Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Behind the Bachelor/Bacehlorette

Except for possibly some quick notes (like the one below about Restaurant Week), this will probably be Nate's last pre-wedding post. So now let's take you "Behind the Bachelor and Bachelorette" as Nate and Allie count down the final days before wedding week.

The story starts on a sunny Thursday morning, much sunnier than the previous night when groomsman Mark and Nate went to the Orioles game and got rained on (but scored free pennants). Luckily, it was the 25th anniversary of the Orioles last World Series championship, so former catcher Rick Dempsey was on hand to entertain the fans during the rainout with his patented antics.

Wedding attendee Andrew "A-Con" Conrad (seen below) also helped pass rain delay time by engineering a new travel bottle technology (patent pending, you'll have to see if he'll shares his secret spice).

After Nate dried out the next morning, he was ready to start his day. He started with a hearty bowl of generic Lucky Charms, while Allie opted for a more healthy breakfast. Or maybe they made pancakes with blueberries, either way they ate breakfast and were then ready to clean up the basement.

It seemed to be a mighty task, but they were able to conquer the disorganization. (Even though there was an argument about whether spiders should be killed because they are gross or whether they should be saved because they eat other pests.)

Basement before cleaning:


Later that evening, Allie was off to bridesmaid Lindsay "the Canton Hillbilly" Thomasson's house to design programs and place cards. As Allie and Lindsay pored over the details (and poured a little wine), fellow bridesmaid Becca and Nate were in the west Baltimore suburbs helping the Nighthawks improve their seeding in the Maryland Media Softball League playoffs with a 17-16, extra-inning victory keyed by a five-run seventh inning.

So, you're saying "Five runs in the seventh for a come from behind win? What a fluke. That could never happen again."


The Nighthawks followed up that performance last Thursday with another come-from-behind win on Tuesday, with a five-run, two-out rally in the seventh that resulted in a 7-5 playoff victory.

Let me tell you, if Accomac Caterers double-booked Preston Hall on Saturday and it came down to a good 'ol game of softball, I think the Sandstrom-McLeod wedding would go on as scheduled. I think Tessa is bringing the eye black to the wedding in case we have to rumble.

Several Nighthawks will be at the wedding but please allow them to finish their dinner before asking for autographs. Their Wednesday night semifinal playoff game will be on MASN3 at 6:15 tonight.

After the game last Thursday, Nate went over to Canton and approved of the programs drawn up by Lindsay, who has barely helped at all in getting the wedding ready. They were finished on Tuesday night. (Jeez Hillbilly, way to finally pull some weight).

With so much done on Thursday, you could hardly expect much to get done on Friday, what with Nate up at the crack of dawn to make sure the good people of Baltimore have an ample supply of Corona. Meanwhile, Allie was on the double shift at Phillips so the good tourist of Baltimore could have Filipino crabs. Not much else happened Friday, except Nate and Best Man Phil's Badger tickets came in the mail (see Friday's post).

Oh yeah, Friday was also possibly the day that Nate and Allie's new bamboo fencing was shipped from California. They bought it from a nice hippie named "Wavy Gravy."

The next day it was back to power shopping. After Nate and Allie finished fighting over the best way to get to the Towson shopping center on Putty Hill (definitely taking Northern Parkway to York to Stevenson), they purchased the final accessories for their bathroom. Sadly, they much-loved map shower curtain was retired in favor of a more so-called "matching" one. The Homer shower curtain hooks have also been put out to the pasture.

After Nate finished his Saturday night shift he also got to practice his dancing at a Christmas in July party hosted by wedding attendees Ken, T.J. and Pat. After Nate lost some money to Greg Dean gambling on beer pong at the party, he headed home, only to be defeated again by Mark and Angie at video bowling at neighborhood drinkery Taps.

Nate was ready to get over his bowling/beer pong losses on Sunday and head to the O's game, but he opted instead to go to Allie's parents' house to paint the bathroom, which now looks something like Michaelangelo's Sistien Chapel ceiling.

On Monday night, Nate practiced cooking for his fine guests while Allie was at work. He perfected the arts of making pork and beans as well as mac and cheese, so if you would like some at either the Sunday brunch at Nate and Allie's house or the dinner at Robert and Karen's (Allie's parents), make sure to let him know.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Good news for foodies

So it is kind of bum timing that the Orioles are out of town during the wedding week for visitors, but I found one stroke of fortune for food lovers — it is Baltimore Restaurant Week. Basically, 90-some B-more restaurants, including the top 'o the line, are offering three-course dinners for $30.08. Some are also offering three-course lunches for $20.08.

Get the full details here.

Wedding week is here!

So, I had planned to write up a big weekend post, but instead I wound up getting caught up in a game of Scrabble at Becca's last night. I finished last in the heated contest, during which a fight broke out when Mark told Becca that remixer (think Puff Daddy) is not a word.

You may be asking yourself, what are you doing putzing around (I almost spelled putz last night, but instead went with hutzpah) when your wedding is six days away? I'll tell you, relax buddy, things are under control. The seating chart is done (send a check for $15 if you would like to be upgraded), we've killed the weeds in the backyard and I even made a trip to Bob and Karen's so their Sunday night guests can enjoy a newly painted bathroom. It looks great, and Allie's color-picking and my brushwork show we were truly meant for each other.

Allie and I even got a sweet deal on a hotel last night in the Pocono Mountains for our honeymoon.

So, in short, the wedding is pretty much here, I feel pretty much ready, and I am ready to celebrate with everyone!


Friday, July 25, 2008

An exciting announcment (for my brother and I) not related to the wedding

I came home from work today and saw the envelope sitting in the hallway. Return address: University of Wisconsin.

Like a kid getting a Nintendo 64 at Christmas, I quickly opened the envelope to see the glory inside: Phil's and my season tickets to Camp Randall stadium to watch the Badgers take down all challengers.

After I opened them, it looked something like this:

I also got a set of team player cards, another refrigerator magnet schedule and a book telling me about gameday rules and regulations

Can't wait for college football season. On Wisconsin!

OK, back to wedding stuff. You'll hear from me again later tonight or early Saturday.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

What a difference a day off makes

I always find I'm amazingly productive when I have a weekday off. That was the case today, as I went through "Operation: Clean the House and Finish Projects You Have Been Delaying."

In the kitchen, I successfully repainted the areas that were recently dry-walled, although I failed to finish installing a set of new, shinier, not-covered-with-paint locks on the door. Don't worry, it's aesthetic changes only and the current locks keep the bad guys out of the house (if not away from my chairs).

Later that day, Allie and I got some megashopping done after she finished with work, including picking up a sweet guest book for a steal of a price and securing a present for one of the bridesmaids. It was CENSORED.

Damn state-owned media stopping all leaks.

Meanwhile, I have the day off wedding work tomorrow. A full day shift at Wells, followed by Turn Back the Clock Night at Camden Yards, as long as it doesn't rain. You're on that one, Jim.

Blog Guest of Honor

Dear Nallie constituents,

I, Lori M. Evans, esq., was extremely honored to be invited to join in on the Bachelorette party fun! After learning about the Nallie 08 Blog I just had to be a guest blogger and share some bachelorette party antics! However, I didn’t want to give away too much of Allie’s last weekend of freedom so I’m not going to tell you about the 27 male strippers that we hired or about spending the night in jail…

we’ll leave Allie some of her secrets. Instead I have compiled my top 10 ten list of events that occurred over the course of the weekend.

10. 6 ½ hour car rides with 5 girls in one small Honda Civic
9. Sudden outbreaks of Facial Hair
8. Tracy’s unfortunate foot incident
7. The Wasabi Pea Slinging contest that never had a chance
6. Allies use of the space in the Kitchen
5. The uninvited/ invited “butt smack”
4. “You’re not my Friend” bed-time stories
3. Getting Low Low Low Low Low Low Low
2. Hillbilly accusations
1. The Soon to Be Forever Famous “Shelboure Elevator Brawl”.

So there you have it folks! A very vague account of what went on in the Big Apple this past weekend. Should you care to know any more about any of these “top ten” please feel free to ask any of the Bridesmaids (although I don’t recommend it… sometimes it’s better not to know). As for me I am keeping my mouth shut but I will leave you with one more thought about the weekend – and Allie this is directed at you:

Apple Bottom Jeans,
Jeans Boots with the fur, With the fur
The whole club was lookin at her
She hit the flo, She hit the flo
Next thing you know
Shawty got low low low low low low low low
Them baggy sweat pants
And the Reeboks with the straps, With the straps
She turned around and gave that big booty a smack [Ayy]
She hit the flo, She hit the flO
Next thing you know
Shawty got low low low low low low low low

See you all at the Wedding!!

Monday, July 21, 2008

12 Days Away

Well, the focus for Nallie has turned to putting some finishing touches on the house the next few days. Meanwhile, the rumor is we'll have at least one guest blogger filling in, and possibly one of our originators posting some thoughts.

With me under state censorship, will they spill the beans about the bachelorette party weekend?

Meanwhile, I found out about an interesting nugget for you HBO fans while driving up Key Highway today (pays to buy groceries in four places.) According to its marquis, the Baltimore Museum of Industry currently has an exhibit up on "The Wire."

P.S. You may notice we have a new picture on our page. It's from Gary and Tami's awesome July 4 firework display. I lifted it off Tami's MySpace page, so take that MySpace haters!

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Two weeks left of bachelor/ette-hood

So I'm sitting here shirtless with a baseball game on a television and another on the computer. There are dishes that need to be done, empty beer cans on the desk and laundry that should be picked up.

Allie's away at her NYC bachelorette party this weekend; meanwhile I am definitely bachelor-ing it up here by myself (though I am going down to spackle and paint in the kitchen later.)

Despite the recent parties and final celebrations of single-ness, I can hardly wait for these last two weeks to pass before the wedding. Of course everyone (even me) makes the jokes about cold feet, but I am really excited to get married.

Allie and I are probably not in the typical situation, having lived together for more than five years, as well as having bought a house together and sharing a bank account. Because of that, it is hard to imagine that things will change very much after we get married. Most of my friends joke that I already am married.

Despite all that, Allie and I actually getting married I think is still an important way for us to show our commitment for each other. We both have shown that commitment many times over the past few years, but marriage to me represents kind of an ultimate declaration that we will be together for as long as we live. I feel great about that.

I am also excited to celebrate with everyone who can make it to the wedding. My friend Mike Swarbrick found out last night that he will be able to fly from Portland to make the wedding, just in time for the deadline I have to turn into the caterer on Monday. I have to double-check with Allie but I think we're going to have about 125 people. Hopefully in their dancing shoes (or planning to dance in bare feet!)

I'm also relieved to start getting many of the details out of the way. I can really see things coming together. I'm sure there will be some gaffes and stressful moments, but I think it is going to be a great day!

Things to do in Baltimore-Washington When You're Visiting

Anyone get the obscure movie reference in that title? Anyway, I think all the info on the right side of the page is done and updated, even the tourism stuff. I realize that since we're only two weeks away (note post above) it may not be as useful, but hopefully some people will find it helpful.



Tuesday, July 15, 2008


Hi all, it's just about midnight and again I didn't post all I wanted to. The "Useful Information Department" is fully updated. Although I updated some stuff in the "Things to see" I unfortunately didn't finish. As you can probably see from the post times, it's been a long day for me.

I'll do my best to have it finished this weekend, but because I know I need the final reception agenda and RSVP head count to be done tomorrow night I probably won't finish then. I have a big softball game Thursday and Allie has a hair appointment and needs to pack for her bachelorette party in New York so it probably won't get done then either.

In the meantime, feel free to contact Allie and I if you have any questions.

We're really looking forward to the wedding and can't wait to see all of you.

State censhorship

Allie tells me I've been leaking too much information on the blog and I am to stop. For instance, she doesn't want me to mention we decided to play REDACTED during the recessional. See.

Perhaps I'm ruining some surprises — I just really like to talk about myself. Tonight I've rehauled the right side of the page rather — the part that helps you — rather than talk more about my day (which was eventful as always).

Countdown ... 17 more days, wait, is it 16? ... must sleep

Up early this morning to tell you that even though part of procrastination's punishment is a lack of sleep, I've been sort of amazed at how much we've gotten done/essentially done over the last four days ranging from big things like the music line up to small ones like picking out art for the reception dinner tables.

I didn't get anything done Friday or Saturday (although Allie, Karen (Allie's mom) and bridesmaid/wedding planning All-Star Lindsay were burning through tasks) because I was of course away for Bachelor Party: East Coast with a rowdy bunch (though not quite as rowdy as Towson).

Here's a photo of us outside Dogfish Head Brewery:

It was a fun weekend. We didn't do that many organized activities, but the time just hanging out kind of blew past. I do have to say like my Midwestern friends, these guys did not let me win the poker tournament. (It's OK, my skill level makes it hard to do).

I also turned 29 over the weekend, but I've been so busy I didn't really celebrate the B-Day so I guess I will just continue to be 28.

Of course with all this stuff going on I haven't loaded a lot of details up here in the past week. Fortunately, Vicki, my mom, helped me by grabbing these capsules of some Baltimore attractions. Just Google any of them that catch your interest to find out more. I will get the right side of page with other tourism stuff cleaned up hopefully by Wednesday early a.m.

Tourism info for Baltimore:

Inner Harbor
From breath-taking panoramic views of the skyline from the Observation Level of the World Trade Center to the up-close and personal experiences of street performances happening spontaneously at the waterfront, Baltimore’s Inner Harbor offers more to see and do than you might imagine and it’s all within walking distance!

Harborplace and the Gallery

Located in the heart of the Inner Harbor on Pratt Street, Harborplace and The Gallery offer unique shopping, diverse dining and a variety of entertainment right on the picturesque waterfront.

Baltimore Harbor Cruises - by Spirit Cruises

The Ladies (Bay Lady and Lady Baltimore) offer year-round lunch, brunch and dinner cruises, plus crab feasts, and moonlight tours in the summer. The Prince Charming offers narrated sight-seeing tours four times a day from April to October and all are available for private charter. Join them on a Thursday evening to experience Pirates of the Inner Harbor. It's the most interactive and unique family pirate show that ever set sail!

Maryland Science Center
Let your senses and your mind wander as you experience the numerous sights and hands-on activities at the Maryland Science Center. Featuring an IMAX theater and a planetarium, it's sure to please everyone.

Baltimore Aquarium

The National Aquarium in Baltimore houses sharks, dolphins, rays and tropical fish among the more than 16,000 creatures in naturalistic exhibits, including a walk-through rain forest, an exciting live-action dolphin show and a new Australian exhibit.

World Trade Center

Seeming to hover 405 feet directly over top of the harbor, the World Trade Center in Baltimore offers the best view of the city in every direction from the “Top of the World” Observation Level on the 27th floor. Constructed in 1977, its 32 floors make up the world's tallest equilateral 5-sided building.

Fort McHenry

A water-taxi ride away, you can learn about the Battle of Baltimore and the nation's history by visiting Fort McHenry. Fireworks conclude Flag Day and Defender's Day celebrations. And special events include living history weekends where the Fort McHenry Guard performs demonstrations.

Ed Kane's Water Taxi

For the perfect transportation in and around Baltimore's Inner Harbor, the water taxi is an affordable solution. Located on Lancaster Street, one price buys unlimited rides for the day and group discount rates are available. Native Baltimore residents and frequent city visitors often opt for the frequent floater annual pass.

Baltimore Maritime Museum

Located at Pier 3 and Pier 5, be sure to see the treasures of Inner Harbor by touring the USS Torsk, the USCGC Taney, the Lightship Chesapeake and more. Visit the Maritime Museum and you’ll receive a discount for the USS Constellation, the only Civil War ship still floating today.

Inner Harbor Restaurants

Elegant gourmet cuisine, ethnic foods from around the world and plenty of fresh seafood from Maryland's Chesapeake Bay abound. Come sample a taste of Baltimore at one of the many Inner Harbor restaurants.


The prototype restaurant/entertainment venue sits right in Baltimore's Inner Harbor. Great banks of video monitors teeming with live and vintage sportscasts--- There are more than 150 monitors, including a high definition big screen for optimal viewing --- accompany a menu that runs squarely American, you know, burgers and pizza for the kids, a Cobb or an Apple and Walnut Salad for mom, and ribs, meatloaf or a grilled pork chop for dad. Snag a padded lounger in "The Screening Room" to dine while watching the big game on a 16-foot video wall. Afterwards, head upstairs to "The Sports Arena" to work off the calories in a 10,000 square-foot wonderland of video and sports-simulation games, such as ESPN Baseball and NBA 2Night, along with air-hockey tables, batting cages and interactive basketball. The formula works; the place is usually mobbed.

Baltimore Orioles

A visit to Camden Yards is just minutes away and, if you're a true baseball fan, be sure to see the Baltimore Orioles Hall of Fame exhibit and the Babe Ruth Birthplace and Museum located nearby.You can also visit the Sports Legends Museum which offers 22,000 square feet of artifacts and interactive exhibits, transforming Camden Station into one of the most spectacular sports museums in America.

Baltimore Ravens

Get in on the spirit of the Purple and Black when you attend a Baltimore Ravens football game at the M&T Bank Stadium just a short distance from the Inner Harbor.

Power Plant Live!

A block away from Baltimore's Inner Harbor is Power Plant Live, a premier dining and entertainment district that features a variety of restaurants and nightclubs surrounding a common plaza. There is also outdoor seating which often features live performances.

Fort McHenry

Located off I-95, just southeast of Baltimore's Inner Harbor, the star-shaped Fort McHenry was designed by Frenchman Jean Foncin and named after James McHenry. McHenry served as Secretary of War from 1796 to 1800 and supported construction of the new fort.
During the War of 1812, the brick fort defended the Baltimore harbor and stopped a British advance into the city. Surrounded by water on three sides, Fort McHenry was far enough from Baltimore to provide protection without endangering the city. It was the valiant defense of the fort by 1,000 Americans that inspired Francis Scott Key, a lawyer and amateur poet, to compose the Star Spangled Banner, originally entitled Defense of Fort McHenry.

During the civil war, Fort McHenry was used as a military prison from 1861 to 1865. The National Park Service's Civil War Soldiers and Sailors system now allows visitors to search Fort McHenry's prison records online.

Administered by the National Park Service in 1933, Fort McHenry is the only area of the National Park System to be designated both a National Monument and Historic Shrine. Fort McHenry is open to the public year round and offers visitor programs and special events that highlight the park's history.

Baltimore Aquarium
Opened in 1981, the Baltimore Aquarium is world-famous and undoubtedly Maryland's leading tourist attraction. Whether you're an educator, a student or simply a visitor wanting to look at the magnificent exhibits, the Baltimore Aquarium in the Inner Harbor has a lot to offer.
Housing more than 16,000 creatures, the Baltimore Aquarium exhibits a variety of species in their naturalistic habitats. You'll find animals such as stingrays, sharks, sea turtles, bullfrogs, phytoplankton, monkeys, sloths, iguanas, puffins and thousands more. You can also catch an up-close view of dolphins as they leap and tumble with the Baltimore Aquarium trainers in the live-action Dolphin Show.

Baltimore Museums

American Visionary Art Museum
This national museum and education center highlights the outstanding original works of art created by intuitive, self-taught artists.
Attraction & Ticket Information | Phone: 410-244-1900

Baltimore & Ohio Railroad Museum
This fascinating, fun place for kids, families and lovers of history and American railroading features the most comprehensive collection in the Western Hemisphere.
Attraction & Ticket Information | Phone: 410-752-2490

Baltimore Museum of Art
Now offering permanent free general admission, Maryland's largest art museum features an internationally renowned collection of 19th century, modern and contemporary art.
Attraction & Ticket Information | Phone: 410-516-5589

Baltimore Opera Company
Enjoy fully staged grand operas featuring international singers, directors and conductors.
Attraction & Ticket Information | Phone: 410-727-6000

Baltimore Symphony Orchestra
Featuring award-winning Music Director Marin Alsop, the symphony performs classical, pops, family, summer and holiday concerts showcasing world-renowned artists.
Attraction & Ticket Information | Phone: 410-783-8000

This professional theater presents a variety of home-produced plays, from Shakespeare to August Wilson, Sondheim to Shaw.
Attraction & Ticket Information | Phone: 410-332-0033

Contemporary Museum
This unique museum promotes the art of our time as both educational tool and catalyst of progressive social change in Baltimore and surrounding areas.
Attraction & Ticket Information | 410-783-5720

Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine
This 18th-century brick fort defended Baltimore harbor during the War of 1812 and is the
birthplace of the American national anthem.
Attraction Information | 410-962-4290

Maryland Historical Society
Discover the history of Maryland and America at the home of the original manuscript of the"Star-Spangled Banner," Tench Tilghman's revolutionary war uniform and Benjamin Banneker's almanac.
Attraction & Ticket Information | Phone: 410-685-3750, x 321

The National Great Blacks In Wax Museum
America's first wax museum of African American history and culture features more than 100 life-size and lifelike wax figures.
Attraction & Ticket Information | Phone: 410-563-7809

Reginald F. Lewis Museum of Maryland African American History & Culture
This museum highlights the history and accomplishments of Maryland's African American community, featuring exhibitions, resource centers, a cafè and a gift shop.
Attraction & Ticket Information | Phone: 443-263-1801

The Walters Art Museum
Now offering permanent, free general admission, this world-class museum offers 55 centuries of art, including Egyptian mummies, medieval armor and 19th-century masterpieces.
Attraction & Ticket Information | Phone: 410-547-6000

The Lexington Market
400 W Lexington St. 8:30 -6 p.m. Monday - Saturday
Old as the nation itself, Lexington Market has been a wonderful Baltimore
tradition since 1782 at the original site it occupies today, on Lexington Street,
between Eutaw and Greene Streets.

OK, I am getting late for work. Go A.L. tonight! And props to Justin Morneau for winning the HR Derby despite no one cheering for him (I swear I was hard at work and only had it on in the background).

-- Nate

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Countdown ... 22 days, and almost 21

Hi all --

Sorry not to get all the tourist info up, but trust me it is being collected with a firm posting deadline of Monday.

Best news of all is the plumber was out today and got our new sink and vanity in. We love it. Pictures soon.

It's the end of night and I'm dead tired before heading off to Rehboth for the weekend. We'll be back Sunday night with a thorough post and the beginnings of tourist info.

Last two nights have been softball for me, but the old Nighthawks fell in both of them, including a 6-5 heartbreaker on Weds. Dropped 22-10 to undefeated team tonight. The Homerun Hunters will have to bounce back on Sunday as they go for the 2-seed in the upcoming playoffs.


Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Countdown ... 23 days

23 is Allie's favorite number. I associate it too much with Michael Jordan and LeBron James, so I can't stand it.

Hopefully that doesn't mean I'm in store for a bad day. So far, it hasn't started out as bad as yesterday, when I went to take out the trash and found that someone broke into my backyard and stole my Redskins tailgating chairs (and their carrying bags!)

Guess I know something to add to our registry. I also think I may need to add a power saw, after spending about an hour sawing boards for the bathroom floor yesterday.

On a positive note, the plumber is coming Thursday morning to change out our bathroom vanity cabinet, which means if things go right the bathroom should be completely finished by next Tuesday.

I also found out yesterday that our caterers/event hosts, Wickeys, have been bought out. The new company is honoring our contract though, so I guess there's no worries. Allie is going to meet with them to finalize details on Friday.

Last night we were working on music and chose some classical music for the processional. However, we are thinking of going with something contemporary for the recessional — we just can't decide what.

Got any suggestions? Post them here.

I only have two full days of work left this week before I'm off to Rehoboth for a bachelor's weekend, so that's exciting. It may not be the most organized event ever, but we should still have fun. We are going on a tour of the Dogfish Head Brewery on Saturday, which should be a highlight.

If you're in Maryland, stay dry today!


Monday, July 7, 2008

Countdown ... 25 days

Hard to believe that we'll be married in less than four weeks. Even harder to believe is the number of small details that still have to get fine-tuned over the next two weeks.

The past two weeks have also been quite a whirlwind. Two Saturdays ago, June 21, we landed in the Quad Cities where my old reporter buddies Jim Butts and Andy Walters picked us up at the airport and drove us to the couples shower my parents were hosting in Waterloo.

We decided to stop for lunch in Iowa City, but we couldn't get downtown because of the flooding. Instead we headed to Coralville and stopped at one of my all-time favorite places, Pancheros. My burrito was good but the set-up had been converted to make it eerily similar to Chipoltle. I searched The Burrito Blog for a while, but couldn't find out if they are now the same company. In other burrito-related new, Qdoba e-mailed me a certificate for a free birthday burrito (I'm July 12), so that was good news.

Once we arrived in Waterloo things were really popping. We had a pretty good turnout at the party and also excellent food (props to everyone who helped).

It was nice to spend time with some relatives and friends who I hadn't seen in a few months, even though the time always go by so quick in those situations. My cousin Kim, on a whirlwind tour through the Upper Midwest, was kind enough to take photos for free.

Here's one of me attempting to pin Allie without stabbing her:

I also got to meet Matt and Erica's daughter, Lana, for the first time:

Later on, a good 'ol wiffle ball game broke out as well. Moreau won round 1, and I think Kent won round 2. Looks like my Mom's smack talk really got into Andy's head.

Later that night was my first bachelor party, organized by Matt Daddy Schafer. After a day of drinking beer, we had to freshen our breaths with some smooth shots of peppermint schnapps (Walters loves this stuff)

I wrapped up the night by going from the chip leader to out of the money in the poker tournament. Oh well, at least there was free beer.

The next day was a little bit low-key, but Allie found a necklace and matching earrings for the wedding. Meanwhile, I scored a new pair of shoes and a Northern Iowa Panthers basketball jersey that has come in quite handy the past few hot days.

On Monday we were back to the city, but of course our flight was delayed. We didn't get home until after midnight to Captain Toes and Joey, a pair of cats who were none too happy. Then we were right back off to work and they really let us know how they feel.

During the party. my family and others had given the shower a "pair" theme, dressing up different couples like these little fellas.

We brought some of them home, but Joey took none too kindly to the other dressed up brides. Seems she wants to be the top female in the house (after Allie).

She may look innocent:

but we believe she is responsible for this bride skunk losing its tail.

We also used our weekend in Iowa to pick out preferred songs for the DJ, but when I went to load them up today it looked like they had been erased. I have one idea about how to get them back though, so hopefully it's not back to the drawing board.

When we got back it was still nose to the grindstone time. As you've read earlier we met with our photographer on Tuesday and decided to risk it and go for the outdoor photos at the Washington Monument. The next day, I was working with our hotel manager to make sure that people were getting the rooms reserved by the time they could no longer be held.

Some good news on that count ... as long as you can still get a room at the Plaza Hotel, the lower Sandstrom-McLeod wedding rate will be made available.

As you can see, there is little rest for a procrastinating planning couple like us. On that Thursday, we took a nice leisurely trip to rural Virginia where family friend Suzy helped us get a great deal at Wollom Gardens, where she works.

We also met with florist Cammie, of Like Water for Tulips,who helped us pick out some great bouquets and centerpieces. I don't want to give it all away, but we some of the more prominently featured flowers include dahlias


As if all that time thinking about flowers would make you passive, Allie proved otherwise. As our softball team was about to be one girl short on that Thursday, Allie stepped up and showed true Nighthawk spirit. In a match-up with the rival Firestix, bad blood again began to boil. The Firestix complained about every call, and when Allie used her speed to leg out an infield single their third basemen got so mad that the umpire kicked him out. He looked like this:

Alas, the Nighthawks fell short 15-11, but still it was a good effort.

Well, of course with all this work on wedding planning I don't have too much time to spend blogging. This week's main agenda is to finish bachelor party II planning on Tuesday, have thorough attraction info on Wednesday and wrap-up music by Thursday. We have also settled just about all the details for the ceremony, which will be nice to have finished.

Hopefully I'll be back up here Tuesday night, but faithful readers know I have not always been that diligent. I am trying though.


Thursday, July 3, 2008

We're no poetry critics

Allie and I have read a lot of love poems in the last week, but nothing has struck us as perfect for our main reading during the ceremony.

So, I'm launching a contest. Please send in any suggested readings you have either to Nate via e-mail or by posting them by clicking on the "comments" link on the bottom of this post. If we select your suggested reading, you will win an awesome (as defined by Nate) prize.

Void in Massachusetts — those bastards.