As the wedding preparations took over our lives, funny things happened. Like the moment we realized Wren was eating all the apples. ALL of them. She’d take a bite out of one, toss it, take a bite out of another, toss it … There might be a life lesson here. I’m not sure.
Then there were these photos.
This and that
Jenna saved oodles of money by choosing an invitation she loved that was pre-printed. As she said, “Why pay hundreds of dollars when it’s just going to be thrown away?”
She used Globalrose.com for her flowers. Her younger brother and older sister both used them in their weddings with stunning results. This time, they were ok, but not stunning. The roses were really drooping. Part of the problem was the time of year. It’s late in the season for roses. But they had some great combination deals and so the other flowers helped fill in for the disappointing roses and still cost less than buying from a florist who would have ordered them just the same way.
Jenna wrote her own wedding program. She kept it simple which made fewer problems. By doing it herself, she got exactly what she wanted.
The newly married couple dismissed each pew, greeting each guest and eliminating a slow reception line. The rest of the bridal party appreciated this since they didn’t have to stand in line making small talk with a lot of people they didn’t know.
Her sister-in-law did her hair and make-up. That made a fun time, especially the eyelashes Jenna had never done before. She loved them and Juli did a great job.
As they exited the church, we blew bubbles. I was concerned the rain might ruin the effect, but we were able to do it in the foyer as they came down the main stairs and it looked like a dream come true.
Jenna’s brother drives a Camaro. He let Emerson borrow it to drive off from the church. Woohoo!
Probably the most difficult part now for me is getting used to seeing Jenna’s new last name and wondering for a moment who it is until it dawns on me!
Jenna and I talk on the phone quite a bit. So Emerson asked me not to call Jenna while they were on their honeymoon. It was really funny when I accidentally pocket dialed her–after she had called me! Oops!
I work at a medical university. Some of the students are hosting a silent auction in two weeks, and I was asked to make and donate something for the auction. I love an excuse to craft since I don’t often have time for it anymore! I decided on thank you cards. I don’t know about you, but I am a HUGE thank you card writer. 🙂
I designed 4 different cards using themed paper and grouped them into sets of 8 (2 of each design). I figured I could share a couple of posts since I’ve been MIA lately, and it’s almost Thanksgiving (where has the year gone!?)…what better time for thank you cards?
–blank cards (mine are 4″ x 5 1/2″)
–3 sheets of craft paper (12″ x 12″)
–tags (mine are x-small)
–a thank you stamp of your choice
First, I cut the craft paper into 1/2″ strips (the size of the strips will depend on the size of your card) and glued them to the bottom half of the card. I used scissors to trim any excess paper from hanging over the edges.
Then, I stamped the “thank you” greeting onto each of the tags.
Finally, I glued the tag to the card. Viola! It really is that simple!
The best part about making cards is that you can save money by using practically the same supplies for each card design. I fell in LOVE with this craft paper because it is rustic AND charming! Of course, you will see it on the other three designs I share. 🙂
Our guestroom received its first use the day after we moved into our house when my parents came to help us unpack. They slept on a simple mattress flat on the floor. Needless to say, the guest room now is far more welcoming. And, ready to house friends and family.
A short while after we moved in we were able to get the lovely bed set I blogged about earlier this summer. Our sleigh bed frame made the move from the Master to the guest room.
The gorgeous purple quilt is a wedding gift that can now be properly displayed. Isn’t it lovely?
Curt spotted, and purchased this lovely armchair that I knew would be perfect for a reading corner near the double window. He was helping a friend move from storage into a new office when he saw the chair. He texted me a picture excitedly. I told him I thought it would work, and when I arrived home from my sister’s wedding, the chair had taken its spot.
The reading nook also gave me the perfect place for the IKEA hanging lamp I had previously hung in the girls’ room in Minneapolis.
A couple weeks later my Mother-in-law and I held a joint garage sale. They were also in the midst of a move and she was downsizing considerably since they are now empty-nesters. She had a lovely vase of flowers she no longer thought she’d have a place for. She offered them to me. In knew immediately that they’d play off the hanging lamp just perfectly.
Just last week during the evacuation of Charleston my Aunt and Uncle came as hurricane refugees from Hurricane Matthew. We had the opportunity to host the first guest room visitors who’d have a bed set up, and the reading nook! Perfect!
Tomorrow our second guest to use the room will arrive- a dear friend and co-worker from Minneapolis. We anticipate many more opportunities to host friends and family in the years to come!
What we expected to be the most expensive part of the wedding, was not. Credit goes to my brother, Bobby. He can cook! Not only did he do the wedding reception, but he also begged and pleaded to do the rehearsal dinner. One does not simply turn down Uncle Bobby’s offers. No, no!
I did the shopping. Bobby told me what to buy. Thanks to bulk buying at the local warehouse store, I now have enough Sweet Baby Ray’s bbq sauce to last for many years. Please someone, come borrow some and don’t return it!
Bobby also took me to the Eastern Market in Detroit. I had to buy in bulk there, too. No problem! The prices were incredible!
My oldest son and his wife worked as Bobby’s minions, chopping, stirring, measuring and cooking. They came all the way from South Carolina to participate.
The rehearsal dinner
I missed the rehearsal dinner. I got my mother-of-the-bride instructions during the rehearsal, decorated for the rehearsal dinner, checked the kitchen, and headed to Costco to pick up the photo for the frame Emerson and Jenna were using for guests to sign.
The leftovers were delicious! Bobby’s meat loaf has whole boiled eggs baked in it along with olives. The mashed potatoes were not low calorie. The garlic green beans were fresh. Then we had brownies a la mode slathered in chocolate sauce and whipped cream. The family secret to brownies is: buy a cheap mix. Add a whole bag of semi-sweet chocolate chips along with the regular box instructions.
I hope the soda pop lasted. I kept buying 2 liter bottles and family members would find them and drink them. Two weeks after the wedding I found two bottles I’d hidden. Argh!
The wedding dinner
The big meal loomed ahead. I wasn’t sure I would get to sleep that night, but Leeann the miracle worker and Paul, who wanted to get some rest, joined me in the kitchen. I wanted everything ready to go so a couple friends could throw it on the serving tables, which were 100% ready, and enjoy the meal themselves. The sides were easy. I filled bowls with potato salad, covered them with plastic wrap and laid a spoon across the top. As I cut watermelon, I also made the jello salad–a family recipe lovingly dubbed “martian vomit.” These went into the frig next to the potato salad in the same way. The rolls went into a straw laundry basket ready to be taken out of plastic bags. The baked beans could be served from the aluminum pans. They were ready to stick in the oven and from there to the table.
The punch was super simple. A 2-liter of clear soda; I used lemon-twist, a half gallon of pink juice; I used Tambico strawberry punch, and a half gallon of strawberry kool-aid ready to go in gallon pitchers. That would be topped with rainbow sherbet after being poured in the punch bowl.
Meanwhile, my brother was smoking the brisket and the pulled pork at his house. We forgot that Juli was doing make up and helping in the kitchen. So we fell behind on the macaroni and cheese, but my Aunt Irene and my Aunt Norma jumped in to help. What would I do without them?
Because we have a lot of gluten-free people, we had to make tthe macaroni and cheese twice and the no wheat kind had to be kept pure. Lots of people want the recipe, though actually that doesn’t matter much. It’s all in the ingredients. Use smoked cheddar and smoked parmesan (labeled Parma in the deli, not the shake kind in the plastic jar). Also, add freshly baked bacon crumbled fine.
Some people may have come to the wedding just for the dinner!
We ate cake!
At my nephew’s wedding, he ordered a gluten free layer in his wedding cake, but it wasn’t labeled and so he couldn’t eat any since he didn’t know which layer was the correct one. To avoid that, I made a separate gluten free cake and labeled it, too!
A dear friend baked, decorated and set up the wedding cake. Jenna had sent her several pictures of what she wanted and Denise put together the perfect combination.
Seed pods stuck to my socks, bits of fire-colored leaves adorned my hair, a pile of over ripe lily heads blanketed the rock ledge and the smell of autumn earth, tired and heavy and pungent, swirled around me. I pulled and pruned and picked my way along. As I stepped over a dying hosta, suddenly a hundred malicious stings pricked my leg from ankle to knee. The swelling redness pointed to a lush green plant with serrated leaves that almost looked like a welcome guest between the echinacea and black-eyed susans.
I rid my garden every other year of this plant, but it creeps back in. Stinging nettles.
I crossed the yard to my vegetable garden. Years ago my mother gave me a few mint plants. Some years they takeover, and other years, I cut them back. I didn’t have many this year, but I found several, stripped the leaves and crushed them in my palm. Then I rubbed them over the stings. The burning sensation vanished on contact.
With my latex garden gloves covering my hands, I returned to the flower garden. The nettles looked unscathed by the recent cold snap. I grasped each plant as close to the root as possible and yanked it out. Then I carried them to the fire pit for extermination.
As the bonfire crackled, I thought how sin imitates nettles. Though I root the plants out, they return to sting me again. They hide their treacherous needles among their pretty leaves.
When I first discovered the nettles, I thought a nest of bees had taken over my garden. My dad recognized them. A year or so later while researching nettles for a rewrite of the fairytale about the princess who knit suits of nettles for her brothers who had become swans, I found that mint relieves the sting. The two often grow close together.
So it is with sin, the cure lies at hand. Calling on Christ for forgiveness brings immediate relief, immediate forgiveness. When I didn’t know the healing power of mint, I spent days in pain from the stings. Now I head immediately for the veggie garden where the mint flourishes. And I have learned, when sin stings, that going immediately to my merciful Father and pleading the shed blood of Christ, brings His gracious forgiveness and removes the sting that once debilitated my soul.
After bloodwork, and ultrasound on her appendix, and various other tests, the doctors still couldn’t figure out what was causing the fever. Tiger stayed in the hospital for several days because she wouldn’t eat or drink enough. My bouncy little girl just lay quietly in bed.
Finally, she started to perk up a bit. We pushed the fluid. At one point she had apple juice, orange juice, grape juice, cranberry juice, milk, water, and sweet tea all lined up on her hospital window sill so I could encourage her to try different liquids if she didn’t like what I offered the first time.
The therapy dogs stopped by, and Tiger told the trainers about Lewis our rescue puppy. A local University Track Team stopped by the children’s wing, and she and Wren both loved the little t-shirts they gave them.
Finally, they gave us permission to take her home.
She loved getting to rest on mommy and daddy’s bed. And, the first two days she was home we had her bed in our room just in case anything happened during the night. Saturday I took her to a follow up appointment with her pediatrician. While we were in the waiting room she began to break out in a rash. Soon, the rash covered her whole body.
“Oh.” said the nurse “she has Roseola.”
Where she caught Roseola we’re still not completely sure. One of the little ones at church had had it a couple weeks before, but we didn’t know of anyone she’d had direct contact with. We were thankful it wasn’t an appendix.
The weeks following that included: my sister’s wedding in Michigan, a round of colds for everyone, and Wren catching the stomach bug. As you can see, it’s been a busy month for us. We’re glad to finally be getting back into a regular routine. And, boy are we hoping we’ve hit our quota on sickness for the rest of the year
As Jenna said, “Aunt Annie can never be allowed to die.” My sister does amazing things to make weddings happen. At my oldest daughter’s wedding, her groom needed a vest to match the wedding colors. None came with his tux. Voila, Aunt Annie whipped one up out of a scrap of bride’s maid gown leftovers. At my oldest son’s wedding, the wind threatened to ruin the backdrop. Aunt Annie had the curtains tied down in no time. At my youngest son’s wedding, the bridesmaids dresses all needed to be altered after the bridal shop didn’t come through. Aunt Annie was sewing them as they put them on.
As wedding coordinator, she compiled all of Jenna’s ideas and wishes, and turned them into an incredible, cohesive, harmonious, stylish reality. No, I am not exaggerating one bit!
When I asked her the secret she said, “Notes, notes, notes and templates.” This is pretty funny considering how many times during phone calls she’d say to me, “Write that down.” And I would. Then I’d lose the list. I lost at least five lists. Even my notebook with lists lost lists (I’d pull out a page and ooops, it was gone.)
Aunt Annie loves to do weddings. She’s incredible at it. I interviewed her after Jenna’s wedding.
Question: A wedding is so overwhelming! Where do you start?
Answer: First I find the bride’s vision. Every bride is different; every family is different. I can start with concrete things like theme, colors, season of the wedding, general style, and so on. The more I pick her brain, the safer my decisions will be. My goal is to make the wedding day be the bride’s day. She should see her vision happen.
Question: What is the next step?
Answer: I push to get decorating started immediately so some basic decisions have to be made quickly. All the decorations have to be done and in place before the wedding day.
Question: What gets the bride’s vision to reality?
Answer: We start conversations about the venue, the ceremony, the date, the time, the reception, the food, the music, the photography, the choice of attendants and all the other items on my template. I keep going back for more. I’m always asking questions. Have you bought your dress yet? What are you doing about shoes? Have the guys ordered their tuxes? How many of the bride’s maids are ready? Are the flower girls wearing matching dresses? Have you contacted any caterers? What are you planning for music? As I get answers, I write them down.
Question: What step comes next?
Answer: As the invitations go out and the big decisions are set, I begin to flesh out the outline for the day. I pull out the needed details. The photo session has to be blocked into the schedule, the actual set up of decorations and rehearsal time, too. I constantly call or text to remind the bride what needs to be done and what items are left. Then I nail down the ceremony itself. Will there be a unity candle? sand ceremony? signing ceremony? music? What order will these be in? And so on. Communication is a huge key to insure nothing falls through the cracks.
Question: What recommendations do you give brides?
Answer: I can’t recommend highly enough doing First Look photos a day or more ahead and as many pictures as possible as far ahead of the actual ceremony as possible. Pictures take a lot of time and the wedding day has only 24 hours in it. If it’s a morning wedding, you have literally no time to work with.
I also recommend combining a bachelor/bachelorette party. It’s so much more fun. If possible, do an activity. Jenna and Emerson made s’mores over a campfire. It was a great way to relax after the rehearsal and rehearsal dinner.
Question: Are there any key ingredients that are popular right now?
Answer: Oh, yes. Every wedding has a statement now. Jenna used her canopy as hers. It was large. It focused the attention in the right spot.
Question: Did you run into any problems with Jenna and Emerson’s wedding?
Answer: No. It went smoothly. We had already worked through the matron of honor’s absence because of her impending delivery.
I am glad we mocked up one table for the reception early. As we worked on it, Jenna changed a few ideas, added some gold mesh under the water bowls, and one last thing really brought it all together. She had a lot of her light pink and gold colors, but no blue. Someone suggested blue napkins at each seat. We wrapped the plasticware and set one at each place. It balanced the decor perfectly.
Question: What problems do you run into the most as a wedding coordinator?
Answer: To take the pressure off the bride, I often change things that possibly could hurt a friend’s feelings, but aren’t part of the vision.
Close in hand comes working with too many people who have or think they have the ability to make final decisions when they don’t.
Question: Can you tell about some of the great things that happened as you coordinated Jenna’s wedding?
Answer: Jenna had fantastic help. Her matron-of-honor Ashley stepped right up to the plate. She worked harder than any matron-of-honor I’ve ever seen. She put up decorations, had great and super-helpful ideas, let us use a lot of needed items from her own wedding, and kept us upbeat under stress.
The church decorator, Julie, also helped a bunch. She turned some of our work into works of art. She really has a great eye for decorating and with just a twist here and a suggestion there, we went from so-so to WOW!
After the wedding, the groomsmen, most of them Emerson’s and Jenna’s brothers, put the church sanctuary back together in record time.Those guys carried pews like they were toy doll furniture!
Then there was the food…
Question: Hold on! That’s next week’s post!
There aren’t enough words to say…
Thank you, sis! You gave my girl a wedding and memories that will last forever.
Jenna changed jobs four weeks before her wedding. Three weeks before the wedding, she traveled about an hour from where she lived for an intense week of training. The following week she finished the training and did a day of on site training. Then she spent a couple days organizing before she finally arrived here to get ready for the wedding. We had about five days to get it all together. But, we also had my sister arriving soon. More about that is coming, just not in this particular post.
Decorating the canopy
Jenna chose a hanging canopy for the platform. She sent the design earlier and I asked my dad, the jack-of-all-trades and master of all of them, too, to look at it. He said, “Of course.” Then he made it happen. He loves all his granddaughters. Good thing none of them have asked for the moon or he would have to become an astronaut.
Jenna and I painted the frame in the backyard of the church, trying not to kill the grass with spilled paint. Since most of it would be covered, it didn’t have to be perfect and once it dried, Jenna loved the look our hurried job created.
We spent an evening covering it with greenery, artificial flowers and twinkle lights. The greenery came from a friend’s wedding, She donated it to the church and it was free for us to use. We finished off the .97 cent flowers from Walmart and planned to hang fresh flowers from fish line and dangle the twinkle lights with them. As Jenna worked, she realized she didn’t like the dangling flower idea. It would cause difficulty when she and her husband-to-be moved to the table to sign their wedding certificate (a ceremony she wanted included) and when they poured the sand at another table for the unity ceremony. We taped the battery packs for the lights on the top and covered them well with greenery, then wound the strings among the flowers and leaves.
The light weight frame still concerned us. Would the fish line hold it? Would the fish line stretch? How were we going to hang it from the cathedral ceiling? Or better question, how big of a ladder would we have to drag up the stairs and onto the platform? Grandpa figured it all out.
Decorating the aisle
Jenna modified her idea in the aisle also. She poured silk rose petals in a long line down each side and then put string balls we made at each pew. A battery operated tea light finished the design. But the bride’s maids insisted she “try out” the walk up the aisle and she discovered that her beautiful but poufy dress sent the balls rolling. The bridesmaids set to work and came up with a new workable design that Jenna loved.
She placed gold painted vases in the windows with white roses and baby’s breath. Everything at the venue was ready. Just the rehearsal, food for the wedding dinner, photos and getting ready on time in the morning awaited.
After a month of pre-term labor and pre-eclampsia, two weeks ago my youngest son’s twins entered the world via cesarian section. Six. Weeks. Early. It’s been a bit earth-shattering. So tiny. So helpless. So beautiful. They gave us long nights of prayer as breathing issues and uncertainty made us hold our own breaths. Our friends and extended family poured out their hearts and prayed with us.
Words can’t describe the joy of being a grandmother again–and these are numbers seven and eight! But I must shout out: Thank you, dear Heavenly Father. Thank you for oxygen tanks. Thank you for NICU units. Thank you for neonatal doctors and amazing nurses. God of creation, thank you for these little lives more precious than riches. Thank you for tiny toes and tiny fingers. Thank you, Lord God, for life!
October is National Pregancy and Infant Loss Awareness month
My middle son lost two babies. What a heart-troubling ache. His other two children, Big Bro and Little Sis, help ease that pain, but children can’t be replaced. Those two that are in Heaven have souls. We will see them one day. How we miss them now.
Thank you, God
Thank you, Father, You who dearly love all little children far more than I can imagine, for keeping all my grandchildren in your mighty hands. My heart overflows with Your blessings, dear Lord.
You may have noticed that the Upstate contingent of this blog has not been posting for a week or two. There’s a reason for that. It has to do with Tiger’s temperature.
Tuesday morning a couple weeks ago Tiger was just fine. She was running around like crazy with her little sister causing mischief and mayhem. That afternoon she woke up from her quiet time screaming. When I went to check on her she felt burning hot. I took her temperature and it was 103.9. I know she has problems with febrile seizures, so I immediately gave her some children’s Tylenol and tried to call our doctor’s office because the temperature was so high and I wanted to check it with a nurse. No one answered. So, I called our insurance nurse careline. The careline always triages calls, so I didn’t get a return call until around an hour later. The nurse said I should take her in to get her checked out.
Well, our doctor’s office had already closed for the day, and there was a minute clinic just around the corner, so I took her there. Despite the children’s Tylenol her temperature was still very very high, and when they took her pulse they were concerned that her heart rate was also pretty high. The nurse recommended the children’s ER… by ambulance. I asked if I could self-transport. The nurse called two different pediatricians and both recommended that we transport by ambulance. I called my husband, and he caught a ride from his mom over to the minute clinic. (We’re a one car family and I had the one car.) He arrived just as the ambulance was about to leave with us and was able to take Wren with him and follow us over to the hospital.
At children’s ER they started running tests, etc… It all took a very long time, as it always seems to. And, around 9:30 pm Tiger seemed to be doing better. The nurse took her temperature and it was normal! She headed out the door, and we were pretty sure we’d be able to head home after this gruelingly long evening at the ER with 2 little ones.
The nurse had no sooner shut the door when Curt called to Tiger. Her eyes had locked. When her eyes lock it’s a sign she’s going into a febrile seizure. Her head slumped forward, and then her arms extended and curled in on themselves. Her mouth clenched. One of the two of us called to the nurses at the desk for help. I think I’m the one who turned her on her side. The room burst with people. Some pulled her bed out from the wall. The wires attaching her to the vital signs flashed 0% oxygen. Her lips turned blue.
It was the first of the seizures my husband had really been present for- though she has had 6 to 7 other seizures in her three years of life. He thought she was dying and began praying out loud for God to save her. I got in near the foot of the bed where I wouldn’t be in the way of the nurses, and began speaking softly to her that I was here. It was ok, we’d take care of her. I sang her special song to her. The one I’ve re-worded so it says her name.
And, much the same way that it started, the seizure left. First softening her arms, then her fingers, jaw, and then releasing her body from its terrifying grip. The nurses continued to work on giving her oxygen because she still was not breathing. Finally, after what seemed to us an eternity, her chest began the slow rise and fall of her lungs filling.
It took the longest time yet for her to come to. After a seizure she’s usually pretty groggy. Her speech slurs, and she’s shaky. And then she falls asleep so her body can recover. It scared me how long the whole process took this time.
Of course, after all of that they weren’t going to have us go home that night. But, it wasn’t until close to 1 am that a bed opened up on the children’s wing.
Stay tuned for more on our hospital visit next week.