If you’re in the mood for a bit of a tear-jerker, listen to Same Auld Lang Syne, by Dan Fogelburg. This time of year it always gets to me, it’s a beautiful song.

Merry belated Christmas =)

The holiday season treated us well this year. For the first time in three years I got to spend Christmas even with family I don’t get to see that often, so that was pretty fantastic.

alternate text On the 16th Justin took me to see the Trans Siberian Orchestra, which was beyond phenomenal! There is honestly no way to describe this show unless you have seen it. It’s a rock concert, complete with electric guitars, drums, and even an electric violin. The show’s first part is Christmas-related, all classic Christmas and holiday songs set to a hard rocking beat. There’s lasers and lights and pyrotechnics that will blow your mind. Even Justin admitted that he wasn’t sure he would like it (the word orchestra had him running in the other direction) but after the show we’re already planning going back every year. It is worth the price and the fight through evil Pittsburgh (or any city) traffic to see this show. It is an excellent way to kick off the holiday season!

alternate text On Wednesday before Christmas we went to have dinner with Justin’s family. I still don’t know everyone terribly well, but we’re getting there. After dinner we headed to Justin’s parents house to open up gifts with them as well as John and Lori. Aren’t they cute? Poor John and Lori, I’m pretty sure Justin’s mom got the baby bug from all his cousin’s babies, and she knows she would be barking up the wrong tree with me just yet, so now we’re just waiting on them! It would be pretty wonderful to have a little niece of nephew, but I won’t push it…much 😉

Christmas eve was a lot of fun, My parents, brother, Justin and I went to church. Christmas Eve is my favorite church service out of the year, and I’m so glad I was able to make it this year and bring my shiny new husband 😉 haha. alternate text After church we went to my aunt and uncle’s, caught up with them for the first time in forever. My brother and I are the youngest of my cousins, so growing up we were never really all that close. Now I notice it is a lot easier to talk to them simply because we have more in common now. I guess the older you get the smaller the age gap appears. It was also nice to finally fully introduce Justin to this part of the family besides the hi, hello, congrats at the wedding.
After the party we went back to my parents house where we were spending the night. Justin and I stayed up with my mom and had a couple more drinks and had a good time, and then went to bed to wait for Santa, haha.
alternate text All in all, I couldn’t have asked for a better first Christmas with my new husband 🙂 Hopefully our second Christmas together will have us in our first house, the place may be torn apart at that point with all the remodeling we have planned, but it would certainly be amazing! I was grateful to not have to do a ton of driving this year in trying to squeeze in all our family time in one day. We got to spend time with each family each day and then had Christmas day fully to ourselves.

All in all, I could ask for a better family, new and old 🙂 I’m a lucky girl!

I’m actually already over Christmas. I want it to be wedding time! I guess I should be glad we still have 8 months, there’s so much to do! I ordered my wedding dress yesterday, that will take 18 weeks to come in because I’m so tall. I guess they have to special order it (read: charge me more)

Oh well. If I weren’t tall I’d be obese. At least I have that.

Anyway.

Friday was my my last day of finals for the fall semester. I officially have three semesters to go. This coming spring semester will be my last as a single woman, the last semester signing my name Ariel F. That’s so surreal.

I tried to explain how marriage makes me feel to Justin, mostly the name changing thing, but I guess being a guy, he doesn’t get it. It’s going to be so different getting used to my new last name. I’m going to me Mrs. M. MRS! That sounds like I just aged 20 years. haha. When we had our families meet for Thanksgiving, I was wrestling with my upbringing as to how to introduce Justin’s mom. I grew up with it pounded into my head that those older than me are to be addressed properly. Mr. Mrs. Miss, you get it. But Justin’s mom is going to be my mother in law, does that mean I can call her by her first name? Does it only count after we tie the knot? I was nervous enough about that weekend that I was freaking out about every little detail. Then I took a step back and realized Justin’s sister in law was a Mrs., and I’m pretty sure my wonderful sister in law would punch me in a kidney if I introduced her as Mrs. anything to my parents. haha. But she’s not much older than I am. Certainly not in the range that I would ever think to call her Mrs. She has always been Lori. So then I kind of realized that I must be old enough to be a Mrs. Kids are going to be calling me Mrs. M. Our kids friends. I think I’m going to be one of those people who yells at anyone that addresses them properly. Ack!

But yeah, even with the whole “Mrs.” tacked on to me name, it’s going to be so different going by another surname. I’m glad Justin has a nice, normal, non-stupid surname, or I might have been compelled to keep my maiden name. But in 8 months my maiden name will be my…maiden name. It’s like I’m going to be a completely different person. New Social Security card, new drivers license (which will be a big-girl horizontal i.d. and not a horizontal “under 21” i.d., huzzuh!) But it’s going to feel like I’m a totally new person. New name, new identity. So weird.

I just wrote out a couple checks for the wedding. Another chunk towards the venue/caterer and a deposit for the vidographer/dj. He actually happens to be someone I graduated with. Small towns are great, you either know someone, or know someone who knows someone. I’m so glad that 99% of our wedding vendors are people we know. I don’t care to have strangers share our day. I grew up in a small town, I don’t think I would have wanted it any other way.

My to-do list is never-ending lately! I can’t wait for the holidays, but I also can’t wait for them to be over too, isn’t that bad? haha.

Just a taste of what is on it:

  • Finalize Guest list (which is becoming a slight nightmare)
  • 10 page paper for crim class
  • Get copies of engagement pictures for Christmas cards
  • Write out and mail Christmas cards
  • Decide on and order my wedding dress (because I’m tall they need to special-order it, and that takes 18 weeks…I won’t have it until around March!!)
  • Price wine at our favorite neighborhood winery, Rustic Acres Winery. We’re looking at around 3 cases of the most amazing wine in the world!
  • Price kegs. Justin has really, really, really expensive taste in beer. Damn his good taste! haha
  • Apply for a liquor license. We’re having the wedding/reception in a dry county (I didn’t even think those existed anymore!)
  • Book appointment for bridal party for hair/makeup on wedding day.
  • Square away an officiant to marry us.
  • find bridesmaid dresses that work for everyone.
  • Find a florist/decide on flowers
  • Finish Christmas shopping!!

    Yeah, just a little taste of all the craziness to come. Along with all that, our last day of school before our little Thanksgiving break is tomorrow, and then only a week after that before finals. I can’t wait for a nice Christmas break, however, next semester is going to be so horrible words can’t even cover it. I’d like to get a lot of wedding stuff done before then, all the stuff that requires Justin and I to be somewhere at the same time together, because after break that available time is doing to diminish greatly. I’m enjoying it all though. I thrive on being busy, I love having a full schedule. But I also love that elusive down time of being a wino with my fiance at home, and that doesn’t happen much.

    I’m actually really looking forward to Christmas Eve. I get out of work at 8 and Justin is done at 5:30. We’re going to cook a huge Christmas dinner for the two of us (leftovers!) and watch a Charlie Brown Christmas with lots of wine. We started this little tradition last year because it was right after we moved in. we didn’t really have the time to put a tree up and it was before the cable/internet was installed, so we just enjoyed each others company with wine and a movie with a million candles. It was very romantic and relaxing. The next day consisted of running around like mad, but it’s family and so worth it.

    We had Thanksgiving dinner this past Saturday at my parents house. This was the first time my parents met any of his family, and I think it went over very well. My parents German Shepard (Panzer, named appropriately as the German word meaning “tank”) did not knock anyone over like I really thought he would. He’s almost 100 pounds, but only a year old and thinks he still weighs under 20. Everyone got along and there were not awkward silences, which are pretty much hthe worst possible thing ever. Our cooking was great, and everyone had a good time. Granted I was maybe a little half tipsy, if it weren’t for the wine I probably would have been on edge all night. I’m a professional worrier. Thank you, Lambrusco.

    These next few months are going to be so amazingly exciting, I really do feel like the luckiest woman in the entire world.

  • Eep. Christmas is creeeeeping up! I know the holiday is completely commercialized and has pretty much lost the real meaning, but I still love the holiday season. Also, I’d like to share with you a possibly very helpful find from The Consumerist: FreeShipping.org. That may very well come in handy for the holiday shopping. Everyone knows that with some digging you can find better deals on the internet than in retail stores, the only problem is that once you add on the shipping cost, you barely have much of a price difference, especially for bigger items. One thing I’m excited to see there is a coupon for Fredricks.com (NSFW-ish). The local store half an hour away closed, and I love Fredricks. A lot of the stuff there makes for great his and hers gifts 😉

    I can’t wait for this Saturday. Justin and I are going to check out a new bar we’ve never been to, and it comes with a concert! The Huckin’ Fillbilly’s. Are playing, and for $5 a person to listen to live classic and southern rock all night? Oh hell yeah 😉 We don’t really go out to bars too often. Sometimes I wish we did more, but that’s because I’m only 21. The difference with me is that I’m engaged to someone who has been there and done that, and we both have responsibilities. I would like to make it a monthly thing though. I really like the atmosphere, especially when there’s a band, love, love, love that!

    My to-do list is starting to get a little long. Saturday will be a busy day, I promised Justin we will scrub down our place top to bottom before going out. We also decided that even though we’ve been living there since December, our place still doesn’t look “homey” enough. Staying true to my newfound love of saving money, I found this amazing website. We rent our townhouse, obviously, so although we’re allowed to put nail holes in the wall to our hearts content, we’re not allowed to paint. Now with those instructions, I can go out to a fabric and craft store and buy cheap fabric for less than a dollar a yard. We’re not going to cover an entire wall, but some accents would look really nice. I’m the DIY queen, and when we have a lot of downtime at work I like to look for things to do. When I have more time/money, I’d love to take a painting class. Until then, I’ll be crafting my little heart out when it comes to start things for the wedding. I found another nifty little site for DIYers, especially those who like to cook, Budget101. It gives you all these ways to create things like tortillas, buns, and brown sugar. Back to basics, right? There’s so much I want to try. I wish I had more time on my hands!

    Now to go totally off topic, I think I found my next tattoo:
    Isn’t that an amazing picture? I already have a dragon tattoo, which I’ll dig up a picture of some other time, but this one is just…amazing. I’m thinking of getting it scaled down, it will really depend on how much smaller it can be made, and I’d like it on my wrist with Jut’s and my initials where the tails twist together at the bottom there. I’m not sure where else I would put it. I’m pretty sure any field I’m heading for won’t care about a little wrist tattoo, unlike my original idea that I would like to be a teacher…pshh.

    In any case. Saturday is looking to be a lot of fun. I can’t wait to try the decorating idea with Justin and hopefully capture some photographic memories. I also can’t wait for the rum and cokes later on. heh.