Hello hello! I’m back to finish up my December recap (since SO much happened!). Check out Part 1 here.
We covered a lot in my first post, but we’re only halfway done! This Christmas, we originally planned to visit Mike’s parents in Florida since it was their first Christmas there… but my mom planned this awesome, big family Christmas for her house in Cleveland and I didn’t want to miss that. My grandparents flew up from Charleston, SC; my aunt, uncle, and cousin drove in from Toledo, OH; and my other cousin, his new wife, and his 2 kids drove up from Missouri… so we had a FULL house! Just imagine that many people PLUS four dogs. It was a lot of commotion, but was so worth it to have everyone together for the holidays. Mike and I were only able to stay for a couple of days, and we didn’t want to leave our pup behind, so we ended up driving up.
Christmas in Cleveland
Our trip started out stressful (due to work, delays, traveling, etc) but ended up being a blast! We indulged in Angelo’s Pizza for dinner one night (a mandatory visit every time we come home) and then cooked pretty much every other night (including a big Christmas dinner). It was also very relaxing – we didn’t have any plans to go anywhere so we all just hung out and enjoyed each other’s company. I spent a good amount of time working on my new Bullet Journal obsession and even did a little watercoloring!
Some highlights from the trip:
- Tegan getting to see her first snow.
- Getting to meet my cousin’s wife.
- Playing Exploding Kittens with my cousin & his wife.
- Seeing my cousin’s daughter who I haven’t seen in a long time! I adore her.
- Really seeing all of my family was a highlight, since we all (mostly) live so far apart.
- Eating some goooood food.
- Catching up with 2 of my high school BFF’s – Brianna and April (we had a much needed girls date).
- Spoiling my family with gifts!
- Putting reindeer antlers on Tegan’s head and managing to get a semi-clear picture.
- Finding old pictures of myself.
- So many Instax photos (between my cousin already having one & me getting one for Christmas).
After the holiday and our drive back to NC, we had a few friends visiting for the New Years weekend. We did a lot of errand running and even more chilling out, except for me… I was busy planning our wedding and an impromptu photo shoot to announce the date!
Long story short, Mike and I will be tying the knot…. in less than 2 months! #what #crazytalk
Holy crap… I’m going to marry my best friend soon!
Yeah, so I know we just got engaged a couple of months ago… but we’re so excited to start this next chapter of our lives as Mr. and Mrs. We’ve both talked a lot about how we want our big day to be, and decided we wanted something intimate, and most importantly, not expensive. We’re not the types who want to drop $30K (or hell, even $10K) on our wedding… we have other things we want to do with that kind of money! No offense to anyone out there who has that kind of wedding, believe me I get it! We just have to make sacrifices and this was something that we felt was important to us. Especially for me, with having to worry about medical expenses and student loan debt, plus our mortgage!
Anyways, not that any of you are thinking this (or maybe you are) but no, I am not pregnant! (had to say it…)
We just already had a vacation planned to visit Mike’s parents in Florida and my mom is coming down with us, so we figured we’d take advantage of the beautiful location (sunny Venice, Florida) and the fact that both of our parents will be there. The timing was too perfect, and again, did I mention we have a very low budget? Haha! Mike & I were super nervous to ask our parents how they felt about this type of ceremony, but luckily we got nothing but support from both sides!
We wanted to have Mike’s sister come to the wedding, of course, and I also invited my uncle (on my dad’s side) who lives only an hour away from Venice. Since my dad won’t be there physically (just in spirit), I thought it would be really special to have his brother there (I wish I could invite ALL of his siblings, of course). It’s also special to me because I was in my uncle’s wedding when I was a little girl. We thought about inviting more people to the super small ceremony but we figured it’d be WAY too hard to plan a full wedding in that short amount of time, plus it would be hard for everyone else to arrange travel and accommodations. So 2 weddings it is!
We’re tying the knot… twice!
Mike & I are planning on having a bigger wedding around the same time next year (March 2018) where we will invite all of our extended family and friends (so we have time to save up some money and also more time to plan something that fits within our budget). We’ll also do some of the more “traditional” wedding things before that (wedding shower, bachelor/bachelorette parties, etc). I don’t want to miss out on those experiences!
So while our friends were in town, I began looking for a wedding dress, planning an engagement/pre-wedding celebration party for February, getting props together for our photo shoot, sending out invitations for our pre-wedding celebration party, figuring out our color scheme / flower arrangements, and so much more! It was a busy couple of days, and I am so grateful for our family for their help with everything. I’ll share a few more of our impromptu engagement photos below.
Our friend Arielle took the photos, and originally we were going to use my “professional” camera but the battery died so we just used my cellphone. The photos still turned out pretty fantastic considering they were taken on Pixel, Phone by Google! (Again, we are SUPER non-traditional… and were kind of on a time crunch haha). Thank you to Arielle & Joe for all of your help!
I think that’s pretty much all the big news & highlights for now 🙂 Stay tuned for a blog post about my Bullet Journal, my first Whole30, and more!