Friday, July 31, 2009

Wedding obsession

This blog that my dear friend Erica Snyder introduced me to is exactly what it says in the title: my new obsession. She sent me this link to the posts relating to "A Modern, Traditional Wedding" (there are about 4 different ones) and said simply "Thought you'd be interested in some of these pics"----and boy was she right!! I literally couldn't stop BEAMING when I looked at the posts. It's everything I ever imagined for our wedding with the color scheme...

So now I have it- pictures/inspiration/ideas/excitement to take to vendors, to think about, to share with our wedding planners, and everyone else who wants to listen. I even love the favors that they gave...ties in just perfectly to Jimmy and my style. I have probably looked at these posts maybe 12 times since she sent them to me yesterday afternoon and my wedding notebook is starting to get filled up- while it has been sitting in my file cabinet the last few months. So thanks Erica for the inspiration and for everyone else planning their weddings- hope you can find some great ideas from this site!!!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Back from the lake!!

It's been a week or so now since my last posts- while you thought I was slacking, I was actually on the Carter family vacation. It was the first annual this year, with many more to come!!! With such a big family of 5 boys- they hadn't kept up on taking yearly family vacations so this year we kicked off the tradition by heading to Table Rock lake to stay at Still Waters Resort for 5 days with the whole clan: all 20 of us!!! Here is a shot of everyone that we got Sunday night before we all headed out on Monday morning. What a great looking family!!!

This was our activity of choice after the kids went to sleep. Playing pitch and drinking beer. Jimmy, Bobby, Mrs. Carter, and their Granny were all playing this card game on the first Hillary and I got curious and asked to learn. 30 minutes later (and LOTS of yummy dip that Hillary made) we were hooked!!! On Sunday night, Hillary and Jimmy set up a tournament complete with a bracket so everyone could get involved. This is Jimmy and I playing in the tournament against his mom and dad....we ended up losing to them in the first round. Tim and Shellie got a buy the first round and were set to play the winner of Mike/Granny and Hillary/Bobby but Shellie headed to bed so since Jimmy and I lost so I jumped in as Tim's partner. After we beat Mike/Granny we went on to play Trish/Pat...Trish was a newcomer (that night she learned!) to the game but they put up a really good fight. Tim and I ended up taking the game---after I got in "trouble" for not bidding on a hand that I had an Ace, King, Queen...but I gave them my reasoning and we ended up winning so doesn't matter now right? The best part of the whole tournament was the next morning though!!! When I woke up, Libbie handed me a medal that she had made out of construction paper for the winners of the Tim and I both got one!! And it was only 7:45 in the morning, so she was up early working on crafts.

For those of that read this that are pitch players (Emily and Myers/Strathman I know!)....we need to get a tournament going at our house very soon!!! So fun!

Here was the view from our condos. The resort we stayed at was awesome! It was so nice- we had 2 separate 3 bedroom condos to house all of us and they were so nice, with plenty of space. The mornings, the kids usually stood on the patio and through bread down at the geese and the pool was right across the parking lot!! And it was awesome, with a nice little bridge and waterfall.

Jimmy, Bobby, Hillary, and I spent the whole day at the pool on Friday while the others went to Silver Dollar City (tickets were $58 per person for ONE day!!). While Hillary was in the pool or back at the condo I started reading the book she brought and ended up finishing it- oops- but it was really good! So all in all Friday was a great day because we just had dinner after everyone got back, went on the paddle boats (which was a story in itself), then hit the sack.
Saturday it was a little rainy/cloudy and the boys all got up to go play golf first thing in the morning and the girls had all the kids for the day. Hillary and I got convinced by Libbie to start playing hide and go seek at 7:45AM---but then I countered back her suggestion that we needed to wait until the clock said at least 8:03AM. What a vacation :) But after we got the game was probably the most fun I have had in a long time because the kids are freaking hysterical!!! There are not many places to hide in a 3 bedroom condo, especially with 6 people hiding: Me or Hillary (one of us was usually "IT"), Libbie, Ben, Maren, and Kenlie. The best part was just realizing how innocent and happy kids really are. We pretty much hid in the same place every time, which was some closet that we could all 5 fit in! Every time the person that was "IT" was approaching- Kenlie would do a high pitched laugh/squeal and then when the door opened everyone would scream simultaneously. Pretty much made my weekend to see how much fun they could have together playing such a simple game!!
Saturday night, all the girls went out to the landing- which was awesome!! My family and I used to have a cabin (that was my grandparents) on Table Rock Lake when I was younger so we went to Branson many times---but the landing is new and just what they needed!! Check out the website to see how cool it is: Shopping, dining, entertainment right off the river/lake. It was great!! We shopped a bit then went to an awesome Mexican restaurant and got to sit outside on the patio and enjoy some drinks and food- just the seven of us!! It's so fun to hang out with all the Carter girls and Granny was nice enough to treat us to dinner!! After picking up some candy and popcorn to bring back to the guys, we headed back to the condo.
Sunday was the day of lake adventures!! We had been staring at this sight from our condos for the last 3 days and finally got to dive into the lake. Everyone went down to the lake to fish off the dock, then Jimmy and I rented a wave runner...which was awesome!! Jimmy was being a cautious driver at first, then I took over the drivers seat and pulled out my fast and furious wave runner skills. Then when he got back in the drivers seat he went wild and threw me off. It was fun! Then we all rented a pontoon boat for four hours in the afternoon and took most of the kids with us. We drove around and stopped random places to was a perfect day on the lake because most people had already headed home for the weekend!!

Monday- we got up, packed up the condo and the leftover food and headed back to KC. I was exhausted by the time we got home- playing with kids is tiring!!! But all in all it was a great weekend and we already have the vacation booked for next year!! At that point we'll be married and get our own room to share---so weird but exciting!!!!!!!! :)

PS- Thanks Trish for your pictures!! Stole them off your facebook album!

And we have a hole....

With all the wonderful things that seem to be happening in my life lately, last Wednesday as I'm going home from work just as happy as can be because I won't be returning again until the following Tuesday..I'm chatting with my mom on the phone and she asks if I heard about what was going on at my house today. I said I hadn't, but I thought my dad, Evan, and Jimmy would just be working away on the bathroom. Then she spills the beans: Jimmy fell through the ceiling today and there is a huge hole. what kind of response does that merit?? Here is what I saw when I arrived home that afternoon...

Since the floor was gone in the bathroom, they hadn't put down any plywood yet because they were going to insulate it first. Apparently Jimmy slipped on one of the beams and fell through the ceiling--and almost landed on his junk. I did remember to ask if he was ok midway through yelling at him...and once I found out that he was, then onto the lecture. Regardless of what I said, there was a huge hole in my family room (aka man-cave) ceiling and I knew that since my dad was leaving for Africa in 2 days that the hole would probably be there for a while!! And guess what? It still is :) Jimmy did put some sheetrock over it...

Here is a shot after the floor was down. Too bad that wasn't there earlier!!

But the good news is....the "little too small" window was successfully installed and looks great from the inside and out! It did take them longer than the hour it said it would take to install, but I know they had to make it work!! Great job guys- a $68 window!!

And finally- I give you Jimmy (and Willy of course). This was his week off in between jobs, but I'm pretty sure he was more excited to go to work and would have rather been there then doing all the stuff he was doing at our house!! And thanks to Evan for being our designated plumber--he has been a ton of help!!!!
For now, most of the sheet rock is hung, the shower base is in and all the plumbing was replaced. We even installed an extra shower head- so now we have for me that's just my height and one for Jimmy. It always bothered me when I got into the shower and he had showered last because the shower head was so high up the water would hit me in the eyes. Problem solved I guess!! We also got the tile to do the floor and walls around the shower, now we just need someone to tell us how to do that. AND- I need to decide on a vanity. Needless to say, I've been pretty indecisive about that and it's making Jimmy angry. But I want to make sure I love it!!! Stay tuned for the next episode of "Brittany and Jimmy are crazy and are trying to re-do everything @ once on their new house"

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Trip to Lubbock: True Family Reunion

This weekend we left on Friday morning to head to Lubbock, TX for the annual True family reunion. We made the 11 hour drive on Friday...then back again to KC on Sunday. Details of the trip: rented a really high-tech mini van (who knew they were so cool now!), drove with 6 people, left 1 hour after planned departure time on Friday, had a 45 min pit stop in Ottawa, KS at the WalMart to get a new fuse that had blown so we could have power for our electronics, and then made a detour in some small town in West Texas for Sonic happy hour...until we finally made it!

Here's a recap of those that were in the car:

Barb and Roger...drivers most of the time, but got a small break on the way there. Thanks for taking us and treating us to food all weekend long. Apparently next year, when we are married my mom informed me we have to get our own room---but we'll see :) It was pretty fun shacking up with the whole family! Keeps it interesting!

Lyndsay and Andrew- this was his first time to meet this family. I think he learned a little more than he ever wanted to know, but I would like to think he was thoroughly entertained this weekend. I was VERY happy that he came along!! He had so much fun shopping......

HI- Jimmy and I were the last of the 6 in the car!

We left all 4 wiener dogs at my parents house with a dog sitter. I think she was a little overwhelmed at the "meet and greet" with all 4 dogs that took place on Monday night, but she had a successful weekend and the dogs are all doing great :)
With this long drive, there was lots of West Texas to look at. Nice and brown and dry and FLAT

Anyways, with any Bruns family trip....there were some moments to remember. The first did include making the 40 min shopping trip about 45 minutes into the trip at WalMart, but the second was pretty freaking hilarious. On Friday night, we got back in the room about midnight after hanging out with family at the hotel bar. I decided that I needed to pluck a stray eyebrow that I saw while I was washing my face. So I sat on the granite countertop and just swung my feet around in the sink so I could get as close as possible. (We were in a suite, so my mom and I were in the bedroom and everyone else was in the living room). Next thing I know, there is a loud noise and my feet are no longer in the sink...because it fell through. I just look at my mom and we start cracking up. I literally thought she was going to pee her pants she was laughing so hard. I quickly jump off the countertop, hysterically laughing while everyone else runs into the room to see what the noise was. To their surprise...this is what they saw:

2nd view- apparently they did not do a good job.

So after we all started laughing, my dad noticed when it fell it had busted a pipe..then he started talking about what a bad job they did of putting this together and how cheap it was. Apparently only caulking the underside of an undermount sink is not enough and clamps are required (learn something new everyday). After a call to the maintenance staff, we find out with the 14 softball teams staying in the hotel, there are no rooms so we will have to make do tonight and they will fix it and we can move rooms in the morning. We ended up just staying in that room after it was fixed....but apparently it happened to 4 other rooms in the last few weeks. That makes me feel better, but still. Haha. Now that I'm typing about this, it really isn't THAT funny, maybe it was "had to be there in the moment" one of things??

Well, anyways, here's to a great family reunion. Can't wait to go to Oklahoma City next year---Bricktown here we come!! And at that point, we'll be married and apparently Jimmy has to get up and recite everyone's name in the True family. He better start memorizing that family tree now because I don't even know it!! I'm sure there will be plenty of stories when we head out on Thursday to the lake for the Carter family vacation too----so get excited.

Shower Demolition: Surprise!

This is what I came home to on Wednesday afternoon--- my dad completed the front porch and other outside projects, so he decided to start on our bathroom. We did have a casual conversation that the next project should probably be the master bathroom because I wanted to take down the 1/2 wall of tile that surrounded it and put up new sheet rock, get a new vanity, and a new toilet- but probably just leave the shower as is for now. Well, Roger seemed to have a plan of his own :) I guess when he started taking down the tile, it just started crumbling and then the tile around the shower corners all fell. SOOO....he decided to just gut the whole bathroom. Yeah, wasn't really expecting that!

This was taken on Wednesday afternoon- after Thursday, the old vanity, toilet and walls were all gone. Also, he just decided to take out the floor as well to start from scratch. So you know, go for it! So starting tomorrow morning, Jimmy and my dad have a completely blank slate to work with. With specific instructions from me of course :)

Jimmy and I went to Home Depot late Wednesday night and actually snagged an awesome deal on a window! I went earlier in the day, before bootcamp, to see what the average price of was a window and if we could install it ourselves. Right now we have a 34 X 23 inch opening/window in the shower that is wood. Wood + water = rot. Therefore, we have to replace the window. So I went and talked to a really nice guy @ home depot and he took me through their basic window inventory- because of course I didn't have the measurements of the window. He did mention that they had a window that was returned that was special ordered but then returned....after I got home and measured and found out that the "odd" size of window that was special ordered was 23 in and so was ours I knew we had to go back ASAP. When we got there, about 40 min before closing and 15 min past my bed time- I talked to the same guy and he ended up giving us the window at a huge discount because there wasn't a SKU accompanying it. SCORE. Then we bought our new vanity....I think we are planning to make it a little higher still by building up a base underneath but, but I'm excited about it!

Since Jimmy's last day of working in Topeka at Correct Care Solutions, was Thursday, he has this week off before we head to the Carter family lake vacation. But really, he will be hard at work finishing our bathroom before my dad heads off to South Africa for 2 weeks!! Hopefully they will be fast little workers and get everything done- because I want my bathroom back!!

Friday, July 17, 2009

Remember, Reflect, Rejoice

Five years ago yesterday was a day that I will never forget. It feels like yesterday when I think back to that day and those events. I cannot believe that 5 years have passed already. I received a phone call the morning of July 16, 2004 while I was at my summer internship that my good friend Laura Geraghty had been in a car wreck the night before and she was in the hospital. I rushed to the hospital because Jen said it was pretty bad and by the time that I got there she had passed away. I will never forget that moment and the days/weeks following it. My world was brought to a halt and I didn't know how to handle it. What do you do when you are only 19 and you have a friend that is taken from this world suddenly?

Thinking back to those days that followed, I remember the time spent with friends talking about Laura and what we loved so much about her...attempting to figure out why this would happen. I remember talking to her family- her older siblings that we all looked up to her, her parents that we loved and had grown up around, and I remember going to her funeral and not being able to breathe.

Now five years later after that tragic event, I had to take some time to reflect on the time that has passed. The thing that upset me the most about Laura's accident was that she was only 19 and hadn't even begun her life. Everything that you look forward to when you are a little kid was right in front of her- but she never got to live it. And now here all of her friends are at 24, almost 25 years old...experienced and graduated from college, have jobs, are doing "big kid" things and buying houses, getting married or still searching for that one. I think of what she would be doing now and wonder how different our lives would be if she wouldn't have been taken from us. Although I don't have any of those answers as to what she would have been, I do know that when I think back to the time Laura was with us- she lived life to the fullest, was a wonderful friend, had a heart full of love, and a smile that lit up a room. And I know that she's up in heaven looking down on all of us; laughing along with us during the good times and wrapping her arms around us during the bad.

And five years after that tragic day, the only emotion that I have left is to rejoice at the time that God has given us all here and the wonderful friends and family that surround all of us daily. I am thankful of my friendships that I have with all my high school friends and those times that we get to catch up. I'm thankful that we have each other to talk to about this and can be there to comfort each other when we are sad and rejoice with each other when we are happy. And I'm thankful for the time that Laura was with us and the joy that she brought to our lives and that she continues to watch after us each and every day. There is not a day that passes that I don't think of her, but we will never forget her smile, loving heart, and how much we will always miss her! Love you Laura :)

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Willy's funny behaviors

I love Willy. Even though everyone laughs when I say I have a 23 (sometimes up to 25) pound wiener dog, he's still my little baby and he's just so freaking adorable and loving. Most mornings when I wake up, Willy has somehow positioned himself to be laying RIGHT next to me with his head on resting on my arm. And then sometimes I wake up and he's laying on the pillow next to me (like a person) sleeping and then when he hears me move he wakes up and looks at me. I think that means he just really likes me. I'm not even going to get into his love for food....but I do promise to post a video of him eating very soon. It is quite the site to see. What is even better is when he eats the food out of Milly's bowl because he knows that is bad and not allowed but if I walk away for a split second and it's sitting there, he will devour it. Sometimes he even just does it when I'm sitting he wants to rub it in my face how chunky he is and likes food and nothing will stop him. are a few funny things. The other day I took Milly and Willy on a quick walk before boot camp because they were cooped up in the kennel all day for the first time in a long time because my dad went to Iowa last week (usually he's working on the house and they get to run outside). Well, I thought I knew a good way to go that would provide them with a nice, brisk walk that was not too long---they have incredibly small legs and it was REALLY hot that day, so they get overheated and tired pretty fast. Turns out, the way I went was a lot longer---so we ended up on Roe and at that point I was carrying Milly and I thought Willy was going to have a stroke--but he's like super heavy so he has to walk (I know, I'm mean). As we made our way dogs following behind me slowly I finally put Milly down and attempted to pick Willy up. About 40 steps later, he was back on the ground and I had to give him the "I'm sorry babe, you're just a little too big for mommy to carry you for a long time" face. He did not like that, but what can you do? So we got home and after the dogs drank 2 bowls of water, Willy found his new favorite place to hang out when he's hot- the cold hardwood floor next to the air vent by the front door! So funny when I found him here, I had to snap a picture :) I just love him!

Second story- a quick one- happened this morning. With my shower gone now (that is an upcoming blog post later when I have time), I got up a little earlier and showered in Lauren's shower and was happy with how fast I was getting ready this morning. So the dogs and I did our usual routine but when I let them back in right before they were supposed to go in their kennel, once I gave Willy a treat he disappeared. I heard his feet briefly on the hardwood floor so I figured he had run upstairs. But the guest room door and my door were both closed (which contain his 2 favorite beds to hide under) so I went into Lauren's room to look for him- after putting the cooperative Miss Milly in the kennel. I looked in her closet, under the bed...he was no where to be found. So I began searching his favorite hiding spots around the house. At this point it about 10 minutes after the time I should leave for work....still can't find him. I tell Lauren that he's missing so she checks under the bed again and lo and behold he is under her bed at the very back corner hiding behind 2 black duffel bags. Funny- but now I have to get him out.
So in my nice black shirt that is lent free that I'm wearing to work, I lay on the ground and slowly shimmy my body under Lauren's bed (barely fit!). Since he's at the back corner, at this point I am all the way under her bed with duffel bags in my face reaching aimlessly for his collar to pull him out. I finally find it while searching with my hands, and my chunky little wiener dog emerges from under the bed with a very innocent look on his face. Now I would get mad because at this point, I'm late to work, I have lent all over my black shirt from laying face down on the carpet...but he's just so freaking cute. So he just gets a "no" and acknowledgement that I now know where his new hiding spot is---so to trick me next time, he'll have to find a new one. Why do I love these dogs so much? Only dog lovers/wiener dog lovers will ever understand I guess :) (Right Carly?!)

Monday, July 13, 2009

Short post but funny pic

One more short post to provide anyone who is looking for some afternoon entertainment (because I will be off to the dentist this afternoon!).

Please see below for the following hair do that Vanessa's bridesmaids will be wearing at her wedding on 11.20.09. We cannot wait. Thanks V for always looking for new ways for your bridesmaids to stand out!! This is per Heather's suggestion- I think Heather is having Vanessa lean towards the "Laura Ingalls Wilder" theme. If so- she's hit it right on! Its so intricate with detail that cannot be matched. We will all have to be at the hair salon around 6AM because this puppy will take all day for all of us to get done! Haha....I love it.

(Sorry for the weirdness of this post- but Heather and Emily crack me up through mass I had to share this wonderful picture. Long story leading up to this- but picture was too funny not to share) (And for Vanessa's sake- this will NOT be the actual hair do. Thank goodness)

I'm famous!

Check out the following link to see a video my Hallmark friends and I on the news- hit the play button to start it on the right side of the page. You can see us about 55 seconds in! Haha- we were just moving bars during happy hour one night and apparently they caught us on tv. My friend Jen and I are in the front. So funny.

And yes, I realize that this does not make me famous, but I mean a little publicity never hurt right? Plus that walk I have going on is SO similar to a model's on the runway......right :) I kind of want to say to myself: "Come on Bruns- stand up straight!!! You never know who is watching!"

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Quarter Life Crisis

While this blog post might have a different feel than most, I think it's so necessary!! Jimmy, my mom, and I went to church last night and the sermon was all about the intersection of life and your faith...specifically focusing on life crisis- aka the well known mid-life crisis. But Adam then went on to mention there are several crisis at different points in life and they are all necessary. I was hooked on listening intently to this right when I heard these words come out of his mouth: "quarter life crisis". But before I get into it, I think some fundamentals to actually understand a crisis would be helpful (they were to me when he went over them!)

The definition of the word crisis is this: "A crucial or decisive point or situation; a turning point". So for me, before hearing this sermon I would probably have told you a totally different definition....because I feel like the word crisis has a very negative viewpoint in society now (ex. financial crisis= stock market crashing, economic crisis= fortune 500 companies filing for bankruptcy). But really, it's a decision point---for the individual, the family, the economy, or the nation involved. I like that gives it a more positive spin :)

Anyways, so the reason I was so intrigued by this sermon (don't worry- I'm not cut out to be a preacher by any means, so I'm not going to re hash it on my blog!) was because literally a year ago, I was in the midst of my own quarter life crisis. Now you are probably laughing/smirking thinking how silly that is. And believe me, other people did too!! But I was so excited to learn that having a crisis around the ages of 18-25 in life is completely normal. Here is some background on my own crisis.

I had been working at Deloitte Consulting for 9 or 10 months around this point last year. Work was my life. Jimmy and I had broken up in late September, which was about 2 months into me starting with Deloitte because we were at two totally different stages in life. I was working non-stop and traveling every week, while he was still living it up in college!! Now there is nothing wrong with either of those 2 things, but attempting to have a normal relationship was not working well for us. So essentially, work was my life....I wasn't involved in anything else outside of Deloitte because I didn't have time and rarely got to spend quality time with friends. The project I was on from February to mid-June was a complete nightmare and had me working 18 hour days some times and gone from KC 5-6 days/week. Jimmy and I had gotten back together because we knew we were "the one" for each other and wanted to make our relationship work, even with me traveling 80% of every week. Needless to say- I was burnt out and essentially began questioning everything. Like why I took this job and if this was the way I wanted to live my life? I got paid a lot...but was that what mattered to me? Or was it other things like having a great relationship, developing myself in places outside of work, and essentially enjoying life?

That was when I realized it: I was having a quarter life crisis. I was questioning the world...the "norms" of what defined success and if this was the path in life that I really wanted to be on. So I started talking to my mom about it and she and I started going to this class at our church on Sunday nights called "Success to Significance" aka "I'm having a mid-life crisis and need to re-evaluate what I'm doing with my life". As you can probably guess, everyone there was around the ages of 45-60. So I was the lone 22 year old coming week after week and making jokes that I was having a "quarter-life crisis". The class, although made for those in their midlife crisis, was fantastic. Doing it with my mom was even better because we learned so much about each other outside of the normal mother/daughter arena. So needless to say, after 8 weeks of that....I was ready to make the decision that had been lingering in my head for awhile: I needed to quit my job with Deloitte. It was the hardest thing I ever did because it was like I was admitting failure to myself. That the job was too much....I couldn't find that balance, and other people could. But after taking that class and talking to people that were farther along in their life that were struggling with the same things I was- but had those regrets of not seeing their kids grow up, not putting enough effort into their marriage because of work---I knew I was making the right decision. And that I wasn't failing, but this just wasn't my path. I needed a job and a company that I could learn, that would challenge me, but also not make me give up life. And what better place in KC with those values then Hallmark Cards? After I accepted a position there and started on September 2....the rest is truly history.

A year ago, when I was faced with this crisis in my life- I had to make a decision on which way I wanted my life to go. If I wanted me career to be the most important thing or if I wanted to find a place that I could have both? Well, the answer to that question is right here: I am now engaged to the most wonderful guy in the world that I can't wait to marry and spend the rest of my life with and have really cute red-headed babies with, I have 2 amazing wiener dogs that I have dreamed about my whole life, I have a house that I absolutely love, I get to spend all the time I want with my friends, I volunteer my time with Pi Phi, and I just got a promotion at work!

Now to bring this full circle and not get too sappy, but as I was sitting there last night at church listening to Adam talk about these decisions or crisis points in our lives- I couldn't help but think of my life if I hadn't made that one decision. I can almost guarantee you that none of the wonderful things that I have in my life right now would be like they are. I wouldn't have dogs, I would still live in my condo, Jimmy and I might not be dating because we wouldn't have had the time to develop our relationship to the level we needed to be at to get engaged, I wouldn't get to work with Pi Phis and I wouldn't have as great of relationships with my friends. It's CRAZY to think of that. But what's even crazier is how thankful I am for God giving me the power to make that decision in my life and the support that I received from everyone around me in making it. I'm very happy with how my quarter life crisis turned out...and even more happy to know that it's a "normal" step in our journey of life. I hope that each one of your crisis turn out the way they should, whether you know that way that is the "should" or not :)

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Improvements thus far!

All right- here are a BUNCH of house pictures of all the great things that Jimmy, my dad, and I have been up to :) Enjoy. And let me tell you- they are doing so awesome. It's been so great to see the transformation.....while I haven't been in the best mood about all the work going on (and what's still left)...I'm loving the results.

The new front view of our house- no bushes overtaking the front or rail road ties!

Our new snazzy front porch! Way to go Rog...he designed this himself. While the railings are not on yet, it still looks great!! He was devastated to leave for Iowa without this done!

Jimmy and my dad's hard work on the retaining wall in the front. After we get these nasty stumps out...can't wait to get my green thumb going (or try!)

New garage door- made a huge difference. The other one was literally falling off.

Ahh---our new fence that Jimmy and my dad put up!! We had a 6ft fence on 2 other sides and a 4ft chain length on this one. Toby jumps over this is our solution. I love it!

The man cave. Can't really see the new beer fridge- but Jimmy's excited about it.

Wahoo!!! The 1/2 bath is complete. Look @ that ORANGE!! Nice pick Jim!

The guest room!! No longer does it have that kids border and the green trim!! Love it.

My FAVORITE project that was completed this weekend- a new door on our master bathroom. The only one swung into the bathroom that is already freaking small, so when the door was open it made is super super small. $30 later (with a few modifications from the dream team aka Roger and Jimmy) we have a new door!

This is me- happy with all the work that was done. Of course Milly and Willy are just THRILLED as well!
That's all. Next is just finish the concrete where we ripped it all out then get new countertops and PRESTO = new house!

What will tomorrow bring? (the wedding version)

Now I know you were hoping that this post was going to be full of pictures of the latest home improvement projects that were completed- but that will be coming tomorrow. I have to take pictures for my dad and send them to the WalMart in Iowa so he and my grandparents can pick them up and oh and ah over his work---so I'm taking those tonight and they will be uploaded to the PC tomorrow. Get excited.

No, this blog post is about our wedding. I KNOW. Can you believe I have dedicated a whole post to the wedding planning? Haha. I am not going to lie, I have been taking my time with the process. Not because I'm not excited for getting married- more because I say a secret prayer every night hoping that tomorrow morning I will wake up and it will all be done for a big "book" will appear on my front porch (the NEW front porch!) titled: "Jimmy and Brittany are tying the knot.....Brittany, all you have to do is show up!". Then on the inside next page it says "Brittany aka Bride to be....someone has pretty much read your mind (including details/ideas/things that you have NEVER even thought about!) and your entire wedding is planned! Congrats to you! All you have to do is show up on April 10 to marry the man of your get back to real life and take a load off". HM---that would be nice. Unfortunately I have slowly come to the realization that this whole fake book thing I just made up in my head probably won't happen- so I've but on my happy face, strapped on my wedding planning boots, and I'm off- budget spreadsheet in hand of course (if you know me at all, it probably isn't news to you that a budget spreadsheet was the first thing done and my favorite thing about this process!! I know I know, I'm weird)!!

Anyways, here are some big accomplishments completed in the last week:

1) Booked the DJ- met with him, loved him (I secretly already loved him, but just wanted Jimmy to as well). He's the Jeffer from the Q104 morning show and I freaking love that show, love him and his DJ company, and best yet...he has a 30 year old, 5ft man that is from the Philippines that works for him and dances. Cool.

2) Booked the photographer- sending in the contract and deposit for that today! Can't wait to send that off. Jimmy and I met with the Hendersons on Sunday afternoon and knew that it was the perfect fit. Not only does their package offer everything we want, but it's at the perfect price. Plus- they are the sweetest couple ever and their work is pretty cool too. We both walked out after meeting them knowing we had to book them ASAP. Check out their website and blog:

3) I'm trying on wedding dresses tomorrow. I know. A whole day off work (that actually seems more busy and chaotic then actually going to work) to try on dresses and stare at myself- haha ok I'm excited. I think I have an idea what I want, but who knows. My mom, Mrs. Carter, and Lyndsay are all going---so I'm sure everyone will have their opinions. The good thing is there is no pressure to buy. This is kind of like a pre-wedding dress purchase trip. I just want to try stuff on to see what style/cut/neckline/train/every single other thing that goes into a wedding dress that I cannot freaking keep straight I want :) On July 31, Brides Against Breast Cancer will be in I have an appointment to look at the dresses they have there. All the proceeds to the sales of those dresses go to benefit breast cancer research, and I cannot think of any better place to the money I spend on my wedding dress to go. Here is this website for more info on this program:
Also, here are some entertaining wedding dress pictures I found that I had to share. I'm thinking I will not end up in either of these...but I'm not promising anything. You never know, I could get caught up in the moment!

I wonder if they have this in lime green?

I'm thinking I will need a bigger wedding party if I pick this one!!

4) Meeting with our caterer to talk about preliminary stuff and decorations in the commons area is set for next Tuesday. That will be fun. Not anything like the taste test we did a few weeks ago (YUM) but I'm excited to see her ideas for stuff- but yeah, I have none.
5) Bridesmaid dresses- Barb picked some up that she found on sale (gotta love her for those bargains- glad she has that trait and chose to pass it down to me!). I actually do really like them, but they will have to be altered because the sizes that were available were a little bigger than most of my we're weighing the costs and benefits of buying them on sale and just getting altered.
In other bridal news (that I know you are dying to hear), I have now been doing Bridal Bootcamp for 4 weeks 8 sessions. I love it. And they just bumped it up to 3 times per week because some of the brides in the bootcamp are getting married real soon...but I'm psyched because I like it so much that I'm actually excited to do it 3 times/week. And I like it even more because Molly joined!!! She had her first session on Monday...and I am pretty sure I wanted to cry for her because I remember my first week. I literally couldn't walk after. But once you get going and do it regularly the results are awesome! I'm glad I have a partner now because it makes it much more fun!!!
Well, that's all I have. Nothing too entertaining, but I guess that's just what you get when you are planning a wedding. I did have a really bad experience with a photographer that we interviewed sending me 3 page hate email after we told them we decided to go with someone else. He had a pony tail longer than mine, so I guess that's not an unexpected response. Peace out.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

And I try to be nice!!

So while I was enjoying my trip to Target tonight---and you know, picked up some random towels that I didn't need....I guess when you become a homeowner it's easier to justify buying those instead of new shoes, right?--- I made it to the dog toy/food aisle. I figured since Milly and Willy were really good this weekend and considering we left them locked up in their kennel during fireworks and they were probably scared, for our movie night in tonight (that involved me, Lauren, M&W) they deserved some new toys!

I got Willy a Kong to put peanut butter in because he doesn't really like toys...but he loves any kind of food and I got Milly a squeaky toy with a rope on it because she loves squeaky toys! Once I got the peanut butter in the Kong, Willy took about 5 mintues to eat it out of there and was incredibly mean and growled at me when I tried to take it away. And THIS is what Milly did. She just destroyed it instantly and then just was over it after she ripped out the squeaky part. And all I was doing was try to reward them---but I'm left cleaning up her mess!!

Being so innocent---yeah right.

The left overs of Milly's toy. Ha- it didn't stand a chance. She's so silly.

Demolition Post- Better late than never

While this was a few weekends ago, and the progress still continues- this was the Saturday of demolition, complete with a broken sledge hammer, a huge dumpster in our driveway, and some very helpful guys!

Of course we have to start off with the picture of Jimmy using the sledge hammer to break up a slab of concrete that had to go. This is in the backyard, coming out of the back door from the dining room. I'm sure you are just swooning now at his muscles :) Jim! So hot!

That 24 hour fitness membership is paying off ;)

The worst part of the railroad tie removal involved getting these rotting ones out of the ground with the wet soil. There was lots of sweat and pain involved in this one. They actually left 2 in the ground because they were so heavy and pretty much stuck in the ground. After the soil dried up, my dad was able to get them out on his own though. Way to go Rog!! Mike was nice enough to come over and join in on the fun. Jay made his way over eventually to help out. And the Pizza Shoppe that we bought them for lunch- wasn't nearly enough to thank them for their time and efforts!!

Closer view of the steps that used to be railroad ties, that are now mud (which is just SO fun when you have 2-3 dogs running around all over the yard and they want to dig and then come inside and jump on new furniture!), but will eventually be concrete. Soon....hopefully. But in the meantime, I am learning how to be patient and keep a towel at every entrance to wipe off the dogs feet.

A shot of the front yard, that used to have railroad ties and concrete...which is also no more. This weekend's project actually involved my dad and Jimmy starting a retaining wall. They are doing a great job. Also- you can see the front porch which is now completed minus the really cool post covers/sleeves and railing that my dad is DYING to get in from Home Depot. The way he talks about it you would think that he was a kid in a candy store.
The dumpster- this is only about 1/4 of the way full. We filled it to the brim. I'm nervous to see how much we exceeded the 4 ton limit. Hmmm...
Needless to say it was a successful weekend. The projects are moving along. This weekend was VERY successful also. I will take some pictures and put them up later this week because we did nothing but house stuff all weekend- and get some 4th of July celebration in there in between.
PS- Thanks again to Mike, Jay, Jimmy, and my dad for all the work!!! (Especially my dad and Jimmy for their work this weekend too!) So great to have such great people that are so willing to help out!!!

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Finally!! He's the star of the blog :)

Ever since I started this blog, Jimmy asks me after each post "When am I going to be the *STAR* of the blog post?". My answer is always the same: "Do something blog/star worthy and you'll be the star!" As of Wednesday, July 1 Jimmy earned that right!! He got a NEW JOB!

After graduating from KU, he worked for Carter Glass a bit before starting at Correct Care Solutions where he was a Quality Improvement Analyst. The big downside to getting that job is that it is in Topeka- a whole hour drive to work and then an hour drive back. So needless to say, even if he LOVED the work he was doing, the drive gets really old fast for anyone. Well, he finally decided to give it a try and apply for jobs in KC, even in this rough economic state. We knew it wouldn't be easy for him switching jobs right now, but it was worth a try!!

While browsing online, I found a job opening that looked PERFECT for him! And the best part- it happened to be at the same company and same position as my best friend Emily. So after he applied, Emily worked her magic and put in a good word (Thanks Em!!). So after two rockstar interviews, he finally found on Wednesday (less that 24 hours from when his 2nd interview finished) that they wanted to offer him the job! Then he accepted :)

So what does that mean!?? Here a few wonderful changes from this job switch:

1) Instead of 1 hour each way commute his entire commute will not exceed 20 minutes (the office is in Corporate Woods)

2) In his new role as account executive, after he gets his own accounts, he'll be working with people much more than he ever got to in his old job. Less analysis and more relationships= perfect for Jimmy!!

3) A pay raise....both in salary AND in monthly expenses because he doesn't have to pay for gas to and from Topeka every day!

4) A fun working environment! While his old job had great people, this new office has a much younger crowd. And the great thing is, he has an insider to let him know how fun it is. Needless to say, those Friday afternoon company Wii tournaments that Emily would always tell me I'll have both of them to remind me how fun their office is!

5) Sales experience and thing that Jimmy has always been interested in is sales, but of course it's hard to get good sales experience! So with this job, he'll be working with his clients to up sell the services that his company. While I'm not sure how all of this works (Emily knows of course) it's pretty exciting and different!

6) My best friend Emily, just became his best friend too. I did warn her that working with Jimmy every day is pretty much the equivalent of Jimmy and me getting married because she'll probably spend just as much time during the week that I do!!

Anyways, I'm so proud of him!! And this is the perfect reason to make him the *STAR* of Just Another day in Paradise blog for one day!! :) He'll start @ Validity Screening Solutions on July 28---right after we return from our Carter vacation at the lake! Congrats babe!!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

A disturbing incident- but funny.

***Readers beware if you have just eaten...***

Last night I got home from work and my dad was at our house (like usual) working very hard on the new front porch- which I WILL post pictures of (it's awesome). So I walk up to say hi and see how everything is going. This was our conversation (reader's beware if you have just eaten breakfast, are planning on eating soon, or have a weak stomach and an imaginative mind combo):

Roger: "Hey there!! Did you happen to scoop some dog poop up in the backyard and toss it over the fence so it landed perfectly on top of the remaining railroad ties that we have to throw in the dumpster?"

Me: "Um- no why would I do that. I never touch dog poop, and I even have 3 dogs"

Roger: "Well, it's kind of odd. This morning when I got here, I found some poop sitting on the railroad tie. Even more odd- it was in a perfect pile."

Me: "Um, that's is disgusting. I'm so confused. What kind of poop are you talking about??"

Roger: "I'm thinking now since you said it was wasn't dog poop, and it didn't really look like dog poop, and the fact that there was a little wad of used toilet paper sitting next to it, that it was probably a human's poop"

Me: "WWWHHHAAAATTTTT? You have to be kidding me? Someone pooped in our driveway behind our dumpster perfectly on a railroad tie and even brought toilet paper and then left it? That is by far the weirdest thing I've ever heard in my life. But explains all these weird noises that Lauren and I were hearing last night and the fact that I thought the house was getting broken into multiple times and was walking around home alone with Willy by my side and 911 ready to dial in my phone. But someone was pooping outside??!"

Roger: "I guess, seems odd to me too. Ok, back to work- have to finish these steps. I just LOVE this front porch. It was such a genius idea!"

End of our conversation.

And that was it according to my dad. Apparently he did not think it was that big of a deal when he saw it and just got a shovel and scooped both the poop and toilet paper into the dumpster and went along his merry way. Hmmm. Needless to say, I might be stretching this here- but I'm a little more dramatic about things like this. Thoughts instantly start running through my mind as to why or who would EVER do that? I mean it's not like we live by a bar or retail area....we live in a freaking neighborhood and our driveway is pretty far off the street. And 79th st is not a side street so whomever decided to do this was pretty daring because cars are regularly going up and down it.

So I go inside- just flabbergasted- and call Jimmy to let him know of the incident. While it's pretty gross- you have to admit that it's pretty funny. So I start telling him and just continue to bust out laughing really hard so I cannot speak or finish the store. In turn- Jimmy starts laughing too. After a few minutes of that, it's back to business. Who? When? Why? Maybe it was the photographer that we just told we didn't want to shoot our wedding that just sent me a nasty 3 page email today----I told him yesterday and he has our address? Or maybe someone in the neighborhood is mad that we have had a dumpster in our driveway for a week now (it's leaving today- thank goodness) and pooped by it to let us know that they think we are white trash? I mean honestly the possibilities are endless. Any suggestions why someone would do this??

Now the standard operating procedure is to set the alarm at all times, regardless if it's bed time or not because while people may be pooping outside our house, better there then inside on our carpet.

PS- This situation is exactly why I started a blog. Like who the heck has this weird sh*t (haha pun intended) happen to them?? :)