm decision until a) Mr. Massey calls me from HH to let me know if they'd accomodate a May wedding or b) I decide to suck it up and make DP work.

Tonight is the glorious season premiere of the O.C. - and I've been anticipating it all week. Finally something non-wedding to obsess over!


Read more about "Wedding site dilemma"...


Our first post

We've settled on a day: Saturday, May 20 at 11 a.m. in downtown Sanford's Depot Park (click on the link over there to see more about the park). Stay tuned for more information!

Read more about "Our first post"...