Back to Swim

Every fall the world normalizes in our household. One may guess that is due to the return of school and the daily routine refresh a new year provides. But not in our household. Rather it is the return to the pool after the prior season ended in late July. And this year was an exceptional return. She was already moved up in March, so she entered the pool knowing the coach and expectations, plus she felt like a more competitive member of the group. And with the move this summer, and the new school, it was great to have the comfort of both the pool and the coach.

As a side note, I expect next year to remain somewhat the same. However, she plans to swim high school which means only two to three weeks without pool time as she will start mid-August.

First Day of (Public) School

As Labor Day weekend loomed, the nervousness for the first day of school was hard to keep under wraps. To prepare over the last week, Bailie had:

  • Spend an afternoon on the lake, tubing and getting advise from two friends. The ins and outs of riding the bus. The right clothes to wear. Signs to pay attention to for finding good friends. Meeting location for the first day of school.
  • New student orientation, where Bailie was the only student brave enough to come without her parents. She insisted our support was not needed. And walked to Grandma and Grandpa’s afterwards.
  • A long day of school supply, clothes and shoe shopping where she was able to find everything she wanted. And gave lots of hugs and thank yous! Along with many incredulous looks on how much this day was costing. Personally, it was gratifying for her continuous heartfelt thanks. We had put her through a lot of emotions this summer, so it was very rewarding to feel her love under the stress of change.

At the end of the long weekend, the bus schedule and route number was memorized, the location to meet her friends programming in her brain and her first day of school breakfast needs identified. It was time for bed.

And before she knew it the sun was up, she was ready to go with a full belly. In a few short hours, all the angst was gone. The nerves faded. And she fully enjoyed her first day at her new school. She was full of how great the day was, how funny her Language Arts teacher was, stories of kids she met, riding the bus, fixing her schedule as she had two PE classes and no elective. What a great start to the year!

 

Summer 2013 – Top 10 Lists

This week after dinner, we each made our top 10 things of Summer 2013 lists.

Bailie’s List:

  1. Sprout arrived! She brought a new bunny home the first week in June
  2. No trips to Minnesota
  3. Grew taller than Grandma which was more important than hitting the 5 foot mark (and still growing)
  4. Lots of tubing with friends and family on local lakes
  5. My first rabbit show at Kelsey Creek (maybe it was the Reserve Champion in Fit & Show that was the most exciting)
  6. Caught a big fish (lots of fish actually, I think she fished about 5 days in total)
  7. New house, new room
  8. Lots (and lots) of good food
  9. Swimming at A Champs (goal for a few years, but didn’t really enjoy it as much as she thought she would)
  10. Two weeks of dive camp

Bill’s List:

  1. Got married
  2. New family, especially Bailie (his words were “got Bailie’)
  3. Family visited
  4. New house
  5. Has shop space (three car garage has tons of work space)
  6. Gifted a champagne sabre
  7. Lost 25 pounds
  8. Received a new nickname (from Bailie)
  9. Built a very cool wine rack
  10. Met Terry Theise, wine blogger, importer, writer extraordinaire

My List:

  1. Married (Duh!)
  2. New House
  3. Bailie turned 13 (and all I got was the official “mother-of-a-teenager” life)
  4. Bailie met her goal to go to A Champs
  5. All of my spa days! Thanks to my co-workers, friends (Heidi & MIchele) and my husband
  6. Wedding ring shopping (maybe my favorite part of the wedding planning process)
  7. Kick butt summer at work – lots of challenges to solve that lead to success
  8. Followed by a fantastic annual review!
  9. A new yard to fill with color and back patio to enjoy (last night’s fire was a ahighlight)
  10. Bailie finding her 4-H niche – making new friends and building confidence as she shows her rabbits and presents in public formats

Talk Less, Say More

The weeks leading up to “One Fine Day” were filled with activity, long to-do lists, the love and support of family and friends and more stress than I wanted. Now that it is over, this week our house is focusing on just being. Slowing down as much a possible. Eating simple meals. Enjoying each other company. Catching up on TV shows. ((We are four WEEKS behind on Newsroom!?!).

And I hope to catch up on documentation of my memories — before I forget the details. I need to blog last week’s events. I want to dig into the creative recesses of my brain and attack the scrapbooking pile un-earthed in our recent move. First, I focus on blogging! And I found this old Swedish proverb among my notes:

Fear less, hope more;

Eat less, chew more;

Whine less, breathe more;

Talk less, say more;

Love more, and all good things will be yours.

Immediately, I smile. Each one of these “recommendations” has come to me from different source over the last decade. And maybe, just maybe, together they lead to “One Fine Day” and the start of the new book, the Book of Meyer. Hmmmm…..

Name that Tune…

Deciding what songs we wanted to feature in our ceremony and then have played at the reception was no easy task. At times it was random, others silly, yet could be complicated and just plain a hard task to focus on. But we did it!

Step 1. Music Merger

The first real step was combing through all the CDs we had independently stocked piled over the years. We ended up with three piles and lots of notes.

  • Pile 1, in alphabetical order, CDs we planned to keep
  • Pile 2, in random order, the CDs that go immediately to the Goodwill
  • Pile 3, the CDs we wanted to make sure we transferred at least a few songs to our iTunes before boxing them up for the Goodwill

Step 2. Favorites

We had a few “must plays”. We first knew we wanted to end the ceremony with U2’s a Beautiful Day. And, then Bailie asked that “The Lion Sleeps Tonight” be played (it is one of those songs that one of us gets in our head and soon we are all singing it). So we choose that for the song that she (and the Mother’s walk in to). The hardest one was what I would walk up the aisle to…

Step 3. Dueling Banjos

Then another night, closer to the wedding, we sat in the library, each playing snip after snip from our collections or online. And compiling a list of key songs to have the guitarist play (or put on an iPod to play on his breaks). It was great fun – sharing a few memories, both good and bad – picking music that meant something to us as individuals and as a couple. And Bill finally found the song that would lead me down the aisle: Van Morrison’s “Crazy Love”.

Step 4. Compile

The list. The laughter. The music. And then share with the musician. And Bailie so she could make a playlist for the night. She also was able to select three of “her” songs to add to the playlist.

And the night of…

We found our a musician didn’t plan to take breaks (in five hours – yikes!). And if he did, he had no way to play the iPod. Regardless, the ceremony music accompaniment was perfect (in our ears) and we had great background music the whole meal. We even snuck in an unplanned dance. Bill didn’t want dancing, he wanted it all about eating. However, he decided he would dance with me to Clapton’s Lady in Red (although I was in white…)

I never seen you looking so lovely as you did tonight
I never seen you shine  so bright…mm hmm
I never seen so many men ask you if you wanted to  dance
Looking for a little romance
Given half the chance

I have  never seen that dress you’re wearing
Or the highlights in your hair…they  catch my eye
I have been blind

Lady in red is dancing with  me…cheek to cheek
There’s nobody here
It’s just you and me
It’s  where I wanna be
I hardly know
This beauty by my side
I’ll never  forget the way you look tonight

I’ve never seen you looking so gorgeous  as you did tonight
I’ve never seen you shine so bright
You’re  amazing
I never seen so many people want to be there by your side
And  when you turn to me and smile
You took my breath away
I have never had  such a feeling
Such a feeling of complete and utter love
As I do  tonight

Lady in red is dancing with me…cheek to cheek
There’s  nobody here
It’s just you and me
It’s where I wanna be
And I hardly  know
This beauty by my side
I’ll never forget the way you look  tonight

I never will forget
The way you look tonight
Lady in  red…
Lady in red…
Lady in red…
Lady in red…

One Fine Week

Well, I’ll start by saying “fine” isn’t the best description. But since it is the week leading up to “One Fine Day”, I am just rolling with it as a general term. Where in fact, any bride (or groom) knows that the week leading up the wedding day can better be described as chaos with a heavy scoop of stress.

So here is a recap of the seven days prior to our wedding day:

Thursday:: The day after our biggest release of the year to the field. The release that was put on hold by the new leadership team (Microsoft had a major re-org last month) a mere five business days prior to release. So today, I am not thinking about our wedding in one week. I am thinking about the next steps in the scramble to finish rolling back all of the work I had done to prepare for this release. So nothing would break over the time I was out. The day was all work, no life. And then arriving home after work, it was a scramble to finish moving in before Bill’s family arrived on Saturday. I think the only wedding talk of the night was trying to get the menu finalized (so we could get menu’s printed at Bill’s work on Friday and solidifying our meeting with the officiant on Saturday).

Friday:: A morning flurry after working out…get menus done to send to Bill, figure out what paper to exchange for the menus while in Bellevue later, pay a bit of attention in meetings, get the office at some point. Finish work and set my out-of-office up (what clever things do you say in an out of office where most of your co-workers are also on vacation anyway?) Exchanges at the paper store. Home for another flurry of move in activity. Get photos from last summer in frames so that the house doesn’t look all about my photos and like Bill doesn’t exist. Crash…

Saturday:: Quick trip to our favorite Café Besalu to meet John, the officiant. Walk through notes about the ceremony. He was excited to be done with duties and just get to enjoy dinner. And he caused me a bit more work; he liked that the seating chart mixed people up. He dared me to go a step further and not let couples sit together. Challenge taken, big guy. I like it. And if it fails miserably, I know who to blame. It’s still before noon – time to head to Nordstrom to pick up all of our tailoring. Then home for last minute cleaning/hiding (all the wine is around the living room floor instead of under the stairs as the new wine rack was put in last night!). Bill runs to the store for lunch supplies while Bailie and I focus on “being as ready as we can around the house”. Before I know it is time to head to my eyelash appointment (got lash extensions as I have sound advice that it keeps the time in makeup down at weddings and surrounding events). Not sure the best part of getting the extensions, but sure appreciated the nap! Now home about four (during which Bill’s brother arrived, he shows the condo and headed to the airport to pick up his mother). Time to prepare a feast for the Meyer family, the Starkey’s and us – and more importantly, enjoy an evening on the new patio where we dined on the new furniture that arrived on Friday!

Sunday:: The tourist day! This was the only day we could afford to host Bill’s family and not work on wedding details. Our house felt like a bed and breakfast in the morning as the breakfast spread covered the kitchen island. Then we gathered the troops and headed out for a kayaking excursion on Lake Washington. I tried to arrange the grouping so I could kayak with Bill. However, Bailie panicked that it would be tough for her and Ben to keep up. So Bill was stuck with Ben – and Bailie was mine. Together the two of us girls got into a nice paddling rhythm! And no one was too wet at the end of the adventure. We headed home to an evening feast – Bailie had ordered ribs!

Monday:: Chaos set in today! And the stress of all the final details. Luckily, exercise helps! Leann and I started early with boot camp at 5:15. The house was stirring when we arrived home – and by a bit after 8 am the first golfers arrived. Yes, the guys were headed out on a golf day. Bailie and I also left the rest of our guest to their own devices as I had an acupuncture appointment, she had a dentist appointment and we needed to run more errands – I still needed a sash for my dress, to pick up my necklace, and a long list of little items. It was also good to spend time alone with my girl, as this would be the only time this week that she was able to function in the old world of the two of us. We finished our to do list (or enough of it anyway, or so I thought) and hustled home to meet the golfers. And to learn they were running later, much later, than Bill planned.

Dinner for the group was at my Mom and Dad’s, by design. In hopes of making life easier. But as we

Tuesday:: Girls day. Except Bailie bailed. She talked Papa into taking her and her soon to be cousins to the lake to visit Aunt Shirley. And fish. And swim. And kayak.

So the rest of the new family – my Mom, his Mom, my soon-to-be sister-in-law, started our day on the town. First stop, Theo’s Chocolate tour. Well worth the time for the variety of chocolates sampled. And the chocolate facts and lessons were fascinating. Then we wondered around Fremont and found a greek spot to nosh before heading over to the Chihuly Garden and Glass.

Then the whole family gathered for dinner at Dim Tai Fung for our favorite dumplings. I got the joy of having all the kids ride home with me – and snuck in a surprise trip to Dairy Queen. And then the rest of the night went sideways into emotional craziness. The worst part – the long list of last minute details went untouched.

Wednesday:: Another day that started with exercise and a long list of to dos for both the wedding and tonight’s Welcome Dinner. Luckily, had my life-long friend call early and come and join me for a most of the day. It was great to have someone to balance me out – a true savior. We picked up dozens of flowers and delivered them to my Mom’s for that team to create the center pieces. We ran a few more errands, took care of making cookies and brownies for dinner that night. And then Jen snuck me away for a nail appointment. It felt like the slowest nail appointment of my life as the many details (menus to assemble, place cards to finish, music playlist to type up and the list went on and on). We arrived home in time to encourage Bill to select my attire for the night (since my thoughts of shopping this week were only a delusion), iron clothes (and have the power go out in part of the house) and create some sort of centerpiece to decorate tonight’s tables. Shortly after, the rain started to fall. Just in time for our OUTDOOR Welcome Dinner. It just wasn’t going to be an easy night, now was it? And now less than 24 hours are left to stress about the wedding details…

Hunting (Flowers)

Unlike most brides, I didn’t put a lot of thought here. The garden setting was so beautiful, I knew I needed simple flowers to compliment it. And nothing more.

I started with knowing what colors of flowers I wanted. My favorite. Of course. Red, with some oranges. Maybe a little contrast with blues. This I knew prior to selecting the venue.

And we looked at photos. Bill wanted the French bistro style table. White linens. Little vases. Little color. Also knew this when we picked the location.

Pause. We didn’t think about flowers again. Literally months. Nothing from about February to May.

Then in May, while away in Walla Walla, flowers popped in my head again. Because Bill sent the perfect bouquet. It was waiting for us when we arrived at Saffron for dinner the first night. Small square vase, lots of red and oranges. Perfect. We need 12. And Bailie confirmed it at the end of the weekend when I arrived home with the flowers.

And after the Walla Walla trip, it was time to get down to business and finish our wedding plan. We contacted a florist recommended by our photographer – and we visited the space again. The florist had a long questionnaire. It was good to articulate our thoughts. But the quote was more than I was ready to pay. And then, by magic, at my shower my aunt (a former florist) offered her assistance. We decided to take her up on it. Even though we knew that added more stress to the event. She had lots of ideas. Fabulous ones. But in the end, we decided to stick with the plan for small bursts of color to contrast with our white linen experience. And she was clear that she could do boutonnieres and corsages, but bridal bouquets were out of her comfort zone.

Fast forward to late July/early August. Days before the wedding. And time to really focus on flower resources:

  • Bill had seen a succulent flower boutonniere that he liked, so those “materials” were sourced in family gardens.
  • Now to find a cost-effective resource for flowers. Farmer’s market, here we come! A local grower sells flowers at the edge of their farm – and at the market. So one week before the wedding, Bailie and I went down and picked out the flowers for our pre-order. Then the day before, we picked them up. And the costs was less than one bouquet at a florist.
  • And the bridal bouquets – ordered eight days prior to the wedding from a florist partner of Willows Lodge. Right on the way to the venue so it would be less than five minutes of time. Walked in the cooler and picked my favorite flowers. Selected a ribbon color. And in less than 30 minutes had just what Bailie and I would need.

Now if I only had photos to showcase the end result. Maybe someday (a bride can dream, right?)

Ready. Set. Move.

I remember once seeing a list of the biggest stressors in life. Moving. New Job. Death. Birth. Weddings. The crazy people we are, instead of just planning a wedding this summer, we added a little move. Or at least moving 10 minutes north seems like it should be a little move.

Phase One. House Hunting.

As reported a bit ago, Bailie is focused on school plans, a big change of scenery for the eighth grade. And this means we have to move. This summer. Hopefully before the wedding as school will start less than three weeks after the big day. And worst of all, this meant less hours to work on wedding plans. So the invitations were sent late. The flower hunting was put on hold. We didn’t make time to put together the event details, select the menu, write our vows…and a whole long list of stuff we didn’t even think about.

We started by scouring online sites for rental options. Learning as we go the Issaquah School District boundaries. Emailed with the school registrar. Learned the tricks of the trade on how to validate school. Drove by every location we could find online (a whole seven options) to see where we wanted to be. Reached out to set-up tours. Many times to no response. Found one house. Out of several applications, we were not selected. Found another house, a bit big for us but Bill started day-dreaming about the dinner parties he could host. Tried one more. Got it! And it is less than a two block walk from our favorite little produce stand, a decent meat market and a fish butcher that may make us happy.

Phase Two. The documents.

What a pain disorganized property managers are. It seems so simple; first application in approved gets it. We sat down right there and filled it out. But she didn’t even have a pen; instead rummaged through the current occupants drawers to find one. Then she prattled on about taking over this property at the last minute and how she was leaving the next day on vacation. Should have been a sign. She loses documents (like deposits), sends crabby emails, goes on about how much is on her plate. You would think since we own two houses – she would be working us to manage our properties. However, not one interaction with her has even been average. Each time, she disappoints. But I will stop there, enough documentation.

Phase Three. Move weekend #1.

We took possession on July 1, and began preparing to start the move through the holiday weekend. And that started with a trip to Home Depot for the important stuff: Flowers to add color to a very boring yard, patio furniture so we can begin enjoying the patio and other odds and ends for both the move-in and to prepare the condo for renters. The rest of the weekend is a blur…

  • planting flowers, after cutting back the overgrown foliage around the front porch
  • renting a uhaul and moving everything of Bill’s out of storage as well as most of Bailie’s room and storage at our house
  • as many empty boxes as we could pack in the condo
  • and then unpacking in as much as we could

And yes, there was enough kitchen in Bill’s belongings to make a complete dinner at the new house at the end of it all.

Phase Four. Move weekend #2.

The next page in the moving book was orchestrated perfectly by me. Bailie had a swim meet on the other peninsula. A great time to move the rest! Bill conquered the rest of the move with the help of my parents. So we came home to a new bed the next day – and lots of stuff to unpack everywhere. Each night that week we either worked on cleaning the condo or unpacking and setting up our new home. And watering and fertilizing my growing flowers. It felt very productive! And somewhere in there, we got the wedding invitations sent out with our new address! And we made time for a tasting night and follow-up appointment to start planning the details of our wedding event.

Phase Five. Guests.

The move almost seemed complete by the end of July as we had a few photos on the walls. But it really wrapped up when Bill’s family arrived on Saturday. We frantically hung photos on the stairwell, organized wine into both the “everyday” wine rack and the wine storage “cellar” and found homes for most of the last items (even if it meant a temporary closet). If we are ready for five guests, we must be moved in!

Ring (Hunting)

Bill selected a beautiful engagement ring so many months ago. And now it time to find a band that matches. And his ring.

We started the hunt with an idea. Find a few key jewelry stores known for a wide selection so we can get an idea or an inspiration. After two adventures to stores, we had found our inspirations:

HIS: Truthfully, he knew more what he wanted before we started shopping. A big washer would do. Stainless steel. The adventure solidified it. And my jewelry expert said we would get the best price shopping online. (He bought two to make sure he got the version he liked best.)

MINE: I started thinking I wanted a band that wrapped around my engagement ring, possibly where my ring set between two bands. However, it took two seconds for me to realize that was a no-go. I also wanted to be able to wear my wedding band as a standard alone ring at times. And that looked stupid to just wear one. Next…

I thought I would like stones in the wedding band. Maybe a narrow band. Again, didn’t like a thing. Narrow bands look like they are missing something. Stones set the band to high and covered the filigree that makes my engagement ring perfect. Next…

My jewelry expert Alyson stopped by to help me with another jewelry request. And so I picked her brain about my band ideas. And we looked at a few websites. She gave brilliant advice:

  • To get the band width where I wanted it, an etched band was a better solution. Stones would like make the band too deep.
  • One ring that was an option was rose gold, which she agreed would compliment my band.
  • Finding a jeweler that specialized in etching would likely be the best solution.

Then my other expert lead me to Nique Jewelers in Bellevue (she is a wedding expert as she got married less than a year ago, making her an expert in my eyes!). And between her expertise and Alyson’s direction, we found a winner! (Admittedly, it was on our second visit).

First Visit

Bailie and I stopped in to see what the opportunity may be at Nique. The parking lot was packed and we circled. Then we rang the bell to get in. And quickly shared the direction I wanted to go. Immediately we were whisked back to the design room where we saw the wall full of wax ring molds. This is what we needed to know – I was ready to bring Bill back in.

Second Visit

I drug Bill into the shop again on our way to our tasting night. And in 15 minutes, we walked out with a ring! They had an option in their case that was so close to what I wanted – and they were able to modify it. Hunting expedition complete!

 

Taller

We have a girl in our house with a goal: Grow taller. She would prefer hitting six feet (she says). But she will settle for taller than me. And she wants to keep pace with her cousin Adrian. And she is behind.

But as she turned 13, she had just a quarter of an inch to reach the five foot mark. And she was swimming daily. And eating and eating. Then by mid-June the sleeping started. And the sleeping continued some days into the afternoon (only days where she was up at 4:10 to swim from 5 to 6:30AM).

By the end of June, she mastered FIVE FEET.

By the fourth of July, it seemed she was gaining momentum.

Then on July 13th, as she was at Emma’s working on her fair costume contest attire, I realized she grew again. In fact, she was taller than her Grandma. Her expression says everything (and good thing you can’t see my Mom’s face; she is not happy).

Taller

NOTE: She keeps growing, still trying to catch up with Adrian. Only time will tell.