Thursday, September 27, 2012

Thursday Ramblings

...It's hard to get used to writing my new name. I haven't had to but twice thus far. I need to practice more, as April and Holtmeyer appear to be two different hand writings. They're not in sync yet.

...My grocery bill was a little too high last week. I was used to the Jamaican way of life and wanted to grab every fruit and juice in the store. Granted I did limit myself. Just hate that the healthy items are the more expensive. I did find a new juice I absolutely love, V8 Splash Smoothie Tropical Colada. It was gone within a day and half.

...Now that the wedding is over, I can start job searching. There isn't much out there and worth leaving here for lesser pay. Patience is a virtue, and something I am still trying to learn. Guess at least I have a job vs. jobless and looking. I hate it here with a passion. There was a guy from North Dakota at our resort saying that a town he lives in, they are having a hard time keeping employees. An Olive Garden was built and took I believe two years to actually open because they didn't have enough workers to run it. Their Pizza Hut and Taco Bell workers made $15/hr!

...This weekend is Molasses at my grandparents house. Hope the rain stays away! So far it's not suppose to rain on Saturday. It's also a mini family reunion as well.

...Thanks to a distant cousin on FB, I now know what Instagram is. I just thought it was a picture program taken on IPhones, etc with different photo filter/effect options. Had no idea until she pointed it out on FB how she learned it was an actual social media group with sharing photos. Aye. I feel old and not-so tech savy!

...It's been over three years since I had head phones at work. I've been missing out and forgot how much I loved Pandora. Why didn't I buy head phones sooner??? The ones I'm using now are compliments of Delta Airlines from our trip from Jamaica to Atlanta. :) 

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Water Pictures


Finally got our pictures in from the water camera. Here's is a few more from Jamaica.

Riding the three-wheeler like water boat. It was fun, but a lot of work since we were fighting against the wind.



This picture doesn't do justice. Getting ready to wait our turn going up the second round at Dunn's River Falls.
Some of our group. The couple from the far left was from Michigan. They were super nice!

The water was rushing so hard on us. We're suppose to be saying "Yea Mon"!
They kept telling us to get closer to the falls. Any closer and we would have been knocked down since it coming down on us so strong.
Mike kissing Arie.

Enjoying our last full day in Jamaica.

Relaxing on the beach.

Weekend Wrap Up

Friday
Stopped at Walmart after work which was a nightmare! Never. Again. Stayed home the rest of the evening to get a few things done around the house. A lot of little things have piled up over the past few weeks with wedding and gifts.

Saturday
Headed into Vienna to change my name on my bank accounts. Came home and started tackling our bill cabinet. Last week I bought a filing cabinet for all our bills, misc. papers. I love being organized, not to mention I now have a free cabinet in my kitchen to store wedding kitchen items. Headed to Mike's mom and dads to show his mom our honeymoon pictures before she left for church. Then drove down the road where Mike's dad was combining. He asked if his new daughter-in-law wanted a ride, I opt out. Seemed pretty dusty and I was just getting over allergies. I just sat and watched him finish along with Mike and neighbor, Roger. Once he was done we all headed back to the house to load the corn in the grain bin. Love watching the farming process.

Later that evening, Mike and Randy were mowing/weed eating and Kylie stayed with me. We had so much fun. She's going to be a good little ball player. I'm not the greatest at throwing and she still hit more than half of what I threw her. Randy grilled brats and hotdogs for all of us. Was a nice evening enjoying the outside even though it got rather cold out. I think we just may need to invest in a fire pit! :)

Sunday
Went to church with Mike and Jr. After church I made my dishes then we headed off. Dropped our wedding backdrop off at a friends house before heading to my mom and dads for grandma and I's birthday dinner. 
This picture cracks me up with grandma's expression on her face.
As we were about to leave a neighbors girl came running over for us to help her brother. He had a dog chain collar wrapped around his neck. The way she described it, we thought he was literally choking to death because it was so tight. Thankfully when we got over there it wasn't tight, he was just panicking because they couldn't get it off his head. Which it may have loosened up more by the time we got there. He was autistic so his sister tried to keep him calm while Mike removed the chain off his head. Came off within a couple of minutes of trying. That evening I fixed chili for supper. Love the Fall weather coming in for soups and chili!

Monday, September 24, 2012

Reception

I was really shocked with the dance floor full all night at our wedding reception, no thanks to our awesome DJ guys. I had let them know in advance about the road detour. They still got lost and were over an hour late. Of course, the only numbers they had were mine and Mikes, which obviously we didn't have our phones with us that day. I tried my best to not let it get to the best of me on my big day. Turns out, it worked out perfectly! By the time they got everything set up and was ready to call the wedding party in, it was just getting dark out. Therefore, everyone was mostly inside and ready to see our first dance instead of wanting to enjoy the nice weather. After the main dances, they kicked it off with a 'Snowball' dance. Every time they shouted snowball, each person on the dance floor (which started with the wedding party) had to grab a person to come and dance. There wasn't even one song where the dance floor was empty, even while everyone was cleaning up. :)

Colossal Sounds DJs, Jay & Ray. THE BEST!!
 Thank you for letting us be a part of it!  It was a lot of FUN!  I loved the pictures.  Congratulations!
Jay and Ray
Colossal Sounds

Mike and some of his groomsmen dancing. I was surprised most of the guys danced the whole night.
Some of the groomsmen having too much fun while others are cleaning up! :)

Love this one!
Mike and Kylie at the dollar dance.



















Friday, September 21, 2012

A must read!

I just came across a pin on Pinterest of a woman who completed 38 random acts of kindness on her 38th birthday! So nice to know there is good people in this world being selfless on their own birthday.

A must read! You can read her post about their (her and her family) random acts of kindness on her birthday: http://mixmingleglow.com/blog/?p=1358

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Ring

Everything and I mean everything from the smallest detail like ink color for the guest book to the largest being my wedding dress, I constantly second guessed every decision. I've asked my parents time and time again for a do over wedding with "I should have done this wedding". For some reason they wouldn't go for it. Which clearly I wasn't serious, well maybe just a tad.

As all of you know my ring has been an uphill battle. If you don't know or don't remember, here is a recap of the down fall events regarding the wedding band.

I was fine with just having my ring be by itself, but Mike always planned from the very beginning I would pick out my wedding ring, separate from the engagement ring. Which was very nice of him, but well lets face it, he is a guy! I finally talked him into looking at wedding bands to match my ring since buying another ring would be outrageous and a costly decision. He finally agreed. Month later we went to the jewelry store where he bought my engagement ring and found a wedding band that matched perfectly! I was so pleased and so happy with the decision we made. This happiness would soon come to an end. When my band was in, mom and I were shopping that day in Jeff and decided to stop in to make sure it was the right size and everything. Well it was the right band but the wrong diamond set, in bead set which is very pretty but didn't match with my style of ring at all. So no big deal, just return it and get the correct setting. This is where the process took a huge downfall. A month later the new band was in, it's bead set and a whole new band. I was devastated. Not only was the setting wrong, band completely wrong in a vampire tooth design to go around my ring, but Mike's ring was also in the wrong finish and style. At this point I was fine with having my engagement ring be my whole wedding ring.

A few weeks later, Mike and I had our Pre-Cana class talking about money and not making vast decisions around wedding time or in married life in general. Which was all very agreeable and their points made perfect sense. After the class I had a few things to take back at the mall and to check out wedding bands for Mike. Our whole main lesson for the day went completely out the window.

As we were waiting for another couple to finish looking at bands, I saw this gorgeous wedding ring. I didn't say anything about it, plus even if we was looking for me I would stay clear of that case as it seemed more expensive than the rest of the rings. Finally began looking at rings for Mike and he was more excited this go around and I let him pick out his own whereas he let me pick before. We began telling them about our wedding which they then asked to my ring. This is where I started to explain our situation and Mike said for me to look at rings as well. As the lady was putting Mike's information into the computer, he pointed at the same ring I was eying earlier and said that was really pretty and I should try it on. I thought to myself you've got to be kidding out of all the rings, he sees the same one I did. I told him we needed to stay clear of that case and plus we were just 'looking'. Another lady joined in and asked if she could take my ring to put it up next to other bands. I think we went through 15 bands and enhancers. Nothing and I mean nothing gave my ring justice.

We began to try on rings, just to try on and maybe get an idea. With that being a huge maybe! She asked me what I liked, so I gave her a description to what I thought seemed like a broad selection of rings they had there, almost every ring they had. She said I think we have the perfect ring for you and it would fit your sweet personality. It was the same ring that both Mike and I was eying! I couldn't believe it. By no means did I let her know that, because I figured with her trying to make a sale she would try her hardest with a ring out of our price range. Which it was.

Two hours later, we settled on 'the' ring. I am so happy with our decision. And this decision didn't come lightly, as you all know every wedding decision I have second guessed myself. This was a huge purchase so I questioned it every minute up until Mike placed that ring on my finger at the alter.

We did receive a huge discount. I could have sold my engagement ring, but it meant too much to me and they could tell it did as I was almost in tears to the thought of selling it. It's the ring Mike was proud to surprise me with and the designer was from Missouri who made Eastern Star jewelry and Masonic Lodge. Which both hit home with me and made me feel close to my Elrod grandparents that have both passed away. To me it was like a part of them with me and they were able to be a part of our special day. By the end of the ring purchase, we were all almost in tears. The two ladies at Kays Jewelry in Jeff felt more like family when we left and even gave me a hug and was so happy to see such a pretty ring go to a person that deserved it. They felt so close to us, that they wanted to come to the wedding and made me promise to bring in wedding pictures for them to see. Which I'm sure they were more excited for the commission. lol After the price went down a lot from a 40% sale, another huge amount taken off because of our story and went down even more after she explained to her boss our story who took another $700 off, it was finally in our price range. Even with that said, I was still going back and forth whether to go ahead and get it. It was still a big purchase, but one we will cherish forever and hopefully be passed down the family for years to come.

I always tell my mom everything and this was something I wanted to tell her so bad, especially all the times she kept emailing me pictures of rings and even had me browse rings when we were shopping. There were numerous times I almost gave in and told her, even down to seconds of showing her a picture which had been on my phone all along. Mike wanted it to be a surprise to everyone since they knew how much trouble we have went through and I agreed as it would be even more special to surprise everyone. I couldn't contain myself with this secret so I had to share with someone, I told Shelley. So instead of my mom, she had to deal with my constant second guessing emails of money venting. Thank you to Shelley for being there and dealing with my purchase crisis!

Now that it seems like I just wrote a book on the ring process, I will end the story with saying the ring feels like it was always meant to be. So happy with our decision and I wear my engagement ring on the other hand every day now!


Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Jamaica

Day 1
Our first day on our honeymoon was a very rocky one. I was so sick from sinus/allergies and couldn't wait to be at our resort that afternoon. As we left St. Louis, about 20 minutes into our flight the pilot announced a generator had quit and we were currently running on just one instead of two, which he stated very clearly was illegal. I was thinking this is just great, we're going to crash. Luckily we were 15 minutes away from Nashville. Seemed easy enough. Arrived in Nashville with no problems until we got in line to change our flights. There was nothing available for us. It was very hard for everyone on our flight to see the gate next to us, was indeed a flight heading to Atlanta, our intended destination before Jamaica. Way to rub it in, Delta. Had had to wait until around noon for another plane to fly in from St. Louis to bring us to Atlanta. Seemed like not too bad of a wait, but we would miss our scheduled flight to Jamaica. We couldn't complain too much as two other couples we talked to couldn't leave for their destination trip until Tuesday. They were very upset to say the least and couldn't get a refund for it. To our knowledge there was at least 5 newlywed couples including us who all got married on the same day and all different destinations within Jamaica and Mexico.

We finally arrived in Atlanta and had about two hours before we had yet another layover in Miami. Had lunch and was trying to make the best of it. I was so glad I brought medicine in case my allergies kicked into full gear. I had been fighting with it the week of the wedding. Just glad I was sick on the honeymoon verses the wedding. By this time, every flight I always looked around thinking I was going to get stuck on a lost island with these people like the show Lost. A couple looked like doctors so we were good to go. lol Miami was a whole other story.

I hated the Miami airport. I felt so lost in my own country. We felt like immigrants and was treated like one as well. They made us go through security/baggage check again, which we shouldn't of had to do since we did so in St. Louis. Luckily we found one nice employee and begged her to let us cut in line since our flight was scheduled to board the plane in 10 minutes. Hence, we were on the other side of the airport. Unlike the other airports, Miami only allows you one Ziploc like bag for liquids so we had to throw away a lot of products. I was so mad and even spoke up to the lady that if we had a bigger bag, we could have kept our stuff which she quickly replied very rudely that yes ONE bag per person. Okay, not too big of a deal. I did have double of everything so I was willing to suck it up. Not like I had a choice in the matter. We literally ran to the shuttle to take us to the gate and barely made it in time. I thought I was going to pass out and just wanted to lay on the cold tile floor, but all that kept running through my head is we HAVE to make our flight, we cannot survive here. Literally. I didn't feel safe there at all and I was the only white girl with blonde hair that I saw, no joke. I was so glad first timer, Mike was able to navigate us and figure out where we needed to be since I couldn't. He was a trooper!

Bye Bye Miami!
As our plane was preparing to head to the lane to leave, it died. I thought to myself you've got to be kidding. The pilot informed us that was normal that with this plane when they shut off the air conditioning, it dies. Not something you want to hear from an airplane and an airplane going overseas. Not to mention once we took off my seat went back, it wouldn't stay latched so I was holding on for dear life, sneezing every five seconds while the Amsterdam guy sitting next to me looked like I had a disease of some sort. I prayed to myself over and over and let God know I was leaving it all in his hands and trusting him. All that kept going through my head was Carrie Underwood's song, Jesus Take the Wheel and the song, He's Got the Whole World In His Hands which made me chuckle a little since it wasn't a more serious song with the situation at hand. That was all that was coming to mind at that moment and perhaps a much needed chuckle to get my mind off of things. We finally arrived to our destination, Jamaica around 9 pm. We were exhausted and going on an hour of sleep since we left that morning around 12:30.

Day 2
Slept in. Woke up to a stopped up nose, but at least I could see and wasn't sneezing every 30 minutes or so like Day 1 and feeling much better. Ate breakfast, browse the resort and lounged on the beach. We rode a three wheeler-like boat on the water. It was fun, but a lot of work since we were working against the wind to peddle. At last we could relax without a worry in the world besides where we were going to eat next.

Enjoying our resorts own private island, Cay.

Day 3
Ate breakfast. We loved the buffet breakfast every morning. I could go for some fresh pineapple juice right now with french toast, cantaloupe and pineapples. Yum! Mike on the other hand loaded up every morning with waffles, pancakes, eggs, bacon, sausage, ham, hash browns and french toast. That boy can eat! Lounged on the beach. Ate at the Mariner along the beach. Loved their food, they had the best hamburgers. There was always black birds waiting and eying everyone's food. Within seconds of someone leaving their plate they were on a mission to steal food. It was like clock work every time. We had a photo shoot scheduled for 1. I think we picked the hottest day and windiest to say the least. Which you can tell by our pictures. I will have to post some of those pictures another time. We have 25 pictures out of the 84 he took. All week there wasn't much of a pretty sunset since it was usually cloudy in the evenings so we didn't feel we missed out by moving our apt to a later time. Although it would have been a cooler one. Had dinner at The Cricketers where Mike could get his manly steak and taters.

At The Cricketers Pub. The waiters were constantly joking with all of us and goofing off. They definitely loved their jobs.

Day 4 
Excursion Day. We decided to just do two excursions in one day, they were across the street from each other so it made sense. Rode on the bus for over an hour to Ocho Rios. Saw a lot of Jamaican life along the way. No pictures of that since I just had my water camera with me. Every time you saw a church, there was a bar and even a beer distribution by one church. The tour guide, Anita said that was a common thing. The women and children went to church where the men spent church time in a bar. Sad way of life.

First stop was at Dunn River Falls. It was so much fun! Highly recommend going. They do move you fast so you feel like one wrong step could send you to possibly break your back or neck. Pictures are on my water camera so I will have to wait to post those on another day as well. Mike freaked out when we got on the bus that we had to tip the tour guide who was waiting outside our bus. I didn't want to since we only had 20s and I forgot to grab smaller bills before we left our hotel room. He was panicking that they wouldn't let us leave until he got paid. I knew that wasn't the case, but he insisted. Calmed Mike's nerves and mine were shot that we just gave someone a $20 tip. Oh boy!

Second stop was swimming with the dolphins!!! Had lunch and watched the sharks perform before it was our turn. Arie was our dolphin. He was so much fun and loved showing off. Everyone in our group got to go for a ride, touch him as he swam by numerous times and gave him a kiss and he gave us one on the cheek. Highly recommend this as well. Mike wanted to get the DVD of our group to show our niece, Kylie. They wanted $60-80 for it. No thank you so we settled for one picture of each of us with Arie which was $13 a piece. Sucks since the video was really neat, starting to regret not getting it even though it was high. 

Had dinner at a more nicer restaurant, The Regency. Food was awesome and Mike's steak that was cooked in a wine sauce melted in your mouth.

Mike's steak dinner.

 Day 5
Had breakfast delivered to the room which you didn't get as many options that way. Lounged on the beach for most of the day and browsed the resort. That evening was Jamaican night. I so wished I would have took picture. It was buffet style on the beach with a DJ. Surf boards filled with salads and side dishes. Several meat stations like BBQ ribs and chicken cut to your choice/liking.

Day 6
Enjoyed the resort and our last full day in Jamaica. Ate. Swam. Tanned. Swam. Ate. Mike got tips from a couple of married men (one married for 30 years and the other for 15) on how to make a marriage work: let the woman wear the pants in the family and she is always right no matter what. I liked them! :) Had our last dinner at The Regency again.
Mike enjoying the drink, The Plantation that was a special of the day at the restaurant.
Day 7
Time to head home. Finished our morning eating our usual breakfast before heading out to the airport. Our flight to Atlanta was so much nicer. We had our own TVs where I watched the Hunger Games and Mike was able to watch his NASCAR and Football. On our flight to St. Louis there was a couple on there from our very first flight from St. Louis to Nashville. Glad they enjoyed their honeymoon since they were ones who had to stay the night on Day 1 before heading to their destination trip. By midnight we were finally home at last! YEA MON!!!

Sorry for such a long post. I wanted to document everything before I forgot. :)

I'm Back!

It's hard to get back into the groove of things after being gone from work for two weeks. Nice break, but it was too short. I don't have too much time to blog today so I thought I would share a few teasers from our photographer. Most of you have probably seen them already on facebook. Enjoy!

Love this photo. I can't wait to see the rest of them!

I'm pretty sure there is a better pose of this picture with my feet facing together more. Eye makeup was just a little dark as well, didn't have time to lighten it up after I got home before the wedding. Can you tell I'm my own worst critic? :)
 
My girls and I. Absolutely love this photo, it captures everyone perfectly in their natural state.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Gifts

I can finally post about the gifts. I am so regretting not getting any pictures of the wedding party at the rehearsal. I meant to, just got busy visiting with everyone and completely forgot! Today is my Friday so this will be my last post as April Elrod. :)

The little boys and servers got a personalized wallet with $2 bills. I wish I could take credit for this one, but it was all my mom's idea. They all seemed to love it!


Bags for the all the girls. I saw this idea on etsy, then came across the same pattern off a doily at hobby lobby so I made my own.


Cards to match

Rehearsal

My picture taker, Lizzie with her little buddy (one of the ring bearers) Nathan.

Practicing our vows. Father had us say our whole vows, so technically didn't we just marry ourselves? lol

A few of the kiddos playing. They played so good with the tractors, barely heard a peep out of them during the rehearsal dinner.
Walking down the aisle with my daddy!

This picture cracked me up when I was going through my pictures of the candle lighters.