Saturday, August 6, 2011

How To Be A Rebel Bride - Wedding Dress Edition

personal image
You will see this image I made in Paint (on my work PC) a lot. I do some rebellious things. I call myself a rebel a lot, but usually as a joke. My mother thinks I'm this bohemian girl. I've got the dreadlocks, I withdrew from med school on what seemed like a whim, I decided to get married after knowing Mr. Kettle for less than a year.

I march to the beat of my own drummer. But to a good number of my friends, I'm no rebel. I'm more traditional than most of them, if not more quirky as well. But I guess rebel is in the eye of the beholder...?

That being said, I've come to embrace being a rebel. Having that quick and dirty label allows me to make more decisions about this wedding without too much fuss from Momma Kettle and my FMIL who I will call Mima Kettle from this point on.

How exactly does one become a rebel bride? The first step is to pick something big and go against the grain with much gusto (ha! I made a multi-language pun!). For me, it was the wedding dress. I was in a cotillion and I wore the white wedding dress. With all the rules of a church run cotillion, I was all buttoned up. My dress was similar to this:

Image: Long-Sleeved Satin and Lace Ball Gown from David's Bridal
Of course my dress wasn't nearly this pretty. As the time, dresses were all about pearl beading and heavy appliques. I there was no way I was allowed to rock the sheer lave sleeves. Needless to say, I wasn't going for anything like that AT ALL this time around.

Momma Kettle and I were no strangers to discussing my upcoming wedding long before I had a FI in mind. Once I was engaged and wedding planning could be discussed without obligatory apologies for being presumptive, we could hash out concrete details. I told her long ago I didn't want a white dress.

I don't think she thought I would still feel that way when confronted with real wedding plans, but that wasn't the case.

At first, I was envisioning something like this:

Image: Lovely Ish Blog
A self-awareness check of my wide hips and short height and torso quickly cured me of wanting this dress, but I was in love with the luxurious looking fabric, the neutral tone, and the feminine romance.

After more searching, I came across more dresses I loved.

Mon Cheri Bridals Wedding Dresses and Bridal Gowns Collection presented by The Bridal Shop on Style #18246
Image: The Bridal Shop Website / Delilah Dress by Mon Cheri Bridals
This first one was about as close as I figured I'd ever get to a white dress. I loved all the detailing on it, but wasn't crazy about the train.

Image: Unique-Vintage Website
I loved the neckline on this dress. I noticed it looked more cream than white so that made me happy. The price of it really made me happy.

Image: Strapless Printed Organza Dress By David's Bridal
When I first saw this dress, it was more orange flowers than pink flowers. They've recently updated it, but kept the same link. I loved this dress so much but really couldn't see how organza could work for a February wedding. I even dragged BM Libra out for a secret shopping trip to try this dress on before I was officially engaged.

Personal Photo: BM Libra, who's birthday is only 3 days before mine, looking cool in a stressful situation, ie, visiting a friend at the hospital.
She kept my secret and here I am revealing it to the entire internet. But they didn't have the dress available for me to try on that day. No harm no foul, right?
I ended up making a 25 page document on Microsoft Word for my mother that showed every dress I thought I might want. The only ones that were white either came in other colors or had colorful details. Did I mention I didn't want a white dress?
Well, we had to narrow it down, so I looked at the list and realized I was really loving dresses by Allure Bridals. They were just my style.

The following pictures are all Allure Bridal Gowns that are representative of why I love their dresses so much.




With all these dresses, I thought I might find a white dress I could love. It seemed like an amazing compromise for Momma Kettle and I to make. She never said I couldn't wear a non-white dress, but let's just say that I knew it would be best for everyone if we met in the middle.

The two bridal salons in Chicago that carry lots o' Allure Dresses were, according to the website, were House of Brides in Oak Lawn, IL and Eva's Bridal in Tinley Park, IL.

We made appointments for both shops on one Saturday. I called up Mima Kettle and lots of her offspring. Side note: I didn't mention it yet, but Mr. Kettle's family is huge. Huge! Okay, so I also called up one of my FSILs, we'll call her FSIL Grand (cause she's a grandmother).

Mima Kettle couldn't join us, but FSIL Grand could along with another FSIL Hon (cause she's from Honduras). and FSIL Grand's daughter, FNIL Sniffles (cause she has allergies). Y'all know there's going to be a ton of people mentioned in connection with this wedding, right? I should have a giveaway for whoever can keep them all straight.

My mother and I went to the first dress shop and I tried on a lot of dresses. I wasn't allowed to take pictures. But... I... snuck and took a quick one of the bevy of dresses I tried on.

Personal Photo
This dress shopping trip was very useful. I learned that Momma Kettle has to have her arm twisted to give me an honest opinion if she disagrees with my original assessment. I learned that my instinctive hate for trains is correct because I'm so little their weight makes me tip over. I learned that when I really like a dress, I will twirl like I'm 6 years old and demand a veil like I'm a Bridezilla.
Look at my personal photo again. The dress all the way to the right look familiar? I posted it above as one of the ones that caught my eye online. When I walked into the store, I promptly forgot about it. But my dress coordinator pulled it as an option for me and it was her piece de resistance.
I got into that dress and loved it! Here it is again from the website:
I had never considered a tea-length gown until this point, but it ended up being an amazing length dress on my 5'0" frame. The a-line skirt was just my speed. The sweetheart necklace was something I already knew worked amazingly well for me.

I was in love and ready to buy the dress right then and there. Momma Kettle said we could get that dress if I wanted, or we could go to our other dress appointment and come back if that's really what I wanted. I understood that was code for "Why must you always go for the first thing you fall in love with? Explore your options boho girl!"

I knew she also wasn't thrilled with the organza 3D flowers (we didn't even know that was a thing until that morning), so we moved on. I told her as we left she was probably throwing away her one chance to get me into an all-white dress.

We headed to the next store and we had a super friendly consultant. She pulled a number of dresses in our price range and started putting me in dresses. Right as we were getting a bit energy-depleted, FSIL Grand, FSIL Hon, and FNIL Sniffles joined us. Their energy really revamped the party and I tried on upwards of 25 dresses.

My dress consultant was having fun because she said it like playing dress up with her own little Barbie doll. I couldn't be called life size because she had at least a foot of height on me even before her heels. During all this dress-up, I found a dress that I truly loved, just not as much as the one at the other store.

The dress was by a designer I really liked that I'd never heard of before that day. His name is Justin Alexander. I was all set to go back and get that first dress with the 3D organza flowers when I happened to mention to my dress coordinator that I really truly wanted a non-white dress. She told me the one I had just taken off comes in taupe. I was over the moon to try it on. So she dug it out of it's box. No other bride had yet tried it on, it had just come from the designer.

It. Was. Heaven. Heaven!! If I can get Mr. Kettle to swear he won't peek, I'll post a picture of it here. But it was AH-mazing, hive. It was everything I loved about that first dress, but not in white, and without the 3D flowers (which made Momma Kettle happy, I think). For the first time all day, I truly felt like a bride. Not like a catalog model, but like me, as a BRIDE.

I think our dress consultant was a bit surprised when we had our "Say Yes to the Dress" moment and no one cried or got emotional. The Kettles, my side and Mr. Kettles, are emotional people, but criers we are not. We express our emotions more with drama and laughter and the occasional look-that-could-kill. So, sorry dress lady that we had no use for your tissue.

It was an easy decision for me to get that dress once I put on the matching taupe veil and twirled around the store. Momma Kettle called Grandmother Kettle to update her on our shopping trip. Grandmother Kettle reminded her that I was unusual and therefore would want an unusual dress. Seeing my enthusiasm as well as the enthusiasm of my new sisters and niece, she was sold. We put down a deposit on the dress that day and got their "love it at first sight" discount.

My coordinator left me alone in the dressing room and I, along with FNIL Sniffles pulled out my camera and took beaucoup photos so I could show Mima Kettle and all my bridesmaids. I really want to put up the photos here, hive, but I just can't take that chance yet.

I have a habit of finding something on Day One and knowing that's the one. It happened with my wedding dress, my wedding venue, my new apartment, and my wedding shoes. It would have happened with Mr. Kettle had I not been so emotionally cut off when we first started hanging out.

It bugs Momma Kettle and Mr. Kettle because they think I'm not exploring all my options. But I'm so indecisive that when I feel strong about a decision, I go with my gut. I've never made a gut decision and changed my mind after more thought, at least not about anything semi-permanent (permanent enough that it involves a down-payment).

Up next, I'll explain how I got rebellious on the choice of wedding venue.

How many trips to stores did it take before you found your dress? Did those shopping with you agree with your selection? Did you end up with the dress you thought you'd buy?

Friday, August 5, 2011

Diving Headfirst Into Wedding Planning

I jumped quite quickly into wedding planning. I already had some ideas of what I wanted from discussions with Mr. Kettle and my mother. He and I discussed things like wedding size, bridal party, officiants, and of course, wedding date.

Momma Kettle and I had a special understanding about weddings. We'd been discussing what I might want for my wedding for years. This is, of course, without a groom in mind, but that's how we roll. We do what we want.

Us at the White House Blue Room right before Christmas. See all that leg out? Yeah, we're rebels.

The first thing Momma Kettle and I began planning was finding a venue for the wedding and finding a wedding dress for me. Also, we came up with a tentative budget (that has since changed 3 times).

A lot of brides I know, especially ones who grew up in my church, find they have a battle on their hands when it's time to discuss wedding venue. Some can't fathom, or aren't allowed by family, to get married outside the church. Others are stuck when it comes to reception because they don't want to make people travel too far.

I didn't have those issues as I expressed up front that I would be no means get married in my church. I'm very religious, but I just had a different vision for my wedding. I would still have a religious ceremony, but somewhere other than my church. Or Mr. Kettle's church.

Momma Kettle and I each came up with a list of venues and moved the ones that appeared on both lists to the top of our joint list. We talked numbers with Daddy Kettle and eliminated the ones outside our price range. We did the same process with finding a bridal salon for wedding dresses. And I showed my mother tons of pictures of wedding dresses so she would understand that traditional wedding dresses were out of the question for both my style and my vision of the wedding.

The first thing Mr. Kettle and I did was to confirm with our chosen people that they could actually be a part of our wedding. We needed to be sure that all 33 members were available. That's right, hive, I said 33. We had: 2 Best Men, 2 Maids of Honor, 2 Bridal Attendants, 8 Groomsmen, 6 Bridesmaids, 2 Junior Bridesmaids, 2 Flower Girls, 2 Ring Bearers, 3 Hostesses, 2 Ushers, and 2 Officiants.

We had a relatively short To-Do list to get accomplished within the first month. Find a venue, find a dress, and confirm wedding party. Also, we wanted to come up with our guest list so we could send out save the dates.

Personally, I really wanted to, and needed to, get organized. I had a plan for getting it done, thanks to Weddingbee. Two weeks before getting engaged I started my new job. With my very first paycheck, I splurged on a purchase. I could have gotten it for much cheaper, but it was soooo purty. Plus, it fit my ideas of how things should be organized. What did I buy?

Screenshot of Wedding Binder via Russell and Hazel
I could have put this together at Staples or Office Depot for half the price. But it was just sooooo pretty. I was very happy with my purchase. And it has kept me very very organized.

Up next I will talk about our whirlwind weekend of venue and dress shopping.

Did you dive headfirst into wedding planning? Were the people aroud you accepting to your vision of how things should be for your wedding?

Heating Up The Water - Getting To Know How The Kettles Ended Up Engaged

Mr. Kettle and I were freshly in love when I last left off. I was spending a lot of time in St. Louis where he worked. I was unemployed and making the most of my free time. I went to a lot of Mr. Kettle's gigs.

As our relationship developed, we quickly realized we wanted to be together, and likely wanted to be together forever.

The Super Bowl was a big day for us because that's the day we first began speaking of the possibility of us getting married in a very real way. We even discussed eloping. If I remember correctly, the only reason we didn't is because we were quite sure it would disappoint both of our mothers for us to not have a wedding. Also, we weren't even boyfriend and girlfriend yet. But what were we? We were rebels.

This is Mr. Kettle's rebellious stance.
Mr. Kettle was making plans for asking me in a very special way to be his girlfriend. He wanted to ask me on the anniversary of the day we met on July 2nd. Yeah, we didn't make it to March.

Mardi Gras is now a very special night for us. We spent the night together and had so much fun. I asked him to promise me we'd spend Mardi Gras together the next year no matter where we were. He informed me we'd be married by then so of course we would. I was surprised because it was such a concrete deadline. I realized I would love the idea of having our wedding anniversary fall before Mardi Gras every year.

A quick Google search later and I found we'd have to get married the first weekend in February to make that happen. Mr. Kettle and I discussed it and he said that date worked for him. When I reminded him that meant he'd have to propose at least by July so we'd have enough time to plan a real wedding, he said that worked for him.

I was flabbergasted because there aren't a lot of men walking around just ready to get married and not backing down from promises made while in a moment of drunken happiness. Mr. Kettle had another great plan to propose on the anniversary of the day we met in July. But... he revealed the plan to me accidentally one night. But yeah, we didn't make it to June.

We joked that I would have to propose to him first before he'd propose to me. I told him I'd propose, sure. But it would be with a Lucky Charms ring! Secretly though, I took this very seriously because I didn't anything messing up our plans. In mid April, I made Mr. Kettle a very nice picnic and picked him up from work. We drove to the park and had a nice lunch. I had him unpack the lunch and in it he found a box. And in that box?

Yes I did. I made my man a ring out of Lucky Charms. It took me an entire individual sized box of cereal to get it right, but I did. A needle, thread, and cuff link box can go far. I guess this counts as my first DIY project for the wedding.

I said some sweet things about how I couldn't wait to spend the rest of my life with him and asked him to marry me. He accepted and we both ignored how cheesy we were feeling and enjoyed the rest of our picnic. I did remind him that I didn't want to hear even one joke about us being engaged until he put a ring on my finger.

At the end of May, Mr. Kettle sent me to his jewelry store to get sized for a ring. He's very subtle. Very subtle. He also had me e-mail him some pics of rings I liked. That was on a Monday. That following Sunday, he took my dad, Daddy Kettle, out to brunch after church. Then he and I headed up for a Memorial Day BBQ at one of his cousin's house.

After the BBQ, we headed back to my parents house. I was really very tired and very hungry and very irritable. We decided to go our separate ways for the night, but before he could drive off, I asked him to wait. I told him we never leave things unhappy and so I would rally and continue our planned night. We kissed and made up.

I didn't expect a proposal at this point because Mr. Kettle can be super romantic and I figured he'd do some over-the-top romantic proposal. Plus, I wasn't sure he'd asked my father for my hand in marriage like he'd planned. Although I told him I wanted a low-key proposal that fit us as a couple, I wasn't imaginging that was the moment he'd choose.

While we were hugging, he asked me to marry him. At that point, Mr. Kettle was pseudo-proposing at least once a week. We'd talked about marriage so much that him saying the words, "I love you, will you marry me?" were commonplace. He gets emotional like that. So when he asked this time, I said, "Of course I'll marry you baby," without actually suspecting he might have a ring in his pocket.
Right near where we were back in October when we first decided to take another chance on each other, he pulled out a ring and got down on one knee. I was impressed because the ground was wet from having rained earlier. He told me some things that sounded so sweet and amazing at the time, but I can't remember for the life of me right now. I just remember saying, "Oh my God, you're serious this time!"

What I also remember is that I cried. It was unexpected for both of us because although I am very emotional, crying isn't usually one of the ways I express my emotions. I was amazed by the ring that he had specially made. It was very me. Very very me.

Pink sapphire, turned at an angle, white gold, pave diamonds. Oh yeah, this ring rocks!
We knew we didn't want a long engagement, and we were committed to sticking with our early February date. So from here on out, it's all about wedding planning!

How long were you together before he popped the question? Did you have a mock proposal first? How much do you love you ring?

Heating Up The Water - Getting To Know How The Kettles Ended Up Together

In this saga towards being engaged, I left off at my decision that I wanted Mr. Kettle all for my very own. That was right around the time he decided he only wanted to date the other woman he was already dating when he met me.

Ouch! Image via Oldham Athletic Blog
That's pretty close to how I felt, except maybe it was my heart instead of my face. He wanted to be friends-- I wanted him to kiss my @*#. Over the next couple months, I began dating someone else who had a ton of baggage from his last relationship and began doubting my taste in men.

Mr. Kettle was realizing that perhaps he had chosen the wrong girl. He was really missing me and things weren't going well with her. They had a lot of incompatibilities that made him realize they weren't right for each other. He would text/call me occasionally during this time. I mostly ignored all of these calls.

Turns out, that was the best thing to do. He was missing me more and more and it was killing him that he couldn't talk to me. It made him realize that he really wanted me around and he wanted me back. What happens next was just like a movie. After he called me and left a voicemail (I definitely pressed ignore) saying how much he missed me and how it was really important that he talk to me, I agreed, after hours of texting back and forth, to talk to him.

It was evening, and it was raining. He picked me up from my parents' house. When we first saw each other, he hugged me and kissed me while "I Wish It Would Rain" by Mayer Hawthorne played on the car stereo. He told me later he wasn't leaving the city (he was working in St. Louis at the time) until he got a chance to talk to me.
Image of Mayer Hawthorne's music video via The Incubator Blog

It took only a matter of weeks before we had hashed out all the issues from before and agreed to date each other exclusively. We put ourselves back on track to continue to get to know one another. We re-built trust and communication and it wasn't long before love came into play as well.

When Mr. Kettle first told me he loved me, it was also quite like a movie. One of my favorite movies is The Holiday.

Image via
The first time I visited St. Louis after we reconnected, Mr. Kettle sat down to watch this movie while I was cooking dinner. We had rented it from Blockbuster expressly for this purpose. While watching the scene in which Jude Law professes his love for Cameron Diaz, Mr. Kettle decides it's a good time to tell me he was in love with me.

I think what actually happened is that those emotions were building up inside him and seeing that scene in the movie made the lid blow off. Like a completely skittish, emotionally-deficient person, I said a whole bunch of nothing and ran off to the kitchen to cook.

It took me another week or so to say it back. We both knew I had been feeling it for quite a while, I was just extra apprehensive about saying it. But once I did, we were officially in the full swing of our honeymoon phase. You know what I'm talking about. That moment where both people are in love and feeling it.

It really wasn't too much later that we began discussing the possibility of getting married. We still weren't ready to be boyfriend and girlfriend, but we were, you know, considering all our options.

Did any of your big relationship moments resemble a romantic comedy? How long into your relationship did you declare your love?

Heating Up The Water - Getting To Know How The Kettles Met

Okay hive, this is the post where I try to dive into how we met and our story of how we ended up proposed. It's a story that seems to take longer to tell than the time we've actually been together, but I will try my best.

When I was younger, we're talking 10-15 years ago, I went to a music conservatory. I was classically trained in choral singing and piano. It was an amazing time in my life and I learned a lot though I made no friends and never quite got over my hangup about playing in front of people.

During this time, there was a guy at the music school that I thought was incredibly cute. No mystery here, it was a younger Mr. Kettle. I thought he was so cute with his afro and his big nose (I have a thing for big noses). And he had a special sort of something about him that made me swoon every time he had to play his sax during assembly.

We never spoke during this time and I never knew his name. I didn't really want to know his name, he was just a crush. Now fast forward to July 2, 2010. I attended the wedding of a friend I grew up with at church. Mr. Kettle tells this part of the story much better. He remembers laying eyes on me and deciding I was beautiful and looked like a lot of fun and therefore he had to approach me at the reception.

I was feeling amazing that day. I had just lost almost 20 pounds and I was wearing a new sexy dress. I also had just gotten my hair locked for the first time (I'll explain that later). I noticed there were a lot of young, probably single men at the wedding. I was also feeling fed up with lack of progress with the guy I was currently dating. Mr. Kettle was fresh out of one relationship and just on the outskirts of a new relationship.

All this adds up to both of us looking to just have fun. At the reception, we ended up near each other on the dance floor. Fast forward to the end of the reception and we were having so much fun that we made plans to go out. In one hour.

We went out after the wedding and had so much fun we made plans to go out the next day. The next day we had so much fun we made more plans. And more plans. And 15 days later, we realized we had only spent a couple days apart since we met.

We were both convinced at that point that we were just having fun hanging out. That's why I have no pictures of us except a few from Facebook that other people took. By the end of the summer, I was completely smitten with him. He constantly showered me with compliments and told me how much he liked me and how glad he was he met me. I had decided that the casual hanging out thing perhaps wasn't good enough.

I'll continue this story in the next post.

Were you and your FI dating other people when you met? Was the transition to dating only each other a smooth one?

Heating Up The Water - Getting To Know The Kettles Part One

Hi hive! The first thing you should know about me, at least the foreseeable future, is that I usually blog while at work. I love my job, but I work 12 hour shifts. So when I'm not working, I'm at home sleeping or trying desperately to slip in a bit of actually living life.

I say this to say don't judge me for the occasional lack of coherence. Did I mention I work the night shift?

Image via Wikipedia / Book by Stephen King

No, not that night shift, but I've heard it's good writing. I work in an office doing good work with organ and tissue donation. Be an Organ Donor!

My job consists more of me sitting here like this:

Learning lots 'o stuff (I'm still training) from over sized binders such as this:

And calling myself healthy because I eat snack like this:

The great thing about working nights is that I'm a night owl. The other great thing is that Mr. Kettle is a musician. On days I don't have to work, I have no problem staying out with him at a gig until the sun comes up. And he has some amazing gigs. Ever been to Andy's Jazz Club in Chicago?

personal photo taken @ Andy's Jazz Club
That's him playing the alto saxophone in the picture. I love that man with an undying passion. Want to see more pictures of him? Of course you do.

Whoa! Sorry about that last one. But I showed so many of him as this "serious" musician, I felt I needed to change it up. I love Mr. Kettle's music and I love his sense of humor. He's my favorite fiance thus far. Did I mention I have an odd sense of humor?

Mr. Kettle is also a teacher. He teaches music to elementary age children. He's an amazing teacher and his kids always love him. He works very hard. He also gets summers off which is sweet!

We're both very family-oriented people. We spend a lot, a lot, of time with our family and friends. We're very simpatico that way.

Image via Timberlake-JustinFans
Did anyone see that ridiculous movie Bad Teacher? No one? Just the crickets? Okay...

What else can I say about us? I could talk about how we met, and how we got engaged. That's generally what people talk about right up front, yes? Okay, that's what I'll talk about in my next posts.
It's really great to be here hive, I can't say that enough.

Put On The Kettle!

Hello hive!

I'm Miss Kettle. Miss Kettle! Yay! I'm so excited I get to finally say that!

I'm so excited be here. I wish there was a way to convey through words the extent of my joy. I could try, but I'm not a writer, I'm a scientist. My grasp of spelling and grammar is no small feat in itself, so I will accept that proper word choice is just outside my grasp.

That, my new friends, is why God made Google. It's my best buddy on the Internet. There's nothing Google can't do. Well, that's not true. But there are no Internet needs of mine that it can't meet. The best example of this was when Mr. Kettle went to Europe for a month last winter and we were able to talk on the phone and video chat -- for free-- through Google (technically gmail, but it's the same thing). But I digress... 

Through Google, I can find pictures to try and express my joy.

Image via BitStorm

Nah, that's not really it. But I am having fond memories of my childhood while also wondering why in the world my parents let me watch that show!

Image via Ravesque Tarot
Yeah, now that's more like it. This joy is not mine alone because Mr. Kettle is really excited too. He was very supportive of my plan to be a Bee and almost submitted the application for me. Thank goodness it was still too soon to apply because I wanted to go over my application myself and have my voice shine through.

Now that I've done my very best to express how happy I am to be a Bee, let's talk about how I got here. Mr. Kettle and I first discussed marriage very early on in what was a short courtship. It was the night of Mardi Gras that we decided we'd be married by that time the following year. Almost immediately after that, I started looking at wedding websites and Google sent me to Weddingbee. I fell in love instantly and had dreams of being a Bee myself one day.

Mr. Kettle and I overshare, so I told him of my new obsession with wedding websites and surprisingly, he didn't back off the discussion of marriage or the development of our relationship. Possible "crazy" label avoided. Winning!

When we were officially engaged (he liked it so he put a ring on it), I realized there was only a short amount of time before we were at the 8-months-out-mark and I could apply to Weddingbee. Well, they rejected my first application pretty quickly. I was sad, very sad.

personal drawing on my PC
I didn't cry, but I was wondering why I couldn't be fascinating enough to catch their attention. I took another look at my blog and tried to figure out what to do. I began tailoring my blog posts as if I were actually a weddingbee blogger, which meant more pictures, more details of how I arrived at decisions, projects, and feelings.

As soon as four weeks passed (technically a few days before..) I submitted a second application. Then it was all wedding blogging every day. My personal blog became wedding central. Mr. Kettle spoke of how I "better be a Bee blogger this time after all this". He is very passionate you see.

But it paid off! I got the e-mail from Pengy (I call her that 'cause everyone else does) and I was over-joyed. I was at work when I read it so I had to do my best to contain my glee. It was hard. Real hard.

I called Mr. Kettle and after a bit of phone tag, he got the good news. He was just as happy as I was. Then we hashed out what my icon would be. Knowing that he would have to be Mr.______, he wanted something that was manly. He didn't say that outright, but I got that vibe after he ruled out both bracelet and petit four.

He wanted ticket, But I really wanted sunhat. He probably frowned (we were over the phone so I can't be sure) and then we played a game we're very good at. This game is called compromise. We decided on an icon that fit us as a couple and one that both of us would be proud to be the Mr.______ and Miss ______. Ultimately, kettle it was.

We drink a lot of tea, so I think it fits. We're very warm, we like bright colors, and with all the music we constantly have around us, the tea kettle whistle fits us too.

I look forward to months of blogging and having you all go with me through this planning process. I've already done some DIY projects and I will be glad to share those with you.

Here are the Kettles (and our cat Belle). These are both personal photos.