Tag Archives: weddings

What I’m Into: March 2015

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Techie
OverDrive was one of my new iOS apps this month. It was my first audiobook app and I am loving it. With OverDrive, I can check out free audiobooks and ebooks from my local library with my library card. When I check out an ebook, I can select the Kindle format and download the library book right from the Amazon website. I really, really like libraries and technology so this has been a highlight of my month!

Travel
During the second half of spring break, Brian and I traveled to visit his parents and mine for a couple days each. While we were in his hometown, we caught up with his sister and two cousins over delicious homemade tacos. In my hometown, we joined my parents’ Friday night college study and helped out with behind-the-scenes work for the wedding of a couple former students. It was a busy end to the week, but lots of fun!

Products
I tried Tazo Sweet Cinnamon Spice Tea from my mom’s collection while we were visiting and it is delightfully cinnamon-y and very sweet. To my surprise, some of our college students tried and raved about it, too!

Since I caught a rare sale on Tazo teas at my grocery store, I tried Tazo Wild Sweet Orange Tea. It tastes like an herbal version of Tang when it is hot, but I have enjoyed it most when I make it iced. (1 tea bag + 2 cups hot water for 10-15 minutes, then remove tea bag and pour over ice. Delicious!)

Entertainment
On Netflix: On the one-year anniversary of the series finale of Psych, I rewatched the last two episodes. That finale is one of my favorite series finales ever!

Around the House
Over spring break, Brian and I built Cola a sandbox. I jokingly called it “a life-sized Zen garden” because the more she digs there, the more “Zen” the rest of our yard will be.
 Our Life-sized Zen Garden

Reading 
I liked The Nesting Place by Myquillyn Smith because it supports and expands on the homemaking philosophy I try to cultivate: I am a perfectionist and my home is never perfect and I am not a perfect hostess. I have to make a conscious effort to not strive for perfection in my home or my “entertaining” because “perfect” does not feel welcoming or comfortable. Trying for “perfect” also really stresses me out.

I know, I know, how have I never read The Giver (Lois Lowry) before this month? I have known about it for decades and always intended to read it someday. When I first began trying out Overdrive, I saw the audiobook available for check-out and jumped at the chance. I liked the imaginative, detailed story of an unusual boy growing up in a dystopian, homogeneous society. My favorite part was the way the story unfolds primarily from the boy’s point of view, even though an adult reader can read between the lines and guess what may be coming.

I also used Overdrive to check out the eBook of Nowhere to Hide by Sigmund Brouwer. This is an engaging young adult mystery starring three teenaged boys whose cleverness gets them into and out of crisis after crisis. A prevailing question from the main character, King, “When is it okay to lie?” is also the theme of the plot. If you read it, keep in mind that almost every character lies at some point in the story.

Blog
I posted my opinion of Trello Gold after using it for almost a month.

What are you into this month?

I am linking up with Leigh Kramer to share what I’ve been into lately.

Disclosure: Affiliate links are included in this post. If you click through, any purchase you make supports this site.

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Wedding Collages

We do not have our official wedding photos back yet but here are some of our favorite informal ones!

Wedding Party Collage
Clockwise from the top left:
1. Groomsmen looking sharp: Mark, Chris, Clay (the best man), and Ben.
2. Cool, secret-agent-like ushers: Luke, Brian, Conner, and Cliff.
3. Lovely bridesmaid (and new sister-in-law!) Shanna.
4. Beautiful bridesmaid Laura.
5. Officiant Jon, looking relaxed.
6. Us with our attendants and ushers, looking a bit formal.
7. Personal attendant Rene, a rock star at organizing and assisting (note the way she easily holds three phones, a water cup, and a bouquet!)
8. Glowing matron of honor Sara (my favorite biological sister)

Wedding FunLeft to right from top left:
1 & 2. Getting dressed: Mom safety-pinned my dress straps because she did not trust the snaps. She told me to have someone check them if I felt anything tear or give way. Sara added that I should get help if I felt stabbing or bleeding and we cracked up.

3. Mom kisses Ben, my brother, after helping with his boutonniere.

4. Clay is a good sport about getting drafted to hold a bouquet.

5. My side of the family.
6. Brian’s side of the family. Interestingly, both grandmas pictured are on our dad’s sides, are named Ruth, and were born January 17 (one year apart)! Crazy, huh?

7. One of Brian’s favorite wedding day photos of me. I was laughing at the groom and groomsmen antics while they were posing for photos.

8. Josh, my brother-in-law, with Eli, my nephew. Eli’s ensemble is a white onesie with attached gray vest and purple tie because my sister is creative and handy with sewing! She added a purple band to his favorite hat (because he doesn’t like sun in his eyes or sunglasses).

9. Wedding party picture. I think our instructions were something like, “Okay, now act silly… or really excited… or something.”

10. Brian with his grandma Ruth.

11. The five of us girls grew close during our years in senior high girls’ Bible study with Andrea, our youth pastor’s wife. When the first one of us got married in 2007, we decided this photo would have to be our special tradition. Five years later, this was the fifth wedding.

12. Jon prays with the bridesmaids and me right before the ceremony begins. He told me, “This has been the most relaxed, special, fun wedding.”

13. A kiss from Dad as we wait around the corner from the sanctuary.

14. A high five from my brother, Luke, right before he and Conner open the doors for our entrance.

15. “You may kiss your bride.” At the reception, a dear, long-time family friend quizzed me, “I have to ask, was that a first kiss? Like, the first kiss?”

I smiled, “Um, no. It wasn’t.”

“Dang, I lost a dollar!”

16. My parents kissing after we drove away in a shower of bubbles.

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Wedding Rehearsal Adventures

The day before our wedding was hot but cooled off a little in the late afternoon when thunderstorms rolled in. As we gathered for the rehearsal, my dad warned everyone we may have to take shelter because the storms were likely to produce tornados. My response was something like, “Okay, let us know if we have to move.”

We ended up having to take shelter twice in two of the church bathrooms (there were two consecutive storms or one big one with two parts). The second storm was the biggest and Dad had us take cover in the shelters right before the city tornado sirens sounded. (A storm-wary dad with a smart phone is better than a weather radio and faster than tornado sirens!)

While we were in the shelters/bathrooms the second time, the power went out. Eventually, the worst of the storm passed and we emerged to a dark church and flooded parking lot (as far as I know, no vehicles were damaged).

Taking shelter with friends & family

Taking shelter with friends & family

WeddingRehearsal2

Tornado buddies Gram & Eli (a.k.a. my mom & nephew)

Conveniently, we had planned to have the rehearsal dinner in the fellowship hall and the lasagna stayed warm in the ovens. There was still no power, though, so the hall was very dark. I saw someone start lighting tea lights on the tables and realized I had better candles. I recruited my brother-in-law, an usher, and a friend to help me get most of the pillar candles decorating the sanctuary and put them around the dinner tables.

One of the guests seemed surprised, “These are your wedding candles! Are you sure you want to use them?”

“Oh, sure! They won’t burn down much. At my sister’s wedding, we burned the pillar candles all day and barely made a dent.”

Before dinner was over, the power came back on. As people finished eating, Brian stood up to thank everyone. His speech began something like, “Abby and I would like to thank everyone for being a part and – oh, we have a fire!” By the time his sentence registered in my brain, he was already at a nearby table, snatching a burning paper napkin and dropping it on the floor to put it out. Everyone was fine and I found out later that one of the kids had been playing with a tea light. Poking a candle with a paper napkin is not advisable!

Brian finished his thank-you speech and we wrapped up the rest of the evening without further incidents. As Brian drove me to my apartment, I told him, “After what happened today, I think there’s something we need to discuss that most couples don’t think about.”

“What’s that?”

“If we have to take shelter during our wedding tomorrow, I’m not waiting anymore, I’d want Jon to marry us in the shelter.”

“I don’t think there are any storms forecasted for tomorrow.”

“I don’t care. If there’s another tornado, will you marry me in the shelter?”

He laughed, “Yes. Maybe we could stand with Jon between the two bathrooms and finish the ceremony there so people could see from both sides!”

What’s your funniest or most memorable rehearsal story? Ours is a tornado, a flood, a power outage, and a fire!

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Catching Up

I am back from my semi-unintentional three-month vacation from blogging! Here is a summary of what has been going on in my life. What have you been up to this summer?

April/May

At the end of April, a school where Brian applied in Oklahoma called for an interview. He had three rounds of interviews for one teaching job in May while preparing for our wedding.

At work, I wrote and updated what felt like 100 pages of procedures and trained people to cover my job. Let me tell you, it is challenging to explain how to analyze information I have handled automatically for the past eight years! My last day as a factory accountant was May 29 and we still did not know whether we would be living in GB or Oklahoma when we returned from the honeymoon.

June

We rehearsed, got married, and went on our honeymoon without major catastrophes. (There are fantastic stories and photos to go with each of those experiences, so they will have separate posts later.)

At the end of our honeymoon, we found out the Oklahoma job was offered to someone else. For three weeks, we prepared to live in GB and started packing my whimsical, single girl apartment with its lavender living room, sunshine-yellow kitchen, and royal purple doorway.

We made a home-hunting trip to GB again and bought a ranch-style house (more details in a separate post). Closing was mid-July, so we lived in Brian’s bachelor pad apartment for three weeks while he taught summer school in the afternoons.

July

We closed on our house and moved everything from both apartments. We are still sorting and finding places for things and decorating (it will take a while!).

We are preparing for student ministry kick-off as college students return for the fall semester.

Side note: I updated my blog header, The List, and About today and have more stories on the way!

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Lows & Highs: 4/17-4/30/13

Lows:
1) I started drafting a tentative schedule for the day of the wedding and it looked like I would have to start getting ready at 6:30 a.m. (which seems far too early).  Brian and I talked about what truly matters to us on the schedule, though, and pared it down so I can start at seven. I know it is only 30 minutes later, but it seems much more reasonable in my mind.

2) I went clothes shopping by myself, spent hours trying on lots of stuff, and did not find garments that fit well. I finally stopped for a hazelnut Americano and a blueberry scone when I realized I was tired, frustrated, and hungry. I felt much better after that.

Highs:
1) Brian and I met up with our good friends, Jon and Priscilla, for dinner and our last scheduled premarital counseling meeting before the wedding. (Jon is going to be our officiant.) Since we had not seen them in weeks, we had a good visit with lots of catching up on plans and travels.

2) I went shopping for wedding and reception decor and found everything I was looking for that day at very reasonable prices!

3) I tried on my wedding dress for my first fitting and it looked even better than I remembered! In addition, jewelry I already have looks terrific with it.

What were your lows and highs from the past week?

Lows & Highs is a Stories from the Stairs weekly feature. Feel free to join in by posting your lows and highs in the comments or by posting a link to your lows and highs blog post.

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Lows & Highs: 4/17-4/23/13

Low: By the end of the day on Saturday, I felt as stuffed as if I had spent the whole day gorging on delicious food (which is true!). That is not much of a low but it is what I have!

Highs:
1) With the help of our mom, my sister planned and hosted the best wedding shower I have ever attended. (And I am not just saying that because it was mine!) She took all my “It would be fun if…” suggestions and blended them with her creativity to make a fun, laid-back shower. We invited ladies of all ages and let the youngest girls volunteer to be models for the toilet paper wedding dress game. I am not sure whether they had more fun letting us older ladies dress them up or tearing off the toilet paper at the end! We had delicious brunch food and a coffee/tea bar with my favorite homemade gingerbread syrup, too.
Shower1Collage
2) On Saturday afternoon, our group of five girls met up for coffee since the three out-of-towners were here for the shower. (We have been close since we were in senior high girls Bible study together). We caught up on new details and enthusiastically chatted about weddings, babies, pregnancy, husbands, and whether it is easier to parent boys or girls. (So far there are three sons in our group with another expected in May, so none of us really know.)

5 Girls April 2013

What were your lows and highs from the past week?

Lows & Highs is a Stories from the Stairs weekly feature. Feel free to join in by posting your lows and highs in the comments or by posting a link to your lows and highs blog post.

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Simple, Summery, & Fun

Wedding Planning2

Have you ever planned a wedding? Boy, can it be a lot of work!

I have attended, helped plan, and bridesmaid-ed lots of weddings, so I’ve seen how much work wedding planning can be. Now that we are planning our own wedding, Brian and I have a philosophy that the important thing is the two of us committing to each other before God and the rest is just a party with people who care about us.

We want to enjoy our brief season of being engaged and to spend the majority of our time preparing for a lifetime of marriage instead of for a one-day wedding.

Early in planning, I told him, “I think we need to communicate clearly about what’s important to each of us. If neither one of us has a strong opinion about something, we should pick the simplest, least expensive option or eliminate it altogether. Like, if neither of us care what kind of mints we have at the reception, maybe we shouldn’t have mints.”

“I agree and I don’t really care about mints.”

“Okay, bad example. I care and we’re having cream cheese mints.”

For some reason, he laughed really hard.

We still laugh about that conversation, but it greatly simplified the planning. For example:

  • Our theme (wedding themes are trendy, right?) is simple, summery, and fun.
  • Decorations will be cute but minimal and I will probably delegate them to friends who are better at it than I am.
  • We are having an afternoon wedding because more people will be able to make it a day trip.
  • Plus, a cake reception lets us include more people on our budget than a dinner. (We are going to have a light lunch of party subs and chips and fruit with our family and wedding party between photos and the ceremony, though.)
  • We made our guest list in a spreadsheet so we (read: my mom) could do a mail merge to print address labels with minimal effort. The invitations do not require any folding or assembling, so we will just stick them in envelopes.
  • We chose music we like but that is not particularly traditional for weddings.
  • We will have our favorite cake flavors (lemon and red velvet) and some of our favorite drinks (iced tea and peach Italian soda).

Do you have any ideas for simplified wedding planning?

If you need a fun, talented photographer in the Tulsa, Oklahoma area, check out Keri (she didn’t ask me to say that). She is our engagement/wedding photographer and I really like her!

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Engagement Party

20130222-112954.jpg

Brian’s aunt and uncle hosted a lovely, fun engagement party for us. We were able to introduce several of our family and relatives for the first time and everyone seemed to have a terrific time!

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A Baby, A Wedding, & A PSA*

The past week – really most of October – held one major milestone after another.

I met Eli, my nephew, for the first time last weekend. Meeting my first nephew or niece is a milestone I have been looking forward to for years and I loved every minute!

In my head, I know no one is perfect but this boy is pretty darn close. He is pretty content as long as he can have one hand up by his face.

I also celebrated the wedding of two dear friends last week. I am thrilled for them, especially since I will get to see Veronica more now that we live in the same town!

This sweet girl is one of my favorite young friends. Her dad was my youth pastor in high school and her mom led the senior high girls’ Bible study. They live in Georgia now, so I don’t get to see them as often as I would like but we sat together at the reception and hit the dance floor for all sorts of fun!

Not a milestone but I did snap this photo of a brown recluse spider stuck in my bathroom sink. Note the violin-shaped spot on its back? That is how you can tell it is a brown recluse. They are poisonous to humans and should be avoided. If you are bitten by one, seek medical attention right away. This concludes the “big sister PSA” portion of Insta-Friday. Thank you and have a good weekend!

Question for you: What would you like to advise/warn people about? Post your own PSA in the comments.

*PSA stands for Public Service Announcement.

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31 Days of Random Questions – Day 28

I really thought I had today’s post all written and scheduled to post at 6:00 a.m… It has been a busy weekend with meeting my nephew for the first time, partying at a wedding (where I saw no bouquet throwing!), taking a four-hour road trip, and catching up with two different friends. I have had a marvelous time! Bonus question: How was your weekend?

Actual question I intended for Day 28: What is one smell that brings back a childhood memory?

The smell of coconut reminds me of sunscreen and summer and swimming at the lake or pool. As far as I remember, all sunscreen smelled like coconut in the 80’s and early 90’s. To this day, that olfactory trigger is why I avoid coconut-flavored drinks. They taste the way sunscreen smelled.

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