Saturday, September 20, 2014

Our Big Day!

Warning: Lots of photos ahead ... Who am I kidding?! Photos are what you all want, right?! There are a ton in this post (you're welcome) and I'm sure I will post more as time goes by ... My photographer was amazing and gave me the thumb drive with the ENTIRE SHOOT. Amazing. I am not going to take that for granted.

Anyway, on with the story. 

How fitting that Friday was our 2 month anniversary? Are you shaking your head? I am! However, how do you recap the best day of your life? Should be easy, right? No! It isn't! At least, it wasn't for me anyway!

I will try though ... so, here goes!

The day before the Big Day ...

I absolutely hate to start with a mishap, but ... it IS how the weekend started! I am laughing now, so it is okay! On Friday morning, Bill went to pick up the white benches that we rented from the fairgrounds for the ceremony. We were just going to use simple folding chairs that we were borrowing from the local YMCA (seriously, small towns are AWESOME), but I noticed these benches in the Varied Industries Building at the fairgrounds in June when we were there for Bill's high school reunion. I commented on how perfect they would be, and then, what do ya know? Bill pulls some strings, connects his sister-in-law with someone she knows and we got an amazing, dirt cheap deal on some gorgeous white benches that would be awesome for a rustic, chic, country wedding. I was so excited! Then ... the day before the big day, Bill goes to pick up our benches that were already loaded on a trailer waiting for us. Except .... they are not white. They are a patriotic red, white, and blue.

Cue, tears. 


 The infamous red, white and blue benches ...

Overall though, I knew  I would laugh about it later, and ... I am! Several people didn't even notice! To send the benches back would have taken an additional 2-3 hours out of the day, and that was 2-3 hours we just did not have left!

On Friday, my girlfriends got to town around noon and we headed out to lunch. Our original plan was to go to my favorite restaurant in town, Gary's on the River, which was a beautiful, former church. Sadly, the restaurant was closed because of a music festival they were hosting that evening. We quickly switched plans and ended up a sports bar in town (there isn't much for options!)

After lunch, we headed to the mall to get our nails and toes done! I had my toes done already at the Aveda Institute back home, so I just needed a manicure. I went with a very light pink by Essie called Not Just A Pretty Face. It turned out gorgeous and I am glad I went with a simple, neutral color.

When our nails were all done, we headed out to the wedding site so everyone could see it. The site was about 30 minutes out in the country and away from Spencer, the town my husband is from and where most of us were staying.

When I say "out in the country" I literally mean, off several dirt roads and way, waaay out there! The first time my mom went out there, she was almost immediately on the phone with our city dwelling family to warn them that it was "out there." Haha!


After we did a few things out at the site, the group headed back into town to get ready for the rehearsal dinner. We didn't have a rehearsal the day before, and instead opted to do it an hour before the wedding. I had several mini panic attacks over this, but it ended up working out beautifully. Most of the people in the wedding had been in a wedding before ... so, having a long rehearsal was just not necessary!

Our "rehearsal dinner" was a bbq at Bill's brother's house in Spencer and it was perfect! We had hamburgers and hot dogs, enjoyed a few drinks and just got to know one another the day before! Several of my family members were unable to come at the last minute due to being exhausted from driving all the way from Kansas City, but that just meant more food and drink for us! :)


That night, I stayed with several of my bridesmaids at one of my best friend's mother in law's house which was also in Spencer. It was so nice of her to host us, and I am so grateful! I think I fell asleep around midnight and, shockingly, got about 6 hours of sleep. I was so worried I would not be able to sleep and would therefore be super tired the next day and not able to make it until late into the reception. Spoiler: I made it just fine!

The morning of the Big Day ...

The next morning, all seven of the bridesmaids met at the same house I stayed at and this is where we got our hair done. Another friend of mine runs a salon in town and she brought one of her employees with her to doll us up.

It was so nice and relaxing to sit somewhere comfy, drink coffee and just prepare for what was soon to come!! :)



After we got our hair curled and styled just right, our makeup applied perfectly, fake lashes and all, we headed out to the wedding site ... but, not before another "mishap" ....

As I was downstairs putting the finishing touches on my makeup, one of my bridesmaids came running down the stairs, obviously in a panic, and threw herself on the couch mumbling something about "passing out" and "blood" while clutching her head. She had gone to get something out of the trunk of my car. There was a (very heavy) bike rack on the trunk that made my trunk just SLAM really hard. She wasn't expecting it, and it almost knocked her out!


After that was all taken care of and we nursed our dear friend back to health (ice, ice, ice!) we all got together for one last picture while getting ready ...


Then we headed out to the wedding site to start getting dressed and get ready for wedding party pictures. At this point, I was beginning to get really nervous. I knew that once we got our dresses on and we started to get ready for the "First Look" I would begin to get really nervous, and I was right! I think this was the moment that I asked one of my bridesmaids for a drink! I knew that I didn't want my wedding party drunk before the ceremony, but I also knew that the alcohol would be flowing! Luckily, everyone handled themselves just fine! I had a drink while we did some pictures and definitely felt a little better! Once I saw Bill for the first time, I felt EVEN BETTER!



After the "First Look" we took a ton of wedding party photos and it was so much fun!!! These are definitely among some of my favorite pictures ever!

Our wedding party pictures were down the road at Sutherland Farms. The owner of the farm is a really good friend of Bill's and I was so excited to have our photos taken there because it is a BEAUTIFUL farm! I really wanted water photos, and luckily there is a gorgeous man-made lake on the property. He even took us out on the pontoon and we cracked open a bottle of champagne! It was perfect. :) 


 


 


After the wedding party pictures we headed back over to the wedding site. We still had family pictures to take, and our rehearsal.




If I could go back and change anything I would have our rehearsal the night before, but with our wedding site being about 30 minutes out of town, that really changed our timeline quite a bit due to the added driving. Overall, it was fine, but I think that if I we hadn't waited until the day of for the rehearsal, I wouldn't have had so many jitters! Several of the wedding party had been in weddings before, so there really wasn't much to worry about, everyone know what they were supposed to do!

Once we finished all of the formal photos, I jetted back up to my room to touch up. Plus, guests were beginning to arrive and I just wanted to get AWAY. I wanted to gather my thoughts, have a few moments alone and touch up my makeup.

One cool thing was the view from the room I was getting ready in ... I could watch all of the guests arrive, but they could not see me! I loved this!


Before I knew it, it was time to head down to the ceremony. ::deep breath:: I went down, found my dad, who at the time wanted to reminisce! I know this is totally normal though, I told him we had to go, hugged him and we headed to the clearing where everyone was waiting!




During the ceremony, Bill and I tied a literal knot with rope to signify both families joining together. The knot also signifies our bond that will not break, due to the strength of the fisherman's knot we tied. We now have the rope displayed in our home and I absolutely love this! 
 
 
 
 


The Reception


After the ceremony, we walked up to the building, on the same property, and ate, drank and danced. Oh my, we danced! I was so worried before the big day that it would not turn into a big "party" but come to find out, I had absolutely nothing to worry about! The party went well into the night and everyone had such a great time!!


 The end! Happily ever after!

Thank you so much for reading! Stay tuned, I am sure I will write more! Our day was perfect, so beautiful and I am so thankful for all of those that could come celebrate and/or help make our day what it was!

More Photos ... 
If you are interested in seeing more photos, feel free to request me on Facebook. I'm not shy about assuming friend requests and there are literally hundreds of pictures on there!

 
  
 
 



 








Thank you!


Monday, September 8, 2014

Mailbox Monday

How was your weekend? For our only weekend in town, we spent a lot of time hanging around the house. Lots of couch time. Lots of reading. Lots of relaxing. We know we are going to need it! As much as I love being on the go, I know that slow weekends at home are practically a necessity.

Anyway. I was thinking earlier this weekend that I didn't think I had anything for a Mailbox Monday post but then I realized I was severely overlooking a TON of books! How does that happen? That happens when you buy and check out a stupid amount of books!

Last weekend while in Galena, IL I bought a couple books at an adorable bookstore called Main Street Books. I purchased Better to Wish by Ann M. Martin and a big Mad Libs books (not pictured) for my classroom. I just finished Better to Wish and LOVED it! I don't always get a chance to read the books in my classroom library, but I sure do try to read as much as I can so that I can fully endorse the books for the kids! There are two more books that are out in this series by Ann M. Martin and I cannot wait to get my hands on them!


Better to Wish was such an enjoyable read! I started it earlier in the week, while modeling a few skills that I wanted my students to work on, and then yesterday I picked it back and didn't put it back down until I was finished. It's a fast read, but something that I think both kids and adults would enjoy.

The book is about a girl, Abby who is growing up in the 1930s. Abby is the oldest child and we travel along with her as she experiences the ups and downs of The Great Depression, she experiences her first crushes on boys and then some tragedy in her life as well. Well, a lot of tragedy, actually. It's hard not to completely love her though and root for her.

I also received a huge lot of books from a friend of mine who has 4 children ranging from 1st grade to college aged and she had a lot of books to get rid of. She posted on Instagram that she needed to find a good home for many picture books and chapter books. I quickly responded and said I would love to take them off her hands!

I, of course, am always book shopping for my classroom but I am also thinking of when Bill and I have kids. Books are expensive, but I want my kids to be surrounded by them and always have access to books in the home. Among the books were lots of Little Gold books, Berenstein Bears books and many more. I am so excited to fill some more shelves in our little household library room with a shelf full of picture books. For children that do not exist yet.

Am I crazy? Nah. If I am, I don't care. I love books. :)

 These are the books that will live in our cozy little library room. 

These books are coming to school to live in my classroom! 

What have you found in your mailbox this week?

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Sunday Social


Happy Sunday, friends! Are Sundays depressing to you? Are you someone that dreads going back to work on Monday? I don't necessarily dread it, because I do love what I do, but having days off to do with what I please is definitely what I prefer! I think we would all agree there ...

Today I'm participating in Sunday Social and I'm pretty sure it's my first time! Woo hoo! First timer here! :)


1. 5 Things you want us to know about you
  •  My name is Amber, and I don't really live on a farm or amongst the cornfields. I do live in Iowa thought and adore the Midwest. 
  • I have been told I have more of a "southern" personality though and have been told I'm "too nice" more than once or twice. 
  • I'm a 4th grade teacher and I love my career!
  • I am a major book junkie and am not safe in a bookstore. 
  • I love to work out, especially running and Zumba, but am currently in a big exercise slump! Look for a post about that another day ...
2. 5 Favorite things about blogging
  • Connecting with others and building relationships, FOR SURE. I have made so many lifelong friendships as a direct result of blogging, so it will always be dear to my heart. 
  • Ahem, the perks. Will I review a book if you send it to me, hell yes, I will! 
  • Learning. I learn about so much through others' posts. I learn about new authors, books, products to try. Love it. 
  • The artistic outlet. I've always been a writer, but it has definitely slowed down as I get older. I tend to forget how much I enjoy the act of journaling and writing out my thoughts, whether they are for the public, or just for me.   
  • The giveaways. I love to enter giveaways. Love, love, love it! It does get time-consuming, so I tend to go through phases with it! I do find it fun though. :)  
3. 5 Things you are doing before the year is over
  • Attending three weddings
  •  Visiting Minneapolis twice! Once for a wedding (next weekend!) and once for a book festival. Can't wait for both! 
  • Finally getting my name officially changed. I've been putting it off. Ugh. 
  • Updating our kitchen and replacing the tile. 
  • Hopefully having a small housewarming party to show our friends and family our new house!
4. 5 Favorite Fall Fashion Staples
  • Leggings, leggings, leggings! 
  • Quickly following leggings, that perfect pair of brown leather boots. 
  • Scarves
  • Jean jackets. Perfect for turning a more summery look into a fall look and keeping you warm!
  • Hoodies 
5. 5 Favorite beauty products
  • Covergirl Fresh Complexion Pocket Powder was my absolute favorite pressed powder, but I am pretty sure it has been discontinued! Sob! I got something that was in a similar casing, called Ready, Set, Gorgeous Pressed Powder (awful name, IMO) and it seems to pretty much the same formula. Hopefully, it is, I haven't been using it long and still have some of the old kind left, so I find myself digging for the old one a lot!
  • Covergirl Perfect Point Plus Eyeliner. This eyeliner has been my go-to for MANY years. Probably since high school! Every time I try something new, I always end up going back to this kind. 
  • Bare Minerals Concealer in Well Rested. I use this as sort of a highlighter, mainly under my eyes. I really love it!
  • Cetaphil Moisturizing Cream. Not only does a jar of this last more than a year, but it does a great job of moisturizing my skin overnight. I use this the most when I need it during the harsh winter months, and only use it at night because its very thick.
  • Covergirl Bombshell Volume mascara. This mascara is amazing if you like thick, long dramatic lashes. Who doesn't, right?! I got this from Influenster and it might be my very favorite thing I have ever received from them because I use this daily! 
     Well, I clearly have a thing for Covergirl! I have not noticed that before! Ha!
What are some of your favorite beauty products? What product have you been using the longest? For me, it is definitely that eyeliner. I have probably gone through over 100 tubes in my lifetime. That's a lot of eyeliner!

Monday, September 1, 2014

Miles, Looks, Music and Books

Yay! I am back for another installment of MLMB for August! Two months in a row! I would say I am on a roll ... hehe :)

August was a great month, despite going back to work and I am feeling really good!

Miles
Ummm, close to none. I decided to give my foot a break and hopefully heal this plantar fasciitis and achilles tendonitis. This weekend I was on my feet a lot and noticed that I had very minimal heel pain, so my fingers are crossed that it is on the mend!

Looks
Well, school started, so many of my looks are back with work outfits! I found some really cute shoes that are made very well, and are not flimsy flats, like I am used to wearing. I'm working on breaking them in, but they are super cute and I really love them!

 I found this statement necklace at Kohl's and after a $10 Kohl's cash, I paid $3 for it. Steal!

 Here I am at Frank Lloyd Wright's estate, Taliesin in Spring Green, WI. If I can get away with it, I am always in running clothes. They are just so darn comfy! Plus, we did a lot of walking on this tour! Blog post coming soon ...

My first day of school look! The maxi skirt is NOT supposed to be high waisted, but I am so short that I could probably wear it as a dress. It was super comfy though. I wish it wasn't so unique to my style, otherwise I would try to get away with wearing it once a week ...

Music
I'm in a Top 40 phase. I want upbeat and happy music! Nothing is really sticking out, except for ... All About That Bass by Meghan Trainor. I'm not ashamed! It has a great beat, a good message and you just can't help but sing along, riiiiight!!?


Books
My reading has slowed down again now that school has started, but I am trying to make time for it! I know that I need that time for myself, so I really have to protect that time.

In August I finished 3 books:

Dollbaby by Laura Lane McNeal 4/5 stars
Landline by Rainbow Rowell 3/5 stars
Orange is the New Black by Piper Kerman 4/5 stars

My favorite being Dollbaby by far! It is technically considered "southern lit" and it reminded me of The Help or Saving Cece Honeycutt. Such a great story with a heartwarming twist at the end that I was NOT expecting!

Overall, August has been great! I am looking forward to a fun September. We have two FUN weddings coming up that I am excited for in September and a weekend trip to Spencer. We are only in Des Moines one weekend, which means we will be busy, busy, busy, but that is how I like it! I am also really looking forward to getting to know my 28 new friends in my classroom better and establishing a solid routine and getting going on the fourth grade curriculum. Sometimes when I look at the curriculum as a whole it is just so daunting, but I know we will get through it and I will improve each year as a teacher!

Oh, and also in September I am excited about posting my wedding recap! I have started it and it is also quite a daunting task! I promise it will be coming, so check back!

Thanks for reading!

What is your miles, looks, music and books for August?

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Summer Highlights

Tomorrow (8/15/14) my summer ends and I go back to work. Half of me is excited and the other half is silently begging for another week. This summer, however, was quite epic ...

Lets recap, shall we?

  • I wrapped up my first year of teaching by having to pack up EVERYTHING in my classroom and send it off to storage so my building can be remodeled and updated. Not a great start to my summer. No, sir. 
  • Unpacking my entire life and combining said life with another human's life was .... interesting? We now own 3 pizza cutters, 15 spatulas, two beds, 4 dressers ... you get my drift! We are still finding stuff that we do not need and are planning to either donate it all, or have an epic garage sale. My husband is a pack rat and sees use in everything, so we might just keep it all (please, God, no). 
  • Planning a wedding proved to be never ending. My to do list NEVER ended, and instead it just kept getting bigger because in today's age of Pinterest, there is always more more more that we can do that we feel we must, but actually do not need to do at all ... 
  • Getting married to a man that I met two years ago and quickly fell head over heels for was by far the highlight of my summer. I am beginning a new school year next week with a new name and I cannot wait to begin correcting everyone on how to pronounce my new last name. :) 
  • Riding RAGBRAI for the first time almost immediately after our wedding day. For those of you that are not from Iowa, RAGBRAI stands for the Register's Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa (the Register is the Des Moines newspaper) and it is a huge bike ride from western Iowa to eastern Iowa. The idea is to start at the Missouri River and finish at the Mississippi River. Bill and rode for three days in the middle, missing out on dipping our tires in any rivers, but we had a fantastic time and I cannot wait to tackle the entire ride next year!

     What are some of the highlights from your summer??