Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Rehearsal Dinner

Count it!

Kelly and I spent this Christmas break deciding on the Rehearsal Dinner location. We wanted a non-chain local restaurant that could seat everyone together and accommodate AV setup. After checking out a couple of places with no success, we actually found a hidden jewel by accident. My brother won a free dinner to Provino's Italian Restaurant from school and gave it to my parents. They were so impressed with the staff and environment, they suggested Kelly and I check it out. We went on a (crowded) Wednesday night and were also impressed with the food, environment, and staff. Kelly's glad to have one more thing checked off the list.

Make that two more things, the invitations came in the mail over the holidays:
(That's only the envelopes...don't want to ruin the surprise)

Thursday, December 24, 2009

It's the most wonderful time of the year!

Merry Christmas!!
(a little early)
Only 149 more days until our wedding!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Bridesmaids' Fitting

This past weekend, my girls, my mom, and I went to David's Bridal in search of the girls' bridesmaids dresses. We were met by our consultant, Angel, who helped us find just the right dress for the occasion. While I won't show the dress here (I don't want to ruin the surprise), I will tell you that they will be navy blue!

I originally wanted each of the girls to wear a different style dress in the same fabric and color, and I knew David's Bridal would be the best place to do this. Also, the prices are pretty reasonable...especially for a dress they probably won't wear again. However, they ended up liking the same style, and since it looked great on all of them, we went with it!

Sandy, Me, Kelly, and Courtney (Jill couldn't make it)

Afterward, we went shoe shopping and then grabbed lunch at Cheddar's which had just opened in Augusta. Thanks for lunch, Mom!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

My Time in Savannah

My time in Savannah is coming to a close. I have been living with my aunt and uncle while attending my student clinical experience for physical therapy school. The first rotation was an acute in-patient setting at Memorial Medical Center and the latter was at Southcoast Medical Group, an out-patient setting.

I've spent most of my free time with family, attending Georgia football games, missing Cary, and of course, planning the wedding.

The black and white pictures are from a trip to Jekyll Island with my grandmother and two of my aunts back in September. We spent the day on the beach at St. Simons and later went to Driftwood Beach on Jekyll to get some amazing pictures of the erosion.

I also attended a Bridal Expo with my Aunt Nancy where we saw some amazing stuff! It was a lot of fun to sample all of the cakes and food as well as see the season's bridal fashion show.

Cary and I made it to the Georgia/South Carolina game as well as the Tennessee and Auburn games. For the Tennessee game, I flew from Savannah to Knoxville, and we stayed with the Patterson's (Thanks so much for hosting a few Georgia fans once again!).

Luckily, Cary was able to visit me in Savannah. We made Weston and Julia's bears (discussed in an earlier post) and watched the Dawgs lose once again to the Gators.

However, the loss to Florida wasn't the saddest part of my time in Savannah. My beloved pet of 16 years, Newt, passed away. I also dealt with a flooded car...luckily Hondas are tough and it made it through all that water (after some new carpeting). No, I did not attempt to drive through a flooded street. I left my car parked out in the street, went to a movie with my aunt and cousins, and when we came home, well, call the insurance company!
So all in all, I would say that I had a great time in Savannah. I would recommend it to anyone. Come visit, enjoy the food, the sights, the beaches, the history. Just park your car on high ground!!

Thank you, thank you, thank you to my Aunt Nancy and Uncle Wayne who graciously opened their home to me for 16 weeks. I cannot thank you enough for being so hospitable and generous to me!
At Picnic in the Park in Forsyth Park

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Very Thankful!

Cary and I spent this holiday weekend driving all over Georgia to visit family and friends. Our first stop on Thanksgiving day was to McDonough, GA to visit Cary's grandmother.

Granny with Weston and Jane

Weston is making sure his name is on the "nice" list while Julia is picking out toys. And as you can tell, Cary and I are just trying to keep up with them!

We headed back to Cary's parents and watched the Auburn-Alabama game the next day. We then drove back to Thomson to visit my parents and made our last travel stop to my grandparents' in Hazlehurst on Saturday.
Papa, Nana, me, and Cary

We had a great thanksgiving weekend...and that also means we only have one week of clinic left!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Our Koozie

I have to share our tie-the-knot tailgate koozie with ya'll! You can kind of see them in our guests' hands in some of the pics from the previous post, but not fully. And I realized after the shower, that I didn't get a picture of it! So here it is:
Cute, huh?

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Tie-the-Knot Tailgate

We had our first wedding shower this past Saturday in Athens, GA. It was a gameday tailgate shower at the UGA-Auburn game.
First, we want to thank the hosts, Jill & Courtney. They are Kelly's Maids of Honor, and they did a great job organizing the entire day.

We had a great time with everyone, playing cornhole, eating great food, and chatting with friends.
We also got some wonderful gifts and are set for our own Georgia tailgate.

Thank you to everyone who stopped by. Kelly and I greatly appreciated it.
And it was a bonus that Georgia won. Go Dawgs!
And congratulations to Tampa and Lindsey, who are now engaged.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Build a Bear

I visited Kelly in Savannah this weekend. We decided to go to Build a Bear Workshop to make thank you gifts for our flower girl and ring bearer, my cousins. We chose a pink and blue bear, as you can see below. It was Halloween, so the employee who helped us stuff the bears was dressed up as the mad hatter. Kelly placed a little red heart in each one before they were stuffed.
Next, we "fluffed" the bears with air and brushed them...a little goofy but part of the experience.
We named them "Weston" and "Julia." They are registered and even have a birth certificate (their birthdate is our wedding date).
Finally, we took them home. They are boxed up and waiting to be given to the twins. We are still working on the bears' outfits, that portion will remain up in the air.
And don't worry, even though these kids are very smart, I don't think they'll be reading the blog, so the surprise is safe.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Happy Anniversary, Mom and Dad

It's Halloween, but it is also my (Kelly's) parent's wedding anniversary. Just wanted to say a quick Happy 28th Anniversary! I love you!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Newt (1993-2009)

Dad and I brought him home from the local feed and seed store in Thomson, GA. We named him after Newt Dobbs in the classic Western movie, Lonesome Dove.

He quickly grew into his paws and became a great pet, companion, and my best friend. After 16 years, it's gonna be hard getting used to him not being around anymore. I'll miss you, bud.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

So long Knoxville...

After spending 8 weeks in Knoxville, TN, I can finally say goodbye. Kelly came up for the game so we spent a few disappointing hours in Neyland stadium before leaving the city. To quote a classmate of mine, "I was hoping to end my time here in Knoxville with a bang...just not with all the fireworks from them scoring touchdowns!" John Adams, a Knoxville sportswriter said "Georgia looked like a program Kiffin can have a lot of fun with." If you want to read my take on the game, scroll down below the picture to see my thoughts. Although I enjoyed my clinical in Knoxville, I've decided it is hard to be a Georgia fan in that city. Kelly and I have been to 2 UGA-Tenn games there with a combined 80-33 in Tennessee's favor.

Kelly is back in Savannah and I'm back in Augusta. Now, only a mere 3 hours apart compared to 7 1/2. I have started at the VA Medical Center and Kelly has started at Southcoast Medical Group's outpatient physical therapy. We've been asked about wedding planning by several people, and I think about all we have left is the cake, invitations, and flowers.

Finally, congratulations to Tim Varghese and Kyle Hogarth who both got engaged over the weekend. Interestingly, they are both PTs and both are engaged to nurses.

*from 2 years ago
My take on the game: Going into the game, it was hard to have expectations as both teams have played poorly and well at times. I can say though that the quarterback play was a flip flop of expectations. A Tennessee quarterback who had as many interceptions as touchdowns was made to look like an All-American while a Georgia quarterback who previously had twice as many TDs as interceptions could no longer do so. A friend of mine called after the game and pointed out that Georgia might be the worst team in Div-1...of course there was a little sarcasm, but he pointed out some interesting facts: Out of 120 teams, UGA is 104 in Rushing, 97 in Offense. On defense for pts/game, Georgia is ranked 100th. Despite having the best punt avg in the nation, UGA is 100th in punt return avg. UGA is the only team in the nation to have a kicker 3-3 from 50+ yards, but unfortunately special teams can't win games by itself. Special teams is the cherry on top and unfortunately, the cherry doesn't make the sundae. Although I don't think UGA is the worst team in Div-1, they may very well end up with the worst record under Mark Richt thus far. A loss to Florida and GT would put Georgia at 7-5, the worst record since the 1996 season.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Six Pence?

I'm sure you've all heard the wedding day saying:
"Something old, Something new, Something borrowed, Something blue"
But did you know that the last part of this saying is "and a sixpence in her shoe"?
According to Wikipedia, the sixpence dates back to the 1500's when King Edward was on the throne. However, it is no longer in circulation as English currency (and apparently it is not worth very much...it would probably compare to our penny or nickel).
So my question is, where in the world do I find a sixpence? Did any of you brides include this in your wedding ensemble? Let me know.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Checking off the List

We've been busy, busy, busy checking things off our (very long) wedding planning list. The save the dates came in the mail. I won't show them here, that would spoil the surprise, but this is me opening the box!
The smaller white box next to me contains some of the bridesmaids' gifts. I'm so excited to give them and also excited that I can check this off my list, too!

And recently, my Mom and I took a trip to Statesboro, GA to visit Frills and Fancies in search for her mother of the bride dress. This is a huge store located in downtown Statesboro, which has four floors of dresses, jewelry, shoes, and other frills and fancies. The top floor is devoted to bridesmaid and mother of the bride dresses, hundreds of them. (The third floor is all wedding dresses...racks upon racks of them, and while we didn't go there to get my dress, I would definitely recommend it to anyone!) The bottom two floors are pageant dresses, suits, and swim wear as well as prom during that season. We headed to the top floor, via elevator, and met with one of the consultants who was very knowledgable in all the bridesmaids' and mothers' dresses. Mom was able to look at all of the dresses on the racks and pull any that she wanted to try. I sat on a comfy couch while she tried each dress...it felt like a total role reversal from the wedding dress hunt! She decided on a beautiful one that all three of us loved! Now we get to accessorize it!

Lastly, Cary and his parents have been busy organizing the hotel group block at the Holiday Inn Express in Cumming, GA. Now, whenever you book your room, use the code "MWW" (which stands for McKinney/West Wedding) to receive the group rate of $79/night. You can use it online or over the phone. We highly recommend this hotel. We personally visited several hotels in the area near the reception/church locations, and this is the best by far.
Here's one of the rooms. Suites are also available and of course, continental breakfast is included.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Half-way point in clinic

As of today, Kelly and I have completed the first 5 weeks of our 8-week clinical rotations. Last weekend, we met up at Kelly's parents' place in Thomson to spend time there and then go to the UGA-Carolina game. On the way there from Knoxville, I listened to Knoxville's The Sports Animal for about an hour before I could pick up The Clark Howard Show as I neared Atlanta. I'm a big fan of his radio show, as I agree with much of his money-saving advice. I heard a promo for a segment on weddings and my attention was had. Clark previewed it by talking about a recent article in the AJC talking about people charging for attending their wedding (Don't worry, Kelly and I are NOT doing that!). As I began to think about the article, which I had read and emailed to Kelly previously, I was thinking this may be something Clark and I actually disagree on. Well, it's turns out, he feels the same way as me...it's a bad idea. He even created a poll on his website to see what his listeners think, and after a week, there have been over 7000 votes with 42.5% choosing "It's offensive. Whatever happened to giving fine china and silverware?" and a close second with 34% choosing "Some things like a cash bar to cut down on expenses are acceptable. But that's about it!" Well, after his show was over, there was a little longer on I-20 before arriving at the McKinney's. It was good to see all the goats were still alive and well, and Kelly's dog Newt was still kicking (he just turned 17!).
On Saturday, we enjoyed our morning breakfast trip to Waffle House and then headed to Athens for the game. It's always enjoyable to get back to Athens for a gameday as we were able to run into many people we had not seen in a while.
Although UGA didn't look very impressive, they did win and for that, I'm grateful. Having Houston score 6 TDs and 250 more yards on the same OkSt team that Georgia managed to score 1 on didn't make us look very good either. According to an espn.com article, Rece Davis states "Georgia narrowly missed starting 0-2 for the first time in 13 years...Is Georgia careening toward a middle-of-the-pack season in the SEC?" Only time will tell as the college football season is just beginning.
I have 3 more weeks in Knoxville before returning back to Augusta for my clinical there. Kelly will be visiting for the UGA-Tenn game in Knoxville, and I'll provide another football update in a few weeks.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Wedding Etiquette and Traditions

We have 257 days to go until we say "I do." I'm staying busy with clinical but my mind is never too far from the wedding planning...surprise, surprise! My bridesmaids have asked me about showers and such, so I've been trying to brush up on my wedding etiquette for these such events. I found this great site that explains everything from wedding ceremony processional order to where the water, white wine, and red wine glasses go in a formal place setting (I kinda skipped that section...we aren't trying for a black tie wedding here).
I've always been one for tradition, maybe it comes from my Dad's love of history and my love of my Dad and his stories....not sure. For example, Cary and I rang the chapel bell at UGA after we got engaged. That tradition began as a way to call students to classes and chapel. Later, the tradition morphed into a celebration of sorts for football game victories. While that tradition still lives today (I've definitely stood in line to do that after beating the Vols or Techies!), it has become custom to ring the bell when anything good happens. As a form of celebration.
Hence, we rang the chapel bell after getting engaged.
Not sure if you can read this, but if not, click on it to enlarge:

Anyway, have you ever wondered why in the world wedding invitations are sent in two envelopes? According to Crane & Co. Wedding Etiquette,
Wedding invitations were once delivered by hand. If you were a bride back in those days, your footman delivered your invitations to your guests' homes. Their servants received the invitations and removed them from their mailing envelope, an envelope much too pedestrian for your guests to handle themselves. The servants, then, presented the invitation to your guests in its pristine inside envelope. Because the invitations were already at their destination, the inside envelopes had only the names of your guests written on them. The address was no longer needed. They just had to be directed to the appropriate members of the household.
Cool, huh?
And if you ever wondered why there's that random bit of tissue inside those envelopes read here. With all of this wedding etiquette and tradition, I've got a ton to read up on! I'm definitely thankful I'm not having to study for tests or write papers anymore!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Funny Wedding Video

If there is one thing we've learned during planning our wedding, it is: Weddings are Expensive! Just mention the "W" word and I think the price almost doubles. The creators of this video feel the same way.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Let Them Eat Cake!

So, Cary and I briefly looked into wedding cakes before we left for clinic. He's not a huge cake fan, so he could probably care less what we have at the reception. I want something that is beautiful but also delicious, that our guests will enjoy. And cakes today are simply pieces of art...and can be a bit over the top!!
Yep, that's all edible...can you imagine cutting it?
Or you could just have a life-sized model of yourself...don't worry, Cary, I'd include you, too, in this vain confection!
However, I think I prefer something a little more classic like this.
Anyway, we asked the married couples in our class about their cakes and got a wide range of prices (and they all had beautiful cakes). Cary's mom checked out a local bakery who quoted prices starting at $4 a slice, which for 200+ guests really adds up! We knew the cake would be expensive, but come on, it's only flour and sugar! So we've contemplated a smaller cake, fake tiers, or going to the local grocery store (which actually has a LOT of nice options).
This one is from Publix...cute, huh?

Anyway, while searching the internet for wedding cakes, I came across this HILARIOUS blog about cakes that somehow went terribly wrong. It includes all sorts of cakes and is the ultimate "lost in translation." Take a look and get a good laugh. And in the meantime, if you have any suggestions or want to try your hand at cake decorating, let me know!!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Updates from 450 miles apart

Clinic is going well so far. I've spent my first week at NHC-Farragut, a wonderful skilled nursing facility west of Knoxville, TN. When people hear nursing home, they usually have thoughts of a rough place, but skilled nursing is a little different. The population is more selective, and most of the patients are those who have left the hospital planning to go home, but are just not quite ready. My job (as a future PT) is to learn the best and most efficient ways to achieve that goal of getting back home, while being independent. I am staying with the in-laws of a guy in my class and they've helped make the time here that much better. My original rotation in Augusta was canceled, but this facility is just under 1 mile from their house, so I couldn't have asked for a better fit. My days consist of an 8-4 day at the nursing home, followed by a little time to exercise, study, and eat. The family lives in Fox Den Country Club so sometimes I'll watch the golfers for entertainment as well. It took only 1 day for a patient to tell me that I would soon be "bleeding orange and white." I may go to a game or 2 while here in Knoxville, and I may even root on the SEC, but I highly doubt I'll be bleeding anything resembling orange or white. Although Kelly and I knew we would be distanced for 8 weeks, I don't think either of us realized how far it was. Google says it would take around 7 hours in the car or a little over 5 1/2 days of non-stop walking. But, only 7 more weeks and I'll be back in Augusta, 300 miles closer and much more feasible to visit. For now, we have most of our wedding planning done other than flowers (or at least that's what I think). We'll definitely try to finalize everything in December, as we have a full month off from school/clinic.

My clinic is going well, too. I am in Savannah, at Memorial University Medical Center doing an in-patient acute rotation. I have to admit it was interesting figuring out all the lines and tubes, and since I am on a post-op floor, I still get one every now and then that I have no clue what to call much less how to take it with us down the hall! Figuring things out as I go. I'm actually living with my aunt and uncle in Richmond Hill which is a suburb of Savannah...so I have a MUCH farther drive than Cary--about 40 minutes. So far it hasn't been bad, though. I was able to join the hospital's gym and I'm looking into a dance studio in Richmond Hill (no ballroom...I'm hoping for lyrical or modern or anything that sounds new and exciting). Like Cary said, it is an adjustment to not see each other every day, and when you compound that with bad cell phone reception (on my end) it makes it even more frustrating. I think we can manage 7 more weeks. Luckily, some of the wedding planning can be done via internet (such as finalizing save the dates and contacting florists). I expect December to be busy just like May was.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

School Update and Sports Snipits

So, Kelly and I are officially done with finals FOREVER! Grades are in and we took our A's to the bank. We still have to take the national board exam next Summer, but that should be the only test left for us. We have one more wedding to attend (at Chateau Elan) this weekend, then we are off to clinic. Kelly will spend all of Fall in Savannah, and I will split time between Knoxville and Augusta.
Now for some sports snipits. Finally, with some time off, I've caught up on my sports. Braves are pedaling hard for the playoffs, scoring 11 runs in the last inning of the the last 3 games...Go Braves! Seriously though, Greg Norton? 58 ABs and 50 of those with no hit. Three starting pitchers have a higher batting average.
Did anyone else see the fake punt on Sunday night pre-season football? Wow, you should watch that.
And once again, SEC seems to be pretty good. Four teams in the top 10, none of which are UGA though. College football season is only 4 weeks away with some good top-10 matchups the first weekend. And I'll be in Knoxville for the Georgia-Tennessee game.
And just because I love deals: Anyone traveling US Airways in the next few months? Check this out. Free Elite status for 90 days.

Friday, August 7, 2009

From head to toe

So in the matter of about one week I purchased my veil, shoes, and head piece for the wedding. It all just sort of fell into place, so I couldn't resist going ahead and getting them. I bought the veil and headpiece through sellers on Etsy. If you've never visited this site, you should take a look. It is a "place to buy and sell all things handmade." They have wedding items as well as any home decor and clothing items you could imagine. It is full of individual sellers who all make unique, handmade things. So my headpiece and veil were both custom made by two different sellers. I simply told them what I wanted, they sent me pictures of the work in progress, I made changes, then bought the final product through the website. Pretty cool, huh? And they are just as beautiful in person as they were on my computer screen.
While I can't show you pictures of the veil or headpiece (Cary reads this thing, you know!), I am going to show pictures of my shoes. I figure, no one really ever sees the bride's shoes, so why not show them here.
I bought them during the tax-free weekend in Georgia, so they were tax-free!! Aren't I thrifty?

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Favor Box Contest

I think our wedding favors are taken care of now! One of the wedding blogs that I read www.stylemepretty.com (which is awesome, you should check it out), features amazing wedding vendors and occasionally gives away products from those vendors. Last week they featured Dooby Design Group, a custom design company based in Michigan. The company decided to give away 100 of their custom favor boxes to readers of this blog. I figured I would put the UGA journalism skills to work, so I wrote up a quick anecdote about what Cary and I plan to giveaway as favors at our wedding. Then the company owner picked a winner from about 90 other entries.
Here's what I wrote:

I love all of your color combinations, and the weddings on your blog were just gorgeous! I couldn’t find my exact color combo, navy blue and fuchsia with bright green accents, but I know you could easily pull these off. My fiance and I want to give away spiced pecans. As a little girl, I can remember picking up and shelling pecans from my Grandfather’s yard. When I met my fiance, I was pleasantly surprised to find out that he loved spiced pecans, a favorite of my family, too!! I’ve made spiced pecans for him on several occasions, and I always make them around Christmas time. We would love to share this family favorite with our wedding guests, and what a beautiful way to do so with Dooby Design Group’s favor boxes.

Well, one week later, I got an email announcing that I won the contest!! Pretty cool, huh? First our engagment pictures, now our favors. Too bad my wedding dress wasn't a contest prize! Anyway, the favors will be similar to this:

(but not pink or black) I can't wait to get them!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

310 Days to Go...

...but who's counting? Me! I'm still getting little things done for the wedding, all the while trying to not let it distract me from school. Cary and I are also counting down the days until class is over (for good), and we go out to clinic. But we have a lot of projects, presentations, and tests standing in our way. We also still have a couple of friend's weddings to go to this summer, with one this weekend. But that will be a wonderful break from all of this studying and school work.

I also realized today that I need to look into the process of changing my name as well as insuring that my PT license will say Dr. Kelly West!

Monday, July 6, 2009


We have decided where to go for our honeymoon. Kelly let me do all of the planning and although not all the plans are completed, we've at least picked out a location. We will head to Atlanta after the reception and then fly out to St. Lucia the following morning. Delta changed their SkyMiles Award Structure to utilize a low, medium, and high level system for booking award tickets. Tickets can only be booked 331 days in advance and so from June 26 until July 6, I checked the website daily as to what level the flight to St. Lucia was. I have been waiting on the level of the award ticket to go to "low" and on Monday, although Coach remained at "High," First Class was at "Low." An easy choice...fly first class for a better price than coach or wait? Kelly has never flown first class and although I have once, it was many years ago and for a much shorter flight.
Even though we don't have the rest of the honeymoon details just yet, we're looking at one of the three Sandals resorts in St. Lucia. Two of our classmates and my best man all spent their honeymoon with Sandals and spoke wonders about it. Feel free to comment and add suggestions.
And if you are wondering...no, the entire wedding isn't free or purchased through rewards. We did get the engagement pictures and flights for free (still requiring considerable effort to accumulate the miles and pay a couple government fees), but I think my wedding frugality has run out.
Sorry if you read both our blog and my cousin's, but below is a picture of our flower girl and ring bearer, Julia and Weston, from a family Fourth of July cookout.