Sunday, July 29, 2012

The Biggest Life Update Ever So Far

Where can I even begin to catch up on what's been going on since I last wrote??


(The gorgeous, gorgeous photography is all thanks to Lauren Schumacher Photography. She is so talented and so much fun!)

Hoooooooolyyyyyyyyy guacamole. I just can't believe it finally happened. The final countdown happened so stinking fast that it would be scary unless you are as sure as I was/am that you were doing the exact right thing. As soon as Darin arrived we were getting our marriage license, packing more things, bachelorette partying, setting up the church, and rehearsal dinner-ing our last single days away. It was so busy but so much fun. Not to mention I have the most helpful friends and family who were all over the place helping get things on the right track and making sure I did not go fruit loops. Which I did not! Success!

First of all, I seriously had the best bachelorette party ever. It was so laid back and fun without being gross in the slightest (NO, I did NOT see Magic Mike, for the last time!). We went to this awesome place in Baldwin Park where you make your own chocolates and had the best time. You can cover all kinds of crazy things with chocolate on a conveyor belt or fill truffles with fun flavors -- I kind of wish I could work there now.

We got to wear some neato paper hats! I look like a 4 year old.

We then headed back to my friend and maid of honor Heather's house for baked potatoes for a great dinner, and then drove out to Universal CityWalk for the night, ending up at a dueling piano bar, which was so fun! They did a great job, and even sang a little "going to the chapel" song for me! :) Lots of crazy drunk college guys there for a 21st birthday congratulated me, haha. We hit up a Latin dancing club there afterwards for a brief bit, before deciding we lacked the skills needed and were tired.

Everything about the wedding experience went so great. The rehearsal dinner at my parents' house was so laid back and fun, and everyone loved the homemade pizza (and Dickeson family recipe drank of course). Slumber partying with my friends before the wedding was so good, especially since those chicas are a little far away now. :( And before I knew it I was downing a yogurt and speeding to my hair appointment. Note to everyone smart: don't forget a button-down shirt. This n00b had to cut off her t-shirt to avoid ruining the hair. Luckily USF lost the game it was from so it isn't a huge tragedy.

As I anticipated from everyone else's wise words, the wedding was a huge blur. Everything happened so fast that it felt fake. Thus, nothing really felt too serious or intense and I never felt the urge to tear up once, even though my sweet groom got a little misty-eyed! I felt bad because I on the other hand had a huge case of nervous giggles and had to hold them in as I walked down the aisle, stood up there and said all my vows -- and then did actually laugh when my dad's phone rang twice while officiating the ceremony and when our cute baby niece/flower girl Drew was babbling away during the wedding -- and before I could blink I was walking back down as a wifey arm-in-arm with my boo! So crazy. We had to hustle to the park for pictures, and then hustle back so everyone could eat Tijuana Flats, and then hustle down to dance and cut the cake, and then after dancing a bit, hustle as my mom pushed us out the door to be sent off through the cloud of bubbles into the getaway car (GO GRANNY CAMRY!) and off!... to finish packing at my house before hitting up the Hilton at Universal.

It was so much fun, and so laid-back. It was the kind of wedding meant for a Lara. Nothing was too serious, little mistakes were funny and not devastating, and I think everyone had fun. I felt like it was a success when my photographer messaged me to say that this was her favorite wedding so far to shoot because everyone was so nice and had a spirit of fun and excitement all day. Yay!

I have to insert my little two cents about the wedding budget. Everything turned out gorgeous and fun and for a lot less than some people will spend. Here were our vendors and stores, which all turned out amazingly!

  • Dress -- JCPenney (yes, it's really a wedding dress, I promise!)
  • Venue -- North Park Baptist Church
  • Catering -- Tijuana Flats
  • Photography -- Lauren Schumacher Photography
  • Florist -- Sheridan Flower Shop
  • Cake -- Sam's Club (haha it was a 15 coconut cake) and a good friend Becca made some delicious cupcakes
  • DJ -- mwahaha my iPod and my brother
  • Officiant -- my pops and Darin's dad
  • Bridesmaids dresses -- Forever21, Nordstrom, Express
  • Groomsmen outfits -- JCPenney, Etsy for the ties
It was a super fun day but I am glad it's over and that we're getting into married life now!

Our honeymoon was also a blast, booked with the gracious help of our friend (and Darin's sister's mother-in-law) Deb, who has some skills with travel agent business. We went to Captiva Island, Florida at the South Seas Plantation Resort for a week and it was just lovely and so fun. Darin and I went on a dolphin cruise and saw tons of cute dolphins jumping around in the wake, ate at some fancy and exorbitantly expensive restaurants, rode a jetski (which was so scary for me... Darin drives fast), kayaked in the Gulf, tanned a lot and beach walked/swam/etc. 

Just the Instagram version of some of our adventures! :) We had a great time but we're happy to be home, especially after this beast of a trip...

But 18 straight hours later (and LOTS of being bored driving through Ohio at 2 a.m. haha), we are home sweet home in Michigan and are happy as ever. It's definitely a task getting our house to be cozy and set up the way that works best for us, and also me unlearning my Florida driving ways to become a true Michigander with the doodly Michigan lefts. But it's worth it for the nights spent so far game night-having and hookah-smoking and ice cream-getting with friends and going to giant family gatherings. And spending some gift cardage at Target and Bed, Bath, & Beyond. 

Life with the D has been the best adventure so far.

More later as stuff goes on! Love, Lara

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Invisible Warring

In case you didn't know, it's just ONE WEEK until my wedding! Technically less, actually, because it is midnight now and therefore a week from the first day of our honeymoon. :) I can't believe it. The past  six-ish months have been so long and so short at the same time, truly a phenomenon of physics.

One thing is for certain: I never want to look at another pinwheel again.

Or program. Or tablecloth. Or iTunes (still not done with my own wedding music!).

Wedding stuff is seriously getting poopy now. I am burned out for sure. Every day has mostly been comprised of me and my parents doing wedding-related shopping, crafting, planning, freaking out, and other activities. I barely see any of my friends, mostly because the majority of them are not in Orlando at present but also just due to me being busy and them having lives. I keep being left around 10 p.m. to yet another night of Frasier reruns. Don't get me wrong, Frasier is my favorite television show ever -- there just comes a point where you are ready for a little more jazz going on in life around that time than Kelsey Grammer.

The stress and boredom that comes with cutting out programs on a $6 paper cutter all day manifests in ways that aren't good. I find myself getting more irritable a lot faster. When my neck hurts and I've messed up a handful and need to print more, I feel more fussy. That collides with my interactions with Darin, who is also very busy with work and other things, leaving both of us exhausted throughout the day. I take his busyness and tiredness as him nonverbally saying, "You're not that important to me. I don't want to talk to you," rather than "You are so important to me, I am just really tired right now and can't talk long." The continued frustration of having less and less quality time with him as the wedding draws near makes the occasion all the more frustrating! It seems illogical, but it's hard to plunk down and DIY more and more for your wedding when you are worried your groom isn't really that excited to be with you himself.

Stewing in feelings of sadness, it hit me like a ton of bricks tonight as I was washing my face: SPIRITUAL WARFARE, CHICA. That is the connector between everything else. Satan is a master deceiver and wants God's children to feel uneasy and frustrated when huge events that glorify God approach. There are so many little opportunities for him to do his work, from conflating small issues into mountains of irritation for me in wedding planning, to twisting my interactions with Darin into visions of rejection and loneliness. Getting married and becoming one is a huge day of joy in the Christian kingdom because it honors God's plan for starting families and doing ministry as a permanent team, embodying the love Jesus has for his people! Why is it a big surprise that Satan would be so interested in meddling with a bride the week of her wedding?

What encourages me to consider is that he does this because we are moving towards something that is God's exciting plan for us, one that we are so grateful and overjoyed to take. There isn't a doubt in my mind that I am doing what I am meant to do. I am getting married to not only a godly and strong man, but also one who is my best friend! Realizing how much he means to me and how much our union pleases God and should point to Him combats the lies that want to take hold of my life as the wedding gets closer. It's important to pray for the strength to say no to untruth and withstand the temptation to have an outburst that I will regret later.

Believe that God is good.
Believe that He loves you.
Believe that the people He's given you in life love you, too.

I am hoping that this message is more firmly anchored into my heart. It's the weapon I need to fight these invisible wars and be the victor in enjoying this last week before I marry the love of my life and start my brand new life by his side!

"Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour." 1 Peter 5:8

Love, Lara


Tuesday, July 3, 2012




I can't believe it. This past month and a half have really flown like crazy. From back on December 22nd when we got engaged, through the months of my final semester at USF, it never seemed to get any closer. Until now, that is! When you can say you're getting married in less than 10 days you know it's on!

I am so blessed, and am taking time tonight to lay out these blessings before the Lord in prayer and thank Him for every single one. It's just so incredible. The littlest things are so wonderful. I am rejoicing in how Darin is such a great uncle -- he made dinner for his (and soon to be my) nieces and nephew, and took them to get ice cream and a movie rental. They come over and swim and hang out at our house now. Might I mention that I'm jealous I can't be there for that yet? But I seriously can't get over how I am marrying the best guy in the world. Gosh. He just jazzes up my life so much. 

Something I am also so deeply grateful for, that a lot of people can't claim for themselves, is my amazing in-law family. I am the luckiest girl ever. You hear people you know vent about how their mother-in-law is always meddling in their business, and how their brother-in-law keeps borrowing money, and other nightmare tales. I am actually so excited for the family I am joining soon! They are fun, laid-back, and so easy to be around and get along with. They joke around and spend a lot of time together, something I like since I don't live near any of my aunts or uncles or grandparents. They've been so gracious in hosting me and keeping me company when Darin is at work, haha. They put so much time and effort into the bridal shower they threw in Michigan, which was so fun despite the mishaps! I am proud to be taking their last name soon! :)

And, let's not forget, I am thankful for people willing to help out in getting this wedding shindig on the road. My friends (and Mom, of course) offering to help me spray paint, hot glue, tie ribbons, hole punch, and myriad other things are keeping me sane and giving me company during the most mundane of tasks. I have some sweet hookups for parts of the wedding, such as a great friend from church named Becca who is taking care of our cupcakes, and my Mammaw for sewing me a garter and the ring pillow among some other things! I am showered with help and company!

The final countdown is on!

Love, Lara