"So, you know how we were going to do a JP wedding when you move here?" I asked Cayden. He tilted his head to the right and gave me a funny look. I couldn't tell if the screen froze that way or if he was being very still.
"You there?" I asked. I couldn't tell you how many times I'd told a full story to a frozen image of Cayden on the webcam thinking he was just being very still and unresponsive.
"I'm here," he said, finally moving again. "What do you mean were going to do a JP wedding?"
"Well, I was thinking..." I could sense Mom on the couch behind me straining to hear his reaction to our new little development. "How about we just have a wedding?"
At first he looked at me like I'd just asked him to belly dance with Papa Smurf. He looked at me like I was certifiably insane.
"Right here in the backyard. Just us, my family and our close friends. Mom even said they can help pay for Topher to get here if he can't afford a plane ticket."
The bewildered look morphed into an intrigued look.
"Hmm," Cayden said. "That actually does sound quite nice."
I could tell he was trying to picture it all in his head; where we'd stand, what he'd wear, who would be there.
"It actually sounds really nice," he said, nodding. I smiled and nodded along with him. I looked back at Mom perched on the couch and gave her a thumbs up. When I looked back, I watched his expression change as an idea came to mind.
"Wait. Does this mean we can have Chick-fil-A?"
It was settled. Cayden and I were getting married in my parents' backyard in the the dead of a Texas summer evening. And there would be Chick-fil-A. Despite the probable sweltering heat, it all sounded as close to perfect as it would ever get.
That was a month and a half ago. Quite a bit has happened since then. My first order of business was to figure out how in the hell I was going to fit my curves into that dress without backfat rolling over the top or my lungs collapsing. I had yet to find a workout routine I didn't avoid like the plague, and I refused to pay a personal trainer to bark at me while I cried on the treadmill hugging a pint of Ben & Jerry's.
Joyce had a membership at Sunstone Yoga that allowed her to bring a guest for free (they believe that having a workout partner increases your chances of sticking to it.) She'd asked me a number of times if I wanted to go with her, but there was something about the idea working out in a 100-degree room packed with sweaty bodies that made me want to throw up in my lap. But once my wedding date was set, my impending upchuck seemed less and less likely. "Fine. Let's go," I finally said as I let her drag me off the couch. At the end of the class, I sat in that 100-degree room and watched sweat pour down my face, chest and arms in my reflection. Every muscle fiber in my body shook with exhaustion, and I thought, "I can do this." And then I was hooked. I've been going to yoga five times a week for the past month and a half, and I love it. I look forward to it. I crave it.
I knew I needed to diet, too, but let's face it, healthy food made me sad. No amount of salad or grilled chicken could make me as happy as a plate of penne alla vodka and tiramisu could. And I hated cooking, so the majority of my meals came out of a box that said "just add water" or off a restaurant menu that conveniently lacked nutritional facts. If only there was a restaurant that served nothing but healthy meals, right? Oh, but there is. It's called My Fit Foods and it's every culinary-challenged, bride-to-be's dream come true. I started eating two meals a day from My Fit Foods, and in combination with my yoga routine, I'm down 11 pounds and the dress fits like it was made for me.
"This is absolutely beautiful," my seamstress, Martha, said as I twirled around in front of her wall-to-wall mirror earlier this week. "I wish more young ladies would think to wear their mom's dress. You wouldn't believe how many women come in here with dresses that cost thousands and thousands of dollars. But this," she said, turning me around to face my reflection, "this is worth so much more."
"I couldn't agree more," I said, beaming. "But can we do something about these?" I held my arms out and let the pouffy sleeves flap from side to side for dramatic effect.
"Yes, those could use some updating," she said, nodding. "We can do whatever you'd like. I want you to go home and look through bridal magazines or look at dresses online and bring me a picture of the sleeve you want. And then I'll recreate it. You must find what you love first."
The Great Sleeve Search of 2012 is currently underway. Please, please, please feel free to send me suggestions! (Post them on my Facebook page, tweet them to me, leave links in the comments below, email them to me... whatever works best for you!)
To see what else I have up my sleeve, follow my "Happily Ever After" board on Pinterest :)