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New Marriage, New Blog

I haven’t been blogging much lately… either on this blog or on our wedding update blog (although, I am currently waiting for Barley to finish the recap of his skating party before I finish my recaps).

It’s because I’ve had something secret in the works: a new blog.

I think it’s time for a change. So, I won’t be posting here anymore. You can find me (and sometimes Jason!) over at homeinthecities.wordpress.com.

The focus will be house-related, since that’s what we’ve got on our minds lately, but I’ll be sure to report on other things as they (or if they) occur.

See you there!

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November 7, 2008 at 9:01 pm 1 comment

Weddings That I’ve Been To, Day 2

Up today: my awkward teenage years. This should be good.

Wedding #5:  My uncle Jim and aunt Vicki.  My uncle Jim is also my godfather, so I was given the extra-special role of junior bridesmaid in their wedding!  As a thank you present, they gave me a photo album with photos of the rehearsal dinner and wedding, so I have LOTS of pictures to share with you!  (Note to self: this is an excellent thank you gift idea…).

Here’s the new Mr and Mrs introduced for the first time!  (PS check out the back of the bridesmaid dresses – they had strands of pearls dangling from the shoulders.  Details!)

Here’s me and the junior groomsman (my aunt Vicki’s godchild) walking out of the church.  I still thought boys had cooties at this point, so I wasn’t entirely sure about getting this close to one that I didn’t know.  But, anything for uncle Jim and aunt Vicki!

Everyone in the bridal party was introduced wearing masks at the reception –  a fun touch!  We spent the rest of the night dancing.

Here’s my uncle Jim and I dancing!  What a cute picture!

Wedding #6: A wedding in England!!  When my grandparents asked me to come to England with them for their friends’ son’s wedding, I was ecstatic.  Mr and Mrs Court have been long-time friends of my grandparents, and when I was little, their daughter, Sarah, lived with my grandparents.  I don’t remember meeting their son, Simon, until the wedding, but that was fine.  Why?  Because I got to wear a hat and have my first sips of wine.  Check out my brace face along with the lovely Sarah (then Court) Blakstad and her hubby (more on that wedding later), David.  Look how proud I am of that glass of wine.  I probably had 3 sips and giggled the rest of the night.  Ahh… some things never change.

Good thing I was helping them drink the wine: check out that bottle.  It’s huge!!

Wedding #7:  My aunt Teresa and uncle Mark.  Teresa is my mom’s youngest sister, and Mark was our tennis instructor!  So I’d like to pretend for a minute that I’ve had some sort of matchmaking role in this one.  Anyways, heres a shot of all the ladies!  I was a *real* bridesmaid in this wedding!  yay!

The bride and groom.  Isn’t this a nice photo?  BTW: Teresa was the ultimate DIY bride and did all of the flowers in the bouquets.  Amazing, no?  I am totally not that brave.

Here is my dad and I dancing.  I can guarantee you that he’s saying, “STOP LEADING!”  And that is probably what he’ll still be saying during the father-daughter dance at my own wedding.  Eek!  I am just not a good follower!

A full Perry family shot – check out how adorable little Robby is in that tux!  And why is my hair piled so high on my head?  Did I really wear that?  And love it?  Because I think this was the first time I had my hair professionally styled in an updo, and I was pretty thrilled about it.

Wedding #8:  Back in England!  Ashley and I were asked to be bridesmaids in Sarah Court’s wedding!  Remember how she married David Blakstad?  I mentioned this above in wedding #6.  Here are the photos.

The ladies arrive at the church in style!

Robby was so cute that Sarah thought he should be a little ringbearer.  Don’t you love his little top hat and tails?  What a cutie!  Sarah’s wedding was at the church down the street from her parent’s house, and her reception was held in a tent in their backyard.  They have the *perfect* back yard for a tent reception – their garden is just stunning.

Just so you can check out Robby in his tux again.  Look at that cute little smirk!  Also, can you believe that our dresses were handmade in the 2 days prior to the wedding.  We came into town, met with the dressmaker, and suddenly, she had these lovely dresses all ready for us!

And that’s all the fun we have for today!  Stay tuned tomorrow for photos of me doing the chicken dance at aunt Jackie and uncle Brian’s wedding!

July 6, 2008 at 8:35 pm 2 comments

Weddings That I’ve Been To, Day 1

Up today: weddings that I don’t really remember. Sorry, aunts!  But I was just too little.  One of the best things about being the oldest grandchild is that I was there for ALL of my aunt and uncle’s weddings.

Anyways, feel free to post awesome or funny stories of any of these weddings (if you were there) in the comments!

First up: my aunt Jayne (my dad’s younger sister) and uncle Gordy’s wedding in Spring, 1985.  I was the cutest flower girl in the wedding (and also, the only flower girl in the wedding).  This is actually the only picture I have of the wedding (my mom has all of the “good photos” of my childhood).

Next: My aunt Tami (my dad’s older sister) and uncle Doug’s wedding in October, 1985.  Once again, I was the cutest (and only) flower girl in the wedding.  I think my mom made my little dress, and I even got to wear a hat for this wedding!  The hat hung on my bedroom wall for YEARS after the wedding.  Here I am dancing with my grandpa.  (Again, this is only the only picture I have from this wedding.)

My third wedding: My aunt Kathy and uncle Neil’s wedding.  I was a bit older for this one – I got to be a junior bridesmaid this time around.  So exciting!  Here’s a shot of my sister and I, and my cousin Mark in the background.  I think most of our childhood pictures are like this: me smiling and squeezing Ashley as hard as I can, and her looking totally unsure about it.  You should see the ones of us when she was first born – I’m all “LOOK!  I HAVE A NEW SISTER!  LETS SEE HOW TIGHT I CAN SQUEEZE HER!  I LOVE MY NEW BABY SISTER!” and she’s all making the ugliest crying face ever, wailing her little head off.  Gosh, I should post some of those classics also.

Here’s me and one of the flower girls (Neil’s niece) dragging cousin Mark out onto the dance floor.  Poor cousin Mark!

And my fourth wedding: I was a junior bridesmaid again!!  I’m not going to say much about this one, since I have really no memory of it at all, but I thought this photo was worth posting because I think it’s one of 4 times in my childhood where my sister and I are not beating the crap out of each other.  Look!  We’re both smiling!!  Now that I think about it, we probably smacked each other around after this was taken.

Stay tuned as tomorrow I will present Day 2 of Weddings That I’ve Been To, starring me in my awkward middle and high school years!  Such a treat!

July 5, 2008 at 10:30 pm 5 comments

bridal accessories

Another one of the tasks we accomplished last weekend on our bridal extravaganza weekend was to pick out some of my bridal accessories.

Recall that I had originally wanted a sparkly tiara-esque headband, like so:

[Image Source]

I still LOVE the sparkly headband, but will most likely have my hair up in a somewhat messy/loose updo, and I am just not sure that the sparkly headband will work. Here’s an example of what I’m envisioning for my hair (but with fancy hair pins instead of the flower):

[unfortunately, I forgot to write down where this came from – kind of a common theme lately…]

So instead of the flower, I wanted to find some cute and sparkly hairpins. But! The hairpins also have to look a little vintage-y to go with the classic style we’re going for. I love these little hairpins:

[images from New York Magazine via Thoughtfulday]

So that was my inspiration. And I was getting ready to go out and shop when I realized that my great-grandmother’s jewelry was in a box in the basement, and why don’t I go check it out? Well, I found some gems.

Here’s me checking out my great-grandma’s jewelry. Not sure what’s with the funny look on my face…

Look what I found – some clip-on earrings turned hairpins!

We especially liked the idea of using these flowery earrings as my hair pins. And, they can be my “something old”! My “something new” would be my dress/shoes… and my mom and I came up with the idea to add one of the small blue jewelry pieces to my dress for my “something blue”, so hopefully that will be cute. Now, I only need something borrowed…

As for a veil? I really want a cathedral-length veil, so Ashley, mom, and I went shopping for one. I didn’t find exactly what I was looking for, so I think I will just make my own veil!

Ashley and I pose for mama bear at the bridal store.

Not sure I like the veil + ponytail look I’m sporting here, but you get the picture.

We also picked out shoes this weekend. My mom isn’t 100% sold on them, and I think both of us will keep an eye out for something that might be better, but here they are:

RED WEDDING SHOES!

Yep, they’re red! I am super-excited about wearing red shoes on my wedding day! My dress is kind of an off-color, so it would be difficult to match, and I’ve seen a bunch of pictures of brides with colored shoes lately. Like so:

[from Yellow Brick Blog]

Watch out, groomsmen, or you may find yourself with red argyle socks! Ha ha! For some reason, I just love the fun foot pictures.

One bridal accessory that I will go without is the bridal purse… Since I will be carrying flowers all day, I doubt that I will also want to try to hang on to a purse, so mama bear and the bridesmaids will have to handle that responsibility. But it’s fun to look anyways, and I absolutely adore these purses:

[image from Monya]

June 12, 2008 at 10:03 pm 5 comments

i’ll have my cake, and eat it, too!

*please note that I am drooling while writing this. the cake is that good.*

After we selected our wedding caterer, selecting a cake maker was pretty easy. Why? Because, Chef Jack said that Susan of Brookfield Wedding Cakes is the best. And we just trusted him and went with it. And boy-oh-boy are we glad that we did!

Jason and I meet with Susan, the cakemaker. Notice our big smiles – we had just tasted the most delicious wedding cake ever.

We met with Susan in April to pick out our cake. Again, we are going the simple but elegant route. This time, though, it’s simple but elegant with a side of mmmm, yummy. We opted for the tuxedo cake (that’s one layer of chocolate and one layer of -umm- yellow? what flavor is yellow cake anyways?). We’ll have buttercream frosting with a chocolate butter cream inside. (Neither one of us is big on fruit-flavored cake or filling. Unless it’s carrot cake. With cream cheese frosting. I love me some of that!) Are you drooling yet? Excuse me, I have to go wipe off my keyboard. Let me leave you with some photos of cake designs that we like.

[Image Source]

[Image Source]

[Image Source]

[Image Source]

[Image Source]

So, basically, I like 3 things: 1. bows, 2. polka dots, 3. squiggles. Also, white frosting is a must-have, with only 1 other accent color. Simple. Elegant. (as elegant as a cake can get, I suppose. methinks “elegant” is not a standard descriptor for cakes.)

I also thought I would end this post by comforting those concerned parties who thought that we were seriously considering placing stuffed mice on the top of the cake. Don’t worry! There will be no dead mice near your food! Instead, we’ll go with flowers up top. Because I haven’t really found any cake toppers that scream Jen and Jason. Although, this is tempting:

[Image Source]

June 2, 2008 at 10:34 pm 3 comments

pavers! and more pavers!

Holy cow. I’m pretty sure that every muscle in my body aches. Ouch! This patio better be worth it. I better be able to get a pool boy to bring me some margaritas while I lounge on the patio all day. Hint, hint, JT. Better work on your margarita-making skills…

Anyways, the weekend. Things started off smashingly when the paver delivery guys showed up around 7:45am with all the supplies necessary for paver-patio-making. Joy! Unfortunately, our driveway is about 3 feet by 5 feet (okay, I’m exaggerating a little…) and we could barely fit everything along side the piles of concrete and dirt that currently take up about half the driveway. Fortunately, the delivery guys were experts in navigating city alleyways, and all was delivered with no problems… except, we were supposed to get landscaping spikes and they ran out. We decided it wouldn’t be a big deal.

Jason supervises the dumping of the base material.

Jason compacts the soil before the base is laid.

One thing that I am particularly proud of is that we thought to bury some low-voltage lines under the pathway so that later, when we have the money/inclination, we can add some low-voltage lights around the patio for a real outdoor oasis in the city.

Our low-voltage line, buried under our walkway.

The first 2″ layer of “base” (aka, small stone mixed in with sand) went down in about 2.5 hours. The second layer of base took a bit longer because we had to make sure that it was leveled so that water would be directed away from our house (note that we started this whole mess in an attempt to get the water OUT of the basement). I think our second layer was actually about 3-4″, but it was leveled and compacted by about 4pm on Saturday (took about 4 hours). By then, we were sick of the project. Oh, and it looked like it was going to rain.

Barley naps while Jason pours the base layer.

Jason compacts the base layer.

Necessary nourishment.

Leveling out the second base layer so that water will head away from the basement instead of into it.

Jason condenses the second base layer, while Barley follows him.

We laid down sand in small segments and “screed”-ed it. Which means that we lined up two 1″ pipes on either side of the path and pulled a wood board across them until the sand between them was flat. Jason was mostly in charge of that operation, while I started laying pavers. We managed to get about halfway down the path along our house before it got too dark to see what we were doing.

Jason “screeding”.

Finally! Ready to lay bricks!

On Sunday, Jason screeded more sand, and I laid more pavers. From about 9am-4pm. And it was so humid and the forecast was calling for some serious thunderstorms… so we were just waiting for the rain to come. Surprisingly, it didn’t rain at all. (As I was watching the news later that night, the radar showed storms all around us and a little line of calm over our house all afternoon. So amazing.)

More screeding and brick laying.

The plastic wrap over the pathway… it threatened to rain all day Sunday, but we were lucky that it did not.

We quit at 4 to fix the dryer. The old gas dryer that was left in the house quit working about 3 weeks ago. NOTHING IN MY HOUSE IS CLEAN. It was starting to smell like dirty dog up in here, so I am SO SO SO glad that JT fixed the dryer situation. In order to use the electric dryer that we moved from Kentucky (I am SO SO SO glad we moved that beast), JT had to install a new circuit, new breaker, and new plug for it. I also lent a hand by standing next to him with a wood board, prepared to smack him if he got electrocuted. But he didn’t, and I was nice and didn’t smack him anyways and say, “oh, it looked like you were getting electrocuted” which I thought about doing once or twice. Or even 3 times.

Jason and the service panel.

JT then disconnected the old gas dryer, and it smelled a little like gas. The gas has since dissipated, but if you stick your nose up by the end of the pipe, you can still smell a little gas. Is this normal? (Dad, Uncle Brian, anyone else out there who is handy? HELP. I DON’T WANT TO EXPLODE IN MY SLEEP.) We’ve got the basement windows open anyways, and Jason notes, “We haven’t died yet.” So that’s where we’re at.

Our dryer. So nice and shiney!

***Insert Tangent Involving My Underwear (you’ve been forewarned)***

Remember how I went to that massage on Friday? And also how our dryer has been out of commission for the last 3 weeks? Yes, I am totally scraping the bottom of the barrel for underwear. And the only “suitable” ones I could find were given to me for Christmas by my Grandma. They are super-cute! And I love them! They have a little monkey on them and say, “Paul Frank is your friend” across the butt. Which is SO FUN! Except, I’m twenty-seven and not fourteen, and sometimes I like to fake like I’m sophisticated, for example, WHEN I GO INTO A SALON FOR A MASSAGE. So basically, I am not that cool. Hey massuse! Paul Frank is your friend!

Anyways, I am still trying to figure out what was worse: my I-am-twenty-seven-going-on-fourteen underwear, or the fact that I made her rub my stinky, dirty, blistered feet.

***End Tangent (blog is safe to read again)***

Okay, so where was I? Oh yes. Sunday. Evening. Jeff and Andrea invited us to go to dinner with two of their friends who happen to live about a block away from us. We were tired, but decided we could use a break, and also thought it would be fun to meet other friends in our neighborhood. We hit up Pizza Biga and Pumphouse Creamery (both within walking distance from our house, and both were delicious!), then we headed over to Buster’s for some drinks. It was a fun night, and we were home by 11pm. Just my style.

And you’ll have to wait until tomorrow for the rest of the saga!  Stay tuned!

May 27, 2008 at 9:26 pm 4 comments

House Project #2, Phase 4

Just to review, here’s our list for the get the water out of our basement project. (Items in red were worked on this weekend, those crossed out have been finished).

  1. Removing the sidewalk on the South side of the house
  2. Having glass windows installed in the basement
  3. Installing an underground drain tube to the front gutter spout
  4. Adding a new pathway using brick pavers
  5. Building a raised planting bed where the path was
  6. Adding a drainage system along the South side of the house
  7. Grading the rest of the yard away from the house (this is not as important since the water only seems to be coming in on the South side, but still should be done)
  8. Adding underground drain tubes to the other gutter spouts

We also built a fence this weekend! How did we accomplish so much in one weekend? My family came to visit with a truckload of garden tools and worked all weekend! Oh man, did they ever work. They even worked in the rain!! And Jason and I did a little work, too, but there’s no way we would have gotten it done without them.

Saturday morning, Dad and I ran to home depot for concrete, fence posts, and an auger (much better than digging those holes ourselves). Meanwhile, mom, Robby, and Trevor excavated the part of the yard where the path and patio will be. Jason staked out the yard. 3 hours later, when the Home Depot people finally figured out what an auger was and how to let me rent it, Dad and I returned. The next hour was spent determining whether someone would hit a gas pipe with the auger, since we forgot to call the digger’s hotline last week. Then, there was discussion about what exactly would happen if someone were to hit the gas pipe with the auger… would it be explode and get hurt? Or explode and die? Luckily, we did not find out (my dad again performed some risk calculations and decided it would be safe).

Once holes were dug, Robby and I had to run to Chipotle for lunch. Dad and Jason filled holes with rocks and set the posts up. Mom and Trevor continued to dig. At this point, it was drizzling. Boo. When we returned from Chipotle, Robby and I left again to run to Home Depot to get some more posts and concrete and to return the auger. A million minutes later, after the Home Depot rental man called 18 different people to figure out how to ring up a free transaction (I complained after our insulation debacle and was rewarded with a free rental), we were on our way back home. Mom and Trevor were still digging, JT and dad were about ready to fill the post holes with concrete. So they filled the holes with concrete, while Robby, Trev, mom, and I dug out the patio area. We then had a ton of dirt, which we were able to stick up against the house so that the dirt sloped away from the house instead of towards it. We called it quits around 4:30 because it was still raining and I think everyone was pretty sore and soggy. Except me, because I really didn’t do that much other than run errands. So, thanks everyone for working so hard while I slacked off and/or exercised patience with the losers that work at the Richfield Home Depot!

We went out to my aunt and uncle’s house for dinner – burgers, fries, salad, and a fantastic dessert dish made by my cousin – ohhh! It hit the spot! Big time.

Today we had much better weather, so I took more pictures. Mom, Trev, and I ran out to Home Depot to pick up all the pickets for the fence (140 total) while Robby and Dad set up 2x4s between the fence posts. Mom got to witness the excellence in action that is the Home Depot staff. I don’t know whether my favorite part was when they watched the two of us struggle with the boards or when several of them came over to ask, “you building a fence?” No. I’m picking my nose. What does it look like I’m doing!?!

Jason had to work for a few hours this morning, so he missed an encounter with our VERY concerned distraught neighbor. Distraught as in, ran through the muddy back yard in his slippers going: What’s the plan? But what about this area? So what are you doing with concrete? How are we going to maintain this area? He wanted answers NOW. I was all Whoa, man. We’re just putting up a fence here. The fence is so you can’t come over here and ask questions anymore. That’s all you need to know. Okay, I didn’t say those things. But I did hope that Dad would call me over and demand some help. He did not. But our other neighbor came over and distracted the distraught neighbor so I ran over and begged dad for something to do. Eventually, the distraught neighbor left.

Dad frames out the posts on the North side of the house. Now the neighbor boy can’t come over and start conversations with Jason. <Jason sighs, relieved>

Mom rakes up the dirt around the fence posts. A change from digging was needed.

Jason came back from work just in time to miss out on the distraught neighbor experience, but we did get to meet 2 new neighbors again today, and again, they’re all very nice (and they’re fellow ‘sconnies).

He also came back in time to start putting pickets up. Since he didn’t put the first few up right, I demanded that my mom supervise his drilling. The result? A very level fence, and a discussion about my college boyfriend. Fantastic.

Jason is so happy to be working on the fence, but my mom remains deep in concentration! Look at that level fence.

Trevor turns $100 into 100 pennies as Barley sunbathes in the dirt.

Dad makes that face because it helps the drill work better.

Dad and Trevor cut some stuff. With power tools. Trevor loves using power tools (he cut a bunch of the fence pickets with the miter saw).

I got to use the miter saw a ton today, and it was uber-fun. I *heart* power tools, especially when I am done using them and still have all 10 fingers and toes. We had a little snafu in that I had been saying that we were making a 5 foot fence, when in fact, I should have been saying it would be 6 feet. The pickets come premade in 6 foot lengths, but dad had planned for a 5 ft fence, and ultimately, we ended up with a 5.5 ft fence. Just tall enough to keep the neighbors out and the dog in. But! That meant that we had 140 6 ft planks to cut up. And I got to do the cutting!

Look! I actually worked today! And, judging by the way my tongue is hanging out of my mouth, I must have been doing something really important.

Robby likes power tools, too.

Suddenly, we were finished. And it looks pretty darn good, I think. We just have to finish making a front gate, and figure out a way to put the gate my dad and Trev made on the back fence.

View of the East side of the house.

View of the South side of the house.

View of the North side of the house.

Barley wakes up to inspect the handiwork on the fence. He is quite pleased.

And that was our weekend! Busy! Busy! Busy! The house was covered in mud when my family left tonight (which makes sense, since the back yard is almost entirely mud right now, and it rained yesterday, and we all walked in and out of the house with our muddy shoes). So, I did a little cleaning and some laundry, and now it’s 11:00. I think I might need another weekend.

More pics are here:

Backyard 5-11-2008

May 11, 2008 at 11:03 pm 3 comments

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