Getting Married: 22 Weeks – Festivities

Wow! So, I think I made it through my first “couples” holiday season! Quite a ride though. Let’s see, there were 4 official family events going on. Saturday afternoon was at my sister’s house with my mom and sisters and family. Sunday afternoon was at my dad’s home with the sisters and family. Monday prevening/evening was with Matt’s father’s extended family. Tuesday started off at my house with my mom and then I headed out to Matt’s parents’ house for some more Christmas and is mother’s sister’s family came over.

We had a lot of fun and it was so nice to have Matt there for all of it. He works such a goofy schedule, but he finished his last day on 1st shift on Friday and then had 5 days off! It was perfect. 🙂 And the weather was real cooperative until the day after Christmas. The news called for a blizzard and boy was that fun, but that’s another story.

snowflake lights

For Christmas with Mom, we have started exchanging names between the adults, but then all getting something for the kids. It’s been fun and Mom usually finds something goofy for all of us to have and enjoy. This year were glasses that changed the shape of lights when you wore them. I tried to capture the sight as much as possible through my camera. Above is the best I could do, but I think you can get the idea.

Sunday, we had a really sweet service at my church. We were scheduled to have communion and Pastor Tim came up with a creative way to tie all of the life of Christ together in one service. It was a blessing for the morning.

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After church, we headed over to Dad’s house for the next Christmas party. They just got a new puppy named Casper. He’s a Maltese, which means he doesn’t shed so there are no allergies. He was teeny tiny and a frisky little ball of fluff. I love dogs, bigger dogs though, but Casper is a cutie.

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I had to work half a day on Monday, but after work, I drove up to The House and hung out there until it was time to go to his grandpa’s house. Matt’s dad’s family is all over this area, and so there are frequent get-togethers with his aunts’ families and cousins and such. Most of them are married and there are some young kids that run around. They’re pretty cute (the kids, anyway) and I’m enjoying getting to know all of them.

On Christmas Day, I woke up at my house with Mom and we opened gifts – I got a slew of kitchen utensils and sewing supplies. Just what I was wanting! Plus, the kitchen utensils are yellow 😀 After a while, I drove up to Matt’s parents’ house and spent the rest of the day there. Oh my word, I had a haul there! Here are some things I got for Christmas:

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I’ve been eyeing this jewelry bowl for a while now. I pinned it to my Elephant board on Pinterest a while ago. It is so sweet, I just love it!

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Yep, the Boy got this for me. When you press Vader’s head, the screen lights up red. So cool. 🙂

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I.AM.SO.EXCITED.FOR.THIS!!! I have been worried about how I’m going to get all my sewing stuff done once I’m married without a machine, and I hate the idea of borrowing someone else’s. This Kenmore and I are going to spend lots of time together. Don’t worry Matt, not as much as you and me. 😀

On Christmas Day, I got a message from a dear friend on Facebook that another of our friends, Chris Rushing, had not shown up to his family Christmas party. They tried to contact him and when he didn’t respond, they went to his place and found him. He had died suddenly and left such an ache in the hearts of all our friends. I head over to his profile every so often and read the messages to and about him from loved ones. He was one of the sweetest and most encouraging guys I’ve known. And hilarious! I can remember all the great convos we’ve had over the years and how much laughter there was in them. He will be so missed, but I take such comfort in knowing that he is now with Jesus – probably singing karaoke, or getting a road trip coordinated. I bet there are road trips in heaven, yeah? 🙂 I don’t know what he’s up to, but I know that he’s with our Saviour now. Please pray for his family and friends as they start the new year without this man.

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Chris Rushing
September 25, 1982 – December 25, 2012
“War Eagle”

On a happier note, I also got a message from my step-brother that my newest niece was born on Christmas Eve! She is gorgeous and I’m in love with her already. I can’t wait to meet her. Her name is Evangeline Grace. I don’t get to see my step-bro and his family nearly enough, but I love being an aunt. It’s one of my favorite things ever. Matt and I were talking about how, when we’re married, he’ll be an instant uncle – 14 times! That’s right! I’ve got 7 nephews and 7 nieces! Seems wild to think about, but it’s a blast!

EvieGrace

Evangeline “Evie” Grace
December 24th, 2012; 5:17 pm CST
7 lbs 9 oz; 20.25 in

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I’m getting married to my, you guessed it, best friend on June 1st, 2013! Matt and I are super-excited and since we have quite a bit of time to plan this thing, I decided it’d be fun to blog about it. Well, maybe not always fun, but at least informative and it might give me a welcome distraction. You can find all the posts by clicking the “Getting Married” tab on the right of this page, or by clicking here. Thanks for stopping by!

My Pinterest Wedding Board

Our Wedding Website on WeddingWire.com

Getting Married: 23 Weeks – End of the World…Psh, I Got This

Lots of things coming up in the next week. Busy busy busy! We have three separate family gatherings between today and Christmas to go to, and then the Christmas Day festivities. I am happy to report that we made it through the first day of Winter, also known as the Mayan D-Day. We had our first real snow on the ground yesterday, but it didn’t stick around much. So much for Winter Storm Draco (The Weather Channel has decided to name winter storms, much to the chagrin of the meteorological community) although I know that this particular storm dropped a lot more snow in other parts of the country. We just got a lot of high winds, ice and cold temps.

Have I mentioned how much I love my church? We have mailboxes set up in the hallway at church for each family and people use it all year long, but the original intent was for Christmas cards! How handy? I love getting Christmas cards and I love giving them, but I haven’t done so in the last few years. Bad Sarah. I hope to make up for this in the future. Anyway, this year has been sweet because there have been quite a few well-wishes for the wedding included with the notes and some were even labeled to “Sarah and Matt.” 🙂 So many dear friends who have been praying for me and my future husband for so many years. It is a blessing.

This Wednesday we had a church-wide potluck dinner and then the kids acted out the Nativity. My flower girl was one of the sheep and they were so adorable! She’s got quite the personality and would pop up around different sides of the manger. Her big cousin was playing the part of Mary who tried desperately to quiet down the sheep for the pantomime. Joseph sat there looking a bit stunned (he was played by another friend’s son; he and I rag on each other about the Bengals and the Steelers and yes, he’s only about 5.) When that part of the Nativity had to come off the stage, Camille let us know that she wasn’t ready to come down yet and her momma had to carry her off.

kidsnativity

Our ring bearer was also in the play with his parents. They were Mary, Joseph and Jesus when he was about 2 years old and the wise men arrived with their gifts. As they walked up to him and put down their packages, his eyes would get wide and he’d point, exclaiming and “oo-ing” about what might be inside. It was so cute. That reminds me that I need to get a pic up of him on the wedding page.

Facebook has put together a Top 20 recap of the year this time around. I thought it fitting given that we were facing the end of the world. Here were my top moments, according to Facebook:

1. Jan 13 – In a relationship with Matt Martin.  2. Jan 28-29 – Visit Latrobe, PA.  3. Feb 11 – Added 81 photos to my Winter ’11/’12 album. 4. Feb 18-20 – Pappy’s Visitation and Funeral in Latrobe, PA. 5. Feb 24 – Tagged in 4 photos by Matt. 6. Mar 19 – Flubs with Matt! 7. Apr 11 – Last day with Community Development Professionals 8. Apr 16 – First day back with Union Savings Bank. 9. Apr 28-29 – Mehring Wedding in Virginia Beach! 10. Apr 30 – Added 130 photos to Spring ’12 album. 11. Jun 14 – 28th Birthday!!!!! 12. Jun 26 – Engaged to Matt Martin in Gulf Shores, AL! 13. Jun 26 – I guess it was a big enough deal that they listed the engagement twice. lol 14. Jun 24-29 – Gulf Shores, AL trip with the Martin family. 15. Aug 28 – Got the Davis’s a Tetris pillow. 16. Sept 7 – Painted Van Gogh’s Starry Night at Paint By the Glass. 17. Added 82 friends. 18. Liked 132 pages.

Well, I only counted 18 items, even with the double listing of the engagement. False advertisement, Facebook. You sit on a throne of lies…but we all know this and have just come to accept it as the norm of our life. So, I am going to come up with my own 19 and 20. Number 19 would have to be getting to see a sundog! They’re so cool and I’ve been wanting to see one for the last 5-7 years. And then a couple of weeks later, I saw another one! Yeah! And Number 20 is getting to see The Hobbit! 😀 I know it’s dorky, but I’ve been waiting for a while for this movie and I was even more excited to know that Thorin, the dwarf prince, was played by Richard Armitage, one of my favorite actors! He was so good in the BBC mini-series “North and South.”

I hope you all have an absolutely wonderful Christmas! I will be back to join you and catch up next weekend. Much love to you all!

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I’m getting married to my, you guessed it, best friend on June 1st, 2013! Matt and I are super-excited and since we have quite a bit of time to plan this thing, I decided it’d be fun to blog about it. Well, maybe not always fun, but at least informative and it might give me a welcome distraction. You can find all the posts by clicking the “Getting Married” tab on the right of this page, or by clicking here. Thanks for stopping by!

My Pinterest Wedding Board

Our Wedding Website on WeddingWire.com

Getting Married: 24 Weeks – Christmas Baking

My family loves to bake. We traditionally have had a family-wide baking day soon after Thanksgiving to make goodies for friends and others. Without getting into the dietary spiel, there’s something about putting a sweet, warm cookie in your mouth that makes you feel good. C’mon, you know exactly what I’m talking about. We go all out too.

This year, my sisters and their kids were unable to join us, and with my work schedule and tutoring, I wasn’t much help either. Mom, however, started early, working on the chocolates and such. The chocolate Mom gets is so yummy and doesn’t have any of the wax fillers that is common in most store-bought chocolates. We do everything from chocolate molds to chocolate covered pretzels to turtles to buckeyes to chocolate mice. Yes, these:

mice

They are a blast to make and always make an impression. I was telling the girls at work that we usually hear one of two things:

Oh, these are way too cute to eat!

and

I want two! One to eat and one to show [insert name].

The buckeyes are my babies. I love making them. I found the recipe on AllRecipes.com and they are delectable. You can find them, too, here.

And then we get into the cookies. Mom really goes all out with the cookies. She made several kinds of bar cookies this year and they were yummy. I’m really only good for our standard World-Famous Chocolate Chip Cookies. Yes, they are world-famous because I made them in Japan and shared them with the international students at Shidai, the city university. The word has gone out to the world that these chocolate chip cookies are the best. I can say that and it’s not bragging because everyone else will agree with me. No joke. Just ask them. If they don’t, then they haven’t had them. 😀 (I may or may not be kidding. Ha!)

One of my favorite parts is the delivery. We were able to deliver a couple of boxes of goodies to friends and neighbors Saturday night. We even got some yummy, supa-hot, salsa in exchange.

On a funny note, my mom and I love to sing. My whole family does, but when we deliver goodies to people’s’ homes, we especially like to sing. We chose We Wish You a Merry Christmas this year.

This reminds me of a great story from when I was in junior high. We drove over to my friend Rebecca’s house to deliver some Christmas goodies. It had been snowing and so all the houses were blanketed in a lovely white fluff and mom and I were bundled up in our coats with hoods. We went up to the door, knocked, and started singing our song. It took a while for them to get to the door and open it, but once they did, we saw a man blocking his wife and kids with his arm looking out at us like we were serial killers. We quickly realized our mistake and tried to gracefully bow out and head next door, but we have this problem where our gut reaction is to start laughing. So, here we are giggling and trying to make good with this freaked out man and family. They wouldn’t even take any treats as an apology. It was really quite funny. We walked over to the next house and began the routine all over again, pleased to find that it was indeed Rebecca’s house. We all had a great laugh that night.

What are your favorite treats to make at Christmas? Have anything that you cannot wait to bake, or something that you love to get from a friend or relative?

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I’m getting married to my, you guessed it, best friend on June 1st, 2013! Matt and I are super-excited and since we have quite a bit of time to plan this thing, I decided it’d be fun to blog about it. Well, maybe not always fun, but at least informative and it might give me a welcome distraction. You can find all the posts by clicking the “Getting Married” tab on the right of this page, or by clicking here. Thanks for stopping by!

My Pinterest Wedding Board

Our Wedding Website on WeddingWire.com

Getting Married: 25 Weeks – Anniversary

We got to celebrate our 1 year dating anniversary! Well, it was the anniversary of our 2nd first date. Why second, you ask? In my first entry in this series, I mentioned that Matt and I had gone out on a blind date about 6 years ago, by our reckoning. We can’t really remember much about it, except that it was at Red Lobster and it went alright, but neither of us really felt like going out again. We were young, I was silly (still am…but that’s another story), and we both had very different priorities. With 5 additional years, we had learned a lot. I got to travel abroad and meet all sorts of people, learn some valuable lessons, and came home again.

So, we had been friends on Facebook for all that time, observing each other from afar, and started talking again last November. We decided to have a second go and went out again on December 2nd, 2011 to the Middletown First Friday arts festival. It was really fun and we had a pretty good time together. Enough to decide we’d keep seeing each other.

Cheesecake FactoryOk, so I guess our REAL dating anniversary won’t be until January 13th, but I personally have never had an anniversary, besides my birthday (which I’m a big fan of…have I mentioned that?) to celebrate. And Matt and I both had two $25 gift cards to The Cheesecake Factory to burn. It’s been a few years since I’ve gone, but I love cheesecake…so much. So much so that I’ve told my family, close friends, and coworkers…even random strangers…for years that if they ever found out who was going to propose to me, to make sure he knew to include cheesecake. The ring didn’t have to be in the cheesecake, it just had to be there. Thanks to all my family, close friends and coworkers who failed me by not telling him about that important detail. You will be recompensed  accordingly. (giggles….potentially, devious giggle) Once he found out about that, he made sure we got some cheesecake before we came back from Alabama. It helps that Matt likes cheesecake too.

Anyway, on Saturday, we planned to head up to The Cheesecake Factory in The Greene in Beavercreek. That place is so beautiful this time of year. Also, have you ever noticed that the way The Cheesecake Factory looks in real life is totally different from its portrayal in Big Bang Theory? They are totally off. Our waiter’s name was Jeff and he was pretty fun. Very informative on the menu. I think he must have been working there for a very long time because he even knew when they carried my favorite cheesecake, the Toblerone. That was pretty amazing. They don’t have it anymore so I had to settle for the Dulce de Leche cheesecake, which was pretty fab. Matt had Adam’s Peanut Butter something or other. He really enjoyed that. That guy is a sucker for chocolate and peanut butter. Waiter Jeff popped over quite a few times and whenever Matt asked him something, he would answer pretty quick, followed by the sound, “Maaa-.” We couldn’t tell if he was saying “Man” or “Ma’am” so we decided he just omits the last consonant so that he could say the same thing to men and women.

Cover of "Prancer"

Cover of Prancer

We spent the rest of the evening watching the movie Prancer. Do you have a favorite Christmas movie? Prancer is at the top of my list. In fact, I bought that copy just so we could have it at The House. I’m hoping that Santa will bring me some more this year. Can’t wait! Matt was laughing at the movie because the little girl in Prancer is just about completely me. Except I wouldn’t be as much use cleaning that big room as she was. Maybe, if I had to do it to raise money for reindeer food.  My other favorite Christmas movies are Scrooge, with Albert Finney, The Bishop’s Wife, It’s a Wonderful Life, and White Christmas…among others.

So, besides favorite Christmas movies, do you have a favorite order for The Cheesecake Factory?

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I’m getting married to my, you guessed it, best friend on June 1st, 2013! Matt and I are super-excited and since we have quite a bit of time to plan this thing, I decided it’d be fun to blog about it. Well, maybe not always fun, but at least informative and it might give me a welcome distraction. You can find all the posts by clicking the “Getting Married” tab on the right of this page, or by clicking here. Thanks for stopping by!

My Pinterest Wedding Board

Our Wedding Website on WeddingWire.com

Getting Married: 26 Weeks – O Christmas Tree

I am fiercely possessive of my holidays. This might be because I was born on Flag Day (June 14th), but I really don’t like my holidays to mix. So when Christmas decorations start coming out before Halloween, my hackles start to go up. I will not abide Christmas music before Thanksgiving. When I lived in Japan, they don’t celebrate Thanksgiving, naturally, so Christmas season was just about two months long there. That was kind of hard for me to handle. I love Thanksgiving and want it to stand on its own. But that country has its own plethora of holidays that took some getting used to.

The day after Thanksgiving, no bars are held. It’s time for Christmas! Which means, putting up Christmas trees, lights, decorations, making Christmas candy, listening to Christmas music, watching Christmas movies – yes, mayhaps all at once. I had to work on Black Friday, which was a cake-walk at the bank, but Saturday, I drove up to Matt’s and convinced him that we needed to put up his Christmas tree.

I decided not to take my decorations up this year. I want to save that special Christmas for our first year married. But I definitely wanted to help Matt get The House ready for the holiday.

First, mood smell and lighting. Yum!

Matt’s accumulation of decorations…I brought the candy canes.

So many branches…

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I enjoy colored lights, but there’s something crisp and pure about white lights on a tree. 🙂

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I should probably dress up as a Christmas tree for Halloween one year…but I don’t like my holidays to mix.

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Can you find Matt? Warning, it’s kind of disturbing.

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His tree turned out lovely, albeit tame. I hope it can handle my decorations next year.

Sunday started off with a headache. The Christmas elves made it down to add some cheer to our sugar bowl, per norm. They always seem to be able to find us, even when we’ve moved houses. So fun.

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I felt better in the evening by the time Matt came down to my home and helped us put our decorations up. Mom and I get pretty into it. We put on Scrooge with Albert Finney to love and enjoy. It’s a musical, naturally. We know every line, naturally. So do my sisters and their kids. It’s a family tradition.

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I always feel like it’s not really The Christmas Carol without music and dancing…

Matt was gracious enough to help us bring boxes up from the basement, which has been one of my primary tasks. I was more than happy to let him take over that.

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We have quite a few boxes…

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I got the picture pre-skirt/pre-ornaments…but it’s so packed with stuff. I don’t think Matt knew what to expect when I told him I had a lot of decorations. Indeed, most of them are mine.

A lot of my decorations center around the Rankin-Bass Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer and the Island of Misfit Toys. It’s one of my favorite Christmas movies (along with It’s a Wonderful Life, Scrooge, Prancer, The Bishop’s Wife, White Christmas, Elf, and more).

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Most things in our house make noise at Christmas. Most things, therefore, have a funny story attached to them about how someone was frightened by it going off. This one is light sensitive and the story takes place in a bathroom, late at night. I’ll let you come up with the rest.

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I think this is Mom’s favorite. My nieces gave it to her for Christmas one year and it quacks and dances to the Nutcracker Suite. Talk about Duck Dynasty!

The festivities moved on to work for Monday. Mom and I have put garland and lights up on the little fence out front in the past, but we decided not to mess with it this year. My bank branch opened early this year, so we have no decorations just yet, and Mom let me borrow the garlands and lights to put up at work for this year until we can get some of our own. I had a lot of fun doing it.

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I bought this tree at TJ Maxx a few years ago and love it. It’s so fun and bright! I added the ribbon at the bottom.

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With a little finagling and some command hooks, we have a sweet holiday complement to our teller windows. We’ve since replaced a broken strand of lights and now it glows as well.

The assistant manager also went out and picked up some little trees and poinsettia to decorate. Our regional manager came in yesterday and told us that she absolutely loved what we’ve done. I was so pleased.

Have you finished your decorating? Do you have a family tradition, like toasting the tree? We’ve not had many resources in the past, so we’ve come up with our own traditions a little off the norm, but just as meaningful.

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I’m getting married to my, you guessed it, best friend on June 1st, 2013! Matt and I are super-excited and since we have quite a bit of time to plan this thing, I decided it’d be fun to blog about it. Well, maybe not always fun, but at least informative and it might give me a welcome distraction. You can find all the posts by clicking the “Getting Married” tab on the right of this page, or by clicking here. Thanks for stopping by!

My Pinterest Wedding Board

Our Wedding Website on WeddingWire.com

Getting Married: 29 Weeks – Engagement Photos #2

If you are friends with Matt and I on Facebook, then you will know that we got the rest of our engagement photos. (Yay!) You can read the first post about the experience and our photographer here. But we finally got around to getting the proofs developed. They turned out so good. Matt and I visited Michael’s for a frame for a gift and picked up this pretty little album to show them off in and to add our wedding photos to when we get them done.

I took the CD-Rom to The Darkroom in Fairfield, OH. They are really good and I’ve had pictures developed there before. The quality of their prints with the sharpness of the photos – great combination! I will be using them to get more prints in the future and one of the best parts is that they are local! Just like my florist and just like our cake people (yes, we got our cake place! More info to come in the future.) Also, my mom picked up the pictures and the woman told her that she just loved our pictures and that we looked so incredibly happy. She thought we were a beautiful couple. I thought that was sweet.

We had a lot of fun posing and getting the pictures done. It’s so good to finally have some photos of the two of us and I can’t wait to add to them with our wedding photos.

Matt and I really love our cars. We call Matt’s car The Cube, or Cubie, or when I’m feelin’ rather fond and silly about it, Cubester. My boy’s Christian name is Mephibosheth, but his street name is Gravy – both because of his color and he’s a smooth ride. This picture might also have been my idea.

Also, you should check out this website. The shop supports survivors and rescues for people of Human Trafficking. It’s pretty amazing.

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I’m getting married to my, you guessed it, best friend on June 1st, 2013! Matt and I are super-excited and since we have quite a bit of time to plan this thing, I decided it’d be fun to blog about it. Well, maybe not always fun, but at least informative and it might give me a welcome distraction. You can find all the posts by clicking the “Getting Married” tab on the right of this page, or by clicking here. Thanks for stopping by!

My Pinterest Wedding Board

Our Wedding Website on WeddingWire.com

Getting Married: 30 Weeks – Holidays and Traditions

I know Halloween starts off the holiday season. 93.3 starts playing Christmas music right after. That’s a little soon for me. Christmas decorations have been out in some stores since the beginning of October. It doesn’t feel like the holidays until a week before Thanksgiving and we’re trying to figure out what dish we’re bringing to the dinner, well, lunch in my family’s case. It doesn’t feel like the holidays until all the political commercials stop and we’re all groaning about Macy’s latest sale’s pitch. It doesn’t feel like the holidays until our family baking day and we all have herds of chocolate mice running around (if you don’t know what those are, I’ll have pictures later). It doesn’t feel like the holidays until I’m fully into whatever craft I have decided will be my Christmas gift this year (I’m pretty hopeful that this year’s gift will be less stressful than previous years. *fingers crossed!*)

This is the first year that I’ve ever had a significant other to include with my holiday plans. I’ve only had to worry about fitting in my sisters, my mom and my dad and then my people at church. This year, that is all out the window. Matt and I were dating last year through December but we definitely were not a couple yet. So combining our families, well, my two families and his family, is and will be a challenge.

Those of you who have done this in the past, how did you do it?! What kind of concessions did you make. What was a big deal to you personally?

One thing that I would LOVE to do is to get The House all pretty and holiday-ish…but I also don’t want to do anything of that until Matt and I are having our first holiday season as a married couple. I have been putting together an ornament collection for myself for years and when Mom and I tear down the tree after Christmas, we’ll be divvying up my decorations from hers and I’ll cart them up to The House for safe-keeping. I’m really excited to bring all our stuff together, but I really am looking forward to doing that as a married couple.

What kind of things or traditions did you bring to your marriage? Did you combine any to make a specially unique tradition just for your new family? Or did you come up with something totally and completely new for the both of you?

I would love to hear about them!

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I’m getting married to my, you guessed it, best friend on June 1st, 2013! Matt and I are super-excited and since we have quite a bit of time to plan this thing, I decided it’d be fun to blog about it. Well, maybe not always fun, but at least informative and it might give me a welcome distraction. You can find all the posts by clicking the “Getting Married” tab on the right of this page, or by clicking here. Thanks for stopping by!

My Pinterest Wedding Board

Our Wedding Website on WeddingWire.com