Monday, December 28, 2009

Today is your day. You’re off to Great Places! You’re off and away!

I did it!! As of Saturday, December 19th, 2009, I am a college graduate. And so is Sean! We both graduated last Saturday, though, unfortunately, we graduated over 100 miles apart. But such is life. We weren't able to attend each others' ceremonies, seeing as mine started at 12:30, and his was at 2:00. But we're done now! That's the most fantastic part. At least, with undergrad.

My family came out for graduation, but they're terrible with taking pictures. I kid you not, I don't have one. single. picture. from my graduation that they took. None of my friends stuck around for pictures (which I'm not going to get into, I was, and still kind of am, incredibly upset about that one), so they didn't see the need to take pictures. Luckily though, my future mother-in-law is camera happy, so I have plenty of pictures back at their house.

I graduated with honors (whoo-hoo!), though they were just departmental honors. Interesting point though: At Mizzou, you need a 3.7 (that's right, three point SEVEN) to even graduate cum laude. At UMSL, you need a 3.2. What the heck? I ended up graduating with a 3.47, which would have almost bumped me up to magna in the UMSL system, but is a full .24 away from even getting cum laude in the Mizzou world. And in GPA world, that is a LOT. Oh well. That's the way the cookie crumbles I guess. In any case, I graduated with Departmental Honors, which means I was entitled to the same amount of recognition and even the same medal as those that graduated summa cum laude. And I maintained a social life for the past 3 1/2 years. I think I got the better end of the deal.

Anyways. Graduating with honors meant that I got a special ceremony, at 8:30 in the freaking morning. But I also got a graduation ceremony in Jesse Hall, which is our main, fancy hall on campus.  My other ceremony was held in the Hearnes Center, which really disappointed me, as it's just an athletic center. Not pretty at all. There were a total of 216 Honors graduates, which is a pretty big number for a December graduation.


My friend Julie and I before Honors Graduation
(the red and white cords are for Lambda Pi Eta, my honors society for Communications, Julie has gold and blue cords for her theater society)


Chancellor Brady Deaton speaking at the Honors Ceremony

After the Honors ceremony, I had a little down-time. So I went back home and decorated my hat!! M2 is short for Marching Mizzou, and it was only fitting that something I've spent so much time being a part of be represented on my cap.

I went to my actual graduation, which was only an hour and a half long, which was awesome. Like I said before, I don't actually have pictures, which is a shame. So instead, I'll just have to post pictures of Sean and I back at home (well, actually, at his house), before we went out to dinner. But first, some pictures of Sean's graduation.

The Man, The Myth, The Legend, Gary Brandes.
(Our high school band instruction, now teaches at UMSL, Sean's school)


The podium


He walked!! He looks so happy :)
And now, pictures of the two of us together


With our diploma-less cases. We won't get our actual diplomas for at least a couple of months, unfortunately. But they're pretty!


With my parents


With Sean's parents


So tired of smiling! But alas, it's done.

It's nice to know that I'm done with my undergraduate, and so is Sean. Sean's starting on law school applications, and I'm going to begin studying for the GRE in the next few weeks. I don't necessarily plan on going on to graduate school, but if a future employer is willing to pay for (or give me a pay increase for) a master's degree, I'll be more than willing to attend. And GRE scores are good for five years, so I'd rather take it now, while I'm still in the school mind-set. And who knows? Maybe I'll change my mind and decide to go back anyway. *shrugs* You never know, right?

We're having a graduation party in a little over a week, so the celebration is continuing. The future is coming, albeit about six months away. We'll find out where we're going, and all of the sudden, things will be full speed ahead!

 

My cap, tassel, diploma case, medal, and cords


 The inside of my diploma case, without the diploma

And as a great, crazy man once, said:
Today is your day!
Your mountain is waiting.
So…get on your way!

By the one and only, Dr. Suess

Monday, December 14, 2009

Italian Lasagna...Mary's style.

Mary is, for lack of a better term, my adopted grandma. She's known my dad since his family moved next door to her, when my dad was 1 year old. Her and her husband never had kids, so my dad and his sisters became like her own - she always baby-sat for my grandparents. When my grandma got sick with cancer, Mary essentially cooked all of the meals for the family - my youngest aunt was only 14 at the time. Now, 43 years later, Mary is still  a part of our family. We eat dinner at her house (which is now less than a mile from my parents') every Friday night, along with my dad's 3 sisters, and their own families. She's become "Grandma Mary" to almost everyone - everyone except my brother and I (we were the only ones of the grandkids to actually know our real grandma). But nonetheless, Mary is a part of our family, and we all love her.

While Mary's cooking skills have gone slightly downhill in the last few years (she IS 81), we all remember her food at its peak. And I've been doing my best to collect them, one at a time. Last night, I made her amazing lasagna. Sean's never quite understood why everyone talks about lasagna night at Mary's, but that's because she's not as adept at making it as she once was. Last night, Sean realized what I meant.

The story goes that Mary got the recipe from a lady from Italy, who didn't even speak English. But regardless of where she got it from, it's the most delicious thing in the world.

So here's the recipe, courtesy of Mary. It's broken up into layers, to make it more manageable. All of the layers can be prepped ahead of time though.

Mary's Famous Italian Lasagna

Preheat oven to 350 degrees


6-9 Lasagna noodles, cooked

Layer 1:
1 lb of Italian Sausage
1/2 cup chopped onion (or 1 tbsp of onion powder)
1 clove of garlic, minced (or 1/4 tsp of minced garlic)
16 oz of tomato sauce (save a little for bottom of pan)
12 oz of tomato paste
1/2 cup of hot water
1 tsp basil leaves
1 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp marjoram leaves

Layer 2:
15-16 oz of Ricotta Cheese
10 oz package of frozen spinach, cooked and drained according to directions
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
3 eggs


Layer 3:
2 cups shredded Mozzarella cheese
2 cups shredded Muenster cheese


1. Cook sausage, onion, and garlic in a large skillet until sausage is browned. Add in the rest of Layer 1, and simmer for 5 minutes.
2. Combine the ingredients of Layer 2 in a separate bowl
3. Combine the ingredients of Layer 3 in a separate bowl
4. In a large pan (Mine was 9x13), put a thin layer of sauce on the bottom of the pan, so the noodles don't stick
5. Layer noodles, Layer 2, Layer 1, and Layer 3.
6. Repeat layers
7. Bake in oven for 40-50 minutes (unless you have a ridiculous oven like me, mine was done in 35 minutes)
8. Let sit for 5-10 minutes, cut, and ENJOY!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Uncertainity.

The time has come. The semester is ending (I'm 12 days away from graduating). Everyone around me is excitedly talking about the classes their taking next semester, or jobs they have lined up, or where they're going to live. And me? I'm just kinda hanging in there. It's making me really nervous again. I go thorugh waves - sometimes I'm excited, but other times, like now, I start freaking out. Not only do I not have a steady job lined up, I don't know what I'm doing about insurance, where I'm going to live (not just apartment-wise, but state-wise in general), or anything. I mean, I know that I'm still going to be here in CoMo for at least another four months. But after that, I just don't know.

Here's a good idea of where we'll be next semester:

 
Real helpful, isn't it?

I'm a planner. I need to plan. I live to plan. When I can't plan...I feel helpless. So what's my plan for after this semester (no particular order)?
1. Find Insurance. I refuse to live without insurance. Absolutely refuse. And my insurance with my mom ends (as far as preventative care) on December 19th, and ends on for emergency care on December 31st. Because I have no job lined up, I'm looking into private plans. Any suggestions?
2. Figure out what we have. I have no idea what Sean and I have as a couple. I know, for sure, we have a bed. We have pots and pans and plates, but I'm not how many or what of each. Plus, we're talking about possibly ditching some of our furniture to make it easier to move, but, because we don't know what we have, we're at a loss right now. This stuff will be cataloged.
3. Wedding stuff. My dress is supposed to come in on January 8th, so I need to get that. Plus, we need to finalize hall stuff, and start working on things like the photographer, baker, and florist. Actually, we need to finalize this stuff. Which is going to be a chore unto itself, because I have to convince these vendors to finalize stuff 9 months out from the wedding. Oi.
4. Find another job. I'm hoping to pick up a second job at some point here in Columbia. I don't want a career job, because I don't intend to stick around very long. However, I need to make some more money. I'll probably look into working retail or something. I need a people-skill building job on my resume.
5. Pay off credit cards and save money. I've fallen into a slight trap this semester. With the added bill of my car payment, I've been paying off my credit card less. Consequently, it's racked up a fairly high balance. I have the money to pay it off, but at the same time, I want to keep that money in my checkings/savings accounts, because I can't pay my car payment or rent with a credit card. I'm hoping to get a fair amount of cash for graduation, but I want to buy a new computer while I still have my student discount too. This is also REALLY affected by the second job thing. 

Finally, I'm going to have to start living my life as a we. It sounds like an easy concept, but in reality, it's a complicated thing to adjust to. Our bank accounts will be combined, our "stuff" will be combined, our bills will be combined - it's a big thing to wrap my head around. But I'm getting there.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Life Changing Events. Moni Got MARRIED!!!!

Last Saturday, one of my .best. friends got married.

Moni and I met in 4th grade, when she moved to Missouri and started at All Saints. We went to school together through high school, and were in youth group together. We were part of one of those "groups" - the ones that share SO much, and are so close. I've given her shit for years for not going to Mizzou ;) We've had times - both good and bad. We've laughed in Mexico, I toted her backpack and flour baby when she broke her hip, she called me at 12:30 in the morning when Patty died, and I was the first person she told she was pregnant with Omar. We've cried together. We've laughed together.

I was fortunate enough to be able to stand up with her on her wedding day. Yes, I was a "back-up bridesmaid," but Moni has had a rough year, and I was happy to help her out - on any terms. It didn't bother me that I wasn't an original, and it doesn't bother me now. Her wedding was gorgeous.
Blessing of the Marriage


Blessing of the Family
 
The Bridal Party


At the end of the day, they are!


Moni is the first of my close friends to get married. Sure, Jeff and Mack have gotten married, and Kevin and Kelsey, and Caryn and Artene, but they weren't my close friends (at least not growing up). This, one of us getting married, it's a shock to me. Even though I've been planning my own wedding for nearly a year, someone else getting married that's on the same level as me, really means it's happening. We're growing up, and I WILL be getting married (in 400 days!).

And here's to Moni and Miguel, and the new Lopez family...Congratulations!!




Monday, November 30, 2009

The Wedding Ring.

Saturday, Sean received a phone call. The phone call we've all been waiting for: my ring was ready.


We started our ring search quite a while ago, but we finally settled on a jeweler in the town over from us. We first went to him the first weekend of October, which I described here. We did end up going back, when Randy showed up the final design, but as I didn't have a picture or anything, I never posted about it. I supposed I figured it would be more interesting when we actually had the final product in hand.

Saturday, Sean got the phone call. And Sunday, we went to go get it. My jaw hit the floor when I saw it.

I swear, the jeweler put MiracleGro on my ring. The diamonds are HUGE. Grandma's ring wasn't in very good shape, and the gold was a strange color. It was almost an off-white, which made it look dirty. I think this altered my view of the diamonds. The new ring is a much cleaner gold, much more of a pure white gold color. Of course, it turns out the center stone is also .61 carats, rather than the .52 we were originally told. My head is spinning with all of this. It's beautiful. It's shiny. It's interesting though, how different, and yet alike it is from my engagement ring. Both of them are dainty, but the new ring does not have colored stones. After all, my engagement ring has color, because we knew from the beginning that it would not be my wedding ring. All in all, I think the ring actually came out better than my inspiration picture. Randy's jewelry has top marks in my book.

After Christmas, we're going to get it appraised, and then insured. Until then, Sean has it. Hopefully, it'll get put into a safe or safe deposit box at the bank. After all, I won't be wearing it until the wedding. We still need to get a wedding band made for it too, but we're doing this all in steps. All in all, we stayed below our $1,000 budget. I think the final cost came in just under $900. I almost don't want to know how much it's worth. But I'm also very curious. We'll see.

Let's start with the image of the original ring:

And THIS was my inspiration photo for the new ring:


And the final product? *drumroll please*

Beautiful.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Life Changing Events. They're a-happening. Band Edition.

(Part 1: Band) I'm going to break up my life-changing blogs. Fyi.

It's been a big week. So many life changing events have happened, and it's getting kind of unbelievable. I mean, I knew these things were coming. But, when it all comes down to it, who is ever ready to open their arms and embrace change fully? On one hand, I'm ready to be moving on. I've noticed it a lot this last year - I'm more mature. I think a lot of it has to do with most of the guard girls being either freshmen or sophomores, but I feel a big difference between us. I can tell I'm ready to move on. But at the same time, I know that these past 3 1/2 years have been amazing. I've met some of the greatest friends I know I'll ever have, and I've had some of the greatest times. I know that I'm going to miss it.

Saturday. Saturday was the last home game that I will ever perform in. The last time I will be on.the.field. of Faurot. Since I won't be at the game this Saturday (MIZ-BEAT kU!), I will only have the opportunity to perform with Marching Mizzou one more time, at a bowl game. That will be the last time I will wear my uniform, and quite possibly the last time I will ever spin a flag, at least in performance. It's hard to attribute the term "last" to something that defines so much of who I am, and something that I enjoy so much.

Marching Mizzou has been my life. People ask how I can be defined by something like it, but it's easy. I've spent 20 hours a week with these people - they are my best.friends. I have spent countless hours writing routine, teaching girls, sewing flags, taping flags, assigning numbers, and dealing with uniforms. Hell, I only have 3 topics of conversation: band, football, and wedding. I have spent the last 4 years at Mizzou, the last 7 years on color guard, and the last 13 years in some form of band. Music. It's my THING.

I remember when I joined color guard. I've always been about music interpretation. Mr. Holland's Opus is by far one of my favorite movies. I feel like everyone should be able to understand the rush of a musician - the heart-pounding emotion that comes with playing. When I was younger, my aunt always used to take me to variety shows at her old high school. She had been on the dance team, and they performed there. But I was always more interesting in the winter guard. When I switched to South, I mentioned it to the band instructor. She pointed to towards outdoor marching, and I was hooked. You put a flag in my hands, and music in the air, and I feel what to do. It's there.

I don't know what I'm going to feel next fall. I mean, I stop spinning every winter and spring, anytime it's not football season. We shall see.

Monday, November 16, 2009

My First Massage.

I've never had a massage before today. Ever. People have told me how great it is, and while I assumed they were right, I never had the desire to spend money that I deemed so unnecessary. While we're on the subject, I've never been to a chiropractor either. *shrugs* So wellness doctors aren't my thing.

The massage thing, however, changed today.

Last month, Tori and I were hanging out in the Union (per usual), and this woman walked up to us. Usually people walking around the Union just want to get you to go to seminars, so it almost became one of those roll-your-eyes-no-thanks moments. But I like to be polite and hear these people out, so I let her do her thing. She was selling promotional packages for a new salon. The packages were $50 a piece, and they offered 4 visits: a massage, a facial, a manicure, and a hair style. Considering that a decent hair cut ALONE in CoMo will run you near $25-30, this promotion caught my eye. I love manicures/pedicures, and I've been wanting to try a massage and facial. So I bought the package.

It. Was. Amazing.
Being on guard, I have a LOT of knots in my shoulders...I know that. The massage lady (masseuse?) was not prepared. The package offered a 30 minute massage, but really it was just the lady following a pattern of areas to work on. 45 minutes later, I left. I received 15 extra minutes of massage time, because she couldn't get the knots out of my shoulder! :) I was not complaining though. It was glorious. I tipped well, because she worked hard on my shoulders. I wouldn't be surprised if I have bruises tomorrow - but they'd be worth it.

I've been so stressed out with wedding plans, insurance, money, and class work, that I really needed this. I was planning on scheduling the facial meet today, but the lady who does those is only in the salon on Wednesdays and Saturdays...so that visit might not happen until after Christmas or something. We'll see. I'm just glad that I was able to pamper myself, and now I feel a lot better.

Tonight is Culver's night supporting TBS and KKY, which are the band service sorority and fraternity (respectively). A lot of my friends are in them, including Jayme and Lyndsey (two of my fabulous bridesmaids!), so Allie (another fabulous bridesmaid! *giggles*) and I are heading out to Culver's to support them.  10% of any purchase goes towards the groups, so it's like ice cream for a good cause. No guilt here!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

44 Days. Of Doom.

44 Days. Fourty-Far. Or, in STL speak, Farty Far.

That's how long I have until graduation. Scary, isn't it?

This last week, I've been bombarded with final papers and projects. Absolutely slammed. Each semester, I line up my impending doom in a blog post. For the most part, it helps me visualize it. It helps me prioritize. So here it goes:

November 10th
 +Case Studies Folder (12-16 pages, plus advertisements)

November 13th
 +Business Law Exam 3

November 28th
 +Moni's Wedding

December 1st
 +Capstone presentation preview (Presentation/powerpoint must be done by this date)
 +Online course must be finished -> 3 papers (total of 15 pages), 2 exams

December 2nd
 +Lambda Pi Eta Inductions (I'm in charge of food)

December 3rd
 +Political Comm paper and presentation (20 minute presentation, 8-12 page paper)
 +Capstone Presentation and Paper (30 minute presentation, 12-15 page paper)

December 8th
 +Campaign Project due (12-15 pages)

December 11th
 +Business Law Final
 +Capstone Personal Assessment Paper (1-2 pages)

December 14th
 +Persuasion and Theory Final

December 16th
 +Political Comm Final

December 19th
 +GRADUATE! (hopefully)

Can I say, DIE?! Jesus. That's a total of 60 pages. In 6 weeks. I can do that, right? Maybe? I'm really worried about the first week of December. But I have to do it. I don't have the option. I WILL graduate. I'm not sure if it will be with honors (and honestly, it doesn't bother me if it's not), but I will. By hell or high water, I will. *gulp*

Monday, November 2, 2009

Weekends and Moving Talks.

I love weekends. Not because they mean no class and no work and usually mean football games, but because the weekend means that I get to see Sean.

Sean and I are in a long-distance relationship. We have been for almost our entire dating career, minus 1 semester. That makes 4 years of long distance. We're apart more often than we are together, but in the long run, it's made us a better couple. I've had many friends look at our relationship and assume it's not hard, but they also don't see the tears and the fights that Sean and I have had together (we keep our fighting very private). I've seen too many instances where one or other doesn't want to put in the work. Early on, Sean and I would only see each other once every 3 weeks or so. But, we were young and our relationship was young, so it wasn't a big deal. We've progressed to seeing each other every weekend, come hell or high water. Yes, it means that occasionally I miss out on plans my friends have made, and yes, my grades could be better if it wasn't for the 3 hours I spend in a car when I go see him. But it has made us stronger. I don't regret the thousands of miles put on my car, even though it essentially was the reason that both Sean and I have bought new cars in college. One this it has done, that I really like, is that it's made us sure that we're going to make it - no one works this hard for a relationship they're not absolutely sure about.

One thing we've learned over the years is to not make big decisions or talk about serious subjects apart. If we think of something we need to talk about in person, we write it down and discuss it at some point over the weekend. It really helps, because it allows us to see each other's reactions, and we don't make decisions based on what we think the other wants.

This weekend we discussed moving. I want to live with Sean as soon as possible. I'm tired of being apart. Once we find out where he's going to school, we'll be moving - together. However, Sean doesn't find out until February, and we both graduate in December. We've been toying with the idea of him moving here as soon as school was done (well, right after the new year). But in thinking about it, we came across the job issue. Yes, Sean is qualified to a job as an assistant manager somewhere, and probably make the same that he's making now back home. But it seems silly that he only works somewhere for 3-6 months, and then leaves. We've both been on the trainer end of employment, and training someone who leaves right after sucks. He could also just stay in StP until we move, but then we'll basically be playing a game when we take a U-Haul from his house, to my house, to my apartment before finally trekking to wherever we might be going. That doesn't really sound appealing to either of us. But we might have found a solution. Sean is going to stay in StP and work, at least until he finds out what school he'll be going to. After that, he'll slowly move down here (being an hour apart means it doesn't have to be done all in one trip). We want him out of work as little as possible, since he won't be working for 3 years. But if he's in StP there's no rent or any payments or the like, so it'll be easier for him to save and add money to our joint account. Meanwhile, I'll be job hunting wherever we plan on going (and figuring out how to do that will be another step...). When I get a job out there, or by June (whichever comes first), we'll pack up and go. We'd like to stay here as long as possible too, cause I'm still paying rent through July.

In the words of Peter Pan, "To die would be an awfully great adventure"- I'm hoping moving will be just as great.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Creamy Cheesy Chicken Enchiladas

I love Mexican food. It's an addiction of mine. It's a combination of doing mission trips in Mexico when I was in High School, one of my best friends being Mexican, and having an undying love for Tequila. Okay, maybe not so much the last one. But I love that sting in your mouth after eating spicy food. Yum! I used medium salsa and taco sauce, but you can easily use mild or omit the hot sauce.

Tonight, I made enchiladas. I prepped everything except for putting cheese on top beforehand, so I could just pop them in the oven when I got home from Marching Band.

3 cooked chicken breast, cubed
1 packet of taco flavoring
1 cup of shredded cheddar cheese (I used a half cup more, but I'm obsessed with cheese)
1 jar of medium salsa
1/2 cup sour cream
1/4 cup taco sauce
1 can cream of chicken condensed soup
onion powder to taste (or chop up some real onion - I'm lazy though)
hot sauce to taste
Tortillas (I use 6")

Grease a 9 x 12 baking pan. Preheat over to 350 degrees.

In a large skillet, mix the chicken and taco flavoring.
Add 1/2 can of soup, 1/2 jar of salsa, 1/2 cup of sour cream, and 1/2 cup of cheese.
Heat until well blended and cheese is melted.
Add onion powder and hot sauce to taste (though, not QUITE as spicy as you think it should be - you'll have more heat in the sauce)

In a separate bowl, combine the rest of the soup and salsa and the 1/4 cup of taco sauce.
Mix well, add hot sauce to taste.

Warm tortillas.
Spoon chicken mixture onto the center of each tortilla (not too much!). Roll and place into baking dish, seam down. Continue with rest of chicken mixture. Place enchiladas so that they are touching each other, so they don't unroll while baking.
Pour taco sauce mixture over top, using a spoon to spread it.
Top with remaining shredded cheese (I COVER mine, but if you prefer less cheese, use less)

Bake for 30 minutes, or until cheese is bubbling.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Mizzou Homecoming!!

Our Homecoming game was this week!!

We found out at the beginning of last season (yea, homecoming games are scheduled early) that we were playing Texas. Texas is a great team, but we weren't expecting them to be slotted the #3 team in the nation.  Nor were we expecting ourselves to be unranked. *sigh* Oh Mizzou. Thankfully, Texas fans came knowing they were going to win, and they didn't rub it our faces. They were very classy. Likewise, we knew going in the chances of us winning were zero to none. If fact, we went in just hoping to get on the board. The game finally ended with a score of 41-7, but it was okay. It was a decent night, and we had a lot of fun. However, the spirit of homecoming didn't start on October 24. Homecoming is big deal at Mizzou, because we invented it. Literally. Besides, with spirit week, Homecoming started (for us) on the Tuesday before.

I mentioned that we invented Homecoming. It's true, according to the NCAA and Jeopardy! In 1911, the University of Missouri was playing our biggest rival (still to this date), the kansas Jayhawks (note: kansas is not worthy of a capital letter when referring to the school). The athletic director invited alumni back for a "home-coming"- though it was mostly to ensure a sold-out game and intimidation of the other team. The Mizzou-kansas rivalry is the oldest rivalry West of the Mississippi - it's a REALLY big deal.

(First Homecoming Football game)

Did I mention that we're also the largest student-run Homecoming in the nation?

Now that I've bragged, I'll move on to Spirit Week. Guard took it upon themselves (okay, well, Ashley did) to win the Spirit Award in band, and we went all out. We had a theme each day. Tuesday was Black-Out, Wednesday was Gold Rush, Thursday was Deck the Guard (all Mizzou stuff - even though this day of practice was rained out), and Friday was Spirit Day (completely with Tie--Dye). Half of our girls wore face paint everyday. Unfortunately I had class each day before band, so I couldn't do face paint. However, we all had a blast. I have yet to bombard my blog with game day photos, but this is the post that will. I stole some pics from the girls! :)


                   My Awesome Blackout Shirt        Ashley and Sohae being adorable


Gold Rush!!
Allie, Brandi, and Stephanie
(Brandi wore this all day around campus!)

We got rained out on Deck the Guard, but we were still spirited!!


First College Friends!!!
And now Captains! <3 these girls
Lyndsey, Allie, Me, and Jayme

                           Allie and Lyndsey on Friday            Even Chris (our Grad Ass)
                           Check out those glasses!                  joined in on the fun


Guard on Friday!!
We lost the Spirit Award to drumline, but they were classy and gave it to us!

Chris rocking the Spirit Award and a Flag!
We <3 this guy!

Like I said, we lost the Spirit Award, even though drumline didn't do a single thing. But they were classy  (don't pass up an opportunity to make the Spirit Chairs look like jerks), and gave it to us. It's strange, because drumline has their own dynamic, and this definitely isn't it. They're a section that people hate on principle. But, maybe things are changing.

All in all, it was a good time. Sure, we lost the game. But winning isn't everything. Though, we did get to see our 2nd/3rd string (our 2nd string got kicked off the team for a DUI) quarterback on the field. And he's a WALK ON. Crazy. Gabbert has a sprained ankle.

Have I mentioned how much I love Marching Mizzou?!



Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Mizzou vs. OSU

This weekend was the away game for Marching Mizzou. Every year we take one away trip, and usually it's just a drive up, perform/watch the game, and drive back. But THIS year, we got to stay two nights. We were all really excited for the down time.

After a 7 hour drive to get to Tulsa (we didn't actually stay in Stillwater, where OSU is), we got to our hotel around 12:30 in the morning. All of us were exhausted. Some of the band went out and partied, but us old seniors kinda crashed. We're rapidly reaching the end of our college band careers, and I'm ready lol.

The game was cold. Freaking cold. We were teased by the nice 60 degree weather during the day, walking around in t-shirts and shorts (and laughing at the Oklahomians who were in coats and hats). However, by the time the game started, the sun had set and the temperatures had dropped. We could see our breath by the end of the game. And unfortunately, our new, nifty, LONG-SLEEVED uniforms don't come in until THIS week. We perform in sleeveless uniforms too, unfortunately. The girls (+Kayden) were NOT happy with us.

We actually held our own in the first half. OSU is ranked #16, and we're not ranked at all, so we were quite surprised. At the half, we were tied, 17-17. And then we Romeo-d. Hardcore. We rolled over, and died. Two turnovers and countless interceptions later, the game mercilessly ended at 33-17. And we lost. *sigh* Lost #2 for the Tigers. We're now 4-2. And we'll undoubtedly be killed this weekend when we take on the #3 team in the nation, the Texas Longhorns. It's our homecoming too, which will really suck.

However, I haven't uploaded my pictures from the game, and since I'm at school, I can't really upload them now. I will later though!! :)

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Cold.

My apartment has no heat still. But we will tomorrow!!! Who's excited for that?

For now though, I will bundle up and eat warm potato soup. Be jealous.

Centerpieces.

Centerpieces are a project I'm really excited about, yet dreading at the same time. I have so many ideas, and I really don't want to end up with a clusterfuck of, well, centerpiece. 

In centerpiece land, there are always two obvious routes: the flower route and the candle route. Other, less traditional routes, include pine-cones, fruit, ornaments, and even fish. They can be stand alone pieces or arranged into bowls. I've seen little mini cakes on every table for dessert and everything else in between in my wedding planning experience. Unfortunately, the common sense part of me always wonders two things: how much will they cost, and what will I do with the damn things when I'm done?!

The second part is almost more important to me...I just have flashbacks of people trying to find homes for their centerpieces after a wedding, only to, at a last resort and not wanting to waste them, decorate their house with them. Ugh. I have no desire to have my wedding plastered all over my house after the big day (one of the reasons I'm so against fake flowers - they last forever!), except for maybe in the sense of a framed photo and a few albums. MAYBE a shadow box. 

I've always wanted candles. Always. I grew up with allergies, and while flowers are pretty and I always like flowers in small quantities, I do not want 32+ tables with flower centerpieces on them. Not to mention the cost, seeing as my wedding is in January. I think candles lead to the perfect, romantic atmosphere, and make everything seem warm and cozy. If I could, THIS would be in the center of every one of my tables. 

However, my bank account says this is not possible. Also, I'm pretty sure the city fire marshall would have a heart attack. 

So then I decided I'd love something more like this:


Except, without the cranberry wreath. I'd rather have it on a black plate/bowl, with ivory candles, and green river rocks. I'm trying to avoid an overly Christmasy feel with the whole thing. I love this style - it's simple and elegant, and not gawdy. And let's face it, candles are pretty easy to give away. And they do *go* away eventually. 

Then. We found a reception hall. I fell in LOVE with Trigg. The dance floor is huge and nice, it has an opening hall, I would be the only reception there, and there's a little overhang for parking if the weather is particularly nasty. With one giant drawback: No open flame. 

Seriously? No candles? What am I gonna do?!? Actually, correction. I can have open flame if I use their centerpieces. However, THEIR centerpieces are hurricane vases inside of fishbowls. Hurricane vases just scream '90s to me - I'm very against them. I think they're hideous. I toyed with the idea of just doing those nice, flameless candles, like this:



Except those candles are like, $5 a PIECE. For at LEAST 32 tables. *cue me stomping around*

Anyways. I have a good idea of what I want to do now, but I don't have a picture to use as an example to show you. I know, that was SERIOUSLY anti-climatic. But you'll have to wait.  

Monday, October 12, 2009

Wedding Binder

I've been meaning to do this for a long time. Ever since I became engaged, actually. I wanted to make a wedding binder.

I am a notoriously cluttered person. I love to be organized, but I can never seem to find the time. It's awful, and it causes serious unrest. No joke. I hate being disorganized and not knowing exactly where everything is. So tonight seemed like the perfect opportunity to start one. I actually finished most of my homework even, before I started it! Usually projects like these are used to avoid homework *sheepish grin* Anyways.

I started with my supplies (and a trip to Wal-Mart, which included a 20 minute conversation with Andrew Wallace...). Right now, I just have a binder, dividers, and a folder in the back for micellaneous things. After all, I know that I won't be able to file EVERYTHING right away. I was hoping to get folders for each section, little clear ones, but they happened to be sold out in ALL FIVE SECTIONS that they were supposed to be in. Needless to say, I don't have them. Yet.


Then, I labeled the hell out of my little divider tabs. I have: Important info (contacts, calendars, budget, etc), Guest List, Rehearsal Dinner, Stationary, Wedding Party, Ceremony Venue, Reception Venue, Photography, Florist, Bakery, Transportation, Registry, Gift List, and Honeymoon. If I end up planning any of my own showers, that will probably end up in there too - I left two extra tabs. Surprisingly, I didn't even put them in an overly-particular order. I figured I'll get use to where they are regardless.


Check out that neat handwriting and pretty colors!
I found several templates that I'm going to use, from Russel+Hazel. I don't need all of them, and instead of printing each one out from the site, I'm actually recreating each one in word. Many of the things are different, or I want them to be laid out in a certain way. However, I did make a few pages on my own:

Payment Tracker


Calendar
I only used a payment tracker, rather than a budget, because we don't really have a budget. We have the things that we feel are most important, and we'll add and subtract other things to make the important things happen. Also, I didn't fill it out yet, mostly because I don't want to have to flip several pages to get to a payment I'm making now. Hopefully it'll work for me.

And I'll admit, the calendar is just a screen shot from iCal. The last month is broken up by week, and the last 2 days are broken up by hour. I figure I'll be the most busy then. I plan on printing the calendars, along with the rest of my pages that I've made, out tomorrow at the library. Why waste my own ink and paper when the library charges just 5 cents a page? I've got to put that $35 quota to use somewhere!

Overall, I'm quite pleased with my binder. It's bright and colorful, and hopefully it'll keep me organized. And I have so much to do in the next week that I'm sure it will get filled out of sheer procrastination from everything else. I just hope I don't get overzealous with it. I'd rather not lose the "joy of wedding planning"

Right.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Ring Update!

Saturday Sean and I took a much anticipated trip to the jeweler. We're using Randy's for a couple of reasons. First, he's the jeweler that does all of Sean's mom's jewelry. Second, he does custom work. And when I say custom, I mean custom. Not just taking diamonds from an old ring and putting them in a new one. We're talking cutting apart two rings to make one, or even hand designing a ring in wax and creating it from scratch. Luckily, we'll be able to use two rings soldered together. 

This is grandma's ring: 


Gorgeous, right? The center stone is .52 cts, and each of the tiny stones is .2 ct. The stones are of a pretty good quality. I'd keep the original ring even, except that it's about 3 sizes too big, and most of the stones are missing their prongs. Grandma wore the ring every day, and you can tell.

Anyways. I've always loved the split shank design. Always. This is the inspiration picture I took to Randy's with us, just to give him a better idea of what I/we (Sean's pretty much letting me design it) were looking for. 



I fell in love with it. The little tiny sparkling diamonds, the split shank (ie, the gap in the middle of the ring), everything. The ring, unfortunately, retails for about $6000 however, which is WAY out of any price range we might have. So Randy started talking and drawing, and I started watching and listening.

At first, Randy pulled out books. He wanted to find something close to what I wanted with as little work possible, which would be best for us, cause that means less labor cost. Unfortunately, nothing really stood out. After looking through 4 or 5 books, and over 900 pictures of rings, they all started looking the same, and I was starting to get discouraged. I KNEW that we could get a ring like this, it was just a matter of how. 

Then, Randy pulled out another book. This time, the book only had top settings of rings, no diamonds even in the pictures. He said he could take the top setting and attach it to any other ring. This opened up thousands more possibilities. We found a setting that had a center diamond mount (that my tiny diamond would fit into - did you know 1/2 a carat was small in engagement ring land?), and then on either side it had a triangle of 3 small diamonds - that my other diamonds would fit into as well! Success! We have the top of the ring. Randy said that it shouldn't be a problem to find the split shank design I want for the rest of the ring, but that he was going to take the week to do it so that he could get the best possible design. 

We're probably going to end up buying 16-20 small diamond chips for the shank of the ring, but they don't cost much, so it won't be too big of a deal. We'll also be trading in the gold on grandma's ring (which is 18k, because she was allergic to less), so our cost will be offset even more. We're hoping to get the ring for around $600, but not more than $1000. 

Next Saturday we're going back, and hopefully he'll have a final design ready. Yes, I know this is happening super early, but since we're moving to who-knows-where, we want to have the small stuff like this settled. 

While we're on the the topic of rings/diamonds, I want to address the difference of thought between Columbia and St. Louis. In St. Louis, my rings are considered "small," almost to the point of "embarrassingly small" to some people. Yet, in Columbia, I have huge diamonds. Strange, isn't it? I wouldn't want anything bigger by all means. I just find it to be an interesting phenomenon. 

The prospect of the ring has me positively giddy though. 

Monday, October 5, 2009

Catching Up.

I just realized how far behind I am in posting. So let's play a little catch up, eh?

Moni had her baby. A beautiful boy, Omar Miguel Lopez. He was born on September 21st - and I was one of the first to see him! Moni was exhausted, but looked really good for having given birth 20 minutes prior. Here's a couple photos!
The Happy New Family

Baby Mug shot!!!


      Right after he was born




Isn't he just adorable? And look at all that hair!! Moni and Miguel did good. I love the pouty face he has in his mug shot - he looks so obstinate already! Even though he was technically a week early, he weighed in at 8 lbs, 14 oz.

Anyways. My dress for Moni's wedding is in too, and I'm going to pick it up this Saturday, cause she wanted to come with me. I don't want her to get left out of wedding stuff because of the baby, so we're making it work.

I'm really stressed out about school. I have a lot to do in a very short amount of time. Take my online class for example. I have to have it done by December 1st, and I'm barely 1/3 of the way through - yikes! I'm getting it done though. I've set deadlines, and I'm going to stick with them. I need to work on my Case Studies folder for my Persuasion class (plus my test on Thursday), I have a paper for my Poli Comm class, and I have to take a test in my online class. Whew! Luckily, my capstone, while slightly stressful, actually isn't that labor intensive - yet.

The first Thursday night football game for Mizzou in 17 years is happening this Thursday - against Nebraska. It's going to be a huge game - I just hope we can win. I'll have to remember to bring my camera for this one.

My family is getting pictures taken for the first time in 4 years. Some people are still surprised that we get family photos taken, but my sister is only 8. We got a family picture taken when she was only 2 weeks old, and it's really cool. Most families stop taking professional photos once their kids are older, and I love that we still get them taken. I need to go to Kohl's in the next two days, and make use of the 30% off coupon my mom gave me in order to buy picture clothes. And maybe some club clothes while I'm there...it is a pretty sweet coupon, after all. It's a pretty big deal that we're getting pictures taken. This will probably be the last time I'm in a professional family photo. While I'm not leaving the family, once Sean and I get married we'll have our own family - even if it is just the two of us. While it'll be strange to not be in the family photos anymore, it's not like it hasn't happened before. After all, there are years of pictures without the older siblings in them in my parents' families. It's almost like a rite of passage.

I have wedding stuff to post, but I think I'm actually going to do all of that in a separate post - it makes labels easier. I love the labels function on blogger. I just need to remember to not get too vague with them.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

A Shiney Mission

A custom wedding ring. 


That's right. Custom. My grandma left me her wedding ring when she passed away, and we really want to use it. The problem is, grandma's ring is a size 9 (I wear a 7), most of the prongs are gone, and the ring is really off-balanced. It's really in terrible condition, despite the fact that it's only about 20 years old (her second ring). It HAS to be remade. We were originally thinking about simply keeping the original ring with wedding band and then adding on a band of our own. Grandma's ring is simple (sorry, I don't have a picture and the ring is in St. Louis), with the "engagement ring" being a 3 stone ring, and the wedding band having 4 small diamonds on it. 


Last December, Sean proposed to me with this ring: 



I absolutely love it - but it has always been the intention for me to wear it on my right hand after we get married, and use my grandma's ring for our wedding ring. 


Unfortunately I have no idea what I want to do with a wedding ring. Which is why I'm posting this - I would LOVE for other people's ideas. Even if it is just a picture of your own ring. We're no long "stuck" in the idea of keeping the ring design the same when we re-fashion it, so the possibilities are nearly endless (though I have a few ideas I'm stubborn on). We'll be using my grandma's diamonds, which consist of a center stone of a 1/2-3/4 carat, and then 6 smaller (about 1/8 ct) stones around it. But we're totally open to buying more of the smaller diamonds, because our jeweler said they're only about $80 a piece. 


Things I'd REALLY like:
1. I really want to keep the double wedding band idea. I like the idea of symbolizing my grandma with the ring, and so having two wedding bands is a MUST. I also love the idea of an engagement/wedding ring set. I don't want to look like I'm engaged for the rest of my life. 


2. I love split shank rings. It's not a requirement, but I do like them. Or at least rings with a twisted metal appearance - you know, something different and modern.


3. I'm not opposed to sapphires. Not in the slightest. Obviously, because my engagement ring has them. However, I don't HAVE to have them. 

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Anticipation. And Chip Dip.

Moni is having a baby. Within a week. And I couldn't be more excited. She's the first of my good friends to have a kid, and I'm only slightly obsessed with children. She's not technically due until the 28th of September, but she went to the doctor on Monday and they told her any day! She's being induced on Monday if she doesn't go before then. Mandi and I both told her Friday or Saturday, cause we want to see her!! I'd really like to go visit in the hospital, but we'll see. Soon the world will welcome Omar Miguel Lopez! I still need to figure out where the accents go. I'm not sure if Miguel has any on his name (I know Lopez doesn't). I can't believe she's having a baby! AHH! I'll have to go baby shopping in the next couple of days too.

Okay. I need to calm down before I start freaking out in my next class...

Anyways. School is kicking my butt, per usual. I'm absolutely terrible with this online, independent study course. I really need to work on it. I'm going to try to get the midterm in by the end of September. We'll see. The biggest problem I'm having with it is that there aren't any due dates. It's COMPLETELY on my own. *sigh*

The other day I made chip dip. I found it as a recipe for French Onion dip, but it was not french onion. Not in any way. But nonetheless, it is delicious.

Un-French Onion Chip Dip

16 oz Cream Cheese, Softened
3/4 cup Sour Cream
2 packets of Lipton's Onion Soup Mix
2 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce (I used more to taste)
Garlic Salt to taste


Blend the cream cheese and sour cream until smooth. Sift in the onion soup mix in (or if you prefer chunky dip, just dump it in!). Add in the Worcestershire sauce and garlic salt to taste. If you prefer a thinner dip, add milk until you get the desired consistency. 
Break out those ruffle chips, and enjoy!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Football Season

Yesterday marked the beginning of the 2009 collegiate football season - technically. Actually, it started last weekend, but the game was in St. Louis - not at our home football stadium, so it didn't really count. Yesterday was the first HOME game.

I love football. Specifically, I love Mizzou football. I love the roar of the crowd, the stadium packed in black and gold. I love the video at the beginning of the every game, and chills I get when it plays and the football team runs by. I love the boom of the cannon. I love our seats and yelling as loud as we can when the opposing team is trying to score in OUR endzone. I love the rush of the game. I love Dr. Knight's speeches at the beginning and the end of the game. It's wonderful.

And it's ending. This is my last season - perhaps the worst part about the thought of graduating college. I'm going to miss it. I'm going to miss the 7 am calls, not leaving the stadium until it's empty, singing the alma mater, waiting for bananas, and practicing under the stands before we go out. I'm going to miss my swoosh tan line from my uniform (though I haven't gotten it yet this year).

Okay. Enough sap.

The Tigers almost blew this game. Big time. We played Bowling Green. BOWLING GREEN. A team who was 6-6 last year. And they were ahead until the 4th quarter!! Gah! It was the most nerve-wrecking experience. We should have never been behind them in any way. Never. We eventually won (only 27-20), but my gosh. /rant.

You'll probably be seeing a new header in the next couple of days. And it will probably be football-themed. It's football season - and football (well, and Marching Band) pretty much rule my existence.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Shrinking Campus

Isn't it amazing how huge I used to think campus was? The trek from Gillett to say, EBW was almost worth getting my car, and was definitely worth skipping class.

Now, I feel like campus is nothing. Maybe it's because I don't start out in the dorms, or because I've learned to walk faster, or even that I've lost the fear of being a second late to class...but campus seems so small nowadays. It's no wonder it felt big - our main campus is over 2 square miles. But over the years I've learned short cuts and time savers, as well as how long it takes me to get from one spot to the next. I have no problem crossing between red and white campus - I'm often found on both throughout the day. I almost feel like I'm ready for something bigger - which is a good thing, since I'm graduating in December.

Sean and I have no idea where we'll be going. But, I've decided I like the thrill of not knowing. I want to be able to live entirely on my own, in my own world for a while. I'd like to prove that we can do it, without help, unlike so many others we know.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Labor Day Weekend

So the weekend isn't technically over yet. But the most important stuff is. I've had a great weekend, although not exactly "relaxing". Who needs to relax anyways?

Saturday was the first football game of the season. It was AMAZING. The spread was 7 points, with the Illini winning. Instead, Mizzou steamrolled them. Our team has actually been called the most underrated team this season, already. The game was fantastic. No one really knew what was going to happen, because we lost so many players after last year. But our new 1st string really stepped up. The was fantastic too. Our guard really did well - I think it's the best we've ever done. I'm not sure if it will work or not, but here's our first movement - In the Stone, by Earth, Wind, and Fire. It was a GREAT performance - I'm really proud of all the girls. Of course, this just sets the bar high :)

After the game, Mom, Michelle (my godmother), Shanon (my sister), Sean and I all went to Max and Erma's - I was starving. We had a good meal, complete with cookies. Once we got home, I got an awesome surprise. Mom and Dad had bought me a new tv!! I'm now the proud owner of a 19" HD LCD tv. I'm super excited about that one - we've been living off a tiny TV in the living room.

It's been a pretty good weekend. Sean and I are heading back home to CoMo this afternoon, and he's going to come back to StP tomorrow morning, since he doesn't have class until noon. I've realized that I really don't "live here" anymore. I can't wait to find out where Sean is going to school, and make a life there. I guess I just want a place to be mine/ours, and I can't really do that when I'm living with friends. I love living with my girls, but I'm just anxious for the future.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Classes - The Final Countdown

This is my last semester at Mizzou. Obviously, class is probably going to occupy most of my posts for the next few months, but we'll see. I'm in 13 credit hours - 16 if you count the independent study course that I was SUPPOSED to do over the summer, but didn't touch. I have to finish it though, or I don't graduate. Nothing like waiting until the last minute I suppose. I find that I do better if I don't think about the numbers that symbolize my classes. I mean, I'm in 3 4000 level classes. 4000! Yes, I'm a senior, and they're senior level classes. But, I only had to take ONE to graduate, and yet I decided to tack on 2 more, because they looked interesting. But so far, I'm pretty sure it'll all be fine. Here's a look at what I've got going on:

Business Law: This is my last lecture class. Ever. There are 500 students enrolled, and we pack the auditorium in Cornell (the business school). It's required for my business minor, but I'm not complaining. It's like, 4 tests and a couple of quizzes. Defintiely going to be my easy class of the semester, which is scary seeing as the word "law" is in it and it's only taught by lawyers. Maybe the fact that I've worked at a law firm for the past 2 1/2 years is helping that. :)

Political Communication: This is one of the 4000 level classes. The first day the Prof walked in, he was wearing a polo with holes, gym shorts, and flip-flops. And was drinking a Red Bull. As I've come to find out, he's incredibly intelligent - just not professional. I'm enjoying the class, though I'm not sure if that's because it's politics based (which I've come to enjoy while at school) or because the professor isn't more than 23, but it's a good class. And our first assignment? A 1 page paper on 3rd Parties. This one's gonna be hard *rolls eyes*

Media Theory and Research: I'm not really sure why this one is called this, because it's really all about persuasion. We're talking a lot about ads, both in the commercial world and the political world. I'm taking this class for the teacher though, entirely. I HATE theory, and I HATE research, but I LOVE Morawitz. It is a pretty interesting class though, I have to admit. And I've got some friends in there. Unfortuantely, I'm also going to have like, 3 15 page papers. Ugh.

Capstone: Okay, I GUESS I consider this a class. It's taught by Porter, who's the head of the Communication school. He's hilarious and goes off on so many tangents. Our subject this semester is Media Literacy. It's interesting, especially since Porter is making up this course as he goes along...We may or may not get anything done. I have several friends in here, including Julie and Andrew, so the class is great. We took a test called StrengthsQuest, and it's SO cool. I highly suggest it to anyone - you can take it at their website, for about $15. It nailed my strengths on the head, even though I never really considered them strengths - I just thought they were normal I guess.

Marching Mizzou: Yes, this is a class. I'm one of the captains on the guard this year, so it's going to be a lot of time. As captains, we write routine, we teach routine, and lately we've been staying late to tutor routine - not to mention disciple for the guard and taking care of uniforms and flags. It's a lot of work and time, but it's so worth it! I think the biggest difference this year is that there's so much pressure for us to be perfect every time, because we stress being perfect in the routine to the girls so much. We DON'T want to be hypocrites, unlike captains in years before. I can't wait for the first game Saturday.

I was contemplating joining Tau Beta Sigma this semester, which is the band service sorority. They deal with uniforms, plumes, and some food, and set up and break down for concerts and such, as well as other random service projects like Girl Scout day. I'd LOVE to join, but I feel like I'm just too busy. With the wedding and LPE especially. Besides, it's my last semester. I think I'd feel bad having a "mom" (older member who's like a mentor) spend a lot of money on me, and then not be able to give back and be a mom myself. Instead, I'll focus on LPE.

LPE is Lambda Pi Eta. It's the Communication Honors society. It looks phenomenal on a resume, but we also do a lot of volunteer stuff. It's also a great connection to other people - I love it. I designed the shirts last year, but I'm hoping to get more involved this semester. We'll see what goes on I suppose.

I also have work this semester. Typing all of this out makes me feel like I have SO much, but I love it. I'm only working like 12 hours a week, but I make enough to at least pay my rent and food. With my extra loan money, I have the car payments covered. It's a pretty good deal. I'm still working at the law firm. We're trying to automate everything, but you can't automate phone calls very well so that's what I do most of the time. I do mail for my department too - quality controlling outgoing mail and entering incoming mail into the system. I've gotten to be fairly good friends with the folks in my department, and I'm not really looking forward to having to leave them. I like my job. I never thought I'd say that about an office job, but i REALLY like it. Crazy!

That's the ridiculously long run-down of my semester thus far. It's great and I'm so excited for it.

Monday, August 31, 2009

A New Start

So I've decided to start a new blog. I'm leaving behind my emo Livejournal days (except of course, when I need to be emo). I want a blog that other people can follow - one that explains things. I've been going through a rapid transition to adulthood (hello! no posters in my bedroom anymore?!), and I feel like a need a blog to represent that too. So here it goes. Since I'm not necessarily just blogging for myself, I'll do a full round of introductions.

My name is Amanda. I'm 21 years old, and I'm a senior in college. I'm engaged to Sean, whom I've been dating for over 4 years now. We'll be getting married in January of 2011. I've been involved with band since I was in 5th grade, and I'm now one of four captains for my college's color guard - we spin the flags with the marching band. Along with color guard, classes, and wedding planning, I somehow manage to hold down a part-time job as well. My family is incredibly important to me, and I've been around little kids for most of my life, including my 8 year old sister. Taking care of kids is first nature to me, and while I'm not ready for them yet, I can't wait until I am. I just bought my first car, a 2008 Dodge Caliber. My life is so incredible busy, but so fulfilling at the same time.

Anyways. Because I am a busy college student, I'm off to read for classes.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Who's This Crazy Blogger You're Stalking?

Don't lie. You know you're addicted to blogs. It's okay, me too.

I’ve always had a blog it seems. It started with a Xanga account my freshman year of high school, which was the thing to do at my first high school. Then I switched schools. At my new school, the “cool” thing was a LiveJournal. To be fair, they were actually pretty even in use at my first school, but the customizable opportunities of LJ kind of overwhelmed me then. Oh how far I’ve come. I switched over to LJ, where my longest running blog evolved. I maintained that blog for just over 7 years. Crazy, right? So much of my life is documented on that URL – it’s amazing how one little line can contain so much. My life has changed so much in the last six months that I decided I needed a new blog – one that better reflects who I am now. Hopefully, I can keep this one running as long as previous blogs – only time will

As far as the name of this blog goes, it seemed fitting. Anyone who knows me in real life know that I have a very distinctive laugh. And I love laughing. I try to maintain a positive attitude, and I try to find the good in everything and everyone, because, after all, life is beautiful. It’s much too short to go about moping and complaining.
 (True Laughter. The Sweetest Thing.)

So now comes the biggest question- who am I? Behind every person, every face, every laugh, there lies a story. A tale that has evolved over a lifespan, and has every imaginable (and often unimaginable) twist and turn. Mine is no different.

My name is Amanda. I’m a 20-something, recent college graduate from the University of Missouri. Like every other recent grad, I’m just starting out and trying to find my place in the world. I’m one crafty girl, and I love to cook, bake, and make tons of things. I’m an adventurous homebody, who loves traveling and staying in at night. My weakness is chocolate and amaretto sours, in addition to pineapple upside down cake and anything Italian. I was in marching band for over seven years, and credit some of my best friends to it. I’m Catholic, born and raised, and I’m still working on developing my faith in my adulthood. I love to volunteer and build things.
(Lyndsey, Allie, Me, Jayme - They call us the quartet)
(Cause we're just that awesome)
(My Mizzou Girls)
 (My YG kids - Tijuana Mexico)
(Top Row: Patty, Mandi, Me, Emily, Tory, Audrey, Katy, Josh)
(Bottom Row: Moni, Megan, LeAnn, Kristin)

I’m engaged to my incredible fiancĂ©, Sean. We’re high school sweethearts, and we’ve been together for over 4 ½ years – all long-distance. We’re tying the knot on January 8th, 2011, and a lot of my posts revolve around my very DIY wedding. My very large, Catholic, DIY wedding.
(I kinda like him)

You have no idea what’s coming.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Back Post #17 - Pre-Cana, Session 2

Okay, I'll admit, it's been awhile. (blame 2 vacas and moving for that one!)

Anyways. Saturday, July 25th, we took our second (and final!) pre-cana class. Personally, I thought this one was a lot LESS interesting. And frankly, since it's been so long, I can't even remember much. I think it was mostly kind of boring, because most of our talks were about how we communicate - communication is my major. I thought I was going to shoot myself from boredom. Then, we talked about finances and donating to the church, which was kind of pointless seeing how Sean and I combined make like, negative money. That was about the sum of it - the whole 5 hours of it. I know this blog wasn't as in-depth as the last one on pre-cana, but frankly, this class bored me to death. BUT! The important thing is, we passed! And we got a nifty certificate to prove it:



Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Back Post #16 - Engagement Party and a Joint Account

We had our first (and unfortunately, probably only) engagement party on Saturday!

(The Invites)
Our families came together at Sean's house and everyone got along really well! Mama had a hay day with all the babies and getting to hold them all. The food all turned out delicious - Gram made a strawberry shortcake and a german chocolate cake - in addition to the Costo sheet cake Mama bought. Anyways, it was good times, and I was certainly exhausted by the end of it all.

A nice surprise, however, was the money we got at the end of the day. We didn't get much - we honestly weren't expecting any. We had told anyone who asked us that we didn't need anything. But we did get some money, so we started a joint checking account. It's the first thing Sean and I have actually *shared* together. It's exciting. It's our first thing together, which of course has me thinking about the future. In the next two years, I'll be graduating college, getting a job, moving in with Sean, getting married - the list just keeps growing! Hopefully we'll be able to continue adding money to this new account. While the goal is for it to help out with the wedding (it's already short $80, thanks to invite supplies), it'll also be a springboard for us next year when we combine finances and such (if they're anything extra - somehow I don't think there will be). 

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Back Post #15 - Pre-Cana, Session 1

*First, a warning. This is LONG*
 
 So Saturday morning Sean and I woke up early (like 6:30 early - we couldn't sleep) to go to our wedding prep class. We followed our directions, and even left early in case we got lost...and then realized that the church we were supposed to go to, Christ the King, is right across the street from our friend Ellie's house. Talk about small world. We were early, and yet we had no idea where to go. So we people watched. We got slightly nervous as all we saw were old couples, but then we started seeing younger couples. And followed them. :)

There were 22 couples. We were sat 2 to a table, and our lucky tablemates just happened to have graduated from kU. No joke. We didn't exactly make friends, needless to say. For a little demographic info for the class as a whole, I'll break it down and compare us. We were one of the youngest couples (if not THE youngest). We were one of the few couples that was still in school (of those who were going/have gone to school anyway). We were the longest dating couple. We had the wedding date the furthest away (the closest was August 8th). We were one of the few couples that had grown up in the Catholic school system (you could tell - trust me). Finally, we seemed to be the couple who knew the most about each other, which seemed a little strange to us.

When we got to the class, we were each given a book and pens. It's a workbook produced by the Archdiocese with 8 chapters - we covered 4 yesterday, and we'll cover 4 next class. Though we talked about (well, really we were just lectured on everything) the Sex section, we have to do the workbook part on our own by next week. Fun times!! Hahaha. The other chapters we covered this week were The Sacrament of Marriage, Family of Origin, and The Stages of Marriage. I'll explain each of these, though mostly in how it was taught. I found the entire class pretty interesting, and I really liked the imagery that was brought in. Yes, it's a very long, religious post, sorry, but it's very interesting nonetheless.

Section 1: The Sacrament of Marriage 
With the sacrament section, which was by far the most "Catholic" section we had, we talked about how a marriage in the Church is different from a marriage outside of the Church. Basically, we were given 3 sections of imagery, each involving a play-doh couple - yellow and blue, fyi. When two people are living together and dating, it is like they're in a plastic bag. Each one can leave fairly easily and new people can join - the bag is easy to open and close, yet not permanent. With a marriage outside of the Church/God, it's like the couple is in plastic wrap tied shut with a knot. A judge is responsible for tying the knot, but he/she can just as easily untie the knot, and the couple can live their lives as if there never was a knot to begin with - there might be a few specks of the other colors on each other, but for the most part, our play-doh selves are still blue and yellow. With a religious marriage, it's like the play-doh got squished up together. Instead of having yellow and blue play-doh, you now only have green, and the colors can never be separated. The point is, that marriage isn't something you can go into and leave whenever you want. The Catholic Church is very against divorce (although it does recognize that sometimes it is necessary), and marriage is something that you have to be selfless about. 

Section 2: Family of Origin
This section talked about our families - what the values of our current families are, and what we want to bring into our new family. Once we're married, we're not just husband and wife - we're our own family. We talked about time, and how much we'd spend with each set of in-laws, if we'd be willing to move for each other, if our parents would get keys to our house (mine: yes, his: no - we don't trust his parents), how we would set up parameters for our parents to let us go. We talked about how we'll spend holidays, what the most important things we'd like to incorporate into our family are, and even little things like which way the toilet paper should go. It was actually a really fun section. We talked about baggage, and how each person brings different things to a relationship - how our growing up affects us. For us, the issue is mostly about money and vacations - Sean's family spends freely, whereas my family is stingy. Sean's family goes on vacations and is a very close nuclear unit, whereas mine isn't (as much time as my family spends together, we really aren't "close"). This was also the area where the discussions of other couples shocked us - it was as if they had never spent a holiday with each others' families! Sean and I probably could have filled this section out for each other, and all around the room we heard comments such as "you really think that way?" and "Oh I didn't know that". Oh man. 

Section 3: The Stages of Marriage
Okay, this section should have been renamed something like, "Eventually, you're going to get bored with marriage and realize it sucks. Realize it now, and learn to suck it up." Very, um, hopeful. We talked about how in marriage there's the stages of Romance, Disillusionment, and Renewal. We know that marriage isn't always going to be a bed of roses. Actually, maybe it is - thorns and all. But anyways, yes, at some point we're going to wake up and wonder what we're doing with our lives. And I'm okay with that. This section was basically about being able to find the little, everyday things romantic, but seeing as Sean and I have never really be "romantic," we think we're okay on this. This section REALLY made us feel like we were more mature than the rest of the group, because everywhere you looked there were these girls with big honking 1 1/2 carat solitaires talking about roses and boat rides and dinners and jewelry. The last time Sean and I went out on a date, we went to Burger King :) I mean, we know that we're not necessarily in the "romance" period anymore - the disillusionment usually happens at about 6-8 years into the relationship, so we're halfway there. We're not that sappy little couple that has to be touching each other constantly anymore. A text in the middle of the day makes me smile. Being long-distance has kind of altered how we work, but, frankly, I like it that way.

Section 4: Sex and Sexuality
Okay, so we haven't actually done the workbook part of this, but I can tell you a little bit about the talk. It was mostly about living with each other before marriage. The idea is that if you live together before marriage, what's the point of getting married? It's nothing special. You're going to wake up in the morning together, have a big party together, and then go home to your bed together. Sean and I do plan on living together before we're married. We do. We have no problems, no qualms, nothing. We'll only live together about 4 months before we get married though, not years. I have complete faith that it will be special, nonetheless, but only time will tell on this one.

Sorry I've bored you all to death on this one. I'll admit, I blog for my own benefit - I want to be able to remember all of this in a year. Our 5 hour session went by pretty quickly - we had movies, talk, workbooks, and snacks. It wasn't bad, although maybe that's because we were both raised in Catholic schools. We'll continue this saga in two weeks though!