Saturday, March 31, 2007

We Met Online...

In the past few days, Sean and I have been reflecting on our relationship over the past 14-ish months with a bit of giddy disbelief. At this time last year, we didn't even know each other.
In fact, we had both just gotten out of relationships and were only starting to think about dating again.

Enter (This isn't an advertisment for that site in particular- it worked for us then, but it's also changed a lot since then too.)
He *winked* at me. I took a look at this profile. He was handy... a carpenter by choice. He had a dog... had liberal politics... was pretty cute in his picture. All big pluses in my book. So I wrote him a short email. And he wrote back a longer one. He liked some of the same restaurants in my neighborhood... he had just been to the apple-orchard I was going to... we both loved the same home-made ice cream places in the Cities. He did agility with his dog!
We talked on the phone. Three nites in a row.
We set up a time to meet, but then I got stuck at work and couldn't make it.
We talked a LOT on the phone. Hours.
We finally came up with a time to meet- for dinner (normally against my blind-dating rules... but we seemed to connect so well that I made the exception.)
Mexican food.
I wore red. (I always wear red on first dates.)
He remembers the necklace I wore.
It wasn't one of those dates that lasted hours and hours into the nite like in Hollywood-land... I had to go back to work to screen a film for a student group and he had planned on just dinner also.
But it was a good date. A really good date. At work the next day, a friend asked how it went, and apparently I "glowed."
I told her (in my typical understated way)- "It went alright. I'll probably see him again."
That was 14 months ago.
Now, together, we have a house- a home- a family, of us and our dogs- thinking about a family that gets even larger- looking at our names side-by-side on contracts and deeds, thinking
wow... this is real.
this is perhaps the most real thing i've ever been a part of.
and certainly the best thing i've ever been part of.
14 months ago is so far away.

So, why the sunflower?

This is a cross-post from the Houseblog that talks a little more about why I'm so obsessed with sunflowers...

Since we are taking a break from the work this week and still happily dancing to the plumbing gods, I thought I'd post about something completely different. You might notice that my "icon" as a houseblogger is a sunflower- the same one in the heading of the blog. Choosing an icon was quite a challenge... I mean, how do you "brand" yourself?
I wanted something that held meaning for me, represented my personality, made sense for what I was writing about - all the looked pretty and fit recognizably in a small pixilated square. Piece of cake, right?
It seemed so, since so many other folks have these awesome icons.
After spending several hours just browsing through icons and photos, I landed on the idea of the sunflower.

Sunflowers were my grandfather's favorite flower... the national flower of the Ukraine. My grandfather- probably the most amazing person I'll ever know- built his own house... the house my grandmother still lives in... a few years after he came to this country from the Ukraine.

In Flint, Michigan, he built the foundation and the basement, where the family lived while he finished the rest, framing and hanging drywall after he came home from work at his shift in the factory. For the skills he didn't have, he hired someone, but he stood by to learn how they did the job, and then he finished it himself. He had a family- 3 small children and a wife- and not much money, so he saved wherever he could. But he never charged a neighbor when they needed help fixing a furnace or fixing a leaky pipe. He had an inspiring spirit of determination... of giving...of standing up for what he believed in.
Hmmm... so a sunflower. Represents my history, my family, the things I believe in and hope to acheive...

My icon is the sunflower.

Ceremony Reading: Blessings

We are thinking about having each one of our attendants say a part of this....

First Blessing
May you be blessed with love. May understanding bring a deep and abiding peace into your lives, fostering a love that is not only passionate but serene. May this love between you be strong and enduring.

Second Blessing
May you be blessed with wisdom. May you continually learn from one another and from the world. Together, may you grow, deepening your knowledge and understanding of each other and of your journey through life.

Third Blessing
May you be blessed with community. May you always be blessed with the awareness that you are an essential part of a circle of family and friends. May there always be within this group a sense of mutual love, trust, support and respect.

Fourth Blessing
May you be blessed with art and beauty. May your creative aspirations and experiences find expression and bring you joy and fulfillment. May your sense of humor and playful spirit continue to enliven your relationship.

Fifth Blessing
May you be blessed with health. May life bestow upon you wholeness of mind, body and spirit. May you live long that you may share many happy years together.

Sixth Blessing
May you be blessed with the experience of nature. May nature in her magnificence continue to inspire you and bring you a sense of transcendence. May the elements of earth, air, fire and water sustain you and heal you.

Seventh Blessing
May you be best friends, better together than either of you are apart. May you work together to build a relationship of substance and quality. May you respect each other’s individual personality and philosophy and give each other room to grow and fulfill each other’s dreams.

Sunflower Boutonniere

Only one of these is an actual sunflower, but they are similar enough for us to have ideas for the boutonneires.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Cake and a Ring Pillow Ideas

I like the cake designs. The ring pillow is adorable. I bet we can make that!

Sunflower Bouquet Ideas

Today I learned that I can't spell "bouquet"- the search engines have been correcting me like crazy! Here are some nice pics... I also learned that, in some cultures, the sunflower is considered a sign of devotion. :)

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

i carry your heart with me, e.e. cummings

i carry your heart with me e.e. cummings

i carry your heart with me(i carry it in
my heart)i am never without it(anywhere
i go you go,my dear;and whatever is done
by only me is your doing,my darling)
i fear
not fate(for you are my fate,my sweet)i want
no world(for beautiful you are my world,my true)
and it's you are whatever a moon has always meant
and whatever a sun will always sing is you

here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life; which grows
higher than soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that's keeping the stars apart
i carry your heart(i carry it in my heart)

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Reading: Union by Robert Fulghum

Union by Robert Fulghum

You have known each other from the first glance of acquaintance to this point of commitment. At some point, you decided to marry. From that moment of yes, to this moment of yes, indeed, you have been making commitments in an informal way. All of those conversations that were held in a car, or over a meal, or during long walks – all those conversations that began with, “When we’re married”, and continued with “I will” and “you will” and “we will” – all those late night talks that included “someday” and “somehow” and “maybe” – and all those promises that are unspoken matters of the heart. All these common things, and more, are the real process of a wedding.

The symbolic vows that you are about to make are a way of saying to one another, “You know all those things that we’ve promised, and hoped, and dreamed – well, I meant it all, every word.”

Look at one another and remember this moment in time. Before this moment you have been many things to one another – acquaintance, friend, companion, lover, dancing partner, even teacher, for you have learned much from one another these past few years. Shortly you shall say a few words that will take you across a threshold of life, and things between you will never quite be the same.

For after today you shall say to the world –
This is my husband. This is my wife.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Wedding Reading for Dog Lovers

Given that we are dog lovers, we are going to have my aunt (another dog lover) read this at our wedding...

"Falling in Love is Like Owning a Dog" by Taylor Mali

First of all, it's a big responsibility,
So think long and hard before deciding on love.
But love gives you a lot of things…

On cold winter nights, love is warm.
It lies between you and lives and breathes
and makes funny noises.
Love can wake you up all hours of the night with its needs.

Love can give you a sense of security:
When you're walking down the street late at night
and you have a leash on love,
ain't no one gonna mess with you.

Love needs to be fed so it will grow and stay healthy.

Love does not like being left alone for long.
But come home and love is always happy to see you.

Love may break a few things accidentally in its passion for life,
but you can never be mad at love for long.

Love leaves you little surprises here and there.

Love makes messes.
Sometimes you just want to get love fixed.
Sometimes you want to roll up a piece of newspaper
and swat love on the nose,
But then love gives you big kisses,

And you laugh at the little things.

Sometimes love just wants to play.
Running you around the block, leaving you panting.
It pulls you in several different directions at once,
or winds around and around you,
until you're all wound up and can't move.

And love brings you together.
People who have nothing in common but love
stop and talk and greet each other on the street.

Most importantly, love needs love, and lots of it.
And in return, love loves you and loves you and never stops.

Thursday, March 22, 2007


Our invitations:

We got them at Michael's, with the coupons that come in the Sunday paper. We'll print them ourselves, likely with dark brown ink. I know they aren't quite sunflowers, but they are close enough! Sean actually found them, and suggested we hand color them to look like sunflowers. I love this man. :)

Monday, March 19, 2007

A mother-daughter wedding disagreement

My mother thinks we're crazy.
We decided awhile ago that we could grow our own wedding flowers.
After all, someone has to grow the flowers. Why not us?
See, we know we want sunflowers.
My mother asks, incredulously, "Sunflowers?! You mean the giant flowers that sunflower seeds come from?"
Well, yes. Sort of. See, there are lots of different kinds of sunflowers. Cultivars, as they are known in the garden world. My mother, an avid garderner, should know this.
I chose cultivars that are meant for cutting, I explained.
Pollen-less, so they won't stain anything.
Small, so they will look good in a boquet. (See picture to the left.)
And several different shades of yellow, orange, and red- to be very cheerful.
Still, all she can imagine is me holding flowers that are bigger than me, leaving a trail of sunflower seeds down the aisle.
She says," Well, maybe you can have a florist just do your boquet?"
I tell her, "Mom, we're out of money. Florists cost money. If we have no money, it stands to reason that we cannot have a florist."
She sighs.
I tell her, "Sunflowers are very, very easy to grow."
She asks, "But what if the flowers aren't blooming at the right time?"
I tell her my plan: "Mom, I have four people who are going to all grow sunflowers. I have a calendar mapped out when we have to plant each variety so they are blooming for the wedding. I have enough seeds so we can plant three batches, three weeks apart of each kind of seed, so that even if we are off a few weeks on blooms, we have backup. I think I have this planned pretty well."
She says, "But what happens if something goes wrong?"
I sigh.
If something goes wrong, we'll go to the farmer's market and get flowers there. They'll be beautiful, whatever they are. All flowers are pretty to me.
We agree to not talk about it anymore.
Until next time.
I sigh again.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Sunflower Cultivars

Hi Mom- This is just to give you an idea of some of the sunflowers we're going to grow. Very pretty, yes?
All of these cultivars can be found at

Thursday, March 1, 2007

Wedding on a Budget (Part 2)

So, $9000.
How far does that go? And what the heck costs so much?
I haven't found very many people willing to be frank about what they are actually spending on their weddings. Maybe it seems rude. But to me, it's practical. How else can you decide what is even possible?

The first challenge for us was finding a site. This was also our biggest budget item.
Our site criteria were pretty simple:
* Easy location for all out-of-town guests to get to
* Ceremony and reception could both be held there
* Could accomodate 150 people for a dinner

Our Ceremony and Reception Site:
490 Summit- a mansion on Summit Avenue in St. Paul that could host both ceremony and reception dinner. They take care of all the decoration and centerpieces, run the ceremony, and provide all the catering staff, etc. We estimated 130 guests for our costs.
$200/ hr for site rental (6 hours)
$24.95 per person for buffet dinner
$1.00 per person for serving a champagne toast

Grand total estimate with 7% tax and 17% gratuity: $ 5700

The Photography:
We looked at several photographers and compared prices. We wanted someone who considered themselves an artist and photojournalist. We didn't care about having a ton of fancy albums done for us... we just wanted really quality photos that we could then do with what we wanted (ie own the rights to the pictures).
Our price on photography: $1600

The Officiant:
I knew of a great officiant that did a friend's wedding. We both really liked her.
Her fee: $400

Ceremony Music:
We wanted live music, and I preferred strings. I found the DesCordes String Trio on The Knot.
Their fee for the ceremony: $350.

The Dress:
David's Bridal: $350.

The Veil:
Ebay: $12
Shoes, jewelry, and undergarments are things I already own or will borrow.

The Invitations, Reply Cards, and Envelopes:
Michael's, on sale. $40.

The Cake:
A local bakery, with a small display cake and sheetcakes. $250.

The Flowers:
Home-grown sunflowers.
Seeds: $24. Floral materials: $40. Help growing and arranging from friends and family: Priceless.

The Videographer:
A friend of the family who does videography. $100.

The Favors:
CD's we make ourselves: $40

What we aren't doing:
* Alcohol at the reception (except champagne toast- there will be an "after-party" at a local pub)
* A DJ (We are making a playlist and hooking it up to their sound system, with a friend as the "Emcee)
* A limo/ fancy transportation (not necessary, since everything is in the same place)
* Bridesmaid dresses (Girls are wearing black dresses they pick out themselves)

Grand total : $8906, with a little wiggle room for things like small gifts for parents and attendants, and other incidentals like getting my hair done the day of.