Thursday, June 20, 2013

The things that fall by the wayside

Hello Anybody!

If it's not crazily apparent, I've been a bit preoccupied being a new Mama.
Wynne Bennet (that's right, after the Bennet sisters from Pride and Prejudice!) was born a day before her Daddy's birthday (!) at about 7 AM, she weighed in at 7 lbs 7 oz and a little over 20 inches long.

As a result, this blog is one of those things that has been allowed to gather dust, along with the dust bunnies that have accumulated around the house.

Lemme interrupt myself right there and say the hubbster has stepped up like I never imagined cleaning and doing everything that I would just have let go to pot (clean bathrooms? who needs 'em?!) along with being an amazing and sweet father. Thanks to loving, wonderful family, food was never a problem, and my Mama even helped me get some sleep in the first few nights when I just wasn't used to getting that little sleep (I cannot sleep during the day, I'm sorry! That whole "sleep when baby sleeps" neeeeeever worked for me!)

Anyway, I just wanted to say that I considered still making blogging a priority and then realized that I just didn't want to talk about a lot of that stuff (labor and delivery, hormones, chronic lack of sleep, etc...) and didn't think anyone who was here to see a wedding blog would want to read it anyway.

But it's clear that I won't be blogging about weddings anymore, so with much bittersweetness, it's time to retire Eleven Twenty Five Eleven, and dedicate my very limited free time to more appropriate topics. But you know what? I picked the right one! The Man has smoothly transitioned to The Dad and still looks sexy as hell doing it! This blog was not just about budget and DIY and the stupid dress ;) It was about marrying my other half, and I'm so glad I took that step with him, and even more glad we took the next step!

I WILL be creating a new blog as soon as  the dust really settles, and it will be dedicated to all things baby.

My New Baby Blog!! (coming soon)

Thank you all so much for following me on the crazy wedding ride, the Mama roller coaster is ten million times crazier but 100 million quantities of AWESOME!! So continue on with me... if you dare. In the meantime, while I won't bombard you all, for those who don't mind seeing baby pictures, here's a representation of the past six months of my life:

 Her first photoshoot! I did it myself!! She was an amazingly cooperative 2 month old :)


(Actually, Bailey is terrified of Wynne, but it gets a little better everyday)

Don't they look great as grandparents!!!

We call her Monkey, Wynnie Bear, and Bear-Bear, she's got the brightest, bluest, biggest, beautifullest eyes a Mama could ever want to look at everyday!
Rae Rae, her paternal grandma, is the best at getting her to smile for pictures! Boppi, her maternal grandpa, is best at making her laugh!

Her first food was avocado and she absolutely loooooooves it! Since then, she's graduated to pears, sweet potatoes, carrots, peas, bananas and peaches!

I've succeeded so far in making all her baby food from scratch... SO FAR! It's no picnic and I have no idea if there would be any bit of difference from Gerber, but she's a fantastic eater, and I think (based on no scientific evidence) that homemade baby food has something to do with it.

Besides, no baby food company makes avocado puree, we don't know what we'd do without the mighty avocado!!
Sitting up and rolling over at 5 months, and she loves the bouncy gyms!!


My little six month old munchkin, checkin' her e-mails! So big!! Well, that was just this morning, so that's all I've got (I mean, you know, as an overview). Again, thanks for trekking along with me, I hope to still see everyone as the journey continues!!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Restaurant Review!!! For Anniversary Time!!!!

It's been so long, in so many ways, and I have a meeting in a half hour, so this will be short, I just want to relay our newest awesome restaurant find!!

See, this past weekend was our FIRST WEDDING ANNIVERSARY!!! Can you believe it?! Because I can't. Granted, so much has happened in a year that it's flown by. New house, PhD, baby, and even with the pregnancy, all the other new stuff, improvements to the house, new job, etc... have made even the pregnancy fly by! So I guess what I'm trying to say is, in general, time is flying.

So, we like to step back and reflect. The Friday before our anniversary (because we are old farts, our anniversary is on a Sunday and we didn't want to go out late on a week night!) we tried out Sbraga:
If you watch Top Chef on Bravo, you'll recognize that cuddly bear! He won Top Chef Washington, D.C. a few years ago. He's from Jersey, so naturally, he opened a restaurant in Philly, because, let's rise above New Jersey ;) Just kidding New Jerseyans!

Anyway, this was my first time ever getting to eat in a restaurant (other than a crappy diner) where the kitchen was open:
This isn't a great picture of the kitchen, and of course it's not a picture of the chefs actually cooking, but they cook behind that bar on the right. See those chairs lined up in front of the bar?? Guess where we decided to sit!! Dinner and a show, baby!! It was so much fun, getting to watch a famous chef prepare our dishes (oh yes, he was there, cooking our meal!) and interacting with him and his line chefs as they did it.

I forgot to mention, we got there early and sat at the bar where the nicest bartender I've ever encountered told me that his wife just had a baby and so he was experienced at making non-alcoholic cocktails and proceeded to blow me away with a Fall-tastic, apple cider and pear fizzy drink that I will remember for the rest of my life!

Anyway, I didn't want to take pictures because I didn't want to seem like "that person" even though my motives were pure, I just wish I could show you how awesome it was being right in front of the kitchen, watching them prepare the food. The place was like a well-oiled machine, and everyone was super duper nice. I mean, not like I haven't had nice service before, but seriously, I was kind of dumb-struck at how nice everyone was.

In the same vein, I don't like taking pictures of my food, because I don't like looking like a tourist, but there was stuff like this:
Shrimp bisque where you pour the soup on at the table, the chefs plated with tweezers to get the perfect presentation, the food was RIIIIICH!! Pregnant bellies get upset easily, but I would do it again in a heartbeat!! Kyle got churros for dessert... Dude, they were the best churros I've ever had!! Kyle also got the beverage pairing with his menu, so he was good and toasty by the end of the night, and said that every drink complimented every dish perfectly... to which I replied 'I bet it did!' ;)

Anyway, the point is, I highly highly recommend it, it's now tied for first on our favorite Philly restaurant list, along with Sonata... which has unfortunately closed... as my favorite find in Philly, I was really really upset by this, but now can be a little less upset because we've found a new favorite spot.

Afterwards, the love of my life and I went home and passed out in food comas... BUT the next day...
WE ATE CAKE!!! I thawed our anniversary cake and it was surprisingly and wonderfully and reminiscently delicious... even more so than a year ago I think because you don't really taste your wedding cake on your wedding day... Seriously. So I won't go into all the nitty gritty details about how lovey dovey it was and all, but it's been a pretty awesome year, and as anniversaries go, I think this was was just right for us; pretty low-key, fun, full of love... and cake :)

I hope everyone else is doing well and had an awesome Thanksgiving. And for the married ladies, I'd love to hear how you spent your first anniversary and gift ideas, et cetera!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

When you love something too much

I was musing recently about why I still haven't even attempted to put an album together (no one else, by the way, seems to think this is a big deal, not the man, not my parents, not his parents, no one), and it struck me last night while I was ordering some photos from Shutterfly, because I got another one of those awesome 101 free prints e-mails, for no reason, other than that Shutterfly is awesome, that it's because most albums contain about... 80-160 images or so.

Our photographer gave us over 1,000... I cannot narrow down my favorites past 300-some! I mean come on!! How do you do it?? So here I am blogging about albums again because all this time I thought I was holding back because of price when in reality it's because I don't WANT to narrow down my favorites anymore.

At the end of the day, I know I have all 1,000+ images from our wedding day on a DVD, all hi res, that is ours forever. However, like so many other brides out there, I know that I still want a hard copy album that we break out every anniversary and giggle at, that my daughter(s) may someday fantasize over (and point out how skinny Mommy used to be! And Daddy used to have brown hair?!)

So, my newest scheme/solution is this:

  1. Order prints every time Shutterfly sends me these awesome deals, 101 or 50 or however many at a time, until I have ordered all my favorites!
  2. Spread them out on the table by category; details, formals, portraits, ceremony, reception, cake cutting, etc...
  3. Now that they're all spread out in front of me, finally conceptualize that I don't need five shots of my dress, even though Ben put the dress in so many beautiful spots and there are so many awesome shots to be favorites!
  4. Narrow down my favorites to no more than 180 or so, I'm sure I can find an album that will let me squeeze that many in, and finally put together an album
  5. DAMN THE EXPENSE!! and finally get my hard copy that I can hold and touch and see whenever I want, and get parent albums even though they never asked for them, because that's what a good daughter does; says 'Look how pretty, Mama!! Just what you needed, more pictures of me!'
The end, that's my five step program to finally be able to stop talking about albums. Can I talk to you about some other stuff???

We're slowly putting our house together, we have lots of hand-me-down furniture which was all chilling in the basement, well, now our guest rooms are arranged! The baby's room is getting set up, which has me super excited:

The ceiling is burnt orange, the walls are pickle juice green. Say what you will, it looks awesome in person. This is the first time I got to pick a room color and no one try to talk me out of it, and they actually go really well together, add our awesome new crib, and it's officially a baby's room! Freaky, right?!

It might seem jarring, but picking our color scheme; orange, green, and brown, was similar to picking out wedding colors. His favorite color is green, mine is orange, we didn't know if it was going to work, but when then when you add brown, it makes everything else mesh. Trust me.

Since this picture was taken, we added a few dressers and a lamp, and a freaking awesome rug:

It's my new favorite room in the house, that rug is 7.5' by 9.5', so it covers almost the entire floor, and it's super soft and super awesome.

This kid is going to be the coolest in town. I always wanted to be different, but our tiny human has no choice :)

In other news, anniversary/birthdays/Christmas is coming up. First anniversary is supposed to be paper, and I once ruined a copy of the Lord of the Rings that I borrowed from Kyle (I put it in a bag with a coffee mug that I thought was empty... it wasn't). It was never a real collector's item anyway, so it was no biggie to him, but it's one of our favorite books and so not only do I want to replace that copy, I also want to have a really nice copy for our library.

For the record, Kyle doesn't read my blog but I know there are those out there that do that are friends with him, PLEASE DON'T MENTION A WORD OF THIS!!

After extensive searching, I found a whole bunch of this:

However, you have to be willing to pay the price for this kind of thing... and we're talking the $600 variety. Cheaper on eBay, but harder to find a complete set in great condition. SO, then I reflected on the fact that J.R.R. Tolkien himself wanted the three books of the Lord of the Rings to be one volume, but at the time it was written, this was going to cost too much paper, so I'm also considering getting a one volume edition, but those are much cheaper and so they make me feel like I'm cheating... which sounds stupid, but I don't know whether to go with separate volumes for the cool, leather-bound look, or one volume for the author-intended look. Any ideas???? Suggestions????

We're also movie buffs, and one of The Man's favorite movies is The Big Lebowski:

For anyone who's been living under a rock since 1998 or has no sense of humor, it's a very silly movie about a guy who does nothing but bowl and drink white russians. That's The Dude, and his last name happens to be Lebowski but everyone calls him The Dude (either that or His Dudeness or Duder or el Duderino, if you're not into the whole brevity thing).

There does exist, however, an older, much richer, much more accomplished man named Lebowski and there's a classic case of mistaken identity. Rugs go missing, toes get chopped off, and The Dude finds his zen-like world thrown for a loop as he has to run around trying to make shady deals and ransom trophy wives. Also John Turturro wears purple and refers to himself as The Jesus.

Anyway, Jeff Bridges, The Dude, rocks this sweater for the majority of the movie:
And unfortunately, the company that makes this sweater is no longer in business. Kyle and I consider it the essence of The Dude and I found the pattern online to knit this sweater!!

I couldn't keep this one a secret because I knit it right in front of him, but the point is, this is his birthday/Christmas present, and I'm telling you because I'm super excited about it!!!

Last Christmas/birthday time was chaotic and sort of dismissed because of the wedding but he's been so awesome and worked so hard for the past year and done so much for me, and now we've got a baby coming and I don't want to act once again like this is just another unimportant birthday/Christmas/anniversary because 'too much is going on.' (Also I never know what I want, I never really want anything in particular, so I always just say, 'Oh, let's just go to dinner and a movie.' and he ends up paying for everything and then we call it "birthday/Christmas" but it's always one-sided and it always feels like a cop-out). It might be one of the last times I can afford (time AND money) to do some really nice things for him.

Lastly, my baby shower is next weekend!!

My invitations!!! They're so cute!! And how funny is it that we found ones in our color scheme?! See, I told you it works!

So, I'm super excited about everything that's going on, it's a good time right now, work is slow but it will pick up. And although there's a lot to do around the house and Kyle stresses non-stop about getting everything done AND getting all his work done, we're doing awesome.

Life is good, I am thankful. I hope everyone else has a super awesome day!!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Regrets, I've had a few, but then again...

Too few to mention, right? Amiright?! This post has been a loong loooong time coming. It's almost not worth spending time on. And yet, it struck me today that Kyle and I are slowly approaching our one year anniversary and this is not a post I would reserve for a one year anniversary post, so I decided to make it an almost one year anniversary post.

Moreover, I've had a lot of time to think, to talk to other brides, to discuss stuff with my photographer, who we still keep in touch with (Remember?! He just had a baby!!!). I cleared out my Google reader today and unsubscribed to a few of the wedding blogs that I was STILL READING and not surprisingly, I'm getting a little tired of wasting time on wedding blogs.

What? Oh you're not surprised either? Oh, you're surprised it took me this long?

Well the answer, my friends, to why it's taken me this long to let go is... Regret.

Finally not looking at wedding dresses any longer has made me realize I'm letting go of it, and talking candidly with my photographer has made me realize I'm letting go of it, and all that made me realize I could finally post about it.

Instead of being even more long-winded, here are my reflections in pictures (all courtesy of Ben Weldon):
Ohhhh if only I could go back and not let that crazy-slow chick touch my face!!! Although I've let it go... mostly, one of my biggest regrets is not doing my own makeup. Not only would I have appreciated the shots better; my funny makeup faces, my huge brushes, but she took about 45 minutes to do my makeup! It ate up half of my getting-ready time!! As a result, eeeeeeeeverything after that was rushed and I wasn't able to get a lot of the other shots that I wanted to get.

The left picture is me RUSHING through opening Kyle's gift to me, which was a really really nice strand of pearls that I would have liked to have had more than one picture of... with Mia doing God knows what in the background... And on the right is one of only three pictures "bridal shoot" style that Ben squeezed in before we had to go to the ceremony. Side note: all the while, I thought to myself... ummm, good thing we weren't planning on a first look, I barely had time to get ready myself!
This left us time for one shot of wine that I didn't even taste. And that face that suggests I'm not enjoying this? That's because I know that I didn't get any shots with my girls, I didn't get any shots on the balcony, I didn't get but a couple sexy shots of myself... all because of that stupid makeup chick taking 45 minutes on my makeup!! Oh, and remember how Kyle got to have plenty of sexy glamour shots by himself because he didn't waste 45 minutes on his makeup?!
I'm not bitter anymore though because he's so damn handsome and everyone always wants to see the bride and here he got his own couple moments. Go grooms!!

I had planned on another walk-through of the reception space because I had left other people to set it up and... you know me. It wasn't till after the ceremony I realized how stark our cake table looked and how the banner wasn't placed right. Silly little thing to be angry about right?! Of course!! THE POINT IS if I had done my own makeup it would have taken me 15 minutes max with another half hour to check on the setup of the reception space and say "Oh hey, could you put some moss around the cake stand?" and "Oh hey, the banner is supposed to be stacked so you can actually read 'Love Is Sweet' not wrapped around the table so it looks like one bizarre word."

Again, you and everyone else might say I'm being a bit too bitter, but like I said, it would have taken five minutes for me to look at this and fix it, but I didn't have five minutes to spare anywhere.

Moving on!!
Can you guess what I hate about this picture?? I'll tell you, it's those stupid pavilion plastic flaps!! I was so mad that I couldn't get those to come up. The venue had a very strict rule that the flaps go down if it's below 65 degrees out and do ya' wanna' know what the high that day was?? Sixty-frickin'-three!! Two degrees separated me from a gorgeous, rustling breeze and natural sunlight. Let me just say I was more than comfortable in my strapless gown and I know for a fact that Kyle was sweating profusely AND had plastic-warped sunlight hitting him in the face. I KNOW there is nothing I can do about it and I need to let it go, but if there is one other thing I'm still having trouble getting over it's Riverdale Manor and their intransigent staff. EVERYONE WAS HOT!! IT WAS GORGEOUS OUTSIDE!!! But hey, they got an extra $250 out of me for having to run the heater because it's an automatic charge if it's below 65 degrees. Gotta' love those Riverdale coordinators!
Oh yeah... no one even knew these were here. I had meant to tell my parents, his parents, our grandparents, my girls and guys to blow bubbles when the ceremony was over so everyone else would follow suit, but I forgot, so no one blew bubbles, and so we had no send off, we had no bubbles... just a small regret, more funny than angering; the bubbles were just completely forgotten! Sorry bubbles!
Another small, really small regret: Ben suggested we do formals after portraits; we had better chance of catching the light for the money shots- me and the man- and then we would do family formal shots right after. Well no thank you, I said, I will not be the one in charge of trying to find everyone at the cocktail hour after Kyle and I get done with our portraits. Everyone was there, so I thought, no, we should just get this done and over with. Lo and Behold, I find out only after the pictures come in, that all the magical sunset light was used up on the family formals. Ben said there was no way to know because of the tree line, but there it is, that beautiful burst of light. Not that it was gone to waste! But it would have been better placed here:
 Or here:
 Or somewhere here or here:

These shots still make me swoon, and I can't praise Ben's handy work enough, they just would have been that much more amazing with amazing sunlight. Anyway, not at all angry, just moving right along.

I have almost completely let go of my dress drama! Whoo hoo!! I still never had THAT MOMENT every bride thinks she needs to have found the one, but this dress was awesome. There, I said it. So why am I even bringing it up??

I had to buy three dresses to find 'the one' ya'll! And I still can't get rid of the third (Priscilla of Boston), so I'm still super mega pissed I wasted my money on it! Second, I still wish I had been bold enough to throw some ombre in there somewhere; I said I was going to get a blush underskirt (off-white dress, blush underskirt, plum shoes... ombre!) or a nice deep burgundy sash to go across the middle, and I never did, and to this day, the whole ensemble is just a little too white for my liking. Once again, not a huge deal, just being real.

Finally, third, it. still. didn't. fit!! I was too worried about being thought a bitch to press the seamstress to pull it in more. I had a good inch around my waist that it could have been taken in, and I selfishly thought that I could have looked a little slimmer if it had fit me properly. I was kind of opposed to corset tops and was happy initially that this one was a zipper gown, but when it came to fit, if I could go back, a corset top would have made sure it fit no matter how poorly the seamstress listened to me. Yet another small thing that I should never have been bitter about at all, but hello, you're lying if you tell me you don't want to look sexy on your wedding day when you picked a relatively fitted gown!

Anyway, I never meant to be this long-winded about any of these things and here I am, super-justifying everything! You can tell who I'm really trying to convince ;) Just a few more things, promise!!

These shots are the only ones that captured some of the stuff (junk?) that I collected to get the whole primitive (that's Amish speak) feel in our venue. Anyone who's been following knows how much I love stacked crates, and I collected quite a few to decorate the reception area, and I have no photos of them. The other pictures is the only shot that captures any of the pitchers I collected and that my Mama lovingly stuffed with wheat stalks. Did you know that those bowls had river rocks and flowers and candles floating in them? Neither will anyone else, because there's no picture of them besides this one. Remember how I also made chair ribbons for the bride and groom's chairs that match the altar? No? That's because there's no picture of them. Now, as I've said, I've talked candidly with my photographer about these things. He made fun of me at the time for having such a long list of photos I wanted taken and that made me feel embarrassed that I was being a bridezilla. When he finally had a bride who had a longer list than me, I was finally able to admit to him that if I had not felt so self-conscious, he would have gotten a much longer list :)

And hey, if it hadn't taken 45 minutes to do my makeup, then I would have had him follow me around the reception area before the ceremony and said "Oh, and take pictures of this, and this, and that over there!" Stupid slow makeup chick!

There's no hard feelings between Ben and me though, especially given the other simply amazing detail shots that he captured:

Sigh. He gave me more than I could have asked for, and in the end, life is way too short to dwell on little missed opportunities. I still have all the crates and wine bottles and I'm in the process of decorating my house with them! Because it's like living in my wedding fantasy world everyday!! This weekend I should have time to do some arranging, look out for pictures then!

Last beef (and another fabulous detail shot from Ben):
I thought I had been very clear with my florist that I wanted a bouquet with less structure, more whimsy. And I knew she was capable of such; we talked about how we both were not a fan of the "lollipop" bouquet. Here's some shots from her own portfolio:


So, you see? I knew she was capable of astonishing things and this is why I picked her! I showed her her own photos and said (while trying not to drool) 'yeah yeah, like this!!'

Did she still make beautiful bouquets?? Absolutely! Were they as cool and out there as I had hoped for? No, sorry, they were one step away from lollipop. Am I being nit-picky? Quite possibly!! But hey, that's what this whole post is about, it's been almost a year and I'm letting go of all these little hurt feelings and it feels good, but I still acknowledge that not everything was perfect. Not everything is going to be perfect.

To close, let me emphasize the most important point. The MARRIAGE is perfect, and that's all that really counts, the WEDDING was just a day, and it was still pretty freaking awesome. And let's not forget the end result currently kicking me in the bladder right now and giving me mild indigestion, that's totally awesome (not the indigestion).

So for the sake of the blog, these are my thoughts on what was not perfect, but for the sake of my life and your life and every other happily married woman, this is NOT to be confused with 'oh, well there must be something deeper that's wrong' because that's malarkey! Pure MALARKEY!! Don't not let yourself be a little upset about things that didn't go quite as planned. I am fully aware that relationships take work and raising kids takes work and life takes work, but I plan a party for that party to be perfect, thankyouverymuch! For everyone who's ever heard me talk about the things I regret, and judged me or rolled their eyes, this is my soap box, I no longer feel bad about being a little bitter. Take that.