Signed, Sealed and Delivered

They're on their way!!!
 

Our invites have now been mailed! Yaaayyy!! It was such a huge relief to see them go! LOL! It took a lot longer to address the boxes, address the outer envelopes, print the seal correctly, lick the envelopes and add the stamps than I had anticipated. I found myself and my sisters slaving over them in the wee hours of the night. You know when you work on something for so long that you just want it done? Yeah, that's what ended up happening!! He he ... But they were worth it!! We are so excited to give them out. The other half of them we are hand delivering. I can't wait to see our guests' faces when they receive it!

We have also finalized the tuxedos for the guys and purchased half of our gifts for our parents.

Now the waiting game begins. We are really excited to hear back from all of our guests! =)

-Lene

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A Memorable Decade

July 6, 2002
Ten years ago today, I took a leap of faith and decided to give Mark a chance once again. It was the best decision I have ever made my whole life! Today we celebrate a decade of a beautiful love story that started out as friendship and grew to love. We are living proofs that if you are meant to be with someone, you will be. Sometimes, you just have to let destiny take its course.

Anniversary Adventures

Beach day - this is a tradition that we started when we were I think around three or four years into the relationship. Our yearly destination has always been Pinery Provincial Park near Grand Bend. This year we wanted to do something different, but we just couldn't pass off doing our tradition, so we went ahead with it. We went to Pinery! =) This visit was different from all the other years we've been there though. We went on a canoe ride! I know it's not that big of a deal, but for someone who cannot swim and going canoeing for the first time, it was kind of terrifying! That was me who was terrified by the way! I did enjoy it maybe fifty percent of the time. The other fifty percent, I was too preoccupied that the boat was going to turn over. He he ...

Buffalo bound - another first for this year was crossing the border to good old US of A! I have never been, but Mark has been countless of time. I told him that I wanted to do some sightseeing, so we went ahead and crossed. We ended up doing some shopping instead of sightseeing though. We ran into some hiccups on our way back, and let's just say that it definitely will make a good story for our kids. LOL! Let's just say that we are proud to say that we stuck it out "for better or worse". =)
Overall, it was a very memorable anniversary indeed!

Now and Then


-Lene

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We're double digits!!!

I know I've said this before, but I can't believe that we are now in double digits! We have a few more things that we can cross off the list.

Invites - Love! Love! Love them!! They are exactly how we wanted them. We ordered the invites pretty early because we were afraid that they will not be ready in time. However, to our surprise, it took the company 3 business days to have them made and mailed to us! I just couldn't believe it!! Especially because they were handmade and were coming internationally. It was definitely a pleasant surprise. =) We can't wait to give them out!!

Cake Flavour - Mark and I started brainstorming which cake flavours we like best. We were able to narrow it down to two flavours, but then we couldn't decide which flavour we want to cut into at the reception. Why you might ask, mainly because we both wanted our flavours to be cut when we first cut the cake! LOL! So how did we settle it, a good old "rock-paper-scissor"!! Ha! Ha! Then it's fair and square. =) Who won? He did! >_< He he ... you'll just have to wait and see which flavour he chose! We will have our tasting near the end of August.

A few other things that we have accomplished are the flower girl dresses and we have chosen our dances for the First dance, Father-Daughter dance and Mother-Son dance.

I also met up with Ate Apple to go over what I have already accomplished. Let's just say that I was nowhere near where I thought I should be. LOL! Time to get crackin'!

-Lene

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Dresses, Music & Applications

The last month  honestly flew by so quickly! We were able to finalize a few more important things though.

Bridesmaids Dresses - All of my girls now have their dresses ordered. Phew! A pretty important thing that we needed to get out of the way. Since it's wedding season, I was told that it may take longer for the dresses to come in, so I thought it would be best to get it ordered early. At least it'll be one less thing to think about.

Canadian Tourist Visa Application
This task has somewhat lasted a lot longer than I had anticipated. I have been working on getting all the required information for our family members from the Philippines and Singapore to get a visa to come here to Canada. The process itself is pretty straight forward, but they do require a lot of detailed information. Also, I had to gather as much supporting documents as I can to help with their application. I am very happy to say that I am now 90% complete and they will be applying within the next couple of weeks. I pray that everything works out and that they are granted the visa to come here. I can't ask for a better wedding gift!

For those who are thinking of getting a Canadian Tourist Visa, here is a site that I actually got some really great information on: Canadian Tourist Visa 101 by Mai Mai Lim.

Music Repertoire
I don't think I've been able to update you with regards to our ceremony musicians. Unfortunately, as much as we wanted the Youth Inspired! to provide the music for our wedding, it wasn't meant to be. Due to unforeseen circumstances, they can no longer provide the music.

However, our search for musicians led us back to our church! Last night, Mark and I met with one of the church choir heads. We thought it would be just a normal meeting where she would give us a list of songs to choose from and we pick from there. We were both pleasantly surprised. There were probably about 8 other couples there to meet with her also.

What they did was truly a great idea. The consultation was ultimately an audition! They played and sang clips of the all the songs that we can choose from. It was something we have never been to before, and we thought was pretty cool! In this way, we know exactly what to expect for our wedding day. All I can say is that we left that consultation grinning from ear to ear! We can't wait to hear them play and sing again at our wedding! =)

-Lene

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"I take you ..."


"I Arlene, take you ..."

Eeeeee!!! Saying these words out loud just give me shivers! OK, I'm not going to lie, and tears too ... =) Mark and I finally had a chance to sit down and go through the "Celebrating Our Love" booklet. We have been meaning to do this for some time now, but we just keep forgetting to do it.

This booklet was given to us by our priest to guide us in choosing our readings and vows for our wedding ceremony. Overall, it went great! I am happy to say that we got through it argument free. Ha! Ha! It was just when when we were practicing our vows, I couldn't help but tear up a bit. That's when Mark stopped halfway, stares at me and says, "NOOOOO CRYING!!!" Ha! Ha! Let's just say that he knows me pretty well. =)

Favours

Who would have thought that choosing a favour would be this complicated? Mark and I are wanting to have something that will be useful and won't hurt our budget too much. What I find about favours is that oftentimes, they end up on a shelf somewhere collecting dust. So we are trying to find something that would actually be useful ... no luck yet.

Planning Overall

Is it weird that I think I have hit a "planning plateau"? Maybe it's because I am not in front of a computer all the time. Ha! Ha! I just feel like there's so much time, so I don't have to do too much now. But I know that this kind of attitude is going to bite me on the butt soon enough! I just need to keep trying to get my creative juices flowing so that I can think of more ideas for the wedding. Oh! And REALLY start getting serious about the healthy eating and loosing weight. =S

-Lene

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We're under the 200s!!

Slowly but surely, things are coming together little by little. We are now out of the 200 days!! Ahhh!! Time honestly needs to slow down a little. Ha! Ha!

We now have 2 more things we can check off our list: Hairstylist and Tuxedos!

It's funny because every time I think about the wedding, I feel like I am planning the whole thing for someone else. Then when I stop to think that it's for me and I start to panic! Ha ha!! I guess everything just feels so surreal! Everything is so exciting, but there's so many other emotions too. It's like everything I have dreamed of is finally happening, but I have to keep pinching myself that it's all real! =)

Sometimes when you get caught up with everything that is happening around you, especially planning a wedding, you forget to pause and enjoy everything. Saw something that I have seen before, but is a great reminder of what kind of man I am about to marry ...

"Find a guy who calls you beautiful instead of hot, 
who calls you back when you hang up on him, 
who will lie under the stars and listen to your heartbeat, 
or will stay awake just to watch you sleep... 
wait for the boy who kisses your forehead, 
who wants to show you off to the world when you are in sweats, 
who holds your hand in front of his friends, 
who thinks you're just as pretty without makeup on. 
One who is constantly reminding you of how much he cares 
and how lucky his is to have you.... 
The one who turns to his friends and says, 'that's her.'"

I can't thank God enough for blessing me with Mark ... cheesy I know, but it's the truth. =)


 -Lene

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The Journey: 7 months to go!

Sometimes I hate the fact that we're getting married. *gasp* I know! Crazy huh? Not for the reason you are thinking. I only hate it because of the money it involves.

People dream of their wedding day their whole life and the little details they want to incorporate in it. Then the day actually comes and you realize that there's more to having the "perfect" wedding. One's perception of "perfect" I guess can change.

This is what I keep realizing. As cheesy as it may be, but I've come to realize that perfect isn't about all the little details, it's about the reason for the occasion. Our day is already perfect because we have been blessed to be given a love that comes only once in a lifetime. The forever kind of love. =)

The wedding is just another financial milestone we need to overcome. There will always be more milestones to come. Now it's the wedding. Later on it will be something else. What matters is that we have each other. What matters is the journey, not the destination.

“Focus on the journey, not the destination. Joy is found not in finishing an activity but in doing it.” 
- Greg Anderson


-Lene

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More details coming together ...

Flowers Galore! We met with our florist last Friday and everything turned out great! We worked with her to finalize everything. Who would have thought that there are tons of different kinds of one flower! Ha! Ha! I can't wait to see how they are all going to turn out! Soo excited!!

Choir of Angels 
Mark and I asked some very important people to be a part of our special day. I have already mentioned before how I am a part of a youth group called the Youth Inspired! Both Mark and I have been friends with these young men and women for a very long time, so we thought that who would be better equipped to provide amazing music for our wedding other than them! Not only are these young men and women very talented, but it's also an honour to have our friends take part in our special day. Thank you guys for saying yes!

Comfort & Style
Ahhhh!! I am so excited that I have finally found my shoes!! Most of you who know me knows that I am not a big fan of wearing high heels. Not because I don't like them, but because my feet have a tendency of cramping up when I wear them. For some time now, I have been looking around for shoes that has both comfort and style. Interestingly enough, it's a really hard combination to find! I would often find gorgeous shoes, but they would definitely kill my feet within an hour! Or shoes that are so comfy, but not very suited for the occasion. 


It's funny because I actually found these shoes when I wasn't looking for them. I just happened to be at the mall killing some time, and my sister and I decided to check out a few stores. Right when I saw it, I knew they were the ones for me! =) After I tried them on and walked around the store a bit, I was convinced! Ahhhh!! I was ecstatic!! Finding nice comfortable shoes was something I have been dreading for a while. I knew I wanted some height, but I just couldn't find any that had the height and comfort - now I did! Whoo hoo!!! God always leads you to where you need to be in His time. 


The search continues ...
One thing that we are still working on is finding a park to take pictures at. We checked out a park last Friday and were convinced that it's the perfect place for us to take pictures. However, it just wasn't meant to be. When we called to book the park, we were told that it's only available for photography sessions on the weekends. =( Yes, we were pretty disappointed. But we are truly blessed to have some amazing friends who are helping us find other interesting places to take pictures at. I'll keep you posted once we have decided on one! 

-Lene

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Realization

After a long conversation with Mark last night, it looks like we have finally come to a decision about where we will be living in the future. He is planning on getting a job around where he currently lives now. Which makes sense because larger cities means greater population, which equals to more crimes. He will have a lot more opportunities there as he pursues a career in law enforcement.

However, our ultimate goal is to hopefully live just outside of the city in a suburban area. There we will have the best of both worlds. A home close enough to his job and possibly my job, but small and quiet enough to raise a family.

Lene and the City ...
It's funny because I was actually born in a big city. I lived in a big city until I was about 8 years old. I didn't mind the city life too much. I think it was because I was too young to really understand how big the city was. I was happy enough playing around the small neighborhood where I grew up. Then, as we migrated here to Canada, my family decided to start our new life in a much smaller town. Mind you I don't think they have much choice since my dad's job was here. But as I look back, I am so happy that God brought my parents to live here. I feel really fortunate to have been given a chance to experience a life outside of the city.

But it looks like the city will always be a part of me. I hate to admit this, but I actually have a love/hate relationship with the city. Okay, I'll start with why I hate it first, because I hate leaving a sentence on a negative note. =) I hate living in the city because of the congestion, the traffic, the noise and basically just because there's just too many people. Now, why do I love the city? The opportunities. The places to see, restaurants/grocery stores to get food from and basically just being able to have the varieties or options available in everything. See, I see the good side of being in the city too. =)

Change can be good ... right?
So why am I babbling about all this? Because it just hit me this morning that this is it ... My life is about to change! "Duh!" I know is what you are thinking. But I guess for the longest time, I was clinging to a hope that maybe I'll be able to convince Mark to move to a small town. Not just in the suburbs, but a good a hour away from the city. But realistically, he was right. That one hour commute is not easy at all. Especially when you are commuting with a few hundreds, maybe thousands of people everyday.

I guess I'm just having mixed feelings right now. Half of me is ecstatic to finally be with Mark forever. I can't wait to start our lives together. The other half of me is petrified! Nervous of everything else that comes with that change. I'm nervous about living in a city again (temporarily) until we can afford a house in the suburbs. I'm nervous about driving around all that congestion again. Most of all, I'm going to miss the small town life. I'm going to miss seeing the countryside, seeing and driving around it. I'm going to miss all the simple things a small town has to offer. The peacefulness and quietness of the place. The feeling that not everyone is always in a hurry. I'm going to miss the place I called home for the last twenty years.

But I know that no matter how hard the changes will be for me, it will all be worth it. Why? Because I will be with the love of my life. I can handle it all because we have each other. Maybe God's giving me this opportunity to grow as well. To appreciate what the city has to offer that a small town can't. I just have to keep hanging on to that faith that He knows best. He knows exactly how I feel and He knows what He's doing in my life. =)

So there you have it, my "mini-morning-meltdown". Ha! Ha! Ha! Man, life just never ceases to amaze me. You just never know what it's going to give you next!

-Lene

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Less than 8 months to go!

226 days left!! Aaahhh!!! Lots of updates from the last few weeks! I have been working on little things here and there.

She said yes!
For those of you who are married already, you know how stressful the day of the wedding will be. That's why I knew I would need someone who will oversee all the details of the day. Mark and I have decided to ask a very good friend of ours to be our Wedding Day Coordinator - Ate Apple! Ate Apple was married not too long ago herself, so she knows exactly how  stressful a wedding can be. That's why we are so fortunate to have help from someone who's been there first hand. "Thank you Ate for saying yes!" =)

Accommodations
To help our out-of-town guests, we have blocked some rooms at the Holiday Inn Mississauga Toronto West hotel. We were fortunate enough to get a really good rate. Also, the "For Travelers" section of our website is up. Here, our out-of-town guests can find all the information they need for their travel to our wedding.

Winter eShoot pictures
The pictures from our winter engagement shoot with Sarah Goetz Photography are in! =) Check them out at the Photographs section of our website. We couldn't be happier at how they turned out! Thank you again to Sarah for doing this for us!

Next on the agenda ...
We are meeting up with our florist at the end of the week. I hope everything goes well. Also, we will be doing some "park shopping". Ha ha! We're going to look for some places to take pictures after the ceremony. Yay! Everything is slowly coming together.

-Lene

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The Unexpected

I know it's been a while since the last time I blogged, but I actually have a very good reason why I've been MIA lately. On Wednesday January 11, my life changed ... I lost my job.

Ever since that day, I've been kind of in and out of a "mini depression". I was laid off from my full time job because they didn't need my position anymore. I knew this was a possibility for some time, but I didn't think it was going to happen now! Especially not in the middle of our wedding preparation.

The last week or so has been kind of rough - emotionally and mentally. Initially, I found it hard to see the positive side of this recent turn of events. I was petrified, shocked and just overall lost. As much as I wanted to believe that things were going to be alright, I didn't. The first day it happened, all I wanted to do was sleep and pretend that this was all a dream. That when I wake up, everything will go back to normal.

The following day after the lay off, I attended a morning mass. Because of my hectic schedule (two jobs, family, friends and Mark), I had been missing church. At first I felt guilty for not going, but then after a few weeks, I didn't think too much about it. I think this lay off was God's wake up call to me!

The priest's homily that morning was very simple. His message was about how we shouldn't use God as a good luck charm. We shouldn't only "take Him out" when when we need Him, then put Him away when we don't need him anymore. This message hit home for me. That one hour felt so good in more ways that one. After I left the church, I felt comforted and at peace. I knew that He's got me and that I have nothing to worry about.

At the moment, I have applied to a few jobs and trying my best to not dwell too much on the situation. Because of what happened, I am now able to spend more time with my family, myself and of course, Him. So I can't really say that it's been a negative experience overall. Also, I am very lucky to have the best family, friends and fiancé. They have all been very supportive and continue to cheer me on. I can't thank them enough for all their love.

I am trying my very best to see this event more as an opportunity instead of a problem. I do believe that everything happens for a reason. I'm still a little worried sometimes, but I also know that God has great plans for me. He has never failed us, and I know that somehow, someway, He will make things work out. I just have to keep on trusting Him.


-Lene

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I lived to tell the tale!



I am happy to say that I have officially started one of my New Year's resolution - learn to swim! =)

My swimming lessons officially started last night. To be honest, I was really nervous all day. I was also scared that the water was going to be cold! LOL!

I was actually early for class. When I got there, I changed and was ready to go. I stepped out to the pool deck and to my dismay, saw kids! Obviously I felt really embarrassed! So I went back to the change room. I figured that the kid's class wasn't finished yet. Then I saw another lady in the change room and asked her if she was taking the class too. To my delight, she was! LOL! So we waited together.

It was a very small class. In fact, there were only 4 of us! Ha ha ha! Three ladies including myself and one guy. The other two ladies were moms who were wanting to learn so that they can swim with their kids. The guy already knows how to swim, but wants to get rid of bad swimming habits. So I don't know if he'll be staying in that class at all.

We were told to set a goal for ourselves so that we can work towards something. My goal is mainly to learn to float (in the deep end) and be able to swim across the pool (about 50 metres).

At our first class last night, the girl went over everything that we will be learning the next 8 weeks. So far we practiced breathing, learning the best leg strokes for swimming, floating on our front and back and treading water. Overall, the class seems like it's going to be a lot of fun!

Looking forward to being able to swim!! Eeeeee!!! Maybe I'll go swimming more often. He he ...

-Lene

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Winter eShoot done!

Mark and I have so many things to be thankful for. One of the things that we have been so blessed with is having a lot of Engagement picture opportunities. In fact we were fortunate enough to win an engagement session from Sarah Goetz Photography! Sarah and I have been friends since I was in grade 4! We also used to live at the same apartment building and were obsessed with Backstreet Boys! Ha ha!! So I knew that this shoot was going to be a lot of fun! =)

sarahgoetzphotography.com
We wanted pictures with a lot of snow, but Mother Nature didn't seem to want to cooperate with us. Either way, we still had a lot of fun taking pictures around downtown Guelph! It's funny how you can live at a place for such a long time and never really know what's around you.

Just wanted to give Sarah a BIG THANK YOU for doing this for us and making it a lot of fun! Thanks for being so flexible with all the different locations we wanted pictures with. Thanks for not being afraid to "get down and dirty" to get that perfect shot! He he ... you're awesome! =)

I also wanted to say thanks to my loving fiancé for being such a trooper! Thanks for continuing to smile even though your face was numb! LOL!! I love you!! Just one more ... our wedding day! LOL!

Can't wait to see the pics!!! Eeeeee!!

-Lene

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We're under the 300s!

I can't believe how much time has passed. 280 days left!!! Ahhh!!! Ha! Ha!

After 1 year, 1 month and 10 days of being engaged, here is what I have learned:
  1. Relationship trials and struggles are happening more and more often these days it seems, but at the same time, I feel even more closer to Mark. Maybe it's because of the fact that trials gives us a chance to grow in knowing each other, and learning to love each other more despite the difficulties.
  2. Do-It-Yourself projects are A LOT of work! I am now really thinking twice before I start another one. (Those Save the Dates were a lot more time consuming than I thought. LOL!)
  3. Wedding Forums are a lot of fun! Ha! Ha! Gives brides a place to talk about wedding stuff 24/7 without boring everyone else.
  4. Long Engagements: Seeing the cons of it sometimes. Having a long time to prepare also means a lot of options. It gives you a chance to sometimes second guess your decisions! >_< Arrgghh!! Not good.
  5. When you ask people for opinions, you will get them! Whether you like what you hear or not, you have to accept it. Makes you think twice if you should ask in the first place. LOL!
  6. It's really easy to get side-tracked. When you're planning something that includes a lot little details, it is so easy to get caught up and try doing everything at once. Then you stress yourself out because you have so much to do!
  7. It's SO hard to stay within your budget! There's always something that comes up and you think that you HAVE to have it, then you pause and really think about it and realize you don't. It's easy to get caught up with things.
  8. It's nice when your fiancé is pretty involved with the planning. I'm really blessed in this way. I probably would have gone mental by now if he wasn't there for me.
  9. It's nice to have at least 1 day a week as "No Wedding Planning Day". It's nice to take a break sometimes too. =)
  10. Sometimes I wake up and think to myself: "Is this real? Am I really getting married?". At times I feel like I'm planning this for someone else. When I stop to remember that this is for me, It's exciting and nerve wrecking at the same time! >_<
Today, we're actually celebrating our 9 and a half years of dating! =) In 6 months, we would have been together for 10 years! Ahhh!! How can you really measure 10 years when it feels like 1 year? It's true when they say that time flies when you're having fun!!

"To love and be loved is the greatest joy on earth."

-Lene

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    It's OUR Year!


    It's here! It's finally here!! Now I don't have to keep saying, "Oh, our wedding is next year." Ahhh!!

    I can't believe how quickly a year and two months have gone by. This just proves that the next 10 months will be going by in a blur!

    Thoughts on that? I'm excited and petrified at the same time! LOL! Excited because the day we have waited for for so long is finally here, but petrified because of all the changes that's to come. Does that makes sense?

    I don't work very well with change. I like familiarity, I like knowing what to expect. I guess you can say that I'm not much of risk taker. I guess this is why I plan everything. LOL! Yes, I know you're thinking it, I'm a little bit of a control freak. Ha! Ha!

    As for the planning, we are currently trying to finalize our linens and hall decorations. Again, prices never ceases to amaze me. How could something so simple cost so much! Grrrr!!!

    New year, new goals, new me! What are some of the things that I want to accomplish this year?

    2012 New Year's Goals
    1. Loose weight (I have 6 months to accomplish this! =S) 
    2. Learn to cook
    3. Learn to swim (swimming classes starts this coming Monday! >_<)
    4. Save, Save, Save!
    I know it's not much, but they're all a lot of work! Hopefully I can stay disciplined to ensure I make all of this happen. *fingers crossed*

    What about you? What are you trying to accomplish this year?

    -Lene

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