Wednesday, April 3, 2013

She said YES!


Oh sure, we wondered, we thought about it, we assumed, but being ever so tactful, we never actually asked if there would one day be a wedding for my daughter and her boyfriend of two+ years, Nick.

I came home one evening and my husband said, "Guess what I'm doing tomorrow," and that could really be anything from fixing the bathroom sink to flying out of town for work, so I just said, "I give up, what?"  "Having lunch with Nick," he said, and that's when we knew.  I told my husband (Scott) to call me right after lunch and tell me everything, including why I wasn't invited.  I could've given him proposal ideas, marriage advice, or any number of helpful tidbits, which Scott explained was possibly the reason why, but I doubt it.  Well, by tootin', by 5:50 the next evening Meredith called and said that Nick had proposed.  We couldn't be happier because he is so sweet and kind and such a hard worker, and he knows how to fix things! That's always a plus, I say.  And he's cute as a button. 

Now it gets hilarious - time to plan the wedding!  Here's where my daughter and I differ just a bit.  She dislikes any kind of attention, and I mean really.  At Christmastime she doesn't even like people watching her open gifts.  I'm guessing when it comes time to walk down the aisle, we'll just have the priest ask everyone to close their eyes.  That should work and not be too weird, right?  

I know things have changed since 26 years ago when I was planning my wedding, but people have been getting married, I'm pretty sure about this, for quite some time.  The basics haven't changed all that much, it's the "fluff" that has taken on a life of its own.  

My sister sent me this article about how Pinterest is taking over weddings and it's just too funny.  Her point being, all those "original" ideas are now predictable and aren't quite so original anymore.  Her comments about cowgirl boots, Mason jars, photo booths, and stick mustaches are right on the money!  And honestly, the first 200 times or so that I saw Mason jars used various ways, I loved it and couldn't wait until we could be Mason-y, but now we may take a pass on that one.*  Kind of like the first time I saw a family/couple/children's photograph taken from behind while they walk down a railroad track/wooded path/flowery lane.  There will be no pictures of me, by choice, from behind.  I'll take a pass on that one, too. Nobody wants to see that, believe me.

I don't want to butt in and take over so I told Meredith, "Please just throw me a bone and let me be in charge of something, even if it's stamps."  Well, she doesn't have a whole lot of interest in all the hulabaloo and said I can be in charge of anything I want to.  I admire her that it's the marriage that she's excited about and spending her life with Nick, not all the fluff, and she's not out to impress anybody which is one of the things I love most about her.  Welllll, OK!  She does need to promise to stop saying, "Who does that!?" and, "What's the point?"  
I work at the library, can you tell?
A few things that I need to get used to that either they didn't have in my day or I never heard of or used them if they did:

1.  "Save the date" cards/magnets/etc.  It's to tell people to clear their calendars and keep the date of the wedding open.  Hmmm... the jury's still out on this one for me.  How about we send them an invitation and if they can make it, great!  I don't want to sound like Meredith, but what's the point?

2.  A wedding website.  I've only seen a couple of these but Meredith and Nick won't even get on Facebook so I knew this was a no and double no.   

3.  Wedding "themes".  This isn't West Side Story or a Disney movie, it's a wedding.  The theme is wedding.  Although, I do have to admit when we were looking at the St. Louis Zoo as a reception venue (so awesome!!), I thought it would be cute if the bridesmaids wore a simple black dress with a zebra or cheetah sash.  So cute, right!?  

4.  Wedding registries have come a long way, baby!  People can now register at Target, Kohl's, Bed Bath & Beyond, you name it.  I love that.  And yes, I've accepted the fact that they can't register for two of something just because I need a new mixer.  I get it, OK!?  I think we should start a new trend ~ the "I've been married for a long time and need new stuff" shower.  

Speaking of registering, this cracked me up ~ I was telling Meredith she needs to think of her colors for their kitchen and bathroom, etc. for when she registers.  She looked at me strangely and said, "Why?"  I told her, "So people know what color towels and stuff to get you," and again she got a puzzled look on her face.  "Who wants certain colors of towels, we just use them to dry off?"  I'm a white towel person so I can kind of understand why she's confused, but that just threw her for a loop that you can register for certain colors of towels, sheets, etc.  Can you tell we haven't had any weddings around here lately?

OH - and I love that now you can register online with your honeymoon destination (great idea!) and memorial & tribute registrations so people can give to a charity chosen by the bride & groom.  Nick's mom passed away several years ago and they were trying to think of something that could contribute in some way to honor her and now they have that option to give their guests.  

5.  Couples showers.  I love the "idea" but the reality is that the wedding is basically a place to get something for the couple.  Gifts for men are expensive, except alcohol, and that's awkward when you don't know someone's beliefs.  These are usually young people and the girls have already spent money on a bridesmaid's dress and probably a bridal shower or two.  Maybe because I've never met a guy that thought the idea of a shower sounded like fun, it's influencing my thought process on this.

6.  Father-daughter dances that start off slow and turn into some disco boogie spectacular.  Again, funny the first 100 times, now eh, not so much.

7.  Photo trends.  I remember for our engagement going to JCPenney and they took a few couples shots and we were finished.  Nowadays they're done "on location" and there are dozens and dozens.  That got a pretty quick "No" from Meredith so I told her why don't I just take them?  I've got a great camera and we can go to a park nearby and get a few shots and be done with it.  She agreed to that but only wants a few.  Yes, Miss Minimalist, I know.  

One thing that is everywhere you turn, is a heart made out of either your fingers, your intertwined hands, or even your wedding guests in the parking lot or a nearby field.   

There's one trend I love but I know won't happen.  It's a picture of the bride and groom before the wedding each standing around a corner from each other holding hands.  Awww, presh!  It won't happen, I know that, but I do have another daughter so maybe someday.  I can say with 99% certainty there also won't be any cutesie shots of all the bridesmaids jumping in the air or anything that looks like them trying to pull back the groom who looks like he's trying to escape. 

8.  Party favors.  It seems like now at every wedding there is a party favor of some kind at each seat.  If they did this in my day I don't remember it, but I love this idea!  Meredith and Nick would rather donations be made, but I think it would be fun to do both.  

9.  Late-night food.  More and more lately we're seeing a late-night refresher of food for the reception guests.  And by late-night, I mean like 10.  Anything from pizzas, to White Castle, to fries & Coke, you name it.  One article I read was how to keep people at your reception to the end and food was one of the ideas.  Why are you trying to keep people from leaving if they want to go, I don't get it?  It's funny because I know, as a bride, I just assumed everyone was as excited about my wedding as I was.  

10.  Last but not least, one trend that I don't even think they know is a trend, but was the first thing Meredith wanted at the reception...a hot dog bar.  Not that hot dog bars are a trend, but food bars of any kind are showing up everywhere - pasta bars, cheesecake bars, mashed potato bars (that I did for a dinner at Nick's one time), burgers, sundaes, and on and on.  

Simple is the name of her game for reception food ~ hot dog bar, three kinds of pizza, chicken wings, and a few other goodies.  It was worth it just to see the look on my mom's face when we told her there was going to be a hot dog bar at the reception.  Don't worry, it'll all be on china plates and served with total class.  It's going to be a fun experience seeing things through Meredith's eyes ~ it's already opened my eyes to how much hype and over-doing there is going into weddings these days.  It's a (hopefully) once in a lifetime event, so I think you need to have fun, make it beautiful, and enjoy your day and soak up every moment of it. 

*Let me put in a disclaimer here that by saying I do or don't like something doesn't mean I'm right or wrong or that someone else shouldn't do it or have it. I don't care how anyone does his/her wedding or pictures or reception.  If you want a monkey marrying you upside-down from a tree holding a banana, you should have that because it's YOUR wedding. That's what makes everyone's wedding special - because it's unique for that couple.  Understated or over-the-top, it's your day.  What matters is the happily-ever-after and how you prepare for that.  And who knows, by the time all is said and done, Meredith may be wearing a stick mustache and posting all about her and Nick on their wedding website.  Anything is possible.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Unexpected Surprise

I would say one of the small pleasures in life is a fun mail day, wouldn't you?  When I see a letter or card with a handwritten address, I know it's something special.  I've never gotten a handwritten letter from the IRS when it's tax time saying, "Hi there, long time no see ~  The kids have passed around a nasty head cold and the wife got a facelift, but just wanted to remind you that your taxes are due, you goose.  All my love to Scott and the kids.  Sincerely, Uncle Sam."  Nope, never got one.  

The other day my husband got the mail and the poor thing never gets fun mail so he took out what he needed and tossed the rest on the kitchen table.  Later on, I saw a letter addressed to me and said, "Hey, you didn't tell me I got fun mail," and he said, "Oh yeah, you got something in the mail."  Uh huh.  I noticed it was from my nephew, Tim, who is 15 and is a freshman in high school.  I just had to share this letter, which will go down for me as the finest letter in the history of letterdom (you can click to enlarge it - I think):
Suffice it to say, I didn't realize I'd need a box of Kleenex next to me.  Scott and I are Tim's godparents and Scott was Tim's sponsor in Confirmation, so getting this from him was not only special but a complete surprise.  I called him up the next day after I'd regained a certain amount of composure, and he was like, "Hi, Aunt Beth," and I told him how sweet the letter was and if I die a multi-millionaire I'd put him in the will and leave him at least $10, and it just meant so much to me, and on and on.  All he kept saying was, "Uh huh...uh huh...OK, I'll talk to you later."  I'm like, "What are you doing!?" and he said, "Watching the football game with my cousin Jeremy."  OK, that's boring.

The little funny part of the letter was this part:

I feel like that may need a bit of explanation.  When my kids were younger, I babysat my nephews and a couple of close friends' children.  As they grew up, Tim was the youngest, and was the only one I had to pick up from school.  By then my kids were in high school and driving themselves.  So MAYBE once or a few times, I got a call from Tim or the school saying to come pick him up.  My nephews and my kids all went to the same school, so I'd been going up there for years.  When the phone rang, I'd hear, "Hi Beth, it's Sister Joan (the secretary - not to be confused with Sister Joan the principal, although she has called, too)" and as soon as I heard her voice, I knew.  EEEEK!!!!  

And there may have been one time when he was in a car seat and I dropped the kids off at school and got out in the parking lot to stand next to the car as they walked in (like every mom did), and one of them hit the lock button on accident and Tim was in his carseat...locked in my minivan...with it running.  I was standing right there!  Scott had to drive 20 minutes home from work to open the car, but he's pretty easy-going and didn't seem to mind ~ only one of us is allowed to freak out at a time, and as usual it wasn't him.  I kept talking to Tim and waving and he'd just laugh and wave back.  Not my proudest moment.  Every parent driving by, "Everything OK?" Me, "Oh yeah, we just locked him in a running car."  Them, "Oh no, can I help?"  Me, "Sure, go get me a doughnut."  

The school closed a few years ago and so the students went to a different school down the road and Tim was now old enough to stay home alone and was in a carpool.  Well one day the grandparents picked up the kids (of the carpool family) and they figured Tim had gotten another ride.  Nope.  I got a call from my brother (or sister-in-law, I don't remember) asking if I could go get Tim and explained the situation.  When I got there, I told him, "Aww, Tim, isn't this special, it reminds me of when I used to forget you at the other school."  At least he laughed and he's not traumatized from it.  I don't think.  

The best part is that when I'm sad or feel under-appreciated, I can get out this note and remember, even if it was for a class assignment, I was somebody's hero in their mind, even if it was just that day.  This, I won't forget.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Come on over ~

Today I'm doing a guest post at my friend Mary Ann's blog, A Joyful Chaos, and I'd love for you to join me there.  If you're a fan of the Amish, I've written a post about some Amish in our area.  


Mary Ann's blog chronicled her journey from a little Amish girl up through her adulthood.  She's now a married mama of four and is no longer Amish, but she's always got fun and interesting posts ~ you'll love it if you haven't been there already.  Oh!  And she's also got a children's Amish fiction series of books coming out soon that you can pre-order here.  Enjoy!

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

This is for the birds...

I'm a giver.  That's all I have to say.  My backyard got the cutest new addition this past weekend and it's like the little cherry on top of an otherwise boring backyard sundae.  You have to understand, our backyard is like the "BEFORE" picture on one of those outdoor makeover shows - sort of a blank canvas.  We have a half-hill back there and years ago my husband dug out a huge area and put in a deck.  We have a half retaining wall with steps leading up to the deck.  The potential is limitless - I get a little thought bubble above my head, gaze into the sky, and see little waterfalls going down the hill, and fish ponds, and a game area up top - perfect for Jarts (are those still around or are they a weapon now or something?), or washers, or horseshoes.  Then I see the yard filled with friends and family and cute drinks with umbrellas and appetizers with frilly toothpicks.  Then I shake my head, snap back into reality, and go back inside.   Someone remind me to call HGTV when I'm finished here.  

We haven't done too much to the backyard because we have the intention of moving (sometime in this life) and our upgrades have been focused on the inside.  I just love the little, simple touches that make things look homey on the outside as well though.  


I'm going to give my husband credit for all his hard work, but I also have to thank Pinterest.  I'm pretty sure it was about 185 degrees out but I didn't mind - I was inside eating Spicy Buffalo Wheat Thins (not bad, by the way) and drinking Diet Pepsi - and Scott (my husband) seems oblivious to hot days.  I don't even like to go get the mail when it's that hot out, but that's neither here nor there.  

Anyway, one day while I was browsing Pinterest, I saw this simple, cute little birdbath gardenette.  That's my made-up word for a little garden around a birdbath:
.
Photo courtesy of Kristen's Creations blog, which is adorable

I have a new birdbath and I showed Scott the picture of that gardenette and was saying what a cute, simple idea it was, and wouldn't whoever got to look at that every day be the luckiest, least crabby person ever?   "Oh yeah, that is cute!  I'm glad you found super cute things for me to do on my day off!" was his reply.  Or maybe he just nodded while he was looking through the mail.  I can't remember.  Either way, he went to the store this weekend and came home with this:
And the project began to unfold...


He even picked out the flowers...
Getting cuter...
Filling the birdbath (I didn't even tell him it was a little crooked...yet)
It's finished!!

Ahhh - SUCCESS!  Our first customer...

The birds are happy and got a clean place to take a bath and get a drink, Scott got a great workout (and an awesome tan), the neighbors like looking over and got a cute new view, and I got an adorable update to my backyard.  I'm glad I was able to give a little bit of happiness to all involved.  It's nice being a giver (wink).  He hasn't said anything, but I think Scott is secretly hoping I can find more projects that are able to help so many. ;)  Have a wonderful week!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Hodgepodge - just for fun

This is my first time joining in on the Wednesday hodgepodge but I thought it looked like fun so why not?  Clicking on the link above will take you to the original post and you can join in if you'd like.  

1. It's that most wonderful time of the year...tax season! Do you complete your own returns or farm that job out to the professionals?

We do our own taxes, and by "we" I mean not me.  Scott does the taxes because he's a numbers man and did taxes on the side up until a couple years ago.  I'm not sure he'd say it was "fun" but I don't think he minds it.  I like to help by making plans for our refund $$ - if we get some.  

2.  Which do you think has changed you more-love or pain?  

Hmm, that's a good question.  I would have to say pain.  Loving comes pretty easily for me but dealing with pain is tough stuff (as it is for everybody, I know).  That's not always a bad thing though.   My faith was strengthened (and continues to do so) during the trying times, I've gained a lot of empathy for people by going through things myself, I'm less judgmental of others, and I've gotten tougher in areas where I needed to.  The flip side is that because of love, the pain has changed me.  So there's a pretty thin line there.  

3.  Tangerine Tango has been named color of the year for 2012. Your thoughts? Would I find this color anywhere in your house? How about in your closet? If not, will you be adding this color to your life in someway in 2012? If you're not sure what tangerine tango looks like click here.

Well, I'll be, I didn't even know there was a color of the year.  My thoughts...Why is there a "color of the year"?  You won't believe this, but I actually DO have that color in my house...
My daughter's bedroom is about as orange as they come, so I'd have to say that's Tangerine Tango.  She's 22 now and it's been this color since she was a teenager so I know a room-painting project is on our horizon but since she's hardly ever home these days, it's pretty low on the list.  We let her pick the color and I had visions of how many cute things we could do with it but not much came of that.  Not long after we painted, my mom gave me a magazine article that talked about how people who liked orange were happy people, so I felt better about the whole thing, and she is a happy girl, but wowza, I'm much more boring than that.  Oh, and the other orange (I mean Tangerine Tango) thing I have...
...my purse for the Fall.  

4.  Are you a collector? What do you collect and does it get admired, used, and/or dusted regularly?

This is a yes/no answer because I don't consider myself a collector.  However, I've become an accidental cookbook collector over the years and I used to collect Precious Moments.  Remember when those were popular?  Wait, are they still popular?  I don't know, but I don't collect them anymore.  They're all together in my curio cabinet.  I like any kind of cookbook and try and get one from anyplace special where we go, and if it's new or different (or very old) then all the better.  Yes, they get used all the time.  Now that I think about it, I also collect very old books - on any topic.  I might have to do a post about those sometime.  They do get dusted regularly, but not used too often.  I'd like to start a $20 bill collection, so if anyone would like to send me one (or more) I'd love to add them to my collection ~ US currency only, please. :D

5. February is National Heart Month...besides a green salad what is one heart healthy dish you like to prepare?

I have to admit, I don't know which foods specifically are heart healthy.  If salmon is, then I'd have to say that.  Scott does a great sauce for salmon with wasabi and soy sauce and brown sugar - SO good.  That might take away it's healthiness though, I don't know.  I eat a lot of oatmeal with walnuts and blueberries, so maybe that counts!  

6.  When was the last time you had car trouble?

I think the last time I had car trouble was over the summer.  It was going to cost more to fix our minivan than it was worth so we ended up getting a new car (I was ready to be out of the minivan stage of my life).  I'm not a car person and am happy if I can get from point A to point B, so "shopping" for a car didn't interest me.  I think I used the term "torture" somewhere along the line.  I told Scott I'd go find something while he was at work and we'd pick it up after he got off.  I got a "no" there, so then I told him to just go pick something out and I'll follow him up later and we can pick it up.  Again with the "no".  Apparently he doesn't realize the amount of trust I have in him regarding boring things like cars.  It all worked out and so far, so good with the new one.

7.  Have you been more demanding on yourself lately or less? Is that a good trend?

I've been less demanding on myself lately and that is NOT a good trend for me.  I'm playing Words With Friends way too much and not getting other things around the house finished.  Starting now (or maybe later) I'm going to be a bit more demanding of myself so that I do some unfinished projects around here and get some more blog posts posted.  

8.  Insert your own random thought here.

It's been a very mild winter here in the Midwest and I'm actually missing some good old snow.  I don't mean "slide all over the road ice/sleet" kind of stuff, but the pretty snowfalls that just make you sigh and enjoy the beauty of it.