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Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Let's Fall in Love: Toasts of Honor

After my dad's sweet speech, my sister and Mr LikesIt's best friend Sean took their turns at toasting.

 Hello everybody and thank you again for coming.  So I have been Meagan's protective older sister for twenty-five years now ... because twenty-five years is about how long Meagan has wanted to get married.  Literally since when she was three.  
I had to beat up a couple of guys in high school, scare the crap out of them and what not, and it all went pretty well.  And then I went off to school and Meagan went off to school, and when she graduated from Mizzou, I was living down in Texas.  The long-distance thing was not cutting it in terms of my protectiveness.  So I hired an assistant, and his name is Tucker Bear.  If you haven't had the joy of meeting Tucker, he's an eight-pound yorkie mix who thinks he's a hundred and eight.  
 He loooooves his human and he is very protective of his territory.  So all was well after that.  Whenever I would hear about a guy in Meagan's life, there was just one question before I went to the Mr Right checklist: what does Tucker think?  Well, Tucker really doesn't like him.  Whew, in the clear for now, because I knew Tucker would do his best to protect her, and to get rid of that dude.  This worked really well for a couple of years, and then I started hearing about this guy, Kenny.  I couldn't even get a word in edgewise to ask my one question, as I cross off every other thing on the list first.  He's a really sweet guy, he makes her laugh, he's got his MBA, he's really smart, he's got this awesome job (which no one could tell me exactly what it was that he did, but everyone was really excited about it).  So I am checking all of this stuff off and finally after about the fourth phone call I was able to get a word in and ask my question: "What does Tucker think?"  Oh! Well Kenny is Tucker's new best friend.  Uh oh.  I made up a training class for work in St Louis, hopped a plane, had dinner with the whole family, and verified Tucker's initial assessment, and we were all good.  Sure enough, just a couple months later, Kenny was proposing. 
Here we are tonight enjoying what I really hope is the first of thousands of wonderful nights in an awesome marriage.  Please raise your glass ... to love, to laughter, and to happily ever after. 

 Cheers!

Next up was the Best Man ...

So for those of you who don't know me, my name is Sean and I'm Kenny's best man.  I've known Kenny for seventeen years now, and as we've grown up together, Kenny has always been such an incredible person for me to confide in.  He possesses such a balance of intellect and a true compassion for people. 

This is why I am personally so grateful that he has found someone as a life partner who has as big of a heart as he does.  It has been an honor and really awesome to watch Kenny and Meagan as they've grown from this tiny, 600 square foot apartment into this beautiful home.  I think through these trials and tribulations, their true love for each other (and for Tucker Bear) is what really shines through, both today and any other day you'll see them together. 

Please join me in wishing these two beautiful people a beautiful life together.  Congratulations!

 Cheers! Cheers!

Toasting success!

And then from across the ballroom, the sounds of silverware tinking against champagne glasses rose above the noises of dinner being served.

Wedding-flavored keeeses.

With the toasts complete and dinner being served, it was time to settle down for a few moments and enjoy each other's company.  I was still so wound up with nerves that I could barely eat.  I was still irritated about the flowers and from our vantage point at the sweetheart table I agonized over my decor vision's lack of fruition.  But after choking down three mushroom ravioli and a glass of champagne, I was able to move past it enough to enjoy our party.  Because indeed, the party was just about to begin...

In case you missed it ...
I bought a dress and completely changed it.  We had a marathon final week of engagement.  I giggled my way through our rehearsal.  Mr LikesIt got grilled at our rehearsal dinner.  The groomsmen ran amok in downtown Springfield. The girls got gorgeous.  We exchanged mushy wedding-day gifts.  The guys got fancy and then got dancy.  I became a Bride.  There was a first First Look. I shared my Somethings.  The boys made the most of trolley-time. And did their thing on the Capital grounds. The girls took photos at the hotel. Everyone arrived at the church. We walked down the aisle. We declared our intentions and my cousin preached. We exchanged our vows. Our hands were blessed. Mr LikesIt put a ring on it and kissed his bride. We were pronounced Mr and Mrs! We left the church in a blizzard of confetti, and took a "just-married" trolley ride. We made it legal. We took pictures with our families, followed by wedding party portraits. I hit a low point. We received our guests. The wedding party was introduced. My Dad checked his toast off of his to-do list.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Five for Friday, vol 12

1. You give the best pep talks.

2. You pretend like you're resistant to another dog, but you "accidentally" downloaded the PetFinder app.

3. You are a never-ending stream of compliments and confidence boosters.

4. You figured out how to get Tucker to sit still long enough to clip his nails (which I have never figured out in five years of ownership) ... and it's Papa John's breadsticks.

5. You like me just the way I am, Marc Darcy style.

I love you too.




Thursday, August 25, 2011

Let's Fall in Love: Dad's Last Task

Throughout the two years we spent wedding planning, my dad was aware that he had two major tasks assigned to him.  One being getting me down the aisle on time, which he handled swimmingly.  The other was the welcome toast that officially kicked off the reception.  Apparently he had been planning these words for quite some time longer than just our engagement, he'd been thinking about this speech since the day he met me.


Thank you all for coming tonight and congratulations to Meagan and Kenny.


This all started twenty seven years ago, not twenty two months ago when you were engaged.  It started a long time ago at St John's hospital on Meagan's birthday.  She was brought down to her mother's room in the afternoon and I held her for the first time.  I said to her, "Hello Meagan.  I'm your dad.  And someday I'm going to walk you down the aisle.  And today I did."
 

He raised his glass to Mr LikesIt and I and smiled as applause rippled through the ballroom.
As daughters go, you can imagine that Meagan asked for certain things as she was growing up, and for the most part, I would say yes.  It started out with crayons and coloring books and Barbies ... and shoes, lots of shoes.  I'm not even going to ask how many pairs of shoes you've got now.  But as most dads do, they say yes to those sorts of things, and so did I.  I just told Meagan to put it on her tab.  And that tab has become ... sizable since.  I didn't bring it today because I was concerned about it fitting through the door. 
 But today, that tab is DONE.  Guess who gets the tab now?  She's all yours, Kenny!

And then he smiled knowingly at Mr LikesIt, and everyone cheered again.

 Mr LikesIt had no idea how serious Dad was. Look at that nervous look on his face.
One of my other jobs today was to get Meagan to the church on time, and to get her married off, and to get this reception going.  I think I made the time alright, it is still Saturday right?  We made it on time, Mugs. 
So I have accomplished all of my tasks I was assigned today, including this speech (and I haven't spoke to this many people all at once since I quit teaching school). 
I want to thank all of you for coming today, to this special day.  Please raise your glasses to Meagan and Kenny.  To your happy life together!
It was the perfect toast, and perfectly set the mood for the light-hearted, fun party to follow with our nearest and dearest.  Father of the Bride toasts have always been a highlight of the weddings I've attended, and my Daddy-O's speech has a very special place in my heart.  And I just knew he was going to mention that tab.

So thanks, Daddy.  Thank you for keeping your promise to walk me down the aisle.  Thank you for mostly saying yes.  Thank you for teaching me what a good husband should be.  Cheers to you, and I love you.

In case you missed it ...
I bought a dress and completely changed it.  We had a marathon final week of engagement.  I giggled my way through our rehearsal.  Mr LikesIt got grilled at our rehearsal dinner.  The groomsmen ran amok in downtown Springfield. The girls got gorgeous.  We exchanged mushy wedding-day gifts.  The guys got fancy and then got dancy.  I became a Bride.  There was a first First Look. I shared my Somethings.  The boys made the most of trolley-time. And did their thing on the Capital grounds. The girls took photos at the hotel. Everyone arrived at the church. We walked down the aisle. We declared our intentions and my cousin preached. We exchanged our vows. Our hands were blessed. Mr LikesIt put a ring on it and kissed his bride. We were pronounced Mr and Mrs! We left the church in a blizzard of confetti, and took a "just-married" trolley ride. We made it legal. We took pictures with our families, followed by wedding party portraits. I hit a low point. We received our guests. The wedding party was introduced.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Five for Friday, vol 11

1. You're a MacGyver with binder clips.

2. You took us out of the market before all of the upheaval, so our little nest egg is a safe little ball of cash.

3. You are a Coast to Coast Insider.

4. You do all the laundry because you know it's my least favorite chore, and you're very particular about caring for your work clothes.

5. I get a kiss goodbye every morning, whether I'm awake or not. I always know you do it and I always hear you say I love you.

I love you too.



Monday, August 15, 2011

There goes the neighborhood.

The strangest thing happened this weekend.

Mr LikesIt and I woke up Sunday to find an anonymous letter taped to our front door.  It had clearly been printed on a home computer and all of our neighbors seemed to have the same thing on their doors.

The letter started off with the catchy header: THERE IS A CHILD MOLESTER IN OUR NEIGHBORHOOD.  Whoa.  It went on to detail the story of one of our neighbors attempting to convince one of the children on the street to "go with him" somewhere.  The boy told their parents, who then confronted the neighbor, who said nothing happened and "dared" them to do something about it.  Per the letter, the accused implied that he had done this before, but there was nothing they could do about it.  The letter listed his name, address, phone number, and asked us to band together as a community so that the accuser could come forward in confidence that justice would be served.

Holy crap, people.  I felt like we were being filmed for a "What Would You Do?" episode of Dateline or something.

Here's the deal.  Child molestation is a very, very serious accusation.  If this person is in fact a pedophile of any sort, there needs to be action taken, I have no doubt about that.  However, I do not think that sedition and anonymous vigilantism is really the best course of action.  Whether it's true or not, an accusation like this could incite serious and dangerous actions against this person without giving them a chance to defend themselves or prove their innocence. 

One's initial reaction is nothing less than outrage.  How dare they!  Not in our neighborhood! Unacceptable!

But then you stop and think - What if he didn't do it? Then what? How dare they!  Not in our neighborhood! Unacceptable!

After talking about it at length, Mr LikesIt and I decided to call the non-emergecny number of the local police.  He was transfered to the sex offender desk and left a message to be called back. He got that call today and they will be looking into what happened.

If this situation happened as described, law enforcement needs to know.  We live less than two miles from an early childhood education center and that needs to be taken under consideration.  If it did not happen, you cannot condemn, slander, or publicly humiliate someone for an uncommitted crime - and law enforcement needs to know about that, too.  The fact of the matter is that we have an inflammatory, anonymous letter depicting a potentially heinous attempt at taking a child a block from our home.  If it is true, then we did the right thing by calling the police.  If for any reason it is not true - if this is an exaggeration, a result of a neighborly feud, or hell, even a kid exagerrating something to get out of some sort of trouble - then this sort of harassment and accusation is despicable too.  This sort of crime would tear apart someone's life.  And so could this sort of accusation.

I don't personally understand why the neighboorhood needs to "band together" to get recourse for this sort of thing.  Why does it need to be anonymous?  Why are we condemning someone for a crime that we don't even know happened, much less happened as described?  Child abuse is unacceptable.  Defamation is not the answer.  There are other methods of recourse beyond this.  And what does the accused do now, especially if it's untrue?  I put odds on a "for sale" sign appearing in their yard before the end of the year.  Would you want to live near people that would accuse you of one of the most disgusting crimes imaginable - but not even have the nerve of accusing you to your face?

This is a lose-lose, no matter what.  Either way, something is terrible wrong on our street.  It left both of us feeling disconcerted and gross about the whole thing.  You hear about things like this on the news, but how are you supposed to react when it happens literally in your backyard?  Law officials assured Mr LikesIt that they are going to look into it, so hopefully we will get to the bottom of what really happened (if we will even find out).  I do feel better knowing it's at least in the proper hands now.

So let's discuss, shall we?  Did we do the right thing?  What would you have done if a letter like this showed up at your house?  Would your answer change if you had children at home? 

White Out

Mr LikesIt took on our biggest house project since our initial overhaul prior to moving in. We recently re-did our deck (and by we I mean my dad and his crew) and it gave Mr LikesIt the itch for DIY home improvement. We've been talking about refinishing the cabinets in the kitchen and built-in bookcases in the family room for at least a year, but I was still a little surprised when he decided to do it last weekend.



After some research and consultation with our contractor (AKA my dad), he decided to try the Rustoleum refinishing kit as opposed to sanding-priming-painting.



Before: nice dark cabinets a la 1988. I didn't mind them, since all of our furniture is dark too, but after seeing loads of pictures on Pinterest and design blogs, I committed to the idea of white.



So down came all of the hardware and doors and drawers. About half of the contents were strewn across the dining room and living room, and the remaining were taped off behind plastic. It looked like a scene from Dexter in there all weekend.



Mr LikesIt got started Thursday night and worked solidly until Monday evening. It took three thick coats (one Rustoleum kit) to get the coverage he wanted.



The coat applied to his head was bonus. White paint everywhere.



Halfway there, I could already see a huge difference. It was scary making the change. Since I didn't hate the before, I was nervous about the after.

I've actually never experienced a kitchen re-do before. Growing up as a builder's daughter, if there was something that needed updated, we did so on the next floor plan. In fact, this house is the first I've lived in aside from rentals that wasn't brand new. The idea of remodeling instead of ripping out and starting over completely is a bit foreign to me. So yes, I was nervous about how it would turn out.

Mr LikesIt took great pains to make it perfect, which helped ease my anxiety, and once the doors came back upstairs from his workspace in the basement, I was 100% on board.



A week later, everything is set enough to re-attach hardware. At about the 10-day mark, he will apply the final gloss/sealant coat. In the meantime, I am beyond happy with the result. It looks like a new kitchen.



There was a brief debate about changing the hardware, but as it turns out, we actually love how the old stuff looks on the white, not to mention it matches the light fixtures.

I love it. It's a thousand times better than I had pictured in my head. It's brighter and feels so much more open. My brightly colored pitchers and serving pieces that I keep on top of the cabinets really pop. Although the plan is to eventually replace the counter tops with granite, I don't really mind the light-on-light after all.

Things are still being put back together, but the result has gotten an enthusiastic thumbs up from both of us, as well as our parents.

I desperately need to find (or make, Lord help me) curtains for both the kitchen and family room, but this is one more step in our work in progress. Mr LikesIt did a great job. Much respect to the DIY effort. I am still a PSE at heart.



You're on alert, dark wood family room cabinets. I absolutely love the built-ins on either side of our fireplace, but since the kitchen and family room are connected great room style, I think they need a face lift too. I'm thinking of painting the back wall of the open shelves the same red as the back wall of the kitchen. If Young House Love can do it, so can I. Another project for another weekend. It never ends, does it?

Anyway, if you're thinking about a cheap but major overhaul for your kitchen or bathroom, this is a great product. It was time- consuming, but for about $150 per kit, completely worth it, especially considering the impact.

I have shiny new kitchen and a spanking new deck. Now we need to have a party! Annual wine mixer, anyone?

*We were not compensated for reviewing Rustoleum's product.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Five for Friday, vol 10

1. You show a lot of respect towards favors that people do for you, like baseball tickets from your aunt. You are super appreciative and grateful and don't abuse the privilege.

2. When your friends bail on you to go to the baseball game, you bribe me with yard lemonades and nachos to go with you. And it kind of works.

3. You're a really good cabinet painter.

4. You put extra espresso cubes in my coffee if you think I seem to need it.




5. Your amazing work ethic is getting noticed at the office.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

A W with TB.

Gorgeous, perfect weather in St Louis today. Low-80s, sunny, breezy, no humidity. I feel like this is what it's like to live in Southern California. After the oppressive heat and humidity we've experienced the last few weeks, I had a serious feels-like-spring fever happening after work. All I had to do was say the magic word: "walk."



Never say the word "walk" in our house unless you really mean it. If you even mention more than the first letter of the word before you have your shoes on and a certain fluffy-pants strapped into his harness, you will rue the day. He will run in circles, whining (nay, screeching!), panting, and otherwise terrorizing whatever poor soul mentioned a W and did not immediately open the front door.

There are few things that this little terrierist likes more than walks. well, what he really loves is marking absolutely everything that holds still long enough.



There are roughly 36 thousand of these little utility humps in our neighborhood. All of them now belong to Tucker by the doggy-transitive property.

Needless to say, Schmuck's conquest of the neighborhood makes for lots of stops and starts, and not necessarily a whole lot of calorie burn. Still, we enjoyed ourselves.



We made it more than a mile from home before Tubber decided he was DONE and wanted to go home. He may look small, but when he puts the brakes on, his eight pounds become a brick at the end of the leash. No budging.



We walked two whole miles. Skinnier already.



We go again tomorrow??

Friday, August 5, 2011

Five for Friday, vol 9.

1.  You're so excited to refinish our kitchen cabinets this weekend.

2.  You ordered pizza for lunch with nothing less than glee.

3.  You always tell me my work outfits are cute, even when I spill tuna salad on myself.

4.  You have overloaded your 100 Pandora stations and every one is different.

5.  You totally go along with my whims for dinner, whether that means cooking something healthy or ordering Chipotle, with no judgment.

I love you.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Tucker and his Squirrel.

We do this everyday. E.v.e.r.y.day. Stamina varies. It lasts as long as Our Small Friend wants. And it always ends with food and sits.




And now he's spent.



Monday, August 1, 2011

Let's Fall in Love: Mr, Mrs, and M-I-Z.

Our guests had found their ways to their seats and the ballroom at the Abraham Lincoln Hotel buzzed with chatter and laughter.  Our parents took their seats at the family tables on the perimeter of the dance floor, and Mr LikesIt and I ducked back into the cocktail hour space.  We had decided to close the open bars temporarily during dinner, but the bridal party were able to sneak in another drink before our big introduction.  Malinda, our coordinator, delivered my bouquet and we all lined up, ready to go.  The first few notes to Wouldn't It Be Nice started up, and the doors to the ballroom swung open, just like the church doors a few hours before.


Our friends had another moment in the spotlight, although the DJ pretty much butchered any name that wasn't "Sarah" or "Jenifer".  I think the fact that we had three derivations of Katie threw him off too, and the phonetic spellings I had provided for everything were practically useless.  Lesson: walk him through the names over the phone.  Your friends deserve to have their names pronounced correctly.

Keith and Rob, saviors of my aisle runner.

Adrienne and Jim.

Jen and Cory.

Kate and John.

Katie and James.

Stacy and Justin.

Sarah and Dan.

Katie and Sean, Honor and Best, respectively.

 Our friends (bless their hearts) didn't immediately take their seats.  Instead, they agreed to appease me for one more small-but-critical-to-the-bride detail for our announcement.  We could have just had our name read off and walked in, but I had seen a single photo of the following on the internet months ago and had been obsessed with the idea ever since.  Since Mr LikesIt and I were announced to our alma mater's fight song, we didn't want to just walk into the room.  We decided to turn our bridal party (bless their hearts) as a human tunnel.  And it. was. awesome.  Our friends are the best, seriously. 

Mizzou-rah! Mizzou-rah! Mizzou-rah! MARRIED!!!

Just after the whistles sounded, we were announced, for the first time as Mr and Mrs ... 
Kenny and Meagan LikesIt!!!!

squeeeeeeee human tunnel worrrrrked!!  I was so excited!

Ever the gentleman, Mr LikesIt let me go first.


So my human tunnel announcement of awesomeness took all of about three seconds, but it was highly enjoyable.  It was different and fun, and kind of kicked off the party in a light-hearted way.  Lesson: don't take this too seriously.  

From there, the bridal party (bless their hearts) took their seats with thier dates at tables on the opposite side of the dance floor from our parents.  Mr LikesIt and I took a seat at our sweetheart table, and prepared for the rest of the party to begin.



 Next up: toasts!

In case you missed it ...

I bought a dress and completely changed it.  We had a marathon final week of engagement.  I giggled my way through our rehearsal.  Mr LikesIt got grilled at our rehearsal dinner.  The groomsmen ran amok in downtown Springfield. The girls got gorgeous.  We exchanged mushy wedding-day gifts.  The guys got fancy and then got dancy.  I became a Bride.  There was a first First Look. I shared my Somethings.  The boys made the most of trolley-time. And did their thing on the Capital grounds. The girls took photos at the hotel. Everyone arrived at the church. We walked down the aisle. We declared our intentions and my cousin preached. We exchanged our vows. Our hands were blessed. Mr LikesIt put a ring on it and kissed his bride. We were pronounced Mr and Mrs! We left the church in a blizzard of confetti, and took a "just-married" trolley ride. We made it legal. We took pictures with our families, followed by wedding party portraits. We hit a low point. We received our guests.