five on friday!!

I'm hoping that every single one of y'all are in the same boat as me when I say AMEN FOR THE WEEKEND.  This week just felt like the days would never end, and with a fun-filled weekend ahead of us, I'm just hoping that this work day flies by!  I'm linking up with some of my fav bloggin' ladies for "Five on Friday," and I highly suggest that you join in as well!

We're meeting up with Brian's cousin and his fab girlfriend (also a Katie!) and some of their friends tonight for drinks and I'm so excited!  We've been so crazy busy lately, it feels like it's been forever since we've taken time to just hang out and catch up with our friends, so tonight will be very much appreciated.  We have plans to head to Davis Square, which is a fun little part of Boston near Cambridge-- I had an internship in the area years ago but we've never been to any bars or restaurants, so I'm looking forward to seeing the nightlife.  Plus, I like to never pass up a reason to make the trip into the city. The temps are supposed to cool down throughout the day-- perhaps tonight will be the perfect night for my first Shipyard Pumpkinhead of the season (cinnamon sugar on the rim of the glass, please).

After battling the urge for a few weeks now to debut my fall decorations, I'm thinking this weekend might be THE TIME.  I already have a menu planned for chili and stew and a fridge full of yummy fall-ish beer (perfection for football watching, obviously), so what's better than to arrange a few pumpkins and wreaths?  The main issue that I battle is that I'm decorating a 1 bedroom, 1 bathroom apartment and have enough decorations for a 4 bedroom house with multiple living areas.  'Tis a serious issue, y'all.  I usually go all out while Brian's out of the apartment, and then he comes home, asks why (enter season here) exploded in our home, and I start taking pieces away until the space is cute, not cluttered.  When it's cool enough to sleep with the windows open and my yummy fall candles are burning away, the tables are just begging for that autumn leave arrangement, no?

The longer I've lived in Boston, the less of a baseball fan I've become.  Basically, I peaked as a Red Sox fan when I first stepped off of the plane at Logan and the enthusiasm has slowly declined.  I mean, my first fall here, I saw two no-hitters IN PERSON and they won the World Series!  Once we started going to games more regularly, I quickly realized a baseball fan, I am not.  It's bound to be a looong night when you think it's the fifth inning AT LEAST, only to check your watch and realize it's the bottom of the second (does it sound like I know what I'm talking about?  Oh, good-- because I do not).  Regardless, there's just something a little magical about a game at Fenway Park, and I can most certainly tolerate it in small doses!  My fabulous Uncle Frank in Connecticut mailed us four tickets as a "just because" gift for the Red Sox/Yankees game on Sunday night!  If you need me, you can find me in a field box, sipping a beverage and trying to get service on my phone to Instagram the night away.

So I haven't blogged since the whole engagement announcement, but I am DELIGHTED to say that our entire morning tomorrow is blocked off to do wedding things-- EEK!  While we aren't sharing much info quite yet, we've narrowed our venue options down to our top two-- one is a country club, so everything is covered, we just get to make our decisions (love); the other is a completely blank space, which I've always thought that I wanted so that we could completely make it our own... but that's a lot of stuff to figure out.  Bringing in rental companies, caterers, not to mention the standard vendors (music, florist, etc).  We're hoping seeing the places in person tomorrow will give us a little more insight as to which way we'd like to go-- the "blank space" will be being setup for a wedding, so we can get a visual of how the room would be.  

The OCD part of me is just ready to set the date  (we're flexible, depending on when our venues are available), book The Big Stuff (ceremony/reception venues, photographer, band/DJ for us) and then the smaller things will fall into place.  I'm not crazy about spending tons on flowers-- it's just not super important to us.  And the details, to me, are the fun part. So loads of stress will be off of my shoulders once I know we have a spot for things to happen.  Also, I never thought that Brian would really care about the little things, but he's been so gung-ho right along with me, so that's been a lot of fun.  He even coached me through my first sticker-shock meltdown on Monday night.  Between the fiance, my Southern Living planner plus the insane binder I put together, and myself, I think this little wedding will come together just fine.

I run the BAA Half Marathon in Boston ONE MONTH from today.  THIRTY days.  I run the New York City Marathon in 50 days.  FIFTY.  I'm pretty excited for the half-- I've trained for the marathon twice now and have run more than 13 miles countless times on training runs, but this will be my first actual half marathon, where I get to stop at 13.1 miles and have a medal placed around my neck.  However, once the morning of November 4th (the day after the marathon), I feel like I'll wake up and either want to run forever, or swear off of it for the rest of my life.  Training this time has been for the birds, and I'm just kind of ready to be done with it.  I'm excited of course, and I think that the overall spirit and feeling at this year's NYCM will be just amazing, considering all that NYC has been through post-Sandy.  Plus my mom, an aunt and Brian will be there to cheer me on, along with other friends who are planning to head to the city to join my cheering squad as well.  

I know that I haven't been as focused on training this year as I was last year, so I'm trying to really pick up my midweek runs going forward so that I'm a little more prepared.  When I get so exhausted and think "This isn't fun anymore.  This isn't easy," a little voice says "Well of course it's not.  You're running a marathon to challenge your body and your mind beyond anything that you thought possible.  If it were easy, would it be such a privilege to be running this course right now?  I think not.  Pick it up, slowpoke."  And so I run.  Continuously.  For hours on end.  New shoes are in the plans for this weekend, and I just ordered a new lululemon top-- it's the little things to perk you up, right?  Anyways, the reality of TWO races in the next sixty days hit me and HOLY MOLY was it a reality check.

Wedding Wednesday: WE'RE ENGAGED!!

(and yes, I totally did the dance in my head post-proposal)

One week ago today, the love of my life proposed and I said YES!  HOLY MOLY.  It has been a WHIRLWIND of the past 7 days-- he popped the question Wednesday night and I was on a plane to Texas to visit my family for a planned Labor Day weekend trip at 7am the next morning.  

It could not have been more perfect timing-- while I most certainly wish that Brian could have come along with me, it was initially planned as a quick trip home for me to see everyone, and turned into "Hi family, I've missed you, and I'M ENGAGED!!"  It meant so much to me that it all worked out so that I could share in the excitement firsthand with my family and closest friends and see their smiles and hear the squeals face-to-face instead of over the phone.  My mama and I spent the weekend pouring over my Pinterest boards and flipping through bridal magazines.  My cousin, Nicole, and I talked for hours Saturday night over drinks about colors and themes, pictures and dresses... and I was blissed. out.
A good chunk of this past week's paycheck went towards bridal magazines-- I promised myself a long time ago that I wouldn't buy an actual printed magazine until I had the ring on my finger.  Well guess what, y'all-- 

How did it happen, you ask?  Well, Wednesday evening, we drove into Boston last minute for dinner.  I was perhaps just a tiny bit hopeful, like butterflies in my stomach, but honestly didn't want to get excited since I knew that Brian knew I still needed to pack and get ready to fly home the next morning, so I marked it up to him saving me a night of cooking.  

Once we'd parked, Brian asked if I wanted to take a quick walk since we were half an hour early for our dinner reservation.  I said sure, and we headed off in the direction of the place that I'd secretly been hoping we were heading, the Wharf near the New England Aquarium, where we sat for hours the night of our first date and talked and talked the evening away.  We walked over to "our spot" and he said the most wonderful things ever, I blubbered away and... 

 And just like that, we were engaged!  The best proposal I could have ever hoped for, to the most amazing man I could ever have dreamed of marrying.  We walked (or I floated) back to The Palm for our dinner reservation and I called my parents to tell them the news.  Needless to say, they were just a little bit excited, and didn't quite catch on when I informed them that they were going to have a son-in-law.  Even typing it now, I cannot stop smiling!  When we walked into the restaurant, I couldn't help myself and immediately told the hostess that we had just gotten engaged.  She squealed, the manager overheard and informed us that they would be happy to reserve the backroom of The Palm for any future event needs (I laughed, and then thought "Oh my word, I can actually consider things like this now!!).  Once we were seated, complimentary champagne was sent over, and the smile didn't leave my face the entire night.

Dinner was wonderful, and I alternated grinning like a crazy person at my FIANCE, tearing up, and calling our family and friends.  Everyone was just so happy for us, and we feel so blessed to have such amazing family and friends to celebrate with at this exciting time!  I may have taken two or twenty pictures of my ring because... why not?

We called his sisters and parents on the drive home so we could both be on the phone and tell them the news (his parents had known that it was happening, just so it doesn't sound like we told everyone and then his parents), and I think my favorite reaction was from his oldest sister Meghan (Colin and Meredith's mom).  It's totally normal for us to call and just small-chat with them on speaker while we're driving, so we played it off like we were doing just that, and then Brian says "So I made Aunt Kiki official tonight." Complete SILENCE from Meg. 

"... What?  What did you say?!"  
"I made Aunt Kiki official tonight!"
"You're kidding!  I knew it!  Are you joking?  Did you really?  She's official!?  Ohhhh I want to see the ring!  Tell me how... no, Brian stop talking.  Kiki, take me off speaker and give me all of the details so I can hear every word."

It also sounds kind of corny, but I kind of love that Brian doesn't have any brothers, and I've never had a sister-- now we'll have each others siblings as one big, happy, dysfunctional family.  Isn't that part of what marriage is all about?

As for actually being engaged... I have no idea what to do next.  Since I flew out the morning after it happened, and just flew in late last night, I've hardly spent two minutes with my new FIANCE to plan anything.  Yes, I've had ideas and eleventy billion plans in my head for years now, but since it happened and this morning, I've been asked no less then fifty times Where? When? How many? Who? Colors? Size?  I've even already gotten criticism on an idea that Brian and I have always loved but I'd never even vocalized!  An aunt just out and said how she hates this particular thing and it's horrificially tacky... but we still kind of love it.  

I was all worked up and told my mom what had happened and she said probably the one thing I'll have to keep coming back to throughout this entire wedding planning process: "People are going to give you every opinion and piece of advice that they can think of because they think their input is valuable.  Sometimes it is, but a lot of times it's nonsense.  At the end of the day, plan this wedding for you and Brian because you two are getting married and it's YOUR day.  Listen and smile to everyone and be gracious that they care, even when you don't want to.  If you decide to take their advice, wonderful.  If not, you do not worry about hurt feelings because you can't please everyone and it's not your job to.  At the end of the day, try to involve the people who mean the most to you, and keep yourselves happy or you'll stress yourself to pieces."

This is true.  Mama knows me and she knows that I will legitimately stress myself to pieces to try and please everyone.  We have time to get all into the details, but for now, I want to talk about the fun stuff with my future hubby, and just revel in the excitement of being engaged!  Let the planning begin!!  And be prepared for Wedding Wednesday, my friends-- things are gonna get real!!