Pretty thing of the day #4: gorgeous invitations

LOVE these beautiful letterpress custom invitations from HelloLucky!


Engagement anniversary!

Popping the question was a big deal for my fiance. The reason I'm sure of this is that he remembers the date of our engagement. We have never been a couple who celebrates the day we met or even the time of year that marks another year of our relationship. He's never been the kind of boyfriend who plans for weeks what he will give me for my birthday. But he's been looking forward to today, the "one-year anniversary of our engagement," for at least a week. It WAS a big deal, and I'm so glad he asked me and that he took my trembling hand that night.

This has been one hell of a year! So far:
• diamond ring + the man of my dreams
• job change
• major consulting job executed
• bathroom remodeled
• side career started and put aside
• one sister graduated from college; another from high school
• move to a new city
• cohabitation
• wedding dress purchased
• great lake vacation and travel with friends
• paralympic champion sister
• yard landscaped
• more friends tie the knot!
• first-ever deer/car collision
• official dog-ownership
• ownership of Grandma Jo's china and Granny's silver (= holy cow I am a grown up)

So, now, unbelieveably, we have 138 days until our first dance as husband and wife. Here's to many more anniversaries to celebrate!


Run, Breaker, run ...

Doggie update:

Four weeks. Five breakouts (maybe more, I've lost count). That's Breaker's record so far.

And Patrick called a little before 5 p.m. yesterday to let me know that Breaker was loose, dragging his leash behind him. It's so strange that a creature that is so doting, that follows Patrick and me around the house like a precious shadow and snuggles in the evenings and the same dog that groggily plods down the hallway to get a drink in the morning suddenly becomes a wild animal. One whiff of fresh air and he loses all sense and all smarts, all loyalty. We should have named him Forrest. I've never seen a dog run like that.

Is this how one party feels when couples end up in divorce -- confined and crazed by the temptation to run away? Is it possible to foster a partnership (with man or beast) in which neither party ever feels that primal instinct to "run!"? In the end, I think we all feel temptation and cabin fever every once in a while with the status quo of our lives. But, I find consolation in knowing that even those who yearn to run away want the comfort and safety of home.

About 20 minutes after Breaker made his run for it, Patrick heard a few yelps and barks coming from the wooded part of our yard. There he found our big black lab tangled, his leash wrapped around a tree trunk. "Come get me," he barked to his faithful owner. And he knew Patrick would come and take him home, wrap him in his arms, and love him just the same.

I hope my marriage, friendships, and (one day) my own family will be filled with the same kind of unconditional welcome and forgiveness.


Overwhelming love and gratitude

I adore Thanksgiving as a holiday. It is a day and time void of pretenses and expectations, designed to remind each of us of the many blessings we enjoy every day. This year, my mom's side of the family descended on my parents' home from all parts of the country -- Florida, Illinois, Wisconsin, California -- to celebrate. And this year, especially, I was touched by so many precious and wonderful moments. I felt so much love, warmth, and genuine gratitude.

Our first bridal shower, held on Saturday, moved me to tears. It is difficult to explain what it feels like to be showered with beautiful and generous gifts simply because you are happy and in love. My neighbors Marty and Sue prepared a gorgeous brunch. Anna and Emma dutifully made ribbon bouquets and recorded gifts. We all laughed and the group watched as I opened beautiful package after beautiful package. (Above, I am demonstrating the wonders of OXO pop containers... "oooh" ... "ahhh") It was overwhelming.

Unpacking everything on Sunday, the gifts seemed to "fill" up the house. Through this process of planning and showers and gift-giving, the people we love and who love us are building our home. The coffee pots and wine glasses and throw blankets and baskets are daily reminders of those who grew us into the family we are now and will support us in the family we become.

Thank you. My cup runneth over.