Thursday, December 27, 2007

Life's Worth Visiting in Fort Smith, Arkansas

I know we were taught at a very young age that a day is made up of 24 hours (or 1440 minutes or 86,400 seconds...) but I would place a large sum of money on the following: The days of Christmas break were 10 hours each. This is the only way I can rationalize the speed at which the days flew by. Michael and I drove up Saturday afternoon and suddenly time decided to go into a frantic fury. Next thing I know it's Wednesday and we're driving back. And I'm sad. I'm really sad to be leaving my big family (I can say that since there are 6 of us now)! We had a wonderful time and I'm already looking forward to Easter when I can see Justin & Michelle again.

Right before we took off for Fort Smith, Michael and I decided to pack up the Wii. This turned out to be an excellent decision--it received more play time this past week than it had since its arrival last Christmas. Justin really seemed to enjoy playing Wii sports and Michelle was another type of sport: a GOOD sport, so she seemed to enjoy it as well.

We also spent several evenings playing Catch Phrase, which is my new favorite "board" game. I had a blast. It was girls vs. guys and while I'd like to say the girls creamed the boys each time, it seemed like we were both pretty solid teams (or horrible, whichever you prefer).

Mom spent a lot of her time in the kitchen and everything she made was absolutely wonderful. It really was a fantastic weekend. I borrowed Michelle's book, "Eat, Pray, Love" and enjoyed it as well.

I'm so happy to be a part of this amazing family. I love that we can spend 5 days together, never leave the house and STILL have a great time. I love that my brother and I are still so competitive that we'll spend 15 minutes counting the number of tablespoons it takes to fill up a cup 60% (don't ask). I love that Michelle and Michael can talk about sports with one another because God knows my family couldn't keep up if we tried. And I love that we stayed up late one night to listen to recordings my parents made of Justin and I when we were 2-4 years old (turns out I ADORED the song "Jesus Loves Me" back in the day).

2007 has been a fantastic year and I can only imagine what next year will bring! Possibilities are endless and I can't wait to see what we all have in store for us.

One of the things I shared with my parents as a 2-year-old was the nursery rhyme, "Humpty Dumpty." After I said the entire rhyme I said, "Now I want to do the God version!" (or something...) So I shared the nursery rhyme again and added my own ending: "All the King's horses and all the King's men couldn't put Humpty together again...but God could." We all had a good laugh, but it was a great message. When life is at its worst, there IS someone that can help. He'll take the broken pieces, put you back together, pick you up and dust you off. What a FRIEND we have in Jesus!

Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 21, 2007

Smiling's my favorite!

We had a walk-through of our house yesterday! It didn't take long at all and we only found a few things that had to be marked by the dreaded blue tape. Everything else is done on our side so the only thing we can do is pack and wait for close on January 4. I'm afraid the next few weeks are going to fly. I am thrilled about moving into our new home, but so frustrated about packing everything up.

It seems like it was only 2 months ago that we unpacked every last wedding gift and threw over a hundred boxes away. Oh wait, that WAS only 2 months ago. I wish we'd known we'd be moving so soon! The only thing we have packed and ready to go is the slow cooker and that is because it has yet to come out of its box.

In other fun news, our bookcase comes in today. It was supposed to be here several weeks ago but they messed up our order. And then it was supposed to come in last week but we had no power (so they couldn't use the elevator). We'll see if we have a bookcase in our apartment by 5p tonite. I'm not holding my breath. :)

I started a new book last night: Marley and Me. I believe I am the last person on earth to read this book. I kept putting it off because I KNOW it has a sad ending and do I really want to inflict pain on myself this close to Christmas? My problem with books is that I take these characters and they become a part of my life from page one until the very end. There is nothing better than starting a new book, but I feel a sense of loss after I finish the last page. I notice that I will start slowing down when I reach the last chapter because I don't want it to end. I'm not like that with movies, but give me a great book and I'll want it to go on forever.

We're having a girls night tonight with Kaitlin, Cari, and Aubrey. I'm really looking forward to catching up with them. Michael and I have decided we're going to try our darndest to sleep in tomorrow and then we will head to Fort Smith for Christmas! I can't wait--it's going to be so nice to have all of us together and to just be away for 5 days.

One last thing--I have to brag on my husband. :) Michael called on Wednesday and told me to go to Utica Square and kill a bit of time before I came home. I asked why but of course he said, "Oh no reason, just don't come home yet." So I drug myself to Utica (I just hate that place--HA!) and checked out a few of the stores. When I finally came home, he'd surprised me with approx. 150 white chocolate dipped pretzels--my FAVORITE! He'd gone to the store to pick up the ingredients and had hand-dipped each and every one. It was such a sweet gesture. What a great guy! (I think we have 15 left--oops!)

I highly doubt I'll post again in the next few days, so MERRY CHRISTMAS to you and your family!

Monday, December 17, 2007

On the 5th day there was light. And it was GREAT!

If you were to tell me that our power went out a week ago today I wouldn't believe you--it truly feels like it has been a month. I never knew how much I loved electricty until I went without. Kait was nice enough to let us stay at her place 2 nights, and we decided to brave Monday and Thursday night at the apartment. I know a lot of people can claim they've slept in 40 degree temperatures--I'm not sure how many of those people can say they did it INDOORS.

A lot happened last week but before I get to that I'd like to recount the previous weekend. Michael's parents drove up from Coppell to celebrate Christmas with us! They arrived late Friday night and stayed with us for the weekend. We celebrated Christmas on Saturday morning and had an absolute blast. One of my favorite gifts they gave us was a Wii game: Dancing with the Stars. It is quite entertaining and I'm not terrible at it, which tends to make games more fun! :)

Sunday our power went off for about 5 hours so we took off to have breakfast and show his parents the house we fell in love with last month. They were a little unsure about it beforehand but genuinely seemed to like it once they saw it. The weather was getting pretty terrible so they left early Sunday afternoon to head back home. The power came back on so we spent the rest of the afternoon being lazy and playing the Wii. I received a call from Shelley reminding me about the Ben Lee concert on Sunday night--I quickly got dressed and met up with her and her boyfriend. It was WONDERFUL! There were probably 60 people there and it was so neat to see/meet Ben. We had a fantastic time!

The weather kept getting worse and I woke up to a call from my boss on Monday saying we would not be going to work. I was excited for my 3-day weekend but it was shortly after the call when the power went off... again. Argh.

Let's jump ahead to Thursday! Well I guess before we jump ahead I should let you know that Michael and I changed our minds about building a house. We were all set to do it and then the builder announced a great new price on the house that is already built. To build the exact same house in the same neighborhood would cost almost $15k more, which we both felt was ridiculous. So after a lot of debating, number crunching, budget editing, praying, etc., we decided that buying the house now was in our best interest. Ok, back to Thursday. We called our realtor and told her we were ready to make an offer; we met with her at 5:30p, made our offer, and then hung around south Tulsa while she met with the builder. She called us back about 9:30p and said she was ready with his counter-offer. As we walked into her office, I received a text from Kaitlin announcing that she and Steve were engaged!!!! I was so excited for her and so disappointed that I couldn't hear the story immediately (I'm sure our realtor would understand, but I also knew she would like to get back to her family and her home that actually HAD power sooner than later)!

Our realtor announced the builder's counter-offer, which was almost exactly what we (realistically) wanted. We told her if he would go down to what we wanted (not our first offer but what we decided we'd be comfortable with), we'd sign right then and there. He decided he would do it, but only if we moved up the closing date 3 weeks! We looked at each other, shrugged our shoulders, grinned, and made a deal! Long story a little bit longer.... Our closing date is January 4--less than 3 weeks! We're a little petrified but SO EXCITED.

What an awesome day! I called Kait as soon as we left our realtor's office and heard the wonderful engagement story. We are so excited for the two of them--what a fantastic couple! I can't wait to see them both in person and also see the beautiful ring!

Michael and I had enough warmth from excitement that we braved the nite in the apartment. We'd decided we would go home to Fort Smith for the weekend and left early Friday afternoon to get away from Tulsa. We were not in my parents' home an hour before we received a call letting us know that our power was back on. We still stayed the nite with my parents, had a fantastic homecooked meal, great company, and a warm night's sleep. Came back Saturday to clean up the apartment and relax before work started. Yesterday was spent shopping for refrigerators, window treatments, washers/dryers, and pricing sofas. We walked away with nothing but received a lot of great information for the near future!

Sorry for the long post but so much has happened this week! We're really excited to have power again and feel so sorry for those that still don't. It was a very humbling experience for us. Throughout the week we realized we were so fortunate to have friends with warm houses, transportation, winter clothes, etc. This was a headache to us but an absolute nightmare to others. It also reminded us to remember the real reason for the season, and that the light of the world is not the man driving around in a white PSO truck (though he WAS pretty close to an angel).

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Oh the Weather Outside is FREAKIN' HORRIBLE!

Well friends, my post a few weeks ago declaring the "great weather of Tulsa" can now be considered a bold-faced lie. Absolute fabrication. The most common term I have heard the past few days about Tulsa is that it is a "war zone." To any of you NOT living here, I'm sure that sounds a bit exaggerated, but it is indeed a wreck. Michael and I have been without power for over 48 hours now and the apartment is a cool 50 degrees. Kaitlin offered her apartment last night so we were able to sleep (and wake up!) in comfort. Poor Thumbs had to rough it at our apartment--I now know that her extra layer of skin (or in her case, extra 25 layers of skin) is a complete blessing. :)

My fingers have turned blue from keeping them crossed for so long. We're really hoping the power comes on today but we've been told it could be as long as a week before we see the light (harhar). I'm off to lunch with Michael--I will write more about our weekend in another post but I wanted to dedicate this one to our wretched weather. If you haven't guessed, my mood is sub-par.

Oh how I wish we were back in Maui!

(Images were taken by 2 of our friends. Click on each picture so you can really see the grossness):

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

I have a green Thumb(s)

Obviously, Thumbs did not receive the memo that the green stocking is MINE! :) Michael and I came home to this last night and thought it was pretty funny.

Monday, December 3, 2007

A House Hunt and a new TV

Michael and I both thought our lives would calm down after the wedding. We quickly realized, however, that neither of us like the slow-paced life much (although he handles it a lot better than I do). We ventured out a few weeks ago to look at an open house in Jenks and fell in love with it immediately. Unfortunately, our bank account did not fall in love with the house and it has more say in what we can and cannot do. We promised ourselves not long ago that when our lease was up in May, we would be moving into a house. The apartment life is not the life for us. We really enjoyed the realtor that was showing the house and gave her our information. And then we had a glooorious idea: what if we BUILT a house just like this one? And in this same fabulous neighborhood? And move into this fabulous house in May?! I just love when those light bulbs go off above our heads.

Still holding onto that idea, we researched everything we could about owning a home, as well as several different banks and mortgage lenders. We finally settled on one and were approved last week! Our next plan was to meet with the realtor on Saturday (2 days ago) and pick out our lot. I brought my camera so I could photograph "the one," but alas, the lots that were provided for us were all in Country Woods II (we prefer Country Woods I). We're supposed to hear back from our realtor in the next few days with more lot choices, so while we were both a little sad on Saturday, we are still very excited to hear our options!

The picture below is the house we visited and fell in love with several weeks ago.

The next 2 houses pictured below are both in the same neighborhood. We love the brick/paint/shutter ensemble on both houses. It's a bit hard to tell in the pictures, but they are both so beautiful!

We woke up yesterday to one of the largest Sunday papers I've seen to date. Gotta love the 40 bajillion ads/coupons getting everyone ready for Christmas! Michael came across an ad that was too good to be true at Best Buy so we hopped in the car and got ready to welcome the newest member to the Haynes household: a 46 inch LCD HDTV (I was a little disappointed we'd only ordered 3 stockings for the two of us and Thumbs). We arrived at the store and quickly noticed the deal WAS too good to be true, and, in fact, was not good at all. Michael was severely disappointed and we left immediately (literally--I had to take 2 steps for every 1 of his just so I could keep up). When we were back home, we noticed that the TV we've looked at for several months was ALSO on a huge sale. After making a list of pros and cons (Michael's pros outweighed his cons 25 to 1), we had a severe case of deja vu as we drove BACK to Best Buy. 30 minutes later, we were proud owners of a beautiful new TV that will arrive on Thursday. The key to this good deal is that we do not have to pay interest until 2011, which is the only reason I decided we could afford said TV. I'm not sure if I've ever seen Michael so excited (he promised his love for me was greater than his love for our newest addition, but I'm not 100% convinced).

Come May, we will have a glorious house that will be adorned with a gloriously huge piece of electronic equipment in the living room. You are all invited to come over and enjoy both, but you might have to sit on the floor since we really don't have any sofas. (Hmmm... perhaps we should have invested in those first?) Oh well, I guess you live and you learn, and you sometimes make allowances to see your husband smile like a giddy school child as he dances in the Best Buy parking lot.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Catching Up!

I apologize for never getting back to writing about the honeymoon (oops). Below I have posted 2 albums of pictures from our trip and will let THEM do the explaining, otherwise I will never catch up on this thing!

Album I

Album II

All of the pictures have a brief description and sum up our trip quite nicely!! We had an absolute blast and can't wait to go back. We've decided it might not be the ideal place for a family trip so we're hoping to go back in the next few years before all of our money is spent on diapers and baby bottles (not that there is anything wrong with that)...

Some of the highlights of our trip were the sunrise walks on the beach (we never managed to get on "Hawaii time" and therefore woke up at 6:30a every morning); evening cocktails at Kimos (fabulous restaurant right on the water); snorkeling at Black Rock; the beaches at Wailea and Kannapali; and last but certainly not least: the 9-hour road trip to Hana. It was absolutely exhausting but one of the most beautiful adventures I've ever experienced.

Moving on!

We are now back to the real world and loving it! We celebrated our one month anniversary by going to Bed, Bath & Beyond and returning a few things. Ha! I have no idea why people wait so long to get married--it is so much better than I ever expected. What could be greater than being with your best friend all of the time? Grocery shopping isn't a chore, running errands can actually be fun, and we get to spend all holidays together! Which brings me to my next topic of discussion...

We decided that we did not want to split our time with both families during each holiday so we went to Coppell for Thanksgiving this year. It was so nice to be able to drive down there and stay for several days--I always feel like we are there for such a short time and it tends to feel rushed. I watched a cumulative total of 84 hours of football (and by 84 I mean 184), but I am starting to understand the game and I do actually enjoy it. My limit, however, is 1 game per day and I do believe I exceeded my limit by about 400%. We also saw The Christmas Carol, which was fantastic! And last but not least, we did some minor Christmas shopping--none of this 4am craziness, but we did find some neat things for the apartment. We left Sunday morning so we could get back for our friends' wedding Sunday night--it was a beautiful ceremony and we're so happy for them both!

I wouldn't say "Oh the weather outside is frightful," nor would I say, "I'm dreaming of a white Christmas," so I think I'm pretty satisfied with the weather right now--it is indeed cold, but not miserable. We picked up our Christmas tree last night! This is my first experience with a "live" tree and so far I am loving it (although it sheds more than Thumbs)! It has a slight lean to it, which we think adds a bit o' character. And as I mentioned to my family, it must take after me--who knew trees could have scoliosis?! :)

Our tree without the trimmings...

It's a beaut!

"Just Married" Christmas ornament.

Our temporary tree topper from Maui!

Michael and I have been quite ridiculous about the upcoming festivities. We made a Christmas cd and hung up a wreath mid-November and our apartment is filled to the brim with red and green (and an occasional gold and silver). Tis the season!

What a good feeling to know that I am finally caught up on this blog! Perhaps now I can keep up with it in a timely manner. :) Alright, I'm off to deck the halls with bulletin boards!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

I Apologize For The Delay!

WOW! It has been a fantastic month! I'm not really sure where I should start, etc., so I will try my best to pick out the highlights of the wedding, honeymoon, and newlywed life in Tulsa. Shall we begin?

Our wedding was perfect! And by "perfect" I mean, we had an absolute blast and what mattered most happened: at the end of the day, we were married. Other than that, NOTHING went perfectly but it came together beautifully! The day before the wedding, several of us had pedicures and then most of my bridesmaids met up for lunch at In the Raw. Afterwards, a few went to have their massages (bridesmaid gift) and the rest of us went to decorate the Gilcrease. I was a bit nervous when we arrived, it was pretty desolate. But! The decorations, table linens, seat covers, etc., all made it look very pretty. The rehearsal was at 5:30p and everyone was there and on time (minus Annie who met up with us later). Dr. Miller was very friendly but to the point and we were on our way to the rehearsal dinner at Polo Grill! It was delicious!! My dad put together a video montage for us and it was fabulous. Michael and I have watched it several times since. :) After the dinner, pictures, and hanging out with friends, Michael and I went over to Justin and Michelle's hotel room for a bit so they could give us their wedding gift. It was good to have a few minutes with them before I attempted to go to bed. And that is the best word I can use because I ended up lying in bed wide awake from 1:30a to 5:30a. Ugh. Regardless, on to the WEDDING DAY!!!

I'm not going to lie, I did not bounce out of bed and sing with the birds the morning of my wedding. Instead, I felt like I did in college when I stayed up too late and had to go to class the next morning. Let's call it the most exciting class ever, but it was still a feeling of utter exhaustion. Michael and I met for breakfast at BBD and I managed to eat a few home fries and half of one pancake. He ate his entire meal and was ready for some more. You know that feeling you have when you're about to speak in front of a bunch of people and it's that sudden jolt of butterflies that makes you nauseous? I had that feeling in my stomach for about 7 hours straight. He, on the other hand, looked like he got married every day. The JERK! :) Regardless, it was great to see him. We had not had a chance to practice our first dance the entire week leading up to the wedding so when I dropped him off at the hotel, we practiced a bit in the parking garage. It was one of those moments where we felt absolutely ridiculous but we knew we'd remember it forever. :)

New paragraph! Kait and Melissa soon arrived at my apartment and ran in the room singing, "It's your wedding day! Hoooooray!" I love them. The 3 of us went and had our hair done at Iidentity Salon (my photographers met us there) and then came back to meet the girls and the makeup artist at my apartment. Several of the girls had their makeup done as a bridesmaid gift and they all looked beautiful. We shared some sandwiches for lunch (I had a piece of bread... yea I was still nervous) and then most of them took off to finish getting ready. I'd asked that we all meet at the church at 2:15 and everyone was there on time... except for me. I'm not sure what mom, dad, and I were doing but it was definitely not paying attention to the clock. So I arrive at 2:30 and decide it is TIME to put on the dress! Unfortunately, my photographers did not think it was time as they wanted to take several pictures of the dress BEFORE i put it on. So I sat. And waited. At 2:45, they finally decided it was time for me to put on the dress! I quickly did and mom had just started to zip it up when she yelled, "Oh no, it broke!" and then quickly followed it with, "It's ok. We'll fix this." What?! I kept asking what was wrong but she wouldn't tell me. I kept telling her "Mom, you keep secrets from the bride when she has no idea, but I already know something happened so there is no use in hiding it." Regardless, she wouldn't say a word. Long story longer, after 15 minutes of trying to decide what to do (the zipper was indeed broken and useless), my wedding coordinator at the church and my photographer ended up sewing me into my dress. Yes, that is what I said. One started at the top, the other started at the bottom, and they met in the middle. I kept it together pretty well, just got very quiet. I'd had full plans of sitting before the wedding with my dress unzipped to stay as comfortable as possible. Instead, I stood the entire hour before the wedding and was told not to move. The dress was finally completed at about 3:50, which was a good thing since the wedding started at 4p! Dr. Miller came in and prayed with the bridesmaids and then it was go time!

I'm not sure what I can say about the wedding except that it was fantastic. There were a few mess-ups, Dr. Miller started to call me Heather (Michael and Heather work at our church and are good friends of ours) and he also told everyone the wrong hymm. But other than that, it was beautiful. I loved every minute of it, especially when our parents stood next to us and promised to support us and welcome us to their family. It was very moving for Michael and I, and I think the entire congregation as well. :) Michael Homan and Julie sang "The Prayer," which was gorgeous, and Michael and I NAILED our vows (we said them from memory). All in all, we felt SO GOOD when we walked back down the aisle!!

Gosh this is getting long. I really don't expect anyone to still be reading this except for my dad, so HI DAD!!! Moving on to the reception. It was a blast! We had about 200 guests and as soon as we got there we sat down to dinner. The few mishaps (because those are always more exciting than mentioning everything that went RIGHT): When we got to the cake, we noticed there were no utensils to CUT the cake. So we stood and waited, and waited, and waited. Finally we were able to cut the cake. A bit later the photographer tried to take Michael's and my picture and Michael accidentally stepped on my dress and broke the bussle. Leslie Horn and a safety pin to the rescue! And when it was time to eat the cake, we noticed that there was a strawberry cake--it was supposed to be chocolate! Other than that, I can't think of anything in the 4 hours we were there that was less than extraordinary. The food was great, the dancing was a blast, and we were able to walk to each of the tables and mingle with the guests, which was also fun. The only problem is that I had told myself, "Meredith, you can't go to the bathroom so just deal with it" (due to my dress) so I never went to the bathroom to check my makeup, hair, anything. And let me tell you, I should have! I've seen a few post-dancing pictures and they aren't pretty... :)

One of the great things about the reception is people STAYED! At 10:30p when we left, there were still a ton of people there! It was fantastic! Michael and I had our friendly limo driver take us to the Philtower loft, which was amazing. The view was great and we'll just leave the rest alone.

I was going to include the honeymoon but I'm starting to feel the beginning signs of carpal tunnel. I'll either continue this afternoon or perhaps tomorrow! :)

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

10 days!

I am going to apologize right now for the boring, bland, unoriginal, and very unfunny post that I am about to write. My excitement for the upcoming nuptials is at an all-time high but I'm not so sure you could tell that by looking at my face--it is one of complete bewilderment and exhaustion!

Michael and I went to our own homes this weekend--he was able to take a mini break from the wedding and his future bride, and I dove full-force into last minute plans. I found some shoes and a necklace for the rehearsal dinner, and we also finalized plans with Confectionately Yours. (Shameless plug for them--they are amazing and SO NICE--use them for all of your cake needs. I promise you won't be disappointed!)

Mom discovered on Monday what she has been missing out on for so many years: chair covers. She went to a store to simply reserve a cake stand and left with chair covers on the brain. She drove to Tulsa yesterday to finalize plans with the museum and had about 45 different table linens that we could mix and match. We finally settled on an arrangement that I think is going to look very nice, and I must say, the chair covers did "take it to the next level." Now I'm praying that these leaves will stop being so stubborn and let go of their green coloring. Stupid chlorophyll. :)

If the rest of this doesn't just scream exhilirating, Michael, mom, and myself spent last night separating M&Ms by color. I really can't think of much that is more exciting than that. We also pulled out all of the centerpieces to make sure we had them all here and in place. The apartment looked like a tornado (a beautiful tornado filled with love and marriage no less) had covered every square foot of the place. It doesn't look much better today but mom did a good job cleaning everything and putting it all away.

So now we are at 10 days and there really isn't (and I mean it this time) much more to do until next Thursday. I'm hoping I can enjoy the next week and stop thinking about all of the particulars that are out of my hands. Michael has been able to manage that quite nicely so I'm hoping to model myself after him.

There you have it, my pathetic attempt at a post. I hope I didn't forget anything but I'm sure I did. Oh yes! When I came back Sunday evening, Michael surprised me with a new, beautiful quilt for the guestroom bed. He and his mom picked it up this weekend and it was such a great surprise! So now both beds are fully (and apppropriately) clothed and I no longer have to keep the guest bedroom door shut out of sheer embarrassment. The apartment is turning out to be quite the cozy place. Come November you are all welcome to stop by and stay awhile. :)

Pray for those leaves!!

Monday, October 1, 2007

Happy OCTOBER!!!

I said something to myself this week that I haven't said once in the past 11 months: The days are flying! For so long I felt like snails were lapping the pace of each day and now I can't tear off the pages from my desk calendar fast enough. I love how my mom put it: We are teenagers again (19 days until the wedding)! :)

This weekend was a lot of fun, we went to the TU vs SMU soccer game on Friday night--it was a great game. We ended up tying but I don't think anyone walked away disappointed--the boy's played really well. Saturday was very low-key, which was nice because yesterday was quite eventful. We went to the 9:30 church service for Andrew Homan's baptism. Afterwards we went to the mall to return a few things and then had a quick lunch at Panera Bread (I finally found something there that I LOVE so my hatred for the restaurant has dissipated quite a bit). At 1:30 we met Bryan (our DJ) for coffee at Utica and we went over some of our ideas for the big day. He is a senior at TU and has his own DJ business. He seems like a great guy and very professional. I let him know that YMCA, Sean Paul, and anything from Grease have no place at our wedding. :)

Let's continue with the day... At 3 we went back to the church for Michael and Vince's ordination. It was a great service and I was proud of them both. We had a small break between that and their post-ordination party at 6p at Vince's house. We went there for a few hours and made it home just in time for the season premeire of Desperate Housewives--Michael was thrilled! :) He had a soccer game late last night that I chose not to go to due to the ridiculously long day we'd just had. He has much more energy than I do!

I took Thumbs back to the vet this morning for a check-up. She seems to be doing really well--she does not live to eat right now (who knew?!) but she still has an appetite and is drinking water regularly. She purrs a lot and has been quite the snuggler lately so I think she's doing just fine.

Work has been pretty crazy lately--everyone is needing me to do stuff for them before I leave for the wedding/honeymoon. It's keeping me pretty busy, which adds to why the days are flying by at such a rapid pace!

Michael is going to Coppell and I am going to Fort Smith this weekend to take care of some last minute wedding plans. It is weird to think that this will be the last time I go home as Meredith Besancon! I have a feeling it will be a very sentimental weekend for us both! It is also weird to think that at the end of this month we will be married and back from our honeymoon. Talk about everything changing in a moment's notice!!!

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Now THAT'S what I need to hear 1 month before the wedding...

The past week has been quite eventful but I am happy to report that Thumbs is doing much, much better. She is still at the vet and Michael and I have been visiting her every other day. Each time she has been a little stronger and a little more playful. Today I went to visit and she actually purred the entire time I was in the exam room--it was great! I haven't heard her purr in so long! They told me at 1:30p today that they took her off "dialysis" 24 hours prior, so she is making it on her own at this point. I never knew the lazy girl had it in her to be such a fighter, but it really looks like she will be just fine and back to normal (at home) tomorrow! Thanks so much for the thoughts and prayers, I don't think I ever realized how much I cared for that furball until I almost lost her. :)

In other news, Michael and I left Friday morning to drive to Kansas City for Scott Kincaid's wedding. It was a full Catholic service so we spent most of the 1.5 hour ceremony very lost, but it was a beautiful service and very sentimental. :) The reception was held at the Carriage Club and was a blast. The band was fabulous and even Michael wouldn't get off of the dance floor. :) We tried the foxtrot when we thought no one was looking and I must say, we didn't do half bad! We shopped all day yesterday on the Plaza and decided that we could live in KC if we ever decide to leave Tulsa--it is a beautiful city and has so much to offer!

The drive home was tiring, but we were SO EXCITED that we had one day left of the weekend--we've decided there isn't anything more depressing than driving home on a Sunday afternoon. We have been desperately trying to catch up on "The Office" before Season 4 starts this week, so we watched several episodes of season 3 late last night. We finished the season today, which means we've watched 44 episodes in 1 week (season 2 and 3). I'm not sure if that should be bragging rights or reason to make us think about our lives, but regardless, we enjoyed it immensely.

We hit the one month mark and now we're at 27 days--can you believe it?! Less than 4 weeks and I'll be signing my name Meredith Haynes! I can't wait!!!

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Pictures, a birthday, and poor thumbs magee

This post is going to be a bit difficult for me but this blog was created to account for all happenings leading up to the wedding, not just the good things. To start on a happy note...

I had my bridal portraits taken last Thursday at Philbrook Museum. They turned out really great. I had my makeup and hair trials before so it was nice to see it all together. The only sad part was that Michael could not participate in any of this!

Speaking of Michael, this past weekend he turned the grand old age of 25. We didn't do much since we have been going and going for the past few months. It was a beautiful day so we strolled through Utica Square and the Riverwalk and then ate at Doe's Eat Place for dinner. He received a lot of calls throughout the day from friends wishing him the happiest of birthdays. It was a great weekend indeed.

As for the sad news... Thumbs had not been eating for several days so I took her to the vet yesterday morning. He was afraid of liver problems (pretty prevalent in larger cats who stop eating) so he hooked her up to fluids and food and ran some blood tests. I called yesterday afternoon and they reported she was eating and doing well. I was thrilled with the news and was able to let the tear ducts rest for several hours. The tears returned, however, when I talked to the doctor last night. After briefly viewing her blood results, it appeared she was suffering from kidney failure. :( He made the decision to up the fluids even more and re-test her in the morning (today). I decided late last night to go visit her so Michael and I went to the vet around 9:30p. She looked great, seemed to be very active and vocal. They said she was doing really well and everything APPEARED to be great. It definitely helped me sleep better, but I don't know how many times I woke up last nite and expected her to be cuddled up next to me. My heart is so sad right now and I am continuously praying for better results today. She has been with me through the best and worst of times and has been such a trooper throughout our 3 years together. I'm not dealing with this well but Michael and my mom have been so helpful and encouraging. I know Michael's having a hard time with this too but he's been very strong for me. So if you wouldn't mind saying a little prayer for Thumbs, I know we'd both really appreciate it....

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Why couldn't it have been a bird or a plane?

I might look back on this post one day and laugh, but I am going to make a very bold statement: Thumbs is just as difficult as a baby. A few examples:

1. I have to clean up her poop and pee
2. She wakes me up AT LEAST once every night, usually between the hours of 2-4a for her morning feeding. If I don't feed her, she cries until I do. And even when I DO feed her, she continues to need attention for the next 30 minutes.
3. She can't clean herself! I watched her attempt to do this today and she fell over. She requires "professional" cleaning every 3 months.
4. She doesn't play nicely with other animals, cats included. In fact, she downright hates them. Therefore, she must always be separated from anything that has paws. It is her way or the highway.

And the big whammy. The doctor asked that I put Thumbs in a secure place for the next several days so she would not hurt her paws by jumping on and off large things. As instructed, I put her litter box, food/ water, and (obviously) the cardboard lid in the shower of the guest bathroom and shut the glass doors. I receive a call from Michael at 11a and he asks why I shut Thumbs out of the shower. What? Turns out Thumbs is either (a) a pole-vaulter that doesn't need a pole, (b) Spiderman, or (c) a magician. She somehow got out of the shower. And what makes it borderline creepy is that the doors were still shut. What?! The glass doors are about 8 feet high and pretty difficult to move.

I wish that was the whole story but it looked like we'd walked in on a CSI set with all of the blood that was in the bathroom: counters, carpet, and door were covered. I didn't even know cats had that much blood IN them. :( Thumbs seemed to be ok once she was let out of the bathroom but her mom was being a typical mom and freaked out. I called the vet and they said, "oh... yea, that'll happen" so I guess it's more common than I thought. I did some research on blood stains and am going to pick up some hydrogen peroxide after work.

So, not only do I have a cat with extra phalanges, I have one that can either jump 8 ft or transport herself through glass doors. Long story short, my cat is better than yours (but sometimes I wish I had yours).

Not a fan of the paparazzi. Perhaps she IS spiderman...

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

What's up with these heart flutters?!

Michael and I have pronounced ourselves the Shower King and Queen. I am wearing a crown and a white sash as I type. No I'm not, but I would be much happier if I was.

Mom drove up on Friday and met us in Tulsa. After our session with Dr. Bill Buker, the 3 of us joined forces to drive to Coppell. The weather was less than pleasant and our trip did not begin until almost 6:30p. After a less than extraordinary dinner from McDonalds, we were on our way. The drive was non-eventful and Michael made great time. It was good to see his parents again and the 5 of us stayed up pretty late chatting.

Saturday I awoke to the smell of Phil's pancakes, which alone are worth a trip to Coppell. After breakfast, we returned a gift at Crate and Barrel and poked around the Galleria mall for a bit. We made sure to leave in plenty of time to change before the mom's shower at 2p.

It was beautiful! Craig's (Michael's best man) mom opened her house to all of us for the shower and it was so much fun. The flowers were beautiful, the cake was delicious, and all of the women made my mom and I feel right at home. I love southern hospitality! Michael and I were given several wonderful gifts and I was glad I was able to meet so many of the women who knew Michael when he was young. I heard several, "Before you knew Michael" stories and it was great. Turns out he has ALWAYS been nice and ALMOST ALWAYS been handsome. I guess he really did have one awkward stage, which lasted approximately 7 minutes. :)

After the shower, we picked up Phil and went back to Mi Cocina for round 2. Still a fantastic place, and still wishing it would consider opening a restaurant in Tulsa! After dinner, Linda, my mom and I made another dash to the Galleria in hopes of finding a rehearsal dinner dress for yours truly. I found several gorgeous dresses that did not look gorgeous on me. Oh well, I'm continuing to keep a lookout for the perfect dress!

Sunday was moving day! We picked up the U-Haul and loaded several pieces of Michael's furniture into the huge beast of a truck. The weather was PERFECT for moving: 95 degrees and felt like 115. Talk about a cheap sauna! After everything was loaded, the 3 of us took off in our 2 cars and followed each other until the roads diverged and mom took the one less traveled by (it indeed made all the difference).

Another great weekend!! The apartment actually looks furnished now and there aren't TOO many holes that need to be filled with stuff. We put all of our gifts away and I sat down at our new table and wrote thank-you notes. We're close enough to the wedding that I get little heart flutters occasionally when I think about it. I thought the heart flutters were reserved for Michael but I guess nerves can bring about them as well. :) Michael still seems to be as cool as a cucumber, so he is a good one to have around!

A bit of sad news: I took Thumbs into the vet on Monday morning to have her claws removed. Poor Thumbs. I never wanted to do this but with all of our new furniture it was pretty necessary. If she'd just keep her paws to herself we'd all be happy!! Michael and I are going to visit her tonight and then decide whether I am going to pick her up tomorrow or let her stay one more night at the vet. She is definitely a sick patient and will have to be watched pretty closely for the next week. To end on a lighter note, she has found a new home/toy that she loves: a box lid. As you can see, she is a little too large for it--Michael and I gave her her own "Thumbs-sized" lid but she prefers this one. If you look closely, you can see that the edge she is leaning on is about to break. Pooooor thumbs. :)

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Busy Times!

I told a bold-faced lie in my last post--turns out this post WILL include the word "wedding." Please forgive me...

Michael and I received our test results from our marriage counselor on Friday and we passed (WITH flying colors... but I don't want to brag)! We had a great session and mentioned topics that we thought would be worth discussing in the upcoming sessions. We meet again tomorrow and I'm excited to delve into the blessings and controversies of a successful marriage. :)

We left for Grand Lake early Saturday morning. It was such a beautiful weekend! Michael and I have had continous bad luck with the weather at Grand and this weekend made up for the past failed attempts. There were 7 of us who made the trip and as expected, the lake was packed. We managed to go out to Dripping Springs where all of the "cool kids" hang out and it was Spring Break 2000 all over again. I might as well be 75-years-old with the way I felt about the scantily clad girls and the fratastic guys. As most of you know, I am NOT good at hiding my feelings on my face so the 10 girls I made eye-contact with were (I'm sure) happy to see us go. :) Monday was a bit overcast but with our skin having a nice red glow, we figured a day of rest would be in our best interest. We drove back to Tulsa Monday afternoon and spent the rest of the day organizing the apartment.

Tuesday was an exciting day--mom drove to Romance, Arkansas and mailed the invitations! She brought her friend with her and they had an enjoyable time. I'm thinking everyone should get their invitations today or tomorrow--woooohooo! I guess now we sit back and hope for positive responses (or responses at all)!

Continuing the week, I picked up my dress yesterday and it fit perfectly. She did a great job and I'm so excited to wear it next week for the bridal portraits! I really do understand that episode of "Friends" when all of the girls are sitting around in wedding dresses. It's going to be hard to have it hanging in my closet and not wear it on a random day. Watching television in a beautiful gown is much more fun than sweatpants and a t-shirt.

And my last bit of fun news--Michael and I put together our new dining table the other night (thank you mom and dad!) and had our first meal on it last nite. Jambalaya with chicken, corn bread, and a 2-layer cake for dessert. No need to start calling us Martha Stewart and Emeril just yet (wouldn't they make an odd couple?) but we had a great time in the kitchen and the product was delicious. Even Thumbs gave a few meows of approval.

Tonight is our first dance class at the church. By the end of September, we will be trotting like foxes. Honestly, I have no idea why it is called the Foxtrot, but I'm excited to learn it. Lucky for us, we do not have 3 judges giving us scores afterwards and letting us know in a stern British accent that it is our time to go.

We leave tomorrow for Coppell for our final wedding shower! We rented a U-Haul for Sunday to bring back several pieces of furniture fom Michael's house. I know Michael is a bit nervous about driving such a big truck, but I know he'll do a great job--he's fabulous with the Exploder!

44 days! HOOORAY!!

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Thank You, Thank You, (Thank you...thank you)

There is a reason why I have waited until Wednesday to write my weekly weekend report. My back aches, my head aches, and last but not least, my fingers (especially the right ring finger) aches. So THIS is what a wedding does to you, eh?! :)

On Friday, Michael and I attended our second marriage counseling session with Dr. Bill Buker. Our test results have yet to come in due to a very odd circumstance. They were mailed in a timely fashion but the postman had Bill Buker down as being deceased so the test scores were returned to their origin. When Bill called the post office and heard the news, he was a bit taken aback and let them know that he was very much alive. We meet again this Friday and will hopefully receive the results then.

After the session we dropped by my apartment, scooped up Thumbs (ok, let's be honest, part of my backache is due to "scooping up" Thumbs-HA!) and drove home to Fort Smith. Michael's parents were already there so the 6 of us sat down to a nice dinner.

Saturday morning we woke up to some pretty monstrous claps of thunder. What's a wedding shower without a true shower? The weather cleared up pretty quickly and it was off to Ann Edward's house. I was very nervous driving there because we had only heard from people letting us know they would not be attending the shower. Not to mention, 13 of the guests were hostesses. No, you did not read that wrong, I actually said 13. (Let's take a brief moment to allow that astronomical number to sink in.....) Anywho, I worried for nothing because there was a great turnout! I enjoyed myself immensely and Michael enjoyed leaving immensely. :) It was wonderful seeing old friends, school teachers, etc. And while this might sound trite, we got a lot of AWESOME stuff! WOOHOO!

After the shower the 4 of us drove back home, exhausted from small talk. We ate a quick lunch and Michael proceeded to take a nice nap. The girls got back in the car to exchange a few duplicates and look for more reception decorations. It was an extremely long day that ended at Calico County (yeeeehaw). I tell you what, there is nothing in life (exhaustion, anxiety, etc.) that a batch of fried okra can't fix!

Michael's parents left Sunday morning and after having some Geno's pizza, we took off as well. I was very proud of us, we got back to my apartment and immediately put away all of our gifts. It was a daunting task but we enjoyed it--it is crazy to see all of these cool gadgets and realize they are all ours!

I wish I could say "and so ended another great weekend" but it kept going. I spent several hours on Monday and Tuesday writing thank you notes (I believe it ended up being 60 total) for the gifts from Saturday. My mom also drove up to help clean the apartment since Kaitlin moved out this past weekend. It was very sad to come back to an empty place and not see Kait or George. It was a great 1.5 years living together and Michael will have some big shoes to fill (even bigger than his typical size 12s)!

Mom also helped with the invitations and envelopes. That task, my friends, blew me away. I was thinking "Oh, how long can it take to stamp, stuff, and lick a few hundred envelopes?" 5 hours is the answer. It was ridiculous! Leslie was kind enough to address all of them for us as a wedding gift and I can't even imagine how long THAT task must have taken. It really felt like the envelopes were multiplying at an exponential rate.

This post is also multiplying at an exponential rate so I will go ahead and end it (as well as the suffering). One last detail: Mom and I went to a seamstress yesterday afternoon to have my dress altered and bustled. I was so happy, we got to the place (never been there before) and it turned out to be the same lady who altered my bridesmaid's dress for Leslie's wedding. I thought she'd gone out of business but she'd only moved to a new location--HOOORAY!

We are going to Grand Lake this weekend with Kait and Stephen so my next post should not even include the word "wedding" and it BETTER not include the word "shower" (I'm praying for a sunny weekend). Until then... :)

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

A Shower that Didn't Involve Rain

I have reached the point where I think about our wedding, marriage, showers, etc., 24 hours of the day (I'm including sleep because I continue to have the wedding dreams/nightmares). I suppose for some brides this begins when they are newly engaged and lasts throughout the engagement, but I have just recently noticed my obscene obsession with becoming Mrs. Haynes. Though it is not (and never will be) my place to advise future brides on what they should/should not do, I don't mind giving a pre-warning that having a long engagement is not all it's cracked up to be. The only thing it has heightened is my nervousness for the big day. What if I trip? What if I faint? What if I say, "I Michael take you Meredith"?! Silly worries that can't seem to leave my nervous mind.

That being said, we had a WONDERFUL wedding weekend in Coppell. Karen and Myers hosted a couples shower for us on Saturday afternoon. My parents drove up early Saturday morning and the 6 of us headed to the 2p shower. I met some wonderful people and we received some great gifts! Thank you notes go in the mail tomorrow! We played one shower game where Michael and I held one of our own shoes and one of each other's shoes. Karen would ask a question and we'd have to raise the shoe that we felt matched the answer. For example, she asked, "Who is more accident prone?" and both of my shoes flew up (thanks, Michael). We had our backs to each other so we weren't able to see what the other answered. It was hilarious!

After the shower, Michael and I took a nap and our parents visited. Karen and Myers joined us at Mi Cocina for dinner and then we all went back to the Haynes' house for dessert. It had been a LONG day!

My parents left early Sunday morning to drive back to the Fort and we drove to Dallas to check out a Crate and Barrel outlet. Our everyday dishes have been discontinued but we were told we could find the remaining dishes at the outlet. It was a less than successful trip and we both left pretty bummed. We drove to another Crate and Barrel (of the non-outlet variety) and found some dishes there that we really liked. They aren't nearly as spunky or retro, but they are beautiful and will be put to good use as we both like to eat. :)

We didn't leave Coppell until 5p and it was a nice drive home. We spent most of it talking about how great our family and friends are, where we are going to put our new gifts, who really is more accident prone (still me), listened to good music as well as our "first dance" song, and practiced reciting our vows a few times as well. I'm so lucky to have this man in my life!!! We are going to be married in LESS than 2 months (as of yesterday!) and I could not be more thrilled. I asked him on the drive home if he preferred "for as long as we both shall live" or "until death do us part" and of course he chose the first because he's such a happy, optimistic man who loves LIFE. And it doesn't stop there--for some reason he loves accident-prone, bad-driving, key-losing, horrid-dancing me.

I couldn't love anyone more.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Weekend with the Guys

(written by Michael)

This weekend most of the groomsmen in our wedding came to Tulsa for the PGA Championship at Southern Hills. Wes had his second experience in his life in a plane and had the lady next to him rubbing his back, asking him not to throw up and start the chain reaction down the row. Craig flew in from California where he had been visiting Jess in perfect weather. I think he complained it was hot while we were still in the air conditioned airport. Myers and Karen may have had the easiest trip as they got off from work a little early and drove up. I take back the easiest trip part…Jamie lives two doors down so his trip was on foot. Roman definitely had the longest trip as he flew in from South Carolina after having run for 35 minutes directly following a 45 minute bike ride. Triathalons sound terrible. Brian wasn’t able to come up because he was in a wedding last weekend in Dallas.

We tried to show everyone bits and pieces of Tulsa whether it was lunch at Utica Square, dinner and a cigar out at the Riverwalk, or to everyone’s favorite interurban grill Baxter’s downtown and its famous honey pepper bacon burger. Wes kept calling it the honey butter burger or something with butter, but it was good nonetheless. Plus Karen won a giant golf bag in a giveaway at the restaurant. We also found some time to enjoy/suffer the sun at the pool and catch a movie.

Craig and Meredith cooked us pancakes and muffins for breakfast on Saturday so we grabbed a quick bite at BBD Sunday morning before golf. We got out to the course between noon and 1 and the heat was brutal. Parking and all that was actually very organized and easy to deal with. We walked in to the grounds and went to the PGA store first to check out all the memorabilia. Just the walk from where the shuttles dropped us off, through the gates, and to the store had us sweating. I’ve never seen so many polos and hats in my life. Craig picked up some gifts, and Roman and I bought replica 18th hole flags that were really awkward to carry around all day.

From there it was out to the course. We think Tiger was practicing on the putting green as we were trying to make our way in because everyone was standing around packed in a walkway next to the green like cattle. We eventually found an area under some trees between the 9th and 18th fairways that was pretty breezy and gave us a slight view of the tee box on #1.

Big John Daly nearly killed us with an errant drive at 9. It hit the tree limbs above us and fell down on a lady about 15 feet away. I know the marshals are supposed to find the ball and make sure people don’t mess with it, but all these fans started sprinting after it too as it rolled down the hill. It’s a golf ball! I’ve never seen his ball and I promise I can describe it. Maybe people wanted to see if he had a Hooters logo on his ball that matched his shirt. He finally made his way down and we had to spread apart like the Red Sea to give him an alley to hit through. He managed to hit some more branches and get it to squirt out. As he walked past us you could tell he was really hot and tired and he was only halfway done.

We heard them announce Tiger on the first tee from where we were the crowd went crazy. He teed off and then they announced his playing partner Stephen Ames. That was the most pathetic golf clap I’ve ever heard. I felt bad for the guy. Once he had teed off they made their way down and you saw the bleachers next to the tee box empty out like they were on fire and oceans of people made their way down each side of the first fairway.

Shortly after that Craig found us a spot on a hill that was right next to the 10th tee box and overlooked the 18th green. It was next to a couple of TV towers so we were only in the sun for an hour or so before they shaded us. It was pretty cool to watch everyone finish off their rounds on the 18th as well as being able to turn around and see all these pro golfers no more than 30 feet away on the tee box behind us.

Ernie Els stared down the 10th fairway for a bit before he reached for his bag. This was a dog leg right and most everyone had been playing it safe and hitting an iron. He grabs his driver and the crowd lets him hear their excitement. We were close enough to see him break a grin at all the cheering. He steps up and crushes this drive over the trees. I think it may have gone into orbit temporarily.

Tiger came up a couple of groups later and he and his caddie each had a banana before he teed off. Tiger walked over and threw his peel away and a lady definitely grabbed it out of the trash within a couple of minutes. He teed off and was business as usual. You can tell he’s changed since he first turned pro, but you can’t tell how massive he really is until you see him that close up. He’s a beast.

The rest of the day we watched guys play the 18th and enjoyed some golf course burgers. Not one person birdied that hole all day so we saw a ton of pars and worse. You could see the crowd start to swell once Tiger got to the 18th. Els and Woody Austin made a brief challenge early in the day but Tiger was able to hold them off without too much trouble. It was a pretty surreal scene when he walked up the 18th fairway and reappeared on the 18th green. He had to tip his hat multiple times at the ovation. He nearly sank a considerably long birdie putt, but finished it off with the par and went immediately to his caddie. It was a lot of fun to watch and it’s pretty neat to say that we saw Tiger Woods win one of his majors when he will most likely break the record some day.

It was great to see everyone, and even better that they got to see some more of Tulsa since some of them had previously only been in town for a day or so at a time. We had a great time and I’m excited to get together again in a couple of months!

Monday, August 6, 2007


Today, August 6, is an extraordinary day. You might be wondering what makes it so exciting since for all practical purposes it is just another Monday. A hot Monday, but just another Monday. Turns out it is so much more: we have reached 75 days until Michael and I say "I DO!" You still might be wondering what the big deal is... We decided to celebrate tonight with a bottle of leftover champagne from the bachelorette party. We were going to do this at 100 days but Michael was sick so we figured 75 days sounded just as nice. If that isn't an extraordinary day, I just don't know what is.

Two of my good friends/co-workers became engaged on Friday night. (Do you "become" engaged? I don't know...) Several weeks prior, I had heard from Josh about the plans of the proposal and I had heard from Jaclyn the anxiousness of a girl who is ready to be married. It was neat to hear both perspectives and I could not be happier for the two of them. :)

Michael and I had a low-key weekend. On Friday we went to our first pre-marital counseling session in Jenks. We had a nice time and got along great with Dr. Bill Buker. He let us know that we would spend 6 sessions together so I am interested to see what we learn about marriage, each other, and ourselves! We took a test on Friday and will get the results at our next meeting. Here's hoping we passed! (Perhaps that will be my toast this evening!)

Michael's bachelor party is this weekend so his groomsmen are coming in from all over to be with him. I know it will be a lot of fun and I plan on being a good future bride and staying out of it. Karen is coming up with Myers and will keep me entertained while they do "men things." Hopefully the stripper pole won't make an appearance this time around!!

Monday, July 30, 2007

Exit 179

I have noticed that as we get closer to the wedding, weekends are no longer a time to relax. The good news is that what is in the place of relaxing is just as fun. :)

Friday night Michael and I met up with some of his work friends and had dinner at Los Cabos (Riverwalk in Jenks). My lunch consisted of mashed potatos and applesauce (don't ask) so I was starving. Folks, I devoured an entire basket of chips by myself. I was quite proud of myself until they brought out 4 more baskets of chips in less than 30 minutes. I had a slight hatred for corn and its by-products by the end of the night. After dinner and a delicious strawberry margarita, the group walked over to the Cigar Box. I found a small cigar that sounded odd/fantastic so I gave it a try. Cigars are one of those things that I enjoy for about 5 minutes and then I spend the rest of the time contemplating why I ever thought it was a good idea to purchase such a thing. The contemplation resumes when I wake up the next morning and my mouth tastes like an ashtray.

Saturday was great--we enjoyed the sun for a few hours and then drove to Jenks to check out the Parade of Homes. We found one house that might as well have been called the "Michael and Meredith plan." It was perfect! AND affordable! AND I want to live in a house RIGHT NOW! :) We spoke with a nice man who solidified our thoughts on wanting a house as soon as possible. Now where is that money tree I've been trying to find for so many years?! The fake trees in our apartment only grow dust. Saturday evening was spent watching the movie, "The Prestige." It was excellent! We gave it two thumbs up (Thumbs the cat did not participate).

On Sunday we drove to Shawnee, Oklahoma to visit Leslie and drop off the envelopes with the master invite list. Michael and I had some great conversations on the way, which caused us to miss our exit completely. At mile marker 171, Michael noted that we were supposed to take exit 179. Turns out the next exit was not until 166 so we had 26 miles of extra driving. I guess I'd prefer missing an exit due to lively conversation over crickets chirping in the background or my fiance snoring in the passenger seat. :) We finally made it to the lovely town of Shawnee and enjoyed visiting with Leslie. After taking her to a local favorite for lunch, we got back on the road and drove home. Michael spent the rest of the day cleaning and catching up on work and I watched a girly movie that I knew I could never convince him to enjoy: Catch and Release. 1 thumb down.

Karen and Myer's shower invitation came in the mail on Saturday and is now proudly up on our fridge! I wouldn't say time is flying, but it has moved from a snail's pace to a Jeep Liberty's pace (who just so happens to miss exits). I blame it on the new license plate.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Mildly Depressing

It's official. I am now a bad driver:

Quite possibly the world's ugliest license plate--what was Oklahoma thinking??!

The good news: In 3-4 long months, I will be the proud owner of something much, much better. :)

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Bug Off

This just in! My dad, the bugologist, recently discovered what attacked us on Saturday. Allow me to introduce you to the sweat bee! Isn't it a beaut!?

I'm a little disappointed--most of the sites I've read rate the pain of the sting very low (see "pain tolerance of a 2-year-old" in post below). I was just starting to stand proud with my "I've been attacked by killer bees!" story and now I find out they bit me because I was sweating and their stinging pain is considered minimal. Shoulders are now slouched and embarrassment is at an all-time high.

Let's end this post the proper way, shall we? Michael and I are getting married in 88 days! I have been playing phone tag with Bill Buker, our pre-marital counselor. He's on vacation this week so we are going to meet with him next week and take the PREPARE test. I have been quizzing Michael with random questions to see if we have the same thoughts on different issues. Hey, I was raised not to fail tests, I don't want to start now. :) I'm really not concerned, I figure this test will only solidify my thoughts that we were MFEO (Made for Each Other--"Sleepless in Seattle"). How is that for an optimistic bride!?

Monday, July 23, 2007

Not everything He created was good...

Another weekend behind us and another story to share....

Michael's parents and my parents both came to Tulsa this weekend to visit. My parents primary reason for visiting was to take some pictures of us for the newspaper (announcing our engagement) and also some for the reception. Michael's parents decided to join the photo shoot so the 6 of us met at my place at 10:00 am and drove to the beautiful Woodward Park at 21st and Peoria. I've always seen people taking pictures there so I figured we might as well steal their idea and leave all creative thoughts alone. It was already very hot so we were hoping it would go by fast.

Everything started out great. Mom and dad were both taking pictures and Michael and I enjoyed being able to sit so close in our parents presence. :) We would walk 50 feet, see a neat spot, take a few pictures and then move on. The sun continued to play the bad guy so we kept walking further into the "forest" to stay in the shade. And then, it happened...

Michael and I were taking pictures next to this bush when I felt a little pain below my knee on my right leg. I just assumed I had scratched my leg while we traipsed around the park and tried to ignore the pain. We finished taking the picture and I went back to retrieve something when someone said "watch out, it looks like there are some...." That's all I heard before I looked down and saw that I had bees or wasps (we're still not sure) all over me. My legs, my arms, my shirt, my feet, COVERED. So of course I started screaming. Dad kept saying "calm down, they don't bite" (as I feel one, two, three, four hundred pricks of pain) and I don't remember it well but I'm sure I looked like I was on fire with the way I was running around. Of course I start crying as I realize that I have been attacked by some horrid family whose nest I interrupted.

So ended the photo shoot.

We walked back to the car and the tears refuse to stop. 50% out of pain, 50% out of complete embarrassment that my future in-laws are seeing me so upset. I was hoping to make it at least a couple of years before they found out I have the pain tolerance of a 2-year-old. My parents and I drove home while Michael and his parents went to the store to buy some Benadryl. I continued to fret. There was never a grand count, but the bites were between 8-10. 5 on my left arm (including 1 on a knuckle!), at least 2 on my stomach, and another 2 on my leg. They all hurt SO BAD! Michael's dad made some paste with baking soda and water and mom nursed my wounds. Dad was also tormented by the BEEzlebub family and had several of his own bites to deal with.

So there you have it. The photo shoot from hell. I will no longer drive by that park with pleasant thoughts. In fact, I might avoid it altogether.

On a happier note, the Benadryl made me so out of it that I don't remember much else that happened on Saturday. The bites stopped hurting that evening and now just itch. I'm really wondering how this creature made it on Noah's boat--it is 100% useless as far as I'm concerned. The 6 of us had a nice time together and my parents got some great shots pre-attack. I'm already kicking myself for an earlier post where I asked "What are the chances of everything else going that well for the next 3 months?" ARGH! :)

A ridiculous quote: "Listen! O, listen! Here come the hum the golden bees, underneath full blossomed trees, At once with glowing fruit and flowers crowned." (Right. Go to hell golden bees.)

Monday, July 16, 2007

4 Seats Filled Around the Breakfast Table

Have you ever spent an entire weekend reminiscing? I was lucky enough to have that experience over the past several days. My brother flew to Tulsa on Friday and I introduced him to the delicious "honey-pepper bacon burger" at Baxters. Afterwards we picked up Thumbs and drove home to Fort Smith. It has been a long time since it was just the two of us and we had a great time catching up. He gave me some early marriage tips and I tried my best to listen and not interrupt. My first watery eye experience (among many this weekend) came as soon as we were greeted at the door by our parents. I realize I'm already an emotional sap with this wedding approaching, but the last time it was just the 4 of us was over 3 years ago. It was one of those moments where you breathe easier and know everything is going to be ok. We stayed up until after 1a sharing stories and laughing.

Saturday was spent visiting my mom's friends and perusing leftover wedding decorations. We picked up several items from both Susan Echols and Lynn Horn--it was very generous of them and I'm excited to use all that they let us borrow! We also went through 15 picture albums looking for pictures of me for the rehearsal dinner video. It's a little depressing seeing so many cute pictures of Justin and so few of me! I will always believe there IS such thing as an unattractive baby and I have my own baby pictures to show you if you don't believe me! :) Justin met up with some friends on Saturday night and together they went to their 10-year-reunion. I was very anxious to hear details since I will be planning my own class reunion in 3 years! Mom and I went through an old chest looking for my parent's unity candle and we ran across their wedding album. It was great to see them looking so happy and I KNOW the feeling they had of being so anxious to begin their lives together as husband and wife. I wonder if they had any idea on their wedding day that they would still be so happy 37 years later? I know I mentioned this on our "wedding website," but it's worth mentioning again: If Michael and I experience half the joy that my parents have shared together I will feel so fortunate! I was also able to look through my own baby book filled with stories of first steps and childhood prayers. I could tell I was a very happy baby.

Sunday morning was spent listening to stories from Justin's reunion--He didn't come home until after 4a! It was neat to hear about old friends from so long ago! Some had changed dramatically while others were the exact same (perhaps with less hair or a few kids, but still the same). :)

We set up the camera on Sunday afternoon and took some pictures of the 4 of us together. The next time we take a picture like that I will be wearing my wedding dress and my last name will no longer match theirs. I think we all knew how important it was to have this weekend to spend together and cherished it we did! Please understand that I am so excited about starting my new life with Michael and I have been wishing my life away for the past 8 months so I can be married to him, but when we said goodbye and did the Besancon family "group hug" I didn't want to let go. This weekend was my chance to re-live the past 25 years and prepare myself for the next 50. It was filled with sentiment and laughter and was the "closure" I needed of being my parent's single daughter and my brother's baby sister. I drove back to Tulsa with a smile on my face.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Double Digits!

And we're down to 99 days!!! I'm just a little excited... :)

Also--our wedding invitations arrived on Monday--they turned out great! What are the chances of everything else going that well for the next 3 months?

Sunday, July 8, 2007

What Is That Thing In The Sky? Oh, It's The SUN!

What a fantastically marvelous weekend!!! For the first time in about 17 years, the sun made an appearance and stuck around for the entire weekend! I must admit, I was skeptical--I looked for any and all signs of inclement weather and it never showed up. I am one of those people who just FEELS better when the sun is out and doing its thing.

Friday night, Kait, Steve, Michael and I had a Mexican fiesta. What was going to be a low-key evening for Michael and I turned into a HUGE meal that we all took part in creating. I love that couple, I am going to miss our sporadic evenings when Kait and I are no longer roommates.

Saturday was spent lounging at the pool for 5, yes 5 hours. My skin turned a dark shade of red and I reveled in the burn. Anything to replace the pasty white skin that had been there before (yes, I know, skin cancer, blah blah blah). Some younger DGs were also at the pool so we had a great time catching up with them. Nothing is better than a story told by Ashley Smith. :)

Saturday night we rode the train. The Sushi Train. It was... ok. I had heard that it was competitive to In the Raw and I disagree immensely. I will say, Michael and I had 3 rolls there for the price of his favorite roll at In the Raw, so for a couple trying to save money (Michael and Meredith), it was a decent deal.

To finish up the weekend, the 4 of us went to church this morning and then I spent the rest of the afternoon reading the newspaper and Barack Obama's book, The Audacity of Hope--I highly recommend it to anyone. Even you dad. I'm about to go to a birthday celebration at PF Chang for one of Michael's friends from work. Afterwards I will start preparing myself for a long week at work! Things have started moving pretty fast (getting ready for the "back to school" excitement already!) so I'm desperately trying to keep up.

And I'll leave you with this: "Anytime you hear someone say it's a win-win situation, they either don't know all the facts or they have a stuttering problem." -Aim Low (by Dave Dunseath) Great "pool read."

Friday, June 29, 2007

Nightmare on Denver Street

After I started planning our wedding, I was told about the "wedding nightmares" that were common to girls preparing for their big day. I was excited about this concept because I have always had some pretty crazy dreams and have been given the "gift" of remembering most of them. I recently started having these wedding nightmares and I figured I might record a few of them so (hopefully) after the wedding I can say "Whew! Thank God that was only a dream!"

A dream from a few nights ago: It's our wedding day and I have forgotten to make the makeup appointments for the girls. I'm frantically trying to find someone that can help. Then I realize, dun dun duuuuuun, I don't have a dress either. So I decide that I'm going to go for the casual look and wear a white skirt and white tank top. I know it will be a pretty ensemble. So I put on my "beach wear" and start wondering where my mom has been the whole day. She finally shows up mere minutes before the wedding and lets me know that she has been at the beauty shop all day getting her hair and makeup done. She looks at me, tells me I "look like shit" and then comments, "At least one of us is going to look good today." And then I wake up. WOW.

Last night's dream: It's the day of the wedding and I receive my flowers. They are HIDEOUS! My calla lilies are the color of some awful pink mess and the stems have all started breaking. The bridesmaids flowers are one single daisy each. I'm furious so I call the florist and they make all new arrangements. I put my dress on, which is a 2-piece short dress that has sparkly blue puffy sleeves (I'm not kidding) and shows about 3 inches of my stomach. What's so sad about this dream is that I don't freak out about this dress, I actually think I look uber hot. Now it's time for the wedding, but in order for me to get to my "place," I have to walk in front of the entire congregation so everyone sees me before the wedding. I take my new flowers (which are about 2 feet by 2 feet in size and resemble monkey grass) and hide behind them as I walk to my spot. My bridesmaids are waiting for me and I notice the processional group is massive. Turns out there is a parade nearby that is going to walk down the aisle and get the congregation "pumped" for my wedding. I tell the girls I'm not that excited about this idea and Leslie says, "Oh don't worry, I had them at my wedding and they were a huge hit." And then I wake up. WOW.

I need to stop eating so late before I go to bed. :)

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

The Only Things Missing Were Braces And Acne

This past weekend, Kaitlin, Stephen, Michael and myself drove to Arlington, Texas for a weekend of adolescent fun. Friday night we met up with Stephen's friend from college, Johnny, and his wife Lindsay. The 6 of us went to the Rangers vs. Astros game, which turned out to be a blast. Sammy Sosa hit his 601st homerun about 20 feet from us. There were 2 other homeruns hit during the game and one of those also landed in our area. It was pretty neat. We drank $6 beers (they were not covered in gold, I checked) and I even managed to get a wave from the Rangers right fielder. Afterwards, we split up from the other 4 and stayed the night at Michael's parents house. I went to sleep at 1:30a but woke up at 7:30a with the biggest grin on my face. It was the day I had been looking forward to for so long: SIX FLAGS! We met the other 4 at the park right when it opened and spent the next 7 hours riding roller coasters. Not to be a penny pincher.... but Six Flags is officially ridiculous. To park your car it costs $15; tickets to the theme park are $47 each (luckily we were given comp tickets so we didn't pay a thing). While both prices are absurd, my main problem was with lunch. I had a cheeseburger, Michael had chicken strips and we shared a coke for a total price of $25.00. AHHHHHH!!!! "I remember when I was a kid and it cost $1 for a decent hamburger. I also walked to school every day, uphill both ways."

Enough ranting on Six Flags--we had a great time and left the park exhausted. Michael and I had dinner with his parents and our friends Karen and Myers, and I was asleep by 10p. A little depressing that a theme park kicked my ass. The next morning we had breakfast with Michael's parents, picked up Kait and Steve, shopped at Northpark Mall for a bit, and then drove home. It was a great trip with great friends. Perhaps we can have a Rangers/Six Flags reunion in the future but we might wait a few years. Long lines in hot weather is not something you want to do every day.

In other news, Karen and Myers told us they are going to throw us a couples wedding shower in Coppell on August 18. We're really excited and very grateful. It will be neat to meet several of the Coppell families before the big day. Michael is SO excited about meeting the Fort Smith group the following weekend for another wedding shower. Haha. I don't understand why being in a room with 75 women is such a problem for him! :)

We are at 116 days!! I looked ahead and realized July 13 will be 99 days. I do believe that will call for a celebration!!

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

It's Official!

We received our first wedding gift yesterday!! It's sitting in my parent's house just waiting to be opened. ARGH!

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Sleeping With My Eyes Open

It is Tuesday morning and I am in quite the robotic state. It has been a crazy past few days, and while I wouldn't change any of it, the lack of sleep is pretty overwhelming. Over the weekend, I drove with Kaitlin and Aubrey to the lovely city of Kansas City, MO. The reason? My bachelorette party! Friends came from all over the country to share this special weekend with me. Those in attendance: Kaitlin, Julie, Leslie, Emily, Summer, Melissa, Karen, Cari, Aubrey, Jamie, and Sara. I had an absolute blast and I think the others had a great time as well. Putting 12 girls in a small space for 48 hours could have been a tragic site, but everyone got along and enjoyed each other's company. Friday night we picked up several girls from the airport and spent the night at Summer's new house. After several bottles of wine and 4 bags of popcorn, we called it a night. Saturday was spent shopping on the Plaza and then everyone came back to the hotel for the shower at 5:30p. It was so much fun--I've always been a big fan of lingerie so this was my dream shower. Who needs pots and pans when you can get matching unds?! :) We had dinner at Brio and then out on the town to several bars. The first bar, Blonde, was straight out of LA. They had several bouncers at the front and the red velvet rope keeping people out. After thinking about it for far too long, they finally let the 12 of us in. RUDE! We had a good time and I ended up on the stripper pole at one point. Let me explain something: I was not drunk and my "dancing" included hanging on the pole and smiling at my friends. It was peer pressure of the best kind and there are some great pictures from this event. I will say, I was completely sober and appropriate, but if I ever had any desire to run for president, I have ruined all chances--the pictures definitely don't scream "sober" even if that was truly the case. Afterwards we headed to another bar (can never remember the name) and after several hours ended our evening there. I had such a blast with these girls! It was so neat to see friends from every part of my life (child, high school, college, post-college) and see them get along with one another so well. There were several moments this weekend where I had fun memories with each of the girls flash through my mind. I'm glad I have this fantastic weekend to log away as well--it will not be forgotten.

I only have 2 negative things to say about the weekend. The first was the drive home. Not only were we all pretty tired, but the drive was less than thrilling. We had lunch in Iola, Kansas and I can't think of one nice thing to say about the town. I guess it's impressive that a 4-letter word has 3 vowels. That's about it. The other is that I missed Father's Day with my dad. :(

Several months ago after we chose this weekend for my bachelorette party, I decided I was going to go home on Monday (yesterday) to surprise my parents for Father's Day (Sunday) and for my mom's birthday (today). I left work early yesterday, picked up a cake in Ft. Smith, and definitely surprised them! I hope it was a good one--it was so great to see them and be back in AR, even for one night. I woke up early this morning and was on the road by 6:30a.

So now you might understand why I am at work and able to sleep with my eyes open. I've had a few co-workers come in and say hi and I believe each of them has been greeted with a wave and a yawn (oops).

If the only repercussion of this fantastic weekend is a bit of drowsiness, I believe I can consider it a great success. I'll take the yawns any day if it means having all of my best friends together in one place and being able to spend Fathers Day and mom's birthday with both of my parents. That's what vitamins are for, right?! :)

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

I'm A Blogger!

Hello all. I'm not sure how long this will last--my record for journals/diaries is 2 weeks. But, this is such an important time in my life that I thought a blog would be perfect. I have several friends who have a blog to showcase their ever-growing belly or their ever-growing children. Seeing that I do not have children (can't say the same about the ever-growing belly, thank you metabolism for halting), I guess the pictures will just be from weekend festivities where a camera was invited.

I am SO excited about the next 4 months. I remember getting excited when the countdown reached 299 days, and now it is at 130. I hibernated with wedding planning for about 5 months and now my type-A personality has reared its OCD head and I'm back in action. We sent out the save-the-date cards last week and are ordering the invitations tomorrow. Mom kindly let me know that once the invites are ordered there is no turning back. Thank you mom. :) All joking aside, she has been a fabulous wedding planner and I would be going crazy without her.

Michael has been the perfect fiance throughout the engagement. He has been a part of every decision, even if the conversation goes something like this...

Me: What do you think about these invites?
Him: They are nice, what other options are you considering?
Me: That is not important. Pretty sure we're using these.
Him: OK.

What a great guy!! :)

My bachelorette party is this weekend in Kansas City and I am so excited to see my friends! They are coming in from all over the country, which I never expected could happen! Last time I was in Kansas City I ended up on stage with a band and a tambourine. I'm hoping for a second go at that because the tambourine has become one of my favorite instruments. :)

Alright, I'll wrap this up for today. Have a good one!


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