We went to court . . .

Town hall

. . . for our marriage license.

Our marriage license. It’s all official now.

Well, almost. We have to, you know, actually get married — which will occur in just a few weeks! And then it will be all official.

Hard to believe.

Time went by slowly, then quickly — and now faster still. I moved over the weekend. It was intensely emotional. By Sunday evening I felt wrung out, depleted; organizing everything I own in a new space has been challenging and scary and a little fun at times, yes — but also intimidating. And painful. And odd.

Spencer has been wonderful. Patient and kind and helpful. Understanding when I felt too wiped out to do much but stare into space; comforting when I most definitely needed a hug and chai tea.

Growing up is hard. I’m 28 but can easily close my eyes and be 10 or 12 or 22 again. I feel like my world is topsy-turvy — like everything is out of order, rearranged. I’m guessing many people feel that way after leaving home? After 25 years, I’m having a hard time thinking of “home” as anywhere other than the house in which I grew up. With my parents. And my dog.

But it’s only been two days. Two strange days. And I keep thinking of my future husband and the life we’re building and the positive changes that will accompany stepping into real adult world, though they’re hard to sort out sometimes.

Look forward, my mind hollers. Keep looking up.

I’ve always found change so difficult. Every major life transition has been met with uncertainty and fear. Graduating from middle school and high school, starting and leaving college. Break-ups. Reconnections. Heck, even falling love. So why would leaving home and getting married by met with anything but uncertainty? I know myself well enough to anticipate this would be an interesting time for me, and I was so very right.

But I’m hanging in. And I’m adjusting. I’m working on adjusting.

Bittersweet has become my refrain, my own broken record. That one word has come to embody everything I know and think and feel about 2013. I’m always so hesitant to talk about my sadness regarding leaving home because I fear judgment — like others think my anxiety is a reflection on my relationship. It’s a general assumption that wedding planning should be The Happiest Time of Your Life!!!, which makes it even harder to express the mixed bag of emotions I’m actually feeling. It makes me feel guilty and pathetic and bad. (Which is why I’ve been so grateful for places like A Practical Wedding. Nervous brides-to-be, get thee to that website.)

I remember reading Aidan Donnelley Rowley’s Life After Yes in 2010 — how it spoke to me on a deeper level than any other novel had at the time. The thought that moving forward isn’t something that just happens to you — that growing up and being happy are a choice — is a theme that struck every little chord in my soul, and it’s something I return to now.

“Growing up doesn’t just happen. It’s not a fact; it’s a decision.”

So I have decided. I am deciding. We are deciding.

Starting with that license.

Making paper roses


I’m not very interesting these days.

I’ll be perfectly honest with you: I’m having a hard time coming up with a post topic that isn’t, you know, wedding-related.

Not because I’m an insufferable bridezilla (I’m not — I don’t think). But because, at a month out, I’m not doing much that doesn’t involve moving, ordering wedding things, planning wedding things or generally gathering information for said wedding. The rest of the time I’m working, and that ain’t all that interesting.

I’m in the zone. The wedding zone.

I also feel like my mind is a sieve; I can barely retain any new information because it’s too full of stuff. I live in a constant state of worry that I’m forgetting something, a sensation I know will only intensify in the weeks to come. Even my devotion to lists isn’t helping me now. I need lists to keep track of the lists . . . and I spend a lot of time on Google Drive.

What I have been doing? Making paper roses! Still wedding-related, but let’s roll with it. Thanks to the creativity of my friend Sandy, we’ve been working on those little babies above as part of our literature/science-themed wedding decor. I was perfectly willing to plunk down cash for paper flowers on Etsy, otherwise known as my personal crack, but Sandy was convinced we could make them ourselves.

My sickly wallet thanks me . . . because we totally did. On Friday, we made a girls’ night of folding, cutting and curling vintage book pages into almost 60 roses to place atop our book centerpieces — and they’re fantastic! We followed this tutorial from Capitol Romance, and I was really shocked at how quickly they came together. And how professional they look.

The guide explains the process better than I could ever hope to, but the rough-and-dirty version involves cutting 4″ by 4″ squares from a book page, folding it three times (into a triangle), cutting them into rounded petals, removing a certain number of petals from each, hot gluing them into floral shapes, gluing those together, then curling the edges to give your bud that signature rose look.

But yeah, just check out the tutorial.

And beware the paper cuts.

My sister got married. I’ve freaked out a little.


As we wait anxiously for my sister’s professional wedding photos to come back, I thought I’d tease you with this little iPhone treat. I have others — even taken with real cameras! — but not many, honestly. Which is strange. And good.

I made a vow for Katie’s day: I would stay present, physically and emotionally. I would not be updating the events in real time on Facebook; I would not be tweeting or Instagramming (save the one above!) or checking email. For once in my life, I would live by my long motto: be here now.

And more than anything, I wouldn’t be taking pictures.

That last one was hardest. It was easy to tuck my phone away for the day — a reprieve, really. My little hiatus last week was restorative in many ways, and I definitely needed the time to break away from social media and its many distractions.

Saturday was a great day, but it was a hard day. It was hard to be with my emotions, to sit still and not shrink from them. To embrace them, actually. I cried a lot. Not because my sister was getting married, but because my sister was getting married. I love Eric, my new brother-in-law; I think the world of him, in fact. But this wedding was both a beginning and an ending.

It was emotional. And raw. At one point, a friend walked up to put her arm around me and said, “Are you okay? You seem really . . . sad.”

And then I was embarrassed. My carrying-on may have prompted family and friends to think I was devastated by my sister’s nuptials, which just wasn’t true — but it was too complicated to explain. In that moment, I couldn’t begin to articulate the swirl of feelings in my heart.

It was happiness. Of course.

But also sadness.

And fear.

And anxiety.

And joy.

And wonder.

And hope.

It was everything, really, and also nothing. As I stood on the steps with the other bridesmaids, waiting for my turn to walk down the aisle, I felt an odd zen that I was in the right place at the right moment . . . that there was nowhere else I could possibly be.

And then I panicked, thinking I wanted to run and retreat into the night. I wanted to turn the clock back a day, a week, a year or three. Maybe then my sister and I would be back home in our pajamas, back when we were freshly engaged and just beginning to plan our dual weddings. Or further, back when I was home late from work in college and Katie was waiting up for me. Or much further, back and back, back to when we were kids with an entire summer day to do nothing but play Uno and watch the Nickelodeon line-up and play Barbies.

But we were there together in our too-high heels, all grown up. Katie with her hands in Eric’s. Me white-knuckle clutching a bouquet, squinting in the sunshine.

And then it was over. He was kissing the bride.

It went so fast. It all went too fast.

I’ve been in a bit of a turmoil this week, honestly. An existential crisis, perhaps. I haven’t even been reading much. My own wedding is six weeks away and there is much to do, but I haven’t felt like plunging right back into the wedding cauldron. Spence and I have made inroads in lots of areas and life is still busy busy, busy as ever, but I feel a little detached from it all.

But I’ve started moving. I transported one whole shelf worth of books on Tuesday — the first step in a daunting process. Spence and I have those tall bookcases from Borders lining the living room walls, and the prospect of neatly and categorically organizing my novels filled me with a sense of hope and calm. My books made it feel homier, like a place where I belonged. I felt happier stacking my books in their new home than I have in days. Knowing each hardcover will have a place to nestle is soothing.

I like knowing there’s a place for everything . . . and everything in its place. Including myself.

Even if I’m not sure exactly where that will be.

Even if life seems to move faster than I can process sometimes.

I will get there. I will have a place . . . with Spencer, and with my family, and with my career. I will have a place.

Even better, I will make a place.

Our place. Together.

Life lately — and a little sanity break


It’s probably a surprise to exactly no one that, five days from my sister’s wedding, I’m starting to freak out. Not because my baby sister is getting married (!), but because there is much to coordinate and figure out and settle. People to wrangle, decor to set up, logistics to configure. Jewelry to acquire. Speeches to finish. Family to hug and catch up with and, you know, an entire wedding to help coordinate.

Also, my baby sister is getting married. On Saturday.

I just. cannot.

They’ll be off to Hawaii shortly and I will begin the arduous task of packing up my childhood bedroom — for real this time — and moving my belongings to Spencer’s in mid-October. We’ve been getting things organized in prep for my move, and I’ve finally crossed from anxiety to wanting to just tackle that project. Though I’m only going 20 minutes away, the idea of moving most everything I own is daunting.


To say nothing of changing my addressand nameon everything associated with me. That should be fun!

So life lately: barely controlled chaos. Not to mention all the remaining details we must tackle for our own wedding happening in five weeks or so, but I actually feel calm about that. Weird, right? I mean, Spencer and I are in it together, we have a good team in place, most everything has been purchased and several vendors actually paid off . . . it could be much worse. I’m methodically going through my spreadsheets and lists, crossing things off as I go, and I feel less panicky than I’d expect.

But I’m sure that will come.

Some days I feel very overwhelmed. I can’t sleep. My stomach hurts. Other times I feel content, calm, relaxed. It’s a day-by-day, almost minute-by-minute flux . . . but I guess that’s how everyone feels before big occasions! Right now I’m focused on Katie and making her big day fantastic, and I know everything will come together beautifully despite some hiccups. All will be well.

As I’m wading into a pool of wedding and life madness, I’ve decided to take a wee little break from the blog. Though I’ve always written here because I enjoy it (and absolutely still do!), I feel guilty when I go days without posting . . . and I need to stem that guilt. I don’t like thinking I’m letting aspects of my life “slide” while I reorganize, regroup and adjust, but the truth is that I simply can’t keep up with everything right now.

To preserve the frayed edges of my sanity, I’m taking a vacation and will plan to return refreshed — probably in a week or two. I might not come back to posting five days a week at first, but we’ll see. I’ll write when I feel comfortable writing then retreat into a land of tulle, lace and moving boxes when I must.

Send your good thoughts! Your encouragement! Your wisdom! If you feel so inclined, send me a pumpkin spice latte! . . . Goodness knows I’m going to need all the caffeine I can get.

And I will definitely still see you on Instagram. I’ll be the one (finally) eating — and documenting — her feelings.


The speech to end all speeches

Double cake
Double shower, but not a double wedding.

Less than 60 days until our wedding.

One month until I move.

And two weeks until my sister’s wedding.

It’s getting real now, friends.

Knowing my anxious self as I do, I feel like I should be panicking — or, at the very least, getting nervous — but an odd calm has seeped into my pores. Now that I’ve attended two bridal showers, my sister’s bachelorette party and am helping her put all the final touches on her big day at the end of this month, it’s finally hitting me: my sister’s getting married.

The best part of planning two weddings concurrently was probably that I had little time to ruminate on the fact that my baby sis will soon be a wife. After a lifetime of doing everything together, I think it’s only fitting that we got engaged on the same day and planned nuptials for the same season — though it hasn’t been without its complications at times. Still, planning weddings together was fun and, in many ways, helpful. Because there was no gap in experience, we could discuss vendors and venues and invitations in real time.

And now we’re getting into the nitty-gritty. I helped Katie coordinate her seating chart, designed her programs and invitations, will be going with her to make final decisions about decor on Sunday. And as her trusty maid of honor, I’m getting ready for the most crucial of all my assignments: my wedding speech. The toast. My moment in the spotlight with a microphone, when I’m supposed to get through some emotional words without sobbing like a lunatic.

Not likely.

I started a draft of this speech a few months ago, back when it seemed so far away . But now that we’re staring down her wedding date in two weeks, I’m realizing I really better get serious. And get cracking.

And as a writer, you know I’ve got to make it good.

I’m a little scared of this speech. When Katie first got engaged, I remember telling her I didn’t think I could speak at all — but realized I need to. I can’t just decide I’m not going to toast my baby sister and her new husband because I’m too emotional . . . and anyway, I’m doing better. I’ve processed what’s happening. I’m excited and at peace with the transitions, even if they won’t be completely smooth. (Nothing is completely smooth.)

So my speech. This epic speech. I want to be sweet and funny, thoughtful and celebratory, hopeful and endearing. I want her to feel loved and appreciated, and for Eric to feel welcomed and included. I know to be brief because no one likes a long-winded wedding speech, but I’m going to say what I want to say.

My goal is to somehow — through magic, caffeine, sorcery — distil into words what 25 years with my sister by my side have meant to me.

So, you know, no big deal.

Have you ever given an epic wedding speech? Do you have any tips or resources for me? I’m optimistic I can get through this relatively unscathed, but I’m going to have to drown my sorrows in wedding cake. It’s pretty much a necessity.

Sister bridal shower blow-out


Have you ever attended a double bridal shower? If not, you totally should. It’s basically as fun and exciting and overwhelming as you’d imagine, plus chock-full of desserts and other sugary goodness! Though I doubt too many other people would be crazy enough to attempt something on this scale, we rocked it. Everything went beautifully.

I may have mentioned it, oh, 120 times, but my sister and I are both brides-to-be. Because our weddings are only six weeks apart, we thought it would be too much to ask our mutual friends and family to attend two showers in a very short time period. Also, my separate shower would have had to been planned for the time immediately before or after Katie’s wedding and, well, that was a recipe for chaos.

Two of our aunts organized and spearheaded this four-hour bonanza — and they were incredible. My aunt Jacki could go into event planning because she’s just. that. good. I’m not posting photos of them because I’m not entirely sure they’d be comfortable being on The Internetz, but trust me when I say that both ladies were fantastic (and are just all-around great people).

About 55 women attended on a rainy Saturday and I was truly delighted to see all of them. Though I get nervous in crowds and generally dislike being the center of attention, I knew I’d have to put aside my anxieties to focus on enjoying the day. And I did! Having so many of my favorite people in the same room at the same time was nothing short of awesome, and I was blown away by everyone’s kindness and generosity. Katie and I couldn’t have asked for a nicer event.

Also, I’m so excited that many of my good friends now know each other! And everyone knows Spencer. He arrived towards the end and was around to see some of the exciting cookware unveiled (like Le Creuset casserole and stock pot. Wahoo!). Having never attended a bridal shower, of course, I could see he was a little overwhelmed and unsure of the whole thing . . . but he got into the spirit!

And that’s enough yakking. It’s Wednesday — and that means photos, right? Eh, well, I guess I have a few. Here I am with my mom (left) and future mom-in-law — plus opening some gifts and generally doing what a Meg does best: eating cake and participating in all sorts of sugar-fueled socializing.

With Mom and Alex

Flower centerpieces

Le Creuset

With our quilt

Cake by Grandma

Cutting the cake

Electric knife

Family laughing


Not a bad way to spend a Saturday.

Early signs of fall


I woke up this morning thinking of fall.

It’s a cool, misty day — the sort of dawn that makes me think of October leaves and pumpkins and apple cider. As we draw closer to autumn, we’re also drawing closer to the wedding. The thought alone makes my heart pound: excitement and nerves and joy.

Though it’s still mid-August, our sights are turned to back-to-school. Scrolling through Facebook from bed this morning, my feed was flooded with in jumpers with their lunch boxes, smiling optimistic and gap-toothed on their first day. I remember standing just as they did in front of my grandparents’ house, as anxious as a 7-year-old could be, wondering who would sit by me at lunch or join me on the swings at recess. I can still close my eyes, feeling what I felt.

I do miss school. I miss my college classes, wandering around the University of Maryland on the best type of time crunch, feeling grown-up and busy and alive. I discovered so much back then, fell in first love my sophomore year, and listening to Ingrid Michaelson or Death Cab for Cutie or The Shins brings it all right back to me. I can’t listen to those tunes without remembering that one magnificent, golden fall: soft hoodies, the crunch of feet on leaves. Cool, crisp air and hope and the unknown.

The dawn of a new school year — buses dotting country roads; fresh boxes of Crayons in perfect rows at Target — makes me nostalgic for the way things were. When you’re young, you can’t wait to grow up. When you grow up, you remember — keenly — what it was like to be young. It might seem funny to hear a 28-year-old wax so nostalgic, but trust me when I say it’s nothing new.

Just starting

Today I was thinking about our future kids: maybe wild and curly-haired; maybe quiet and sweet. I was thinking about what their first day will be like, how I’ll cry quietly and try to act tough; how I’ll wait with sickening nerves to hear about their first day. How quickly those years will go by, faster than I can reach out to hold them. And I’ll wax nostalgic about this moment, months before our wedding — before I knew anything about what the future would hold.

Oh, the messy stuff on my mind before I’ve had my first diet soda of the day, friends. Scary, isn’t it?

But I’ve fast-forwarded too far. This fall will be delightfully busy, unexpected and awesome. It will feature the hardest, best kind of change: all that comes with building a new life. As Spencer and I draw closer to that big day, the early signs of autumn are getting me in the fall-and-wedding mindset like nothing else has. We always knew we wanted a fall wedding — and goodness knows I’m a fall fanatic — and now . . . it’s almost here.