August 2011


I just had to give a quick shout out to our Little League guys over in PA.  You guys are amazing!  First time in the LL World Series and you’re in the U.S. Championship?  Amazing!  The game last night had an incredible finish, with a walk-off home run in the 7th, but I was really impressed with the guys’ heads-up playing.  The 2nd baseman for Billings dropped a shallow fly ball in right field, but it didn’t fluster him a bit.  He just picked it right up, threw it to 2nd, and got the kid out.  How many 12 year olds have that kind of composure?

Good luck with the rest of the series, guys.  We’re all watching and cheering you on from Billings.  No matter what, you’re coming home to celebration!

VIDEO: Billings Little League team advances to U.S. championship |KTVQ.com | Q2 | Billings, Montana.

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That’s what I would like to be.  I have three debts in my life: student loans, car, and credit card, and it drives me crazy!  Granted, two of them were unavoidable, since I needed both a degree and a car to get my job, but the credit card was totally pointless.  Well, maybe not totally, since I had no money in college and had to eat somehow…so I suppose I can excuse some of that debt since I wasn’t able to find myself a sugar daddy to supplement my minimum wage income (kidding!).   And together, the three debts total less than most people’s school loans alone, but still.  I hate being in debt!  It’s like having a little black cloud that follows you, and it ties up way more of my paycheck than I want it to.  Between paying off debt and building savings/retirement accounts, I have very little in the “fun fund”.  “Want to travel to South America this summer?”  “Yes, but I have to be responsible instead.”   No es divertida para mí.  Eric half-jokingly says that we’re just storing up our treasures in Heaven rather than on earth like it says in Matthew 6 ( 19 “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. 20 But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.)

Oh, Argentina. We'll meet someday...

However, I don’t want to make it sound like I’m just feeling sorry for myself.  The life decisions I have made have some financial baggage that come with them, and I’m ok with that.  I wouldn’t be where I am today without a little debt, and I like where I am.  I am also very grateful that Eric doesn’t have any debt beyond a pickup that is nearly paid off.  When that is taken care of, we’re planning on starting the Dave Ramsey method of eliminating my debt – the snowball payments (I really don’t know what the exact name of his method is since I’ve never taken his classes…hope I don’t get in trouble for that).  We’ll apply everything Eric was paying towards his pickup to my smallest debt, pay that off quickly, and move everything that went toward that debt to the next smallest one, etc…  We should be completely debt free in five years, at the very latest.  Realistically, it could be more like three years (hopefully we’ll buy a house by then, but I’m ok with a reasonable mortgage).

With all that being said, I was a little taken aback when one of Eric’s coworkers had suggested we put our entire honeymoon on a credit card.  Really?!?  With the financial and political climate the way it is right now (and has been for the last few years), I can’t believe anybody would still have that mindset!   Yes, we want to have an amazing wedding and an even better honeymoon, but not if it’s out of our budget.  I absolutely refuse to go into any kind of debt for this wedding.  If that means a smaller wedding or a honeymoon in Montana, so be it.  I’m ok with that.   We’ll travel when we can truly afford it.  Are we the only ones that are really alright with living within our means?  I sure hope not…

P.S. Sorry for the rant.

While planning your wedding, did anyone else have that feeling of being totally overwhelmed?  That feeling hit me like a truck on Friday.  The first part of the day was great.  I met my mom and my maid of honor Erika at the bridal shop to look for gowns.  I ended up being helped by a girl I knew from high school, so the whole experience was fun and exciting.  I didn’t walk away with a dress, but I’m 95% sure I found the one I want.  Actually the “one” I want is a hybrid of two different dresses.  I loved the body of one, but loved the top of another and fortunately they were both done by the same designer who is willing to custom make dresses.  The sketch should come in within the next few weeks, so I’ll get to decide if I want to go ahead and purchase it then.  Turns out the dress I like is nothing like what I thought I wanted.  While looking for inspiration, my eye would always be drawn towards dresses that looked like this:

A no-no for Andrea

Turns out this style makes me look wide and squatty.   I also tried on a tea-length dress, and I might as well have been my own flower girl  because it made me look about 10 years old.  I’m not going to tell you what mine looks like; I’m saving that surprise for the wedding.   But I can tell you it’s neither of these styles.

The second part of the day didn’t go quite as well.  I should have known better than to plan a full day of wedding stuff, because I’m really a terrible shopper and I had already been at it for two hours.  That’s a quick way to make me fussy.  Anyway, we met up with my mom’s friend Kevin, who is going to be our day-of coordinator.  His aunt owns a party supply store, so we went there to talk about ideas for decor (centerpieces, etc…).  She was very good about listening to my “vision” (I think I have to call it that…but it’s really more of a blurry mess of ideas).  She started brainstorming some ideas and I was impressed with how she could just come up with things on the spot.  Unfortunately, I was not in the mood for anything wedding related at that point, so I wasn’t having any of it.  I finally just told her “I’m really sorry, but I’ve hit the wall.  I need a break!”  She was great about understanding where I was coming from.  We agreed to re-convene in the fall when wedding season dies down a bit and we can sit down and really hash things out.  After that meeting, I had a very mild panic moment where all I could think was “I’m never going to get this together, my decorations will look tacky, it won’t go smoothly, everyone’s going to hate this, etc…” but fortunately my mom was able to talk some sense into me.  She just told me “Andrea, it will be fine.  You have a year to plan, and besides that, it’s not about what everyone else thinks.  As long as you and Eric are married and happy, that’s what counts.”  She also pointed out that maybe, just maybe, I was looking at too many wedding blogs and magazines.  It’s hard not to feel like your wedding ideas are inadequate when you see all these gorgeous, $50,000 magazine-worthy weddings every day.  Good point, ma.  Whew.  That’s the reality check I needed.  I think our wedding will be amazing because it’s our wedding.  I get to marry my best friend and that’s what I’m over-the-moon excited about.

Did anyone else have a similar freak-out?  What did you do to calm your nerves?

My little brother got married this weekend!  Scott and Jaci’s wedding was beautiful and thankfully went off without a hitch (at least nothing that wasn’t easily fixed).  It was held at Wildflower Gardens in Red Lodge and the weather was incredible.  It was a very emotional, exciting, joyful, slightly surreal day and I’m so happy that I finally have a sister!  It was a big honor to be asked to be a bridesmaid.  I’m proud to say I very nearly kept it together, too.  But what was I supposed to do when I watched Scott get teary-eyed as Jaci walked up the aisle with her dad?  That’s just not fair 🙂  Keegan Nashan was the photographer, and I stole a few pictures from the Nashan Facebook page:

Keegan did such a good job, I can’t wait to see the rest of the pictures.  Jaci’s aunt, with Moonlight Catering, made some amazing food and even surprised Jaci with a nacho bar, which was pretty fun.  And of course it was such a good time getting to hang out with a pretty sizable portion of both sides of our family (Mom is one of six and Dad is one of five, plus their kids and grandkids so you can imagine…).   I can’t say enough good things about how their big day turned out.  Looks like we’re next…  If things go as smoothly, turn out as beautifully, and people have as much fun as they did at Scott and Jaci’s weddding, then it will be a fantastic success.

We went up to Springhill Pavilion yesterday to check out the grounds and try to figure out how we want everything situated.  It was nice to go up around the same time of year and same time of day that we will be having out wedding because we got an idea of how the lighting will be and how everything will look.  It’s also great talking with Chum and Sally, the owners, because it’s obvious they love what they do and they have so many ideas after 28 years of hosting weddings.  They are a wealth of knowledge and have tons of tips and advice to give.

Here are a few pictures:

The dance hall and the dining hall

The barn

A view of Chum and Sally's fields (yes, it's a working ranch)

Inside the dance hall

My parents

The front gate

Another view of the front gate

We’ll either get married here facing the gazebo with the apple trees lining the aisle:

Or here facing Ross Peak:

Eric and I

We’re really excited about this place, it’s so gorgeous and rustic.  Can’t wait for next year!

Eric gave me the best (early) birthday present ever on Wednesday.  He bought tickets for the Lyle Lovett and Willie Nelson concert, which was incredible.  But the best part of the night was actually getting to meet Lyle Lovett himself!

The man himself

He is one of my all time favorite musicians, so I was really excited and nervous to meet him.  I quickly let him know that I was a big fan and before I could go on, he made sure to get Eric’s and my names.  He was very gracious, even though I went a little fangirl on him.  I thought I sounded something like “HiMrLovettI’mareallybigfancanIgetapicturewithyou!”, but Eric said I was a little more composed than that, which is a relief.  Before he left, he thanked us for coming.  Apparently after that, I was glowing.  I’m an even bigger fan now that I’ve met him.

It was a lot of fun to see Lyle Lovett and his Large Band (aptly named), since last time I saw him he was with an acoustic trio.  The shows were a lot different, but both pretty amazing.  Willie Nelson was great because he’s Willie Nelson.  He played nearly all of his hits, which were a lot of fun to hear.  What’s not to love?  Here are a few pictures from the show:

Lyle Lovett and His Large Band

Singing the old fashioned way - with one mic

Willie Nelson and the Family Band

*Pictures by emjonesphotography

I just found the dance scene in The Horse Whisperer that was filmed at our wedding location, Springhill Pavilion.  Just think, you too can dance like Robert Redford in one year!  🙂

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