Sunday, January 6, 2013

First comes love, then comes 6 years of courtship...

After many years of being single, and a long courtship, I am getting married! I met Jared 6 years ago through mutual friends. Within a month or two I became infatuated. It took him a bit longer. We dated for a short time, but it soon became clear that our life situations were just too different to progress any further. Jared has never married and has no children, and I am divorced with kids, and even grandchildren. We both began seeing other people,  but remained friends and kept gravitating toward each other.

Not long after our initial dating and subsequent break up, I was diagnosed with cancer. Jared was there to provide comic relief during a very difficult time for me.

Just prior to Thanksgiving, Jared proposed to me, and I gladly accepted. We opted for a short engagement and are in the midst of planning a simple wedding and reception for 150 people. I say simple, because compared to a Kadashian wedding, it is simple, but it sure seems complicated to me. There are so many details and decisions to be made.

I try to be frugal wherever I can, and my wedding is no exception. I don't want it to look like I have skimped, but I can't see spending tens of thousands of dollars on a one day event. Some things I have saved on:

Jared's brother is a graphic artist, and he designed our invitations (I will attach one and you can see what a beautiful job he did). This is his wedding gift to us, so the design cost us nothing. We are having them printed out at a camera shop on nice glossy paper, so they will look professional. We are sending them in simple envelopes...who pays attention to the envelope? It will cost about $150 for 200 prints and envelopes, for a savings of about $100.

My mom bought me a dress for $399. It is gorgeous! It was strapless, which, as a pale ginger, I don't do well. The dress shop charges $320 (to start) for alterations. This is where they make the big bucks. I took the dress as is, and am having a capable seamstress who works out of her home alter the top for me. She will charge $150. She will also hem the bottom and add a bustle.

I was going to use silk flowers for the table centerpieces, but found that real flowers will actually cost less right now. I am having I Do Weddings do the catering, decorations, and flowers. They are charging $1400 total (with a $300 discount for paying her early). We are doing light food (ham and cheese sandwiches, veggie pasta salad, and nut cups. We are providing the nut cups.

We are having the reception in our local church building. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints generally builds their churches with a large gym that can be used for functions such as this. They do not charge anything for the use of them either. Most places around here charge 2 grand for a 4 hour rental. We will have many decorations to make the place beautiful, including backdrops, greenery, and flowers.

I checked out a few places looking for a cake. The average cost of a 3 layer cake was $275. I happened into a cupcake shop Cupcake Chic and noticed that they also make cakes. For $225 they are making me a 3 layer traditional cake, as well as a groom's cake (shh, Jared doesn't know). We have a friend who owns Garden Ninja Studios and makes custom wedding toppers. He offered to make a top for the groom's cake as a gift. For my cake, I waited until after Christmas to pick up an ornament stand, which we will paint white. I also picked up an ornament that is just a cursive letter D (for my new last name) in silver with faux diamond accents. This will hang from the ornament stand with a bit of ribbon. Total cost of the top: $4.25.

I am wearing keds under my wedding dress. No one will see them, and I will be comfortable all night. My two daughter in laws are my bride's maids, and are picking out their own dresses. I told them the colors (plum, light green, lavender, silver, and black) and am allowing them, as well as the mothers, to pick out their own dresses. I want them to be comfortable. We got tuxes for most of the men, but just matching ties for Jared's brother-in-law and my grandsons. The brother-in-law won't be staying for the whole night, and my grandson's wouldn't be happy in tuxes.

I have opted not to wear a veil. My hair is Jared's favorite thing about me and he would like to see it on the wedding day. I have a cousin who is going to beauty school and she has agreed to do the updo. I am going two weeks prior to the wedding to get a cut, color (with highlights), and practice updo, which will cost me $60 total. I will go back on the day of the wedding for the updo already knowing how it will look.

Wish me luck in this new adventure! I am excited and couldn't be more happy.


Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Why yes, I am going to eat these cheese fries.

In general, I am a very happy person. My hope is that my loved ones can find this in their lives as well. I see people focusing far too much on what money can buy, what foods they do or do not consume, and things that matter far less than family and personal growth. I see those I love drinking alcohol to the extent that they embarrass themselves and their families, partaking of drugs to the extent that they neglect their children and burden their parents, and spend money they don't have causing unnecessary distress.

There are things about me that I would love to change. I don't like that I've gained back all the weight I lost while going through chemo, but it is better than being chemo-weak, and I have a boyfriend who loves every bit of me. By the way, women, most men can't tell the difference when you gain or lose 10 lbs, so stop stressing so much about it. The only person who notices or cares is you and if you care that much about 10 lbs, you have other issue that you should take care of. For some people it is about control or vanity, both of which can be very dangerous for you, and for your loved ones. If you have children, realize that this is going to give them a skewed sense of what is important and can lead to eating disorders for them.

This weekend I will be praying much and asking to know what I need to change about myself, and for the skills to be able to do so. While I do realize that we need to take care of our bodies, I am fairly certain that my prayers won't be answered with "Tracy, you could stand to lose some of the weight you have packed on recently". After all, this body is temporary, but my consciousness/personality/character will be going with me when I leave this world.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

A perfect wedding

What a beautiful wedding and reception! Chris and Debra were married in a Latter Day Saint temple. Since the temple is a sacred place, only people endowed within the church could attend the actual ceremony. We had about 50 people at the ceremony and it was lovely. In my mind, the actual marriage is a very sacred thing, and I am glad it was a smaller group.

We picked a perfect venue for the family luncheon! After the wedding we had about 75 close family members and friends meet us at the Brick Oven restaurant in Provo, Utah. We had a room to ourselves with an attendant on staff at all times. The food was set up nicely, kept warm, and delicious. We had a few different choices of pasta, green salad, and brownies. The cost ended up being around $10 per person, which was split 3 ways between the bride's family, Christopher's father, and me. 

2 hour break before the wedding...whew!

Jared and I ran to my house to recoup and change. I should mention here that Jared was a rock throughout and could not have done a better job of making sure that I had everything I needed throughout this very special and emotional day. After a brief rest, we went to Sears to look at tools, dressed to the nines. It was a nice break from the stress, and he picked up a tool set that will no doubt be used for home improvements in my home. At one point during the reception I felt a bit overwhelmed and needed a break. He held me in his arms in the foyer and danced a slow dance with me, then sat with me and made me laugh until I felt great again and was able to rejoin the festivities. 

The reception itself was gorgeous. Deni Ward, owner of I Do...Weddings, is a dear friend of mine. She transformed the room into a beautiful reception hall of red, black, silver and white. I will post pictures as soon as I get them. 

Debra was a lovely bride in a white dress with a red sash. The rubies and diamonds in her wedding and engagement rings were the inspiration for wedding colors. Chris wore a black tux with a red tie. They are a beautiful couple. 

At the end of the night we opted for glow sticks instead of the traditional rice throwing. The kids (I guess they are adults now) ran the gauntlet of glow sticks and jumped in the car (decorated by Chris's brothers and sister in law) to drive off to their new life together. Debra's dad promptly jumped in the back seat where he stayed for a few minutes...frankly, I was surprised that he got out :) The honeymoon was spent in Seattle (without Debra's dad). 

Chris and Debra are off on a new adventure, and I am starting a new era in my life. The kids are grown. I am 41 years old and am in a stage of life that generally doesn't occur until 50 or 60. In some ways, I am very lucky. I don't always feel it. I want to live in a family setting, and think a house is always happier filled with children, but there are definitely some perks to living on my own schedule and having fewer responsibilities. 

I am now helping some friends of mine plan their wedding, and look forward to one day planning my own. 


Monday, May 7, 2012

Wedding bells!

My youngest son is getting married! Saturday morning he and I went to pick up the ring. It is a beautiful white gold ring with 3 princess cut diamonds. She will have the two side diamonds switched out for rubies soon...Chris didn't want to wait for the swap out. He was so excited to propose. Saturday evening the two of them went to the Provo temple. In front of a beautiful water fountain, Chris told Debra he wanted to throw some coins in and make a wish. He reached in his pocket and pulled out the ring. I am so proud of this kid. He made a great choice. Debra is a bright girl, she is beautiful and kind. She will make a wonderful wife, mother, and I am excited to have her as a daughter in law. they don't have much money, they are both in school, and they are young, but they are brave and have faith in God and in the institute of marriage. There is nothing selfish about these kids and I am sure they will have a loving, eternal marriage. Chris, I couldn't be more proud of you.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Jambalaya, why do you hurt me so?

Last night my sweetheart and I met some friends for dinner at Cheesecake Factory. Jared and I have gone there several times, and he usually orders the jambalaya. I usually take a few bits off of his plate because it is just that good. Last night, however, I decided to let him eat in peace, and ordered my own creole delicacy. I only ate about half of the dish, but I ate all the shrimp. An hour later, I was in the passenger seat of his car itching like mad. It was all I could do to keep from tearing my skin off. I got home and sure enough, covered from head to toe in hives. I didn't have the raised white bumps, but I had the itchy, bright red patches all over my body. They were hot to the touch, and did I mention itchy? After a soak in the tub and massive amounts of Benadryl, the itching subsided and by morning the redness was mostly gone. I made it to church today and have been ok although I am still a little itchy. This isn't the only random allergy I have developed since chemo. I read today that it is quite common to develop them after cancer treatment. I think out immune systems get all mixed up after we put them through the rigors of chemotherapy. I will miss one of my favorite dishes. Perhaps, though, I will try just one piece the next time Jared orders it :)

Monday, April 9, 2012

Emilia Doyle Obituary: View Emilia Doyle's Obituary by Asbury Park Press

Emilia Doyle Obituary: View Emilia Doyle's Obituary by Asbury Park Press


A couple of weeks ago, a young woman with the prospect of an exciting, full life ahead of her, passed away. She had nasopharyngeal carcinoma. She was too young. My thoughts are with her mother, who I came to know online. I also found that one of the men on my online support group found a new tumor.

Cancer is scary. Even when you are 'cured", thoughts of recurrence are always lurking. With nasopharyngeal, a cold or an allergy attack leaves you wondering if the swelling in your sinuses is a tumor. Decongestants give you a bloody nose (a sign that the cancer is back). A sore throat or a swollen lymph node can make you an emotional wreck.

Emilee was just 26. I am confident that she will one day be with her family again. Death is not the end, but it sure would have been nice for her to have a little more time her.

Sorry this is such a somber post. Cancer just plain sucks.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Conference with a bang!

I love guns. I like the smell of gun powder and I like how powerful I feel when wielding one. I also love general conference (GC) and feel strengthened by it. Twice a year The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints has a two day conference where the leaders of the church give us guidance in addition to the guidance we have in written scripture. After making pancakes and eggs with a couple of my kids, and watching the first session of GC with them, my sweetheart took me to lunch at a small Cajun restaurant in a tiny little town called Payson. I quite enjoyed the food, and the atmosphere was especially inviting. After lunch we went shooting in the hills and listened to the second set of conference on the radio. We shot skeet; I am not great at throwing, and only hit one, but Jared was a good sport about it. Tomorrow there will be no shooting, but there will be more conference. I plan to make breakfast with my boys again and stay in my pajamas all day while we watch conference and play games. Later the boys will meet up with my other son to watch wrestling. I despise wrestling, but I like that they spend time together, and they enjoy it.