The Last One


On Tuesday night I had my last bridal shower. It was held at my church, and I was happy to see people there supporting Jordan and I, joining in the excitement of our wedding being just over two weeks away. We got some much-needed stuff like a vacuum cleaner, bookshelf, coffee maker, TV trays, and a host of other useful items that I can't wait to find a place for. 

"Finding a place" being the important phrase. We're going to have to be creative about fitting stuff into the apartment. 

So as the wedding nears, people keep asking me if there's a lot left to do. The answer is both yes and no. Yes because there are still some small details to take care of--logistics, if you will, of cleaning up the reception and moving the gifts and taking care of the guest book; there are gifts to get for certain people and final bills due and time lines to figure out. All that stuff really can't be finalized until we get really close. 

But we (basically my mom and I) have done a lot. Yesterday we met with Kristen, the photographer, and we talked about pictures I wanted and where and of whom and the time line of everything the way I envision it in my head. And we met with the manager of the hotel where people have booked rooms, and we made sure everything was looking good over there. We talked to Casey, who is manager at the activity center where we're having the reception. She drew out a map for us of where we'd like the tables set up and where the dance floor was going to be. We chose a linen color and made a final decision on how many tables and chairs to rent. 

We handed off the last of the flowers we bought for the centerpieces to Janay, who's working on the flowers and getting vases for them, etc. 

My mom also helped me hang a few things on the wall in our apartment, so now it's starting to look cute and homey.

Now, something really important. Finding the perfect (nice but cheap) bedroom set. Currently in our soon-to-be bedroom is a dresser with my clothes in it and a long mirror. Nothing else. And since in sixteen days we plan on living and sleeping there, we really need to do something about that situation.

There's also a small issue of registering at Home Depot, which I won't go into right now. 

I'm excited, nervous, and everything in between. 
Ready or not, it's coming.

In Nineteen Days


Nineteen days until the wedding. I'm sure there's something, but right now I can't think of anything I've been so excited about. Nineteen days until I can wear my pretty dress in front of all my family and friends, and Jordan and I can dance, and then we can head off to San Antonio for our honeymoon! A whole week off work? Yes, please.

Have I mentioned that I'm excited? 

On Thursday I drove to Texas, and my brothers were home for the weekend too, so the six of us were all together.  (My brothers kept saying it was the "last time as all Reeses.")

On Friday, my sister and I went shopping. I called Jordan in the morning to say hello then told him I was going to get "things" to wear on our honeymoon. One of my brothers was standing nearby and made a face at me.

"Things?" Jordan said. 
"Yeah. Things like shorts and T-shirts and maybe a cute dress," I replied. 
He laughed. "Oh okay."
That guy.

And things I did get. I had a bit of money leftover from Christmas, and I spent it all. I'd been saving it for something special, and I decided some new clothes was just the thing. Also, my fourteen-year-old sister is surprisingly helpful when it comes to clothes shopping. Opinionated and not shy to give advice, she's brutally honest, and I trust her because she's a pretty darn cute dresser herself. 

Later, after my mom had gotten home from work and dinner had been all cleaned up, we set out to find a movie to watch. Everyone had an opinion, but no one actually wanted to look through our huge stack of DVDs to find anything. Finally, my mom said, "I'll pick one. What genre do you want?"

We all said something funny.

A minute later she emerged. "This is the one," she said, holding it up to show us the cover.
It was Double Jeopardy, a movie that isn't even sort of funny. Not really sure what happened there but whatever.

So we did that on Friday night, and on Saturday I drove around running wedding errands with Mom, one of which included a visit back to see my Italian seamstress. In lieu of a bustle that hooks on my butt, we're going with a ribbon-on-my-wrist sort of situation, so she (the seamstress) sewed a piece of ribbon to the dress and then looped it so I can stick my wrist through to hold the train up during the reception.

I tried the dress on just to see how it felt, and I'd been wearing it for no more than three minutes when I heard a snap; I looked down to see a ribbon hanging from the back of the dress. It had broke. 

"Oops," I said, looking guiltily at my mom.
"Well," she said, "I'll have to call Maria."

I was worried she'd be mad, but when we told her what had happened she just grunted and said, "Eh."

Long story short, we used a thicker piece of ribbon, and I think it's going to work. In case of an emergency, we'll be sure to carry a few safety pins, but I think it'll be okay. Good thing I tried the dress on beforehand, though, because that could have been bad. And when we left, Maria said, "That's, eh, why you be careful, okay? I sewed it four times now, so it, eh, should work."

I guess we'll see if it will work. In nineteen days.

This Is What I Know


Christ has died and
Christ is risen
Christ will come again

Oh, what a glorious day that will be.

Happy Easter!

This Came In the Mail Yesterday


Oh my freaking goodness.

And....this is why you get married.

Kidding. Or am I? Now I'm not sure.

I don't care if I'm not supposed to use wedding presents yet; I'm going to use this immediately. To bake something. Maybe five things.

Or maybe I'll just stare at it. It's so pretty and red.

Spiders and Feminism


I'm scared of snakes. Scared out of my mind, in fact. Jokes where people throw a rubber snake on me because they think it's funny don't go over so well with me. I scream and then start crying. I refuse to even step foot inside the reptile house at the zoo.

I'm really not, however, scared of spiders. Yeah, they're creepy and have lots of legs, and they might even be poisonous. And I would never want one on me. Still, I don't freak out and run away screaming when I see one (like I would if I saw a snake).

The point of all of this is to say that two days ago I was on the phone with Jordan when I turned and saw a dangling black thing coming from the ceiling. Where it came from, I have no idea (I know it came from the ceiling, but I mean where did it come from?); but it was there, and it was slowly making it's way down, probably looking for a nice head to drop on.

"Oh my gosh!" I said.
"What?" It was Jordan, on the other end of the phone.
"It's a spider! Ihavetogokillit."
I didn't even give him time to finish; I just hung up the phone and ran to get a paper towel, with which I was going to crush the life out of that spider.

It was fairly large. I mean, it wasn't huge, but it wasn't one of those little baby ones.

I stood on a chair and positioned the paper towel evenly between my hands. Since the thing was hanging, my plan was to go from the bottom. I reached out, and just as I was about to lay on the death squash, it crawled farther down the string (or made the string or something; I don't really know much about spiders). This freaked me out just a bit, because I became worried that if I missed or failed to adequately kill it on the first press, it would fall down my sleeve and run around inside my shirt. Then what would I do? Standing on my chair, I hesitated, staring at the spider up close, daring it to move again.

Finally, I decided this was stupid and I should stop playing the eye-blinking game with a dumb spider.

Pull yourself together, I thought. Just kill it.

Then, as if I needed verbal affirmation of my fortitude, I said out loud,

"You are a strong, confident woman."

Nevermind that I was the one who said it, it was exactly what I needed to hear. So I pressed my hands together (felt a bit of a squish between my palms, if you want to know the truth) and calmly walked (okay, ran) to the bathroom so I could flush its remains down the toilet. 

I then called Jordan back but only got his voicemail. After leaving him a rather dramatic message about how I was surprised he wasn't waiting by the phone to see if I'd made it out alive and, hey, doesn't he love me anymore? I put the chair back, washed my hands, and laid down to read my book, glancing at the ceiling above me every couple of minutes just in case Spidy's friends decided they wanted revenge.

See? I'm not scared of spiders one bit.

Reading Through Tears


So I'm reading this book titled Unbroken: A WWII Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption. I think I've mentioned this before. I reserved it at the library, and when I went to pick it up, the librarian nicely informed me that I wasn't going to be able to renew it because someone else had already reserved it after me. 

Thus began a frantic week during which I carried said book with me and read it during any possible downtime. I became haunted by the thought of having to return the book before I had finished, forgetting that if necessary I could just eat the $.5 fine and turn it in late. 

Sometimes the thought of reading when I'm not at work isn't appealing at all, but this book has made me obsessed. 

The story skips around and seems almost stream of consciousness at points (especially in the beginning) and occasionally focuses on details I'm not sure are entirely necessary. This would be something that I would cut out if I were editing the book, and it's for sure something that would annoy me if I were reading a different book. But for some reason, it doesn't annoy me at all.

I was puzzled as to why. Then, I had an epiphany. 

It's because this book is true. The main character, Louis, is a real person, and everything that happened in the book is based on interviews with real people. The author, Laura Hillenbrand, included at least 10 pages of end notes in the back of the book, documenting interviews, articles, videos, and any other sort of media you can imagine. So the fact that the story at times seems a bit jumpy actually adds to its appeal, at least for me. 

Without giving away too many spoilers, I'll just say that through a series of events, our hero, Louis, ends up spending the majority of WWII shuffled between Japanese POW camps. At these places, terrible things happen, and I found myself wishing I could skip over these chapters and jump to what I felt sure had to be a happy ending. After all, the word survival is in the subtitle. 

Still, I wasn't exactly sure what to expect, and as I continued on I realized that this is an excellent example of an author hurting a main character, making his life miserable to the point where I, the reader, felt I couldn't take it anymore. This is the essential ingredient that makes readers sympathize with characters. If nothing ever goes wrong or is hard for them, there's no conflict, and you find yourself wishing the character would get hit by a bus just so something interesting would happen.

For Louis, however, everything is hard, and there's more conflict than I cared for. And it all happened, which makes it all the more horrible. 

Last night, after a week of furious reading, I hit a wall. I refused to put the book down until he had either escaped from the camp, been rescued, or been killed. 

Which is why I ended up reading until almost 11:00 last night, huddled at the end of my bed (read: futon. I live a prized life), tears welling up in my eyes as I turned the pages as fast as I could. 

(At this point you may be wondering why, if I spent a week reading it every chance I got, I hadn't finished the book. Well, these days I don't have much downtime, so I hadn't gotten to read all that much. Also, the book is long, and there are a lot of WWII facts and dates that I wanted to at least attempt to remember, so I slowed down a little on those parts.)

I'm not one of those people who starts bawling at animal shelter commercials, and even though Jordan would tell you I've been unusually emotional lately, it's still rare for me to cry while reading a book. But the image of hundreds of POWs, being beaten and starved, brought tears to my eyes. It was a beautifully written, sickening image, and I was determined to keep going until the end...whatever it was.

Last night I didn't finish the book; there's still Part V to go. But, like my friend Audra--who first wrote a book review on Unbroken, which inspired my reading of it--I was pleasantly surprised that the book doesn't end at, you know, the end. Whether he escapes, is rescued, or dies, I won't say, but the book doesn't end there anyway, and I can't wait to go home, after a long day of reading, and keep reading. 

And that's saying something.

You Know You're Having a Bad Day When...

4.13.2011 burn your face. 

Don't worry. I didn't drop a pot of boiling water on my head or anything like that. I'm not going to be scarred for life. 

I have, however, learned my lesson about opening the oven door and leaning in when you have the temperature set at 450 degrees. I should also note that besides the fact that I carelessly flung my head inside an oven, I also had accidentally set the temp too high in the first place. The recipe called for a 400-degree oven, so I don't know what I was thinking. 

I opened the oven door just like I'd always opened it as long as I've been using an oven, but this time I got burnt. Literally.

It was pan of meatloaf along with a cookie sheet loaded with carrots and onions happily grilling away. I was going to check on the progress, when it happened: hot air blasting on my face, working its way into my mouth and burning--actually burning my tongue as though I'd just tried to drink boiling hot chocolate. I ran to the bathroom and pressed a cold washcloth to my face.

Actually, first I stood in the middle of the kitchen in shock while Jordan tried to get me to do something useful, like get a cold washcloth. 

Apparently I'm not as awesome as I'd like to think, because in the past few instances where I've been part of (ahem, caused) an accident of some sort, I tend to freeze up and look around, confused and wondering what to do next. Jordan is the quick thinker of our pair and gets frustrated by my lack of care when it comes to things that might hurt/damage/cut/bruise/or otherwise kill me.

For the rest of the night I worried about going blind, and I also kept randomly reaching up to touch my eyebrows, as if they would suddenly just start melting away. And before you think I'm just being dramatic, I'll have you know that in my defense, my nose was red, like I had been all day in the sun without sunscreen. And my tongue was burnt, so it was difficult to taste the delicious meatloaf and vegetables.

This came at the end of a long, slow day where all I wanted to do was sit down and watch the Parenthood episode I'd missed from last week. The whole burn episode sure put a damper on the mood, and it wasn't my favorite night. Still, when I woke up this morning my face felt fine, so I guess it turned out okay. 

And I've definitely learned my lesson about ovens. 
Newsflash: they can burn you.

A Few Things I'm Into Right Now


This past Saturday I spent hours planning the wedding ceremony songs and reception songs/itinerary. That was a load off, since it's been on my to-do list for a month now. But I knew it would take me a good chunk of time, so I kept putting it off. After emailing the final list to the DJ, I felt like I'd accomplished something great.

Still, though, it never ends. There are gifts to buy, rings to size, guestbooks to make, RSVPs to track down, and a host of other wedding insanity items.

And the days tick down. 
Yesterday it was 33.
Today it's 32. 
I think you see where this is going.

And in between emails and phone calls and general planning, there are a few things that I'm into right now:

1. Jillian Michaels's 30-day shred. I know I've talked about this before, but I'm really enjoying it. As much as one can enjoy sweating profusely. I've always wanted to try one of those at-home workout DVDs just to see if I'd like it, and I do. Now, whether or not I'll like it when there's a boy around to stare at me remains to be seen.

2. Cooking. I honestly missed cooking. In my old apartment, I packed my pots and pans up pretty early in preparation for moving. Then I stayed with Hannah for a week; then I was in my new apartment for a week before I got all my stuff moved in and organized. So it was roughly three and a half weeks during which time I ate out and microwaved hot pockets. Not only did I not like spending money all the time, but I missed cooking. So over the past month or so I've been cooking a lot, wanting to try any new recipe I come across that looks good. Most recently a few friends and I got together and tried Pioneer Woman's chicken tacos. This involved frying corn tortillas, which was harder than it looked but ended up being really good. I will be trying this again.

3. Reading. I just finished The Hobbit and really enjoyed it. Reading a fun book for pleasure where I don't need to edit is quite refreshing. I've also had a book on hold at the library for a few weeks and just picked up Unbroken yesterday. I read the preface last night and am looking forward to reading more. I personally always feel more accomplished and happy when I spend a few hours before bed reading instead of watching Netflix. However, Netflix is great, which brings me to...

4. Friday Night Lights (the show). I can't seem to escape my friend Audra, who's always writing blog posts about shows and books and movies; and since I trust and respect her opinion, I at least have to give it an honest try. She hasn't disappointed me yet. So when she said FNL was good, I decided to give it a shot. Two seasons later (read: instant play on Netflix), I'm still liking it. It's not something I'd watch with Jordan, because I do feel a little silly what with all the high school drama. But it's been keeping me entertained on those nights when my eyes can't read another word. 

5. Real Simple magazine. A few months ago, my mom bought a copy of Real Simple Weddings. Inside was a card for a free year's subscription to Real Simple. Of course, because I love free stuff, I mailed that sucker back in right away. I'm not big on magazines, subscriptions anyway. They just clutter up my counter and don't contain much that's interesting. But hear this: I love Real Simple. It's fun to read and full of great ideas for cleaning, organizing, cooking, shopping, and more. I just got my second issue in the mail and am loving it. And let me just say that I would say it's worth it even if I had to pay for it.

So that's what I've been doing, sandwiching fun between my regular life activities like work, church, violin practice, and tennis (read: I've resigned myself to matching my wedding dress. I have not been tanning).

Flashback Friday--A (Suspicious?) Gchat Conversation


Okay, so you know that the proposal was a complete surprise. Shock of my life.

What you don't know is that I should have seen it coming. And I'm about to show you why. This is the part where you say, "Wow. I can't believe you didn't get suspicious. You're really gullible."

Yes, yes I am.
But should I have been that suspicious or did Jordan just do a good job being casual? You decide.

{This is a real conversation that happened between Jordan and I on December 7, 2010}

boyfriend: Hey!
8:38 AM me: hello!
 boyfriend: I need to know your ring size
8:39 AM boyfriend: For your actual ring finger cause my mom wants to know
  Cause I think she might be getting you some ring thing that mallory [note: his sister] has
8:40 AM But dont tell her I told you
 me: i'm confused. so she told you to ask for my ring size.
 boyfriend: Yes
 me: for what finger?
8:41 AM why do you think she's getting me a ring Mallory has?
 boyfriend: Your ring finger
  Cause she was talking about it
8:42 AM me: why would she buy me a ring for my ring finger?
 boyfriend: Its some Jesus ring that had hebrew written around it
8:43 AM For christmas and shes seen you wear rings.
 me: okay. well, okay, i think the ring Cori gave me that fits my middle finger is a 9
8:44 AM so that means my ring finger would be a... 7?
 boyfriend: She told me to find out secretly buy I didnt know how so I just asked
 me: i'd like a ring like that. that's a good idea.
8:45 AM boyfriend: Hmm
 me: i'll try to find out more for sure. maybe ask around and see if anyone's ring finger ring fits me.
  sorry i got confused. that was just so, so random.
8:47 AM boyfriend: Its ok. She just reminded me this morning and I didn't wanna forget.
 me: okay. i'll figure it out and let you know./
 boyfriend: Shes on a christmas mission
 boyfriend: okay.
  I gotta go

Engagement, Stage Seven--Take Engagement Pictures


Jordan hates pictures. He's one of those people. You know the type.

I love pictures. I'm one of those people. You know. They (pictures [and, I guess, picture-loving people]) just make me happy.

So a four-hour photo shoot, driving around the streets of downtown Oklahoma City on a beautiful Saturday afternoon in March was right up my alley.

Not so much for Jordan.

Lucky for him, he's super photogenic, so he didn't have to try hardly at all to produce fantastic pictures. It's the dimple. And he was such a trooper, following me around while our friends Vince and Jess snapped picture after picture. And he might not admit it, but he had a blast. Hanging out with our friends all day didn't hurt.

When I first suggested engagement pictures, Jordan wasn't fully on board.
"Why do we need to take pictures?" he asked. "People know what we look like."
"That's not the point," I said. "This is the only time in our lives that we can take a lot of pictures of ourselves without people thinking we're weird."

Point made. Point taken.

So we went and had fun being all "engagementy," and at the end of the day (and Vince's editing), here's a sample of what came out:

A Jillian Update


This morning was my 5th day of the shred. Since I started a week ago, I've done 3 days of level 1, 1 day of level 2, and 1 day of level 1.

Sorry if that was confusing. 

The point is, despite my initial soreness, I actually do feel a (slight) difference. Level 2 is hard, though, so I think I'll hang there for a while before attempting level 3.

I'm saying the hard work-out is the reason I've been craving food lately. I have a bunch of recipes I want to try, mostly from this month's issue of Real Simple magazine. There's the recipe for deep-dish pepperoni pizza that looks good as well as a bacon and Gruyere meatloaf, which I am going to try soon.

I actually went to the store yesterday to buy the ingredients for it, but in the middle of the store I changed my mind and decided to make my favorite: BLTs. 

Last night Jordan and I went to our second-to-last pre-marital counseling session. One more, and we're all ready for marriage! Right?

Also, I'm picking up our engagement pictures today, so I'll be posting some soon. I'm quite excited. For now, I'll leave you with the only one I have: 

According to my friend Audra (who is nothing but honest), I look tall, and Jordan looks like he has huge muscles. When I told Jordan this, he said, "Well, that's because I do have huge muscles. And you are tall."

I'm also not looking at the camera. 
Or...maybe I am. I tend to get shifty eyes sometimes.  
I'm very suspicious.

Dear Jillian Michaels,


I started your 30-day shred two days ago. 

I want to know why you like to torture innocent people.

Why do you think it's okay to wear only a sports bra and stretchy pants, parading your six-pack around while you point at your workout buddy and say things like, "Want these abs? I do too. I'd kill for these abs."

Umm...are you serious? Have you looked in a mirror?
Now that's just mean.

And that girl in the back? Natalie, I think her name is. She's grinning like a goon while I'm panting and sweating profusely. 

Not very nice, Jillian.

I'd also like to request that you not say, "Only a few more" when really you mean, "There are at least 15 left. The end is not in sight."

That would be great.

Oh, and what's with the Spanish fiesta music? I mean seriously.

And please don't say, "If you're on day five or six, you're probably feeling the difference."

No. I'm on day 2. It feels sucky. But thanks for helping me see the bright side. I really need to start being more positive.

Flashback Friday--Introducing. . . Baby Jordan!

I showed an awesome picture of me, so to even it up, here's one of little Jordan (also to be included in the wedding slide show):

They say he was a crazy child.