Monday, September 27, 2010

Amid all this stress...

Now that school, grad school apps, etc have really begun and I'm beginning to feel a wee bit stressed (ha!), I figured I should distract myself and blog about something that really makes me happy: Disney World.

Yup. That's where we're going for our honeymoon. Neither of us are big beach people. We like to be active and do stuff, so just laying on a beach wasn't very appealing; I know I would get antsy after a while. I have gone to WDW many times, so it is very special to me. It is a place I can just get away and truly relax. Matt got to go with my parents and me in the spring of '09, which was fantastic. 

My parents are freakin' awesome and giving us their week of Disney Vacation Club points at the Boardwalk Villas. Our view out our window will be something like this:
Why yes, that is Epcot.

All are personal photos, from trip in 2009
So yes, quite amazing. Within walking distance of Epcot and MGM, er Disney Studio's, or we could take a boat if we're feeling particularly lazy. Short bus ride from there to Magic Kingdom & Animal Kingdom. I love staying on property (AKA on Disney property for all you non-WDW buffs). Free transport, Extra Magic Hours (certain park opens hour early or stays open several hours at night), towel animals, awesome swimming pools...

Yeah, I'm pretty pumped. Not to mention the amazing parks, fantastic food, and of course, simply being married. (Wow, that just seems so weird to see it like that, all typed out and whatnot.) So excited!

For all of you who think WDW is just for kids- oh ye of little faith! Or knowledge, as maybe the case. First, an awesome perk for being on your honeymoon at WDW, you get free stuff. All you have to do is wear these:
And yes, you better believe we're wearing them. Bwahaha! Apparently not only do you score free amazing desserts, BUT you also get other special VIP treatment from cast members (AKA WDW workers), such as front-line access, etc. Plus, WDW isn't just for kids. When Matt & I went with my parents for spring break '09, one of our favorite things was to walk around World Showcase in Epcot at night. Just look at how gorgeous it is:

Those pictures hardly do it justice, but how often do you get to walk around in Germany, France, Great Britain, Morocco, Japan, China, USA, Mexico, and Norway all in one night? Not very often. Plus with the semi-authentic food & drinks, castmembers that are actually from those countries, you can make it a great cultural experience. Or, just look at the pretty buildings and the detail WDW goes into. It's amazing. 

Anyway, as the year goes on I'm sure I will be posting more about WDW, so consider this a preview.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Priorities, priorities...

Or, how we managed to choose the invites.

This happened about a couple of months ago, sorry I'm just getting around to blogging about it! 

But, ok. In what I like to refer to as 'Jessica's Dream World Wedding' where budget is not an issue and I/we could have anything I/we ever wanted, I wanted the pocketfold invites. Here are some such ones:

I love how they have all the information just neatly organized... and it's so pretty! *sigh*

But, as I have learned through this wedding planning experience, I have expensive taste. Refer back to the registry post if you don't believe me. Otherwise, just ask Matt! Or my mother. I blame her for this problem... :P Anyway, so these guys run way over $2/per invite. Since I'm not a big DIY'er, there was no way I was going to make them. Plus, ultimately, they were not my number 1, number 2, or number 3 most important item that I should base a decent portion of the budget on. Thus, I had to bid them adieu, and hoped something better came my way.

They did! Though it isn't what I dreamed of for my wedding invite, they were definitely within the budget. They match the formality of the wedding. They are classy, yet simple. I'm fairly happy with them. Plus, most guests (except for other wedding planners like myself) don't really care about the invites, right? That's what my parents said to relieve my anxiety, at least. I'll choose to believe them, for minimum cognitive dissonance. [Yes, I just hyperlinked a psychology term, for all you non-PSYC people]

But sorry, you don't get to see them until April. I know, long time to wait, but I just feel like I shouldn't post them until the guests get them. 

So, have a good weekend!!! I've been getting over a pretty draining cold, so it is catch-up time for me...

Monday, September 20, 2010

The birthday post, day 2

I last left you describing Friday, which included black-light mini-golf, yelling at midnight, and good food and friends. Saturday came, and my parents came up from Houston to take me out to lunch for my birthday. We went to Atami's, a local hibachi steakhouse. It was really good, just sad I didn't discover it before my senior year! Sorry, no pics.

Then we headed back to the apartment where we waited, and waited, and waited for...
Due to an organization my roommate is in, she occasionally gets to puppy-sit... uh... puppies. Like this adorable fellow, Charlie. He's 8 weeks old and is a chocolate labradoodle. He is the most precious thing ever, seriously. I love him.

I know you said, "awwww," right??

Anyway, so we played with Charlie, though he was very sleepy, before we headed to the Fightin' Texas Aggie Football game vs. Florida International University. 

The game was definitely stressful, though we somehow won (just barely, scored the winning TD in the last 5 minutes of the 4th), but here are some pictures:

 And so that was my Saturday. It was fun, spent with family, friends, and a puppy. What more can a girl ask for?

Sunday, September 19, 2010

The birthday post (picture heavy)

Friday was my 22nd birthday. The age I'll be when I graduate college, get married, apply, get accepted, and start a PhD program. Pretty significant/scary. But, thankfully, I had a lot of friends and family to celebrate it with, so it was pretty much one of the best birthdays ever.

First, my brother came down on Friday for my birthday shenanigans, and as we got ready to leave for dinner, we took a variety of pictures:
My roommate and bridesmaid, K
The boys- my brother and Matt

All three of us, actually looking happy
Then we headed to a local BBQ place to meet up with some more friends for dinner. The table next to us had Ty Warren, actually. We knew he was a football player because he was so tall, large, bulky, etc, but none of us knew who was. Turned out he had just gotten his Aggie Ring that day (WHOOP!) to go along with his 2 Super Bowl rings (he plays for the Patriots). So that was pretty cool. 

Anyway, here are some pictures from dinner, followed by SOME of the obligatory, girly, "I have to get pictures with every combination of people I can."
My Lechner 'family'- daughter K, on left, me, husband C, then son J
The group, minus my brother
My amazing MOH, M, and me
My friend M (I like referring to people by just their first initial. I feel James Bond-like)
Following dinner, some of us headed to go play mini-golf, black-light style. It was awesome. I may have had a little too much fun taking pictures. But here are some of those...

Haha it was fun, trust me. We then headed back to my apartment, met up with some other friends, and walked to Northgate. Following that, we headed to Midnight Yell. For you non-Aggies who don't understand what I'm talking about, here's some info: Midnight Yell

Basically it was a great way to cap off the end of my birthday, and then we had a long walk back to the apartment, but happy things awaited the next day, like puppies, harriers, and good hibachi. But that post will have to come another day!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Random thoughts...

Lately I've been having a hard time dealing with perspective. For me, it is so easy to let my mind wander to places it shouldn't, and focus on the scariness of the future, along with other issues. It's easy to get intimidated by my thesis project that's in front of me, and how my work ethic has seem to gone out the window. I tend to focus on the negative, convince myself that I'm utterly alone, and just sit there and dwell.

Well we all know that obviously isn't healthy, physically or spiritually. Last night at Breakaway [where God is doing amazing things, BTW], it hit me how easy it is to get lost in worship when I am surrounded by thousands of other Christians, but when I go about my day-to-day life, that security almost disappears. I don't think about it. I let my devos become more routine and less personal. I focus on how I have no idea where Matt & I will be living in 9 months. I think about how some people aren't meeting my expectations or how others have treated me poorly. 

This is definitely not the first time I've had this realization, but each time I do, it just hurts. Thankfully I am at A&M where I have a chance to attend events such as Breakaway. I have the opportunities to get involved in small groups and go to church. I have an amazing fiance' who is willing to stay up with me and make me talk about these things even when he has scary aero homework. And most importantly, I have Jesus who will always love me, no matter how many times I push Him down a notch on my priority list. He will always remind me of my forgetfulness, and He will always be there when I come back with love and forgiveness. 

Of course I shouldn't have to run back, but we're human- it happens. But, and this is why I'm blogging about this, I need your prayers that I will make a conscious effort to put myself back in my place and remind myself that I'm loved by God who has a plan. I will rest in that knowledge and trust Him. I will give myself to God everyday, and every time I get stressed and work or school just does not go right, I will say a prayer and move on. God, after all, has control.

Friday, September 10, 2010

What I have been/am/will be reading

As in most blog-related things, I have been inspired by other blogs to share with y'all what I'm reading. Because I'm just so positive that you, yes you, want to know exactly what I'm reading. Yes, that is sarcasm.

I just finishedHow to Make Anyone Fall in Love with You
Now you might ask why the heck I'm reading this book, when I'm obviously engaged with a guy who theoretically loves me. Well, it was for school. Seriously. I had to read this silly self-help book for my HONORS Marriage Institution class. Oh Sociology, how you make me smile/cringe. 

We had to read this book in basically two week and write two response papers over it. In both papers, I described how manipulative I found it. Throughout, she (the author, Leil Lowndes- who is single, FYI) used language such as hunter, huntress, quarry, and hunt to convince the reader to use her techniques to essentially deceive the person's target to 'fall in love' with them. Though at the point you're lying and breaking all of my morals, what kind of love is that, anyway? 

Basically, I do NOT recommend this book. Just an interesting one I had to read for class.

What I am currently reading: The Hobbit 
So I actually tried to read this in middle or high school, but could never get past all of the dwarves arriving at Bilbo's house. But, I started reading it and have really enjoyed it thus far. I am planning on reading the rest of the LOTR series, as well, so I'm sure you'll hear more about my journeys with Tolkien. 

What I am about to read: Crazy Love: Overwhelmed by a Relentless God
I am reading this one with Ginny, a good friend of mine who is also planning a wedding, and her blog is here. Anyway, we were both wanting to read a good Christian book so we can discuss it, and so hopefully we'll get to start this soon. Has anyone else read this book by Francis Chan? What were your thoughts?

What I am also about to read: The Second Shift
This is also for my Marriage Institution class, but it looks to be much more fact-based, academic/sociological in content, so I'm a lot more excited about this book than the first. Hopefully I will not want to throw it against the wall like I did the first one (which I may or may not have done. Heh). Anyway, this book by sociologist Arlie Hochschild looks at the working woman, and how when she gets home to her family, she is still doing most of the house work.

I feel this book will be much more relevant to my future life than the first one was since I am not planning on being a stay-at-home mom. I was raised with my dad staying at home until I was in 6th grade, so until I was in like, 3rd or 4th grade I totally thought that was the norm. With Matt, I know we will both be working full-time. We do not want kids right away, especially since I will be going to grad school for the next 5-6 years. After that, I want to get settled in a good job, whereever/whatever that is, and then we'll think about it. But I think it will still be a good read.  

Anyway, it is the weekend! Anyone have anything exciting going on?

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

I love free stuff

Especially when it comes to the wedding! So right after we got engaged, I went to Europe for a vacation with my brother (I may one day show you pictures simply because I looooovvvveee to relive that trip).  While we were gone, my parents had already booked the church and picked out a possible location for the reception. So yes, that means we had the date decided on within 48 hours of our engagement. My parents are pretty awesome, just sayin'. 

Anyway, once we got back, I started looking for save-the-dates. I really did like the magnet ones with the pictures, but we did not go for those for the following reasons:

1) Cost. One of the first things I read when it came to wedding planning was to develop a list of the top 3 things that are the most important to you, and that's where the money should go. The rest, you should probably not necessarily skimp on, but not get what your 'dream wedding' included. My top three things were/are: the dress, the photographer, and the cake. While being married to Matt is the most important thing, I knew ahead of time how much the church fee was going to be, which includes everything. The other things were the unknown. Anyway...
2) We were not going to have our engagements done by the time we wanted to send the save-the-dates out. Since we're getting married on Memorial Day weekend, and it is a holiday of sorts, we're apparently supposed to send them out ultra-early or something. So we needed something that could be done quickly.

There you have it. More than you ever wanted to know about why I did not go for the fun, magnetic save-the-dates. But, I think what we found is more us, and I am perfectly happy with them. So back to the story... 

I was searching online after we got back from our European adventure, and stumbled upon The Wedding Chicks. Along with having tons of fun and cute ideas for weddings, they have free templates you can use for invites, save-the-dates, table numbers, etc. Here is a sample of their cute-ness:

All credit for these pictures- Wedding Chicks
So, great website! And then I stumbled upon this guy:
Source: Wedding Chicks
Right off I knew this was perfect (if you know anything about the groom, you'll know why)! And you can customize the colors to match your wedding colors, then personalize the names, date, and location. Then they email it to you, you print them out on postcard cardstock, do a mail merge for addresses, and boom- you're done! So simple, and best of all-- free! My parents had the cardstock laying around the house for whatever reason, so that worked well. 

They went out in the mail a couple of months ago, and people said they like them, which makes me happy. 

And there you have it. Who knew I could say so much about a postcard?

Monday, September 6, 2010

The Official Wedding To-Do List

Although classes have started, they are off to a SLOW, s-l-o-w start because two of mine haven't really started, so I have had too much free time on my hands. Since I get sick of being unproductive rather quickly, I decided to try to write a new post for you. And then once I couldn't come up with a topic right off the top of my head, I decided to just think about what we've gotten done, and what's left.

So there ya go. The following are in no particular order, just the order in which I thought of them

  • Wedding dress (from the Princess Bridal)
  • Venues for ceremony (WCPC) and reception (Amerigo's)
  • Bakery (Kiss the Cook Cakes)
  • Photographer (Kasey Lynn Photography)
  • Floral (LZ Floral)
  • Picked the suit stuff (Men's Wearhouse)
  • Invites (for a later post)
  • Save-the-Dates (yay free internet templates! Also for a later post)
  • Premarital counseling, number1
  • Honeymoon resort ressies (to be discussed later, for multiple times I'm sure.)
  • Decided on bridesmaids and groomsmen
  • Talked to said bridesmaids and groomsmen
  • Find & book rehearsal dinner venue (For later post...)

To Do:
  • Bridesmaid dresses (we do have a date for when we're gonna hit David's Bridal!)
  • Mail invites
  • Engagement shots
  • Bridal Shots
  • Dress fittings
  • Honeymoon miscellaneous details (i.e. dining, tickets, typical Type-A, Jessica-styled Disney planning)
  • Premarital counseling, parts 2 & 3
  • Ceremony programs
  • Guestbook
  • Choose ceremony music
  • Choose reception music
  • Set schedule for the day
  • Gifts for bridesmaids, groomsmen, etc

 ---I think this is it. I'm sure it's missing stuff. Let me know if you think of anything! But as you can see, we've done a lot of the BIG things, such as the various vendors, which is exactly how I wanted it, so I wouldn't have to worry about it during the school year. But now I have nothing to do, and more importantly nothing to blog about. 

Alas, I guess I'll just do after-the-fact posts such as invites and the like.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Premarital counseling, part uno

Now that A&M classes have started, not as much wedding stuff is going on, simply because we've done a lot. That was completely my intention, and I like that now I can focus on my homework, my thesis, and grad school apps. So what I do cover wedding-wise will mostly be from back in the summer, pre-blog. Though, I did do something wedding-related yesterday. I messaged my bridesmaids for a date to go look for dresses. That's something, right? Here's the info on that:
  • Location: David's Bridal
  • Color: Wisteria 
  • Length: Knee length
  • I'm going to let the girls choose what dress they want. If they all want different ones, cool, if they all choose the same one, that's cool, too. I want them to feel pretty and confident in front of all those strangers, and this way I have 1 less decision to make!
K, there's your dress info. Now moving on to the topic at hand...

A couple of months ago, Matt and I will visiting my family in Houston, met with Rev. Dr. Jones, the minister that is going to perform the ceremony, for the first of 3 premarital counseling meetings. As he said, the ceremony is the easy part. It's the marriage that's hard. That is something both Matt and I completely agree with, and we want to maintain our focus on our relationship, and keep it centered on God throughout the planning. 

So at our first meeting, we didn't even discuss the ceremony. First, we talked a little bit about ourselves, and then why we loved each other, why we wanted to get married, all that, in addition to our future plans. Then Dr. Jones talked to us about marriage, what to expect, and a lot of other things that I won't go into detail here. He recommended we read a book called His Needs, Her Needs by William Harley, Jr, that Matt has started and says is really good. I can't wait to read it so we can discuss things, but in the meantime, one of my classes this semester is a Marriage Institution class. The first book we're reading and discussing is literally titled How to Make Anyone Fall in Love with You. First, I do NOT recommend this book for anyone because it just builds these superficial relationships based on deception and manipulation. But, I will say that it has shown me that Matt and I have a much better relationship than anyone that follows that book would have. 

Anyway, I know this has been a very vague post, but if you have more questions, ask me. 

So have a great weekend! Date night, Midnight Yell, and A&M's first football game (BTHO SFA!) are all in my plans, so should be fun!