Friday, December 31, 2010

2010-Our Year End Review

January-Our annual ski trip took 15 friends to Park City, Utah! We had record snowfalls that resulted in a couple great days of skiing. We spent the 3rd day driving snowmobiles in blizzard like conditions and outrunning avalanches!

February-A fabulous photographer and even more fabulous person, Nicole Neff, took our engagement photos! What better place to have photos of two snow loving people than on the slopes of Paoli Peaks! After a day of skiing, we changed out of our ski gear and had Nicole snap shot after shot. I have to say rosy cheeks are a good look in photos! Happy Engagement indeed!

March-I ran my first race! Years ago, for some reason I told Scott I wanted to run in a race.  He became my trainer as we prepared for my first 7k. I know that isn’t much, but when you’re a girl who has only ran to escape wildlife, running a 7k is a feat! Scott was with me step by step. I felt so great (and exhausted) as we crossed the finish line together!

April-After a visit from the Easter Bunny, Scott and I headed to St. Louis to spend the weekend with friends. We attended the longest Cardinals game in the history of all Cardinal games. By the 20th inning, we were done! We also attended a Super Cross event which I really enjoy!!! Who knew watching a motorcycle race could be so entertaining?

May-This month brought lots of wedding activities! I had the most perfect and beautiful bridal shower at Rhea’s house. My beautiful bridesmaids did a wonderful job and I was so happy to have the people I care about all together. Scott and I took a quick trip to Cincinnati to help our friend Michelle move back to Evansville. Mom, Rhea & I packed our bags and headed to VEGAS!!! We took in all the sights, saw “O,” shopped till we dropped, and visited a club or two.

June-We loaded up Hotel Tacoma and headed to Bonnaroo!!  Kenneth and Michelle joined us and despite the heat, we had a fabulous time!  We learned that KOL isn't that great live, but Jay-Z and Stevie Wonder are amazing performers!  This year, Blazing Saddles beat out Jackie's Oar House and took the first place trophy at the annual Dragon Boats on the Ohio event.  This month was also my final dress fitting!  The next time I put the dress on, it will be our wedding day!!!!

July-The Hemenway's headed to Jackson Hole, our favorite place on earth!  Scott and his boys met us out there shortly after.  We spent the week hiking through the Tetons, Yellowstone, and throwing a fabulous rehearsal dinner.  That Friday, 7/16/2010, Scott and I got married!!!!  I'm sure I'm a little biased, but it was the most beautiful, personalized, relaxed, fun wedding I have EVER been to!  The most important thing, our friends and family were there to celebrate with us. 

August-I officially moved my belongings into "our" home!!!  The month was spent setteling in as man and wife and celebrating our first month of marriage.  Scott also took a new job!    Nothing like throwing a couple life changing events in a few short months!

September-My birthday!!  Scott and my family helped celebrate my 30th birthday with a week of events.  We also headed to Missouri to enjoy a long weekend of camping and floating down the Huzzah. 

October-A month of visits to the Dr. and unexplainable medical issues.  The worst month of the year (or our lives) by far.  Also the point where Scott and I realized the fragility of life and that anything can happen.  I also realized (yet again) that I married a very supportive and loving man. 

November-Scott surprised me with a much needed weekend getaway to Nashville!  We watched Ben Folds play with the Nashville Symphony.  It was beautiful!!!  Mom and I also headed to Indy for a little girl time and shopping.  We celebrated a wonderful Thanksgiving with our families and gave thanks for everything we have. 

December-Merry Christmas!!! A month of good food, wrapping paper, and ribbons flew by.  Scott and I cut down our Christmas tree and spent our first Christmas as husband and wife.  We plan on bringing in the new year dressed as a 1930's showgirl and her professional chess player of a boyfriend.  Pictures to be posted soon!

Good-bye 2010!  You have been an incredible year that will be remembered in a variety of ways.  We look forward to meeting 2011 and seeing all the happiness and excitment it has in store for us.  To all of our friends and family, we love and appreciate each of you.  Thank you for joining us on the ride of our lives in 2010.  We look forward to spending time in the new year with you.  May we each have the health, happiness and love that we each deserve!  Until next year...
Love, The Fishers     

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Monday, December 6, 2010

Hooray for Boobies!!

Today I had the opportunity to have my first mammogram.  For those not of the female species, a mammogram is a digital or x-ray picture of the breast to check for breast cancer.  Here's how my mammogram went;

Nurse: Hi Kara, go ahead and remove your top and bra.  Please put this gown on leaving your chest area uncovered.
Me: Ok
Nurse: Do you have small ones?
Me: Yes
Nurse: How many?
Me: Wait, what did you ask me?
Nurse: Do you have any kids?
Me: Oh!  No I don't.  I thought you were asking about something else.
Not kidding. I turned 3 lovely shades of red and didn't say much the rest of the time.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

An Abundance of Thanks

Waking up on Thanksgiving morning, a sleepy smile could be found on my face. We were lucky enough to sleep in a few hours before beginning the festivities. Scott and I had been up until midnight the night before baking and preparing dishes for Thanksgiving lunch and dinner. My pumpkin roll which typically looks less than edible turned out perfectly for the first time ever.

As we drove the 45 minutes to my parent’s house in Boonville, Scott and I took the opportunity to reminisce on our past four months of marriage. Our wedding day and week to follow will forever be one of the highest points in our life. In the couple months that followed, we hit the opposite end of the spectrum as we dealt with medical issues and a loss. We weathered the ups and downs and came out more educated on topics we wish we weren’t. We leaned and supported one another and learned that time and love is the best medicine for pain. I am thankful to have this husband that can provide for me in all ways; mentally, physically, and emotionally.

As we arrived at my parents, we were greeted with hugs and kisses. Both Scott and I are very lucky to have been raised in homes with a loving and supportive mom and dad. At the age of 30, we are still able to go in our childhood homes and be welcomed with open arms by both our parents. Those tight family bonds created the daughter, sister and wife I have become today.

It was a smaller gathering than normal as Rhea is at the other end of the world and gram and gramps are at my uncle's house. Even though my grandparents weren't seated at the table with us this year, they weren't far from my mind. I am so thankful for the minutes I am given with them. Growing up, it was my grandparents that took us to Florida every year. My grandmother would sit under an umbrella on the beach while my grandfather fished for dinner.

Every Sunday, we drove 45 minutes to Lincoln City to have lunch with them. As time passed and my grandparents became older, they moved to Boonville to live in an apartment close to my parent’s house. These days it’s mom that prepares the Sunday lunches that gram used to make. While I don't make it to lunch every Sunday, I stop in as often as I can. A few weeks ago as the fall leaves were at their peak, I was driving grandpa to church. As I drove down the road, I didn't push the gas pedal as hard as normal. If you know my grandpa, you understand why. He appreciates life more than anyone I've ever know. Every leaf, from the bright golden to the crumbled up brown, he comments on each of their beauty. I wanted him to have as much time on that bright, beautiful fall day to soak in the scenery. Hearing him talk about his appreciation for life and all things in it, makes me appreciate those same items even more. I could write another blog dedicated to those two precious grandparents of mine....they are my most valuable antiques ever.

Mom has never prepared a meal that was less than amazing and today was no different. The turkey, dressing, sweet potato fries, and was all perfect. I'm thankful that my family is able to cook such a meal and sit in a cozy home filled with memories and enjoy the feast. Some of my happiest memories seem to be surrounding the dinner table with my family. Adding Scott to this family and having him join us around the table only adds to my happiness.

All too quickly, the dinner dishes were cleared and leftovers were packed away. Scott and I hopped in the car and headed towards our next event at the Fisher family home. I am very thankful to have the in-laws I do. They warmly greeted Scott and me as we walked in. My mother-in-law quickly put a pot of coffee on while making me feel as though I've been a part of the family forever. I've always felt very welcome and comfortable in their home and am so thankful to have that relationship with them. My brother and sister-in-law as well as my adorable niece joined the party. Any meal that includes that little 3 year old is quite comical as you never know what she is going to say or do.

Surprisingly, Scott and I found room to add more food to our already full stomachs. As the sun set and the temperature dropped, ice and rain began to fall. Scott and I gave our thanks to his parents for having us over and cooking such a wonderful meal. Driving back home, his eyes on the road and my head on his shoulder, we continued our conversation from earlier.

We each have good jobs that allow us time off and a paycheck to spend on things we enjoy. We have family that loves and supports us and we enjoy spending time with them. We have friends that might as well be family because they also show us the same love and support. Finally, we have one another and a beautiful life laid out before us.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Happy Halloween!!!

Peter Peter

Pumpkin Eater
Who doesn't love couple costumes?

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Here comes the Bride

One by one, I watched as Scotts groomsmen took the bridesmaids outside and across the terrace. With mom and dad on either side of me, I began taking long, deep breaths. I had never been so excited and anxious in my life. I was ready to sprint across the lawn and see Scott. As quickly as the day had flown by, it felt like I hadn’t seen or talked to Scott in days.

Everything had come together. I was dressed with hair and make-up exactly the way I had hoped it would be. The groomsmen were all perfectly dressed down to their argyle socks, and my bridesmaids were glowing and looked as though they had stepped out of Brides Magazines. My parents each had an ecstatic expression on their face as our wedding planner told us it was our turn. With a final squeeze by both mom and dad, we walked outside into the beautiful sunshine.

I glanced up ahead and saw our wonderful guests turning to watch our entrance. I could see each of my bridesmaids smiling at me from their spot. Scott had his back to us, which I was thankful for. I wanted to be close enough to lock eyes with him when he finally saw me. Guests of the lodge lined the stairs down to the lawn and continued to murmur encouraging words and compliments. They were so nice and respectful of the event they were witnessing. I’m not sure if mom and dad were supporting me as we crossed the lawn, or I was supporting them. I had never been happier to have them on either side of me. I remember we laughed as we walked across the lawn, but to this day I can’t tell you what in the world we were laughing about. I could hear Phil and his guitar as we got closer, and the melody of Canon D filled my ears.

As we hit the scattered rose petals, Scott turned and finally, our eyes met. I couldn’t wipe the smile off my face. I wanted to yell, “I’m here!!” But, clearly from the look in his eyes, he knew. I didn’t notice our guests as we walked down the aisle. All I could focus on was this beautiful blonde haired, blue eyed boy, waiting to marry me. As emotion was clear on his face, I felt my anxiousness melt away. I was instantly as relaxed as I was when I first woke up this morning. As my parents and I came to stop in front of our minister, Patricia, Scott and I couldn’t take our eyes off one another.

As Patricia asked who was giving me to Scott, my parents answered “We do.” After several hugs between my parents and Scott and I, I stepped up face to face with him as he took my hands. As Patricia began reading the words that Scott and I had carefully chosen over the past year, I felt as though I could burst with glee. In my mind, phrases like, “this is perfect” and “this is really happening” kept running though my mind.

As Scott began reading his handwritten vows, I fell in love with him all over again. It’s one thing to have someone tell you how they feel. But to be standing in a place that feels like pure magic, surrounded by the most important people in your life, and hearing words that fill every corner of your heart, it is the most unreal moment ever. I wanted to pause time. I also wanted to throw my arms around him and cover him in kisses. I figured there would be enough time for that later.

I sent up another quick prayer that my voice would not quiver as I began reading my vows to Scott. I spoke them with sureness like I had never spoken before. My mind will forever hold the image of Scott, taking in my lifetime of promises to him.

Rings were slid onto each of our fingers. We laughed throughout the ceremony, there were moments we both had tears in our eyes, and then it was our time to kiss. I wanted to ask Patricia if we could do it again, just because I enjoyed each second of the ceremony so much. Instead, I kissed my husband. As we pulled away, I am pretty sure I squealed in delight. I will have to watch the wedding video to find out for sure. After we went in for another quick kiss, we headed down the aisle towards our party.

Phil began playing “So Happy Together” by the Turtles. It was perfect. A waiter quickly served the wedding party mojitos. I figured that would be one drink that if spilled on my dress, wouldn’t be a big deal. Kisa quickly went to work getting group photos taken and photos of me and my husband. We walked to an area called Lunch Tree Hill. There are breathtaking views of the Tetons and a beautiful woodsy area that gives off a fairy-tale feel.

Our guests enjoyed music by Phil as cocktail hour went into full swing. Hor’dourves were passed and within 45 minutes, Scott and I were ready to join the party. His brother Sean did a fantastic job announcing the wedding party as we walked in. Scott and I went straight into our first dance. It was “You are the Best Thing,” by Ray Lamontagne. Scott and I first heard this song the previous summer while on a road trip. It’s not a typical slow and sappy song, but a more upbeat lively tune. We instantly agreed it would be the perfect first dance song.

During our dance, it was the first time Scott and I were able to really talk about everything that had happened thus far. I learned Scott had slept in his truck the night before as there were too many people in the hotel room and he knew he wouldn’t get any sleep if he stayed there. I also learned that his groomsman Daniel had taken the spot of his personal assistant for the day, ironing Scott’s clothes and cutting his hair. (Thank you Daniel!)

Scott and I both laughed that we had pulled everything off. We couldn’t believe that we were already finishing up our first dance and getting ready to eat. As we made our way through the food line, I was so happy I could barely touch my food! Every step I took was another familiar face that I wanted to speak with and thank for coming. As Scott and I were seated with our food, my cousin Roger gave the blessing. He spoke of accomplishing everything you set out to accomplish. It was a perfect prayer and I don’t think I could have squeezed Scott’s hand any tighter. The little bit of food I was able to eat tasted amazing!

As we finished dinner, the toasts began. My sister gave a wonderful speech about the love Scott and I have for one another. Sean gave a speech about the dependability of my husband and that he will forever be devoted. Poppa finished out the speeches by thanking everyone for coming. We couldn’t thank our guests enough.

Dad and I went into our dance, “Landslide” by Fleetwood Mac. I can’t remember the last time I slow danced with my father, but this time I will never forget. He seemed to be having a ball and I can’t remember the last time I had seen him so happy. Our song was over too quickly. Scott and his mom took the floor next and danced to “She’s Got a Way” by Billy Joel. I loved watching my husband dance with his mom.

As the night passed way too quickly, Scott and I quickly learned how to cut a wedding cake. As the banquet manager handed us the knife, I looked at Scott and asked how in the world do you cut this? He put his hand on mine and we just started slicing. We had agreed prior to the wedding there would be zero cake smashing on the face or up the nose. I’m happy to report we both followed that rule and ate sweetly from one another’s fork.

The bar was set up outside on the terrace, so our guests floated between the ballroom and the terrace. Phil continued playing some of Scott and my favorites. The dinner dishes were cleared, the cake was passed, and the coffee bar and dessert table were in full swing. Despite not being able to eat much dinner, I did manage to get a plate of smores soufflé drizzled in hot chocolate sauce and a cup of coffee.

Scott and I made an effort to stop at each reception table and speak to our guests. With 59 guests, it was easy to make time for each and every person. As Phil finished playing and the IPOD took over, the dance floor filled up as we did Rocky Top and other wedding favorites. Scott and I snuck outside to stand in the exact spot where hours ago we had said “I do.” We laughed and hugged and couldn’t get our minds around the fact that here we were, husband and wife. We looked at the mountains and gave thanks for all the happiness and love we were filled with. A couple of guests from the lodge walked over to Scott and I and said they had been married in the exact same spot 10 years before. They wished us a lifetime of happiness and wished we could spend our 10 year anniversary as they were currently doing.

As they walked away, Scott and I watched nightfall on the mountains and the elk started bugling. We headed back into the reception and slowly our guests were telling us good-bye and thanking us for the wonderful time. Scott and I were both in shock the day had passed so quickly! Tables were being cleared and the number of guests kept getting smaller and smaller. As Scott and I were heading out to find out wedding night suite, a game of pass the wine bottle broke out with some of the older crowd! Now that was a sight I’m sorry I missed!

I wouldn’t change a single detail about our day. Everyone said it would go by fast, and they were right. We were given very good advice to make time during the busiest part of the reception to sneak away and just be alone together, watching the events of the reception play out. We made sure not to lose touch of each other throughout the reception. We were side by side, eating, dancing, talking, and thanking our guests. After all, they came all that way to spend the day with Scott and I.

A few moments that will forever make me smile;

-The week before the wedding. I loved hiking with family and friends and showing them a place on this earth that I am absolutely in love with. I have no doubt they saw why the area is so special to Scott and I.

-My sister decided at the last minute to wrap Scott’s band in animal fur and carry it down the aisle. I thought it was a little weird, but whatever makes her happy.

-Scott and I discussed during the reception how lucky we are to have the friends and family we have. Not just anyone would travel 1500 to see a wedding. Each and every person that made the voyage did it because of the love they have for Scott and I. That is very touching and is something that will never be forgotten.

-Wedding vendors can make or break the wedding. We had absolutely WONDERFUL vendors. From my beautiful hair stylist friend Katie James that made the trip west, to our musician Phil Round, our minister Patricia Hatfield, our wedding planner Emily Claassen, our fun photographer Kisa Koenig, our hard working videographer Eusebio Romero, the staff at Jackson Lake Lodge…Everyone deserved a HUGE thank you. They helped make the day perfect.

-Scott and I had prepared for anything that could possibly go wrong. We were so prepared, that when small mishaps did happen, we barely flinched. I did not let stress come anywhere close to me on the day. I even heard from a couple vendors that I was one of the least-stressed brides they had ever seen. Mission accomplished.

-There are not a ton of events in life where people are genuinely happy. To see my parents dancing, Scott’s grandma dancing with a groomsman, to watch our friends interacting with one another and having a great time, and looking at the love of my life and knowing this entire day happened all because the two of us fell in love…it was as close to a perfect moment as there will ever be.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Hello Wedding Day!

I wasn’t surprised to find my eyes opening before my 8am alarm had a chance to wake me from my slumber. I was surprised at the sense of calm that surrounded me. For a girl getting married in mere hours, I felt incredibly rested and relaxed. As I glanced at two of my sleeping bridesmaids buried beneath the down comforter, I quietly slipped out of the bedroom and onto the back deck.

A chilly breeze ruffled my hair and I was instantly glad I had pulled a sweatshirt on. The sun was peeking above the mountains and slowly warming my face as I walked around the deck. I quickly found mom soaking up the atmosphere. She already had a pot of coffee ready and waiting for me. As I graciously took my mug, we walked around the gardens. I think the mountain air had a hand in calming any nerves that may have tried invading my mind. The flowers were glistening from the morning dew and sparkled like the diamond on my left hand.

My sister joined us on the walk and asked typical “morning of the wedding” questions. “Are you nervous?” “Are you ready?” “What do we need to do?” Believe it or not, I think she was more nervous than I. I sent up a silent prayer that the blue skies would hang around all day. We already had been blessed with a week of perfect weather, what was one more afternoon of glorious sunny skies with a whisp of mountain breeze.

Scott and I already decided that we would not see or speak to one another prior to the ceremony. Even though it was only 8:30am, I was already ready to see him and get the festivities started. I was anxious to see what he thought of my dress! He had been a perfect angel about driving my dress to the mountains and not even sneaking a peek.

My sleeping beauty bridesmaids were rolling out of bed as my amazing hairdresser Katie arrived at our home. After a cup of coffee and a couple muffins later, she began her work on the girls. Bobby pins and hairspray flew through the air as we started packing our cars to head north to Jackson Lake Lodge.

Katie decided she could save time by working on Rhea’s hair in the car. With Rhea laying face down in the backseat, Katie sat on her back and continued her masterpiece. Maybe not a legal way to travel, but it worked. Emily, Ashley and I crammed into the front seat of their rental car. With our backseat crammed full of luggage and wedding supplies, we began our 45 minute drive north. Ashley’s legs only fell asleep one time on the drive north. Mom and dad brought up the tail of our wedding parade with another equally packed car.

After a roadside bathroom break, we arrived at the lodge. Jessi had already opened the bridal suite and had the fans going. Instantly we went to work on hair, make-up, and making bouquets. There had been a minor flower issue that popped up Wednesday. Our wedding planner called stating the flowers had arrived, but ½ of them were dead. Luckily, the planner was incredible and contacted the flower shop and had live flowers delivered to the bridal suite hours before the ceremony. Neither Scott nor I had to lift a finger to get the error corrected. For this reason, I recommend a wedding planner to anyone getting married!

The bridesmaids were a little leery of the built-in craft time I had arranged for them. None of them had created a bouquet before, so they were a little apprehensive towards the task. As my sister arranged a mock-up bouquet, the others grew more confident as they arranged spray roses with daisies with lily grass. The outcome was beautiful!! I was more than pleased with their floral talent!!

Our videographer, who may have been the hardest working wedding vendor ever, showed up and went to work taping the girls getting ready and making arrangements. Little did I know, while the girls were making their bouquets and getting beauty-fied, the groomsmen and father of the groom were creating centerpieces in the Explorer’s Room. I had no idea this group of guys had such decorating talent! My bridesmaid Ali was lucky enough to become my personal assistant for the day. She was incredible as she fed me while my hair was getting done, held my phone because I lost it every time I had it, answered the phone calls that became constant, and kept an eye on the time and how things were running.

Our photographer Kisa popped in just in time to capture my dress being slid over my head. While I was excited throughout the entire day, putting the dress on really ramped up the heartbeat. I couldn’t believe it as I looked into the mirror and a bride stared back. My mom gave me the final missing item, my garter. With a quick glance in the mirror, we headed outside to take pre-wedding photos.

Walking through the lodge, I felt like I was floating. Strangers were taking photos of the girls and I and many tourists shouted out “Congratulations” as we passed by. On the back terrace, I caught my first glimpse of the ceremony set up. 60 white folding chairs were perfectly set up in a semi circle, facing the most beautiful mountain range in the world. My father had scattered bright pink rose petals down the center walk-way.

Kisa snapped away as the girls and I hugged and posed. The wedding planner went into super stealth mode as she made sure Scott didn’t catch a glimpse of his bride outside. As pictures came to an end, we headed into the reception hall so the guys could take their place for the ceremony. I was nearly blown away as I walked into the Explorers Ballroom. The wooden dance floor sat waiting for our guests to let loose. Each table was perfectly decorated with the various colored wine bottles that Scott had cut, and filled with colorful wild flowers. Each table name was a reflection of the mountains that sat outside the door. The room was perfect.

Our videographer caught me right as we were about to begin our walk outside. He asked me to say something to Scott. For the first time that day, the tears welled up in the corners of my eyes. What I wanted to say was that I was so lucky and so blessed to be standing there, surrounded by people that we love, and people that love us. I was minutes away from marrying the person that had become my best friend over the past 3 years. Not everyone gets to meet someone that makes them feel so beautiful and loved each and every day, and here I was about to marry that person. Yes, it’s safe to say I became emotional while these thoughts ran thorough my head and heart. All I could squeak out was that I am so happy and that so in love with my soon to be husband. I think Scott got the picture.

As my beautiful group of girls walked into the lobby, which was overflowing with lodge guests, many stood up and began clapping as I walked through the room. Goosebumps covered every inch of my body. In my hands, I tightly clutched my bouquet, wrapped with a handkerchief that had been my grandpa Mike’s. Mom had sewn a little blue heart on it. I hugged my girls and the wedding planner said it was time. With that, Phil our musician began playing his guitar.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Wedding Eve

Waking up, my strategy for today was to relax as much as possible. There isn’t a better way to accomplish this than heading towards the nearest spa. I packed up my bridesmaids and off we went to Snake River Lodge & Spa. The enormous rustic lodge has elegance spilling out of every corner. I felt immense relief and peace rush through my body as we stepped into the Avanyu Spa. After touring the girls through the facilities, we slipped into our fluffy white robes, slippers, and curled up on the couches sipping tea as we waited for our masseuse to retrieve us.

As my masseuse took me back to the room, he asked if I was here on vacation. Before I could stop myself, my mouth opened and out burst every detail of our much anticipated mountain top wedding. He was so kind as he acted interested and even asked questions about the big day! As I laid face down on the table, I let the talking end as I drifted into a state of bliss. Occasionally a wedding thought (flowers, photos, menus, programs) would pop into my head and I would quickly push it out. The hour was over much too quickly.

As the girls met up post-massage, we each looked like we had been run over by a truck, in a good way! We were each relaxed and enjoyed our massages. Alice may have had the least relaxing time as her room was located above the pool and she could hear the children below shouting “Marco….Polo.”

We alternated the rest of our afternoon between the indoor hot-tub with a mountain view and the outdoor pool complete with waterfall and cave. The sun beat down on us and I was very cautious about getting too much sun. No one likes a lobster bride! Finally it was time to start getting dressed for the rehearsal. We took turns showering beneath the luxurious showerheads. I wondered if the boys were enjoying their day of white water rafting and biking nearly as much as I was enjoying the spa.

We crowded in front of the long vanity mirror and took advantage of all those wonderful amenities that come with the spa. We donned our cute dresses and cowboy boots. Curling irons, straightners, and make-up flew through the air as we prettied ourselves for the events to come.

We crammed into one car and headed into Grand Teton National Park. In my hands I carried the “ribbon bouquet” that my sweet sister had made with all the ribbons that decorated the packages at my Bridal Shower. It was beautiful and perfect and I was happy to follow that tradition.

At the rehearsal I finally got to meet Emily Claassen, our wedding planner. Until now, she was simply a voice that I spoke to often. Her professional demeanor was spot on and I was happy with her take charge attitude as we ran through the rehearsal. The weather was perfect as we each took turns walking to our places. A couple of the lodge guests sat nearby and watched. Some of them asked if this was the actual wedding.

The groomsmen were well behaved which I appreciated (Thank you guys). Before I knew it, we were finished with rehearsal and bid Emily good-bye until the next day. I felt the rehearsal went really well and I was amazed at how smooth it went!  I kept trying to imagine how amazing it would look tommorow with our white folding chairs set out, petals covering the lawn, and all our guests experiencing this moment with us.

Somehow I lost my groom as we were leaving the lodge so I rode back with momma and poppa. It was at that point I learned the boys had actually been mountain biking right before the rehearsal started. Due to unforeseen bike failure, the guys didn’t even have time to shower before getting dressed to come to the rehearsal. I thought something smelled a little off. (Just joking)

As we pulled into the drive, we were greeted by family and friends that were ready to party! I was so thankful that we ended up having the rehearsal dinner at our rental house, catered by Bubba’s BBQ. Their food is amazing! We had extended the rehearsal dinner to every guest that had made the trip west, not just our wedding party. We wanted to spend as much time as possible with everyone that came to support us.

Food was quickly set out and our guests mingled inside the house and onto the beautifully manicured lawn. Momma had the sangria flowing and Rhea began snapping photos. At one point, momma got so excited she sprayed Derr’s Strawberry Soda all over the kitchen ceiling.  This is when it is so nice to have really tall friends (Cliffy) to reach those hard to get spots.

As the dinner dishes were cleared, Dad made his tasty Derr’s floats. He passed them around to the kids and adults and not a single float was left by the end of the night. A lot of guests hadn’t realized that Derr’s is made right in my hometown.

As the sun dipped behind the mountains, Scott, with me by his side, thanked everyone for coming and expressed our appreciation for their attendance. These silly emotions that seem to have ramped up over the past couple of weeks kept me from talking. The guests slowly started making their way out the door, excited about the day to come.

Clean up at the house began. Since we had to leave the house the following day to head to the lodge, we needed to get the house in the same condition as it was when we arrived. Following a party with 50-something people did not make this an easy job. My dream of hitting the sheets by 10pm fell short by about 2 ½ hours. Momma, sister and Greg went into frantic cleaning mode to get the place cleared. This time frame was my least favorite and most stressful of the entire wedding planning/wedding week/wedding eve. Scott and I took time to step away from everyone and remind ourselves why we were there. I kissed him good-night and he ordered me to go to sleep. As I shut the door to my bedroom, it was the last time I would see Scott until I walked down the aisle.

I crawled into bed next to Emily and Ashley. Both of them were excited about the following day. I thought I would have trouble sleeping, but was proved wrong as I heard the girls say goodnight Miss Hemenway one final time as my world went dark.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Let the Wedding Blogs Begin!!

"Welcome to Wyoming" was a phrase Scott and I repeated over and over as our friends and family began arriving in Wyoming for our mountain-filled wedding. 

As the guests arrived, we greeted them with a "Welcome" basket.  Let's face it, baskets aren't very fun so Scott and I took cowboy hats, turned them upside down, and filled them with loot.  What exactly was the loot you ask?  For starters, we printed off a number of limited edition Gazettes.  The Gazette told our guests what activities were planned for the week and some interesting tidbits about our families.  The Gazette is posted in the links below;
Page 1
Page 2
Page 3
Page 4

The basket also included a Boot Mug, Western Ornament, Derr's Soda (both Pineapple and Strawberry), Snacks, Bottled Water, and a Deck of Cards. 

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Bonnaroo is over but the party never ends....

We finished loading up our truck and enjoyed what would be our last shower for the next four days. It was roughly 9pm as we headed south, anxious to arrive at the plot of land that would become our home over the long weekend. As thunder roared overhead and the sky opened up, we held our breath hoping the gates to Bonnaroo would be open and we could get set up that night. Sure they said not to show up until Thursday morning, “…or you will be turned away at the gate…” but I learned with my dad years ago, if you get there late enough in the night, they will let you in.

As we approached our exit off the interstate, we were mildly disheartened to see cop cars blocking the ramp and signs instructing us to go to the next ramp. We could see cars backed up in the northbound lane for a good 3-5 miles. They sat there with their lights off, not moving. We knew we didn’t want to get in that mess.

As we approached an open off ramp, we asked a cop if he could tell us how to get into the festival grounds while avoiding all that traffic. He told us to follow the little white signs through some back roads, and it would take us to the front entrance. At this point it was well after midnight but we were excited with anticipation of the events to come. We followed the back roads and after about 20 minutes of driving, we had circled the backside of Roo’ and made our way to the main entrance. The cop directing traffic flagged our vehicle to the front of the line and we were in! Good karma was definitely on our side.

I hopped on the Bonnaroo Facebook page and posted directions for others to get in without having to wait in that horrible line of traffic. It definitely helped other festival goers as I was dubbed “traffic angel” on the page later that night.

As we made our way past security check points (after hiding our illegal charcoal) we noticed the field was wet. Not only was it wet, mud pits were swallowing full size cars. Workers sported raingear and talked about the torrential downpours that had been happening on and off throughout the night.

Typically as you arrive at your camping spot, the flaggers pack you in tight and quick. Since a huge mud bog had appeared on the roadway to the spot we were heading, cars were getting stuck and had to pull into a different location. Scott and Kenneth dropped their trucks into 4-wheel drive and easily crept through the mud pit. Luckily we found a nice mud-free spot without neighbors on top of us.

We immediately went to work getting our 2 canopy’s (sitting/cooking area) set up off the back of our trucks. We unloaded the jam-packed vehicles and got our sleeping area set up. I noticed the sky was starting to get a little brighter. It was then I realized it was 6am and the sun was ready to make an appearance. We had literally been setting up all night. Not feeling as tired as we should, Scott and I climbed into Hotel Tacoma (his truck has a camper shell and he created a loft area complete with futon mattress to sleep on). We couldn’t believe the great luck we had of getting into the festival without any wait and having such an ideal spot. I hopped back on the Roo’ Facebook site and the people on the interstate were still sitting there, 6.5 hours after they had turned off their cars to wait. We listened to happy festival goers scream out Bonna-Roo as we drifted off to sleep, the sun rising above us.

Thursday morning came quick as we could hear people milling about. The sun was overhead and we already could tell it was going to be a warm day. We made a great breakfast of pancakes, eggs, bacon, and juice, and headed to CenterRoo, the hub for all of the Roo’ activities. A few bands were taking their place on stage as we walked the various vendor booths. We scored some decent loot from the vendors and were super happy with the Ben & Jerry’s tent! We soaked in the Bonnaroo atmosphere as music drifted through the air, the hot Tennessee sun beating down on us as hippies of all ages, shapes, and sizes lay in the grass enjoying the moment.

We made our way back to our camping spot and started cooking up a dinner of burgers, potatoes, and fresh grilled squash and zucchini. Scott even whipped up one of his amazing peach cobblers. We couldn’t have had a better dinner. After spending the day in the heat of the sun, we walked up to the water troughs that dispense the iciest sulfur filled water you could imagine. In my rain boots and bikini, I had Scott assist in pouring ice cold buckets of rotten egg smelling water over my head as I shampooed and conditioned. By the time my “shower” was over, my body temp had plummeted a good 15 degrees and I smelled like a rotten pomegranate. But, I felt amazing! While it may be weird for some couples to help one another bathe in the middle of a field with stinky water while wearing rain boots, I think Scott secretly enjoyed it.

Rhea and Greg ventured over to our camping spot after the sun had set. I think they were impressed with our setup, especially the window AC unit with 2 dryer vents coming off of it to pump cold air into both Scott and Kenneth’s truck beds. You didn’t expect us to sleep without AC did you? They stuck around for a few games of “slap the bag” and to discuss which artists we planned on seeing over the next few days. We all made it to bed that evening before the sun decided to come up again.

Friday! Today the music begins!! After another great breakfast, we packed our bags and made the 10 minute trek to CenterRoo. We took a spot under “This Tent” and sat down to listen to Jay Electonica. Much to our disappointment, he forgot that he was there to sing and decided to speak about the government planning the attacks on September 11, and that the government also flooded the levies in New Orleans. We could not pack up our blankets and head to another tent fast enough. We were happy to arrive at “The Other Tent” and listen to the sweet sounds of Edward Shape & the Magnetic Zeros. They played to the crowd and we were all pleased with what we heard. Just as they finished, we made our way to “Which Stage” to catch some of Unphrey’s McGee before stopping to listen to Damian Marley & Nas on the way back to camp. There is just something about reggae that I really enjoy.

Following last night’s routine, we cooked another great dinner, took frigid showers and headed back into the stage area for more music. We stopped long enough to listen to a little bit Tenacious D. He sounded pretty good, but he looked rough as can be! Not sure if he was camping and bathing in sulfur water like we were, but he sure looked it! I’ll have to admit I didn’t mind leaving Tenacious D and heading to Tori Amos. I had never seen her live and she didn’t disappoint. She is a phenomenal performer, playing the piano like crazy with one hand while holding her microphone with her other. I’m not sure the boys were as excited to watch and listen to Tori as I was, but they let me have my moment and I loved every second. She played almost all songs I knew and I couldn’t get over how beautiful her red hair was! Even in the humidity!

It wouldn’t be a trip to Bonnaroo without listening to Les Claypool, which is exactly what we did next. His trippy music could be the soundtrack to the weekend. A random girl came up to Michelle and asked her if she could lie on her blanket. Michelle, not fond of the idea of a random fairly dirty looking girl laying on her blanket, decided we had enough Les and headed to hear Michael Franti & Spearhead. The sky was black against the lit Ferris wheel that spun around in a mix of bright erratically blinking lights.

The headliner for the night was Kings of Leon. While they are a GREAT radio band, their stage performance was less than stellar. The great thing was their music sounded great, just like on their cd. In between songs, there were often pauses in which one of the guys would just say, “Hey, thanks everyone.” Then they’d go into another song. I was very happy to listen to them, but if I had to pay just to see them again, I’d probably just rather sit on our back deck at home with my Ipod. They played all their hits and I didn’t mind singing along and swaying under the stars to Closer.

There was a mad dash after KOL performed to “Which Stage” to see The Flaming Lips. Scott and I decided to call it a night and break our pattern by being in bed by midnight. Walking back to camp late at night is a treat. One must use the light of the moon to avoid stepping on bodies, tripping on tent posts, and avoiding mud bogs. We were successful at all three.

Saturday! Another warm day greeted us as we popped out from under our cool love nest of a camper shell. I definitely had gotten used to the guys whipping up a delicious breakfast. That morning, we learned using the sulfur water to make orange juice was not a good idea. It turned out tasting like rotten egg juice with a twist of orange. After breakfast, we found a great shaded spot under a large tree to sit and listen to the hypnotic voice of Norah Jones. Song after song she crooned my favorites and I couldn’t have been happier under that shade tree. She performed in a way that had me clinging to each note.

For dinner the boys cooked up steak. We may have been the only group at Bonnaroo out of 80,000 people enjoying a steak dinner. After rinsing the heat off our bodies, we headed back into the festival area for our final night of music. We jumped from Weezer to Jeff Beck to John Prine. My biggest disappointment was missing Jeff Beck play “Somewhere Over the Rainbow.” Thank God for YouTube!

As the sun was slipping below the horizon, we watched Stevie Wonder take his place at his piano and belt out songs like “Signed Sealed Delivered,” “Superstition,” and “Higher Ground.” I was surprised by how many Stevie songs I knew! He was lively and kept the small group of 80,000 on their feet. As the show came to an end, we settled down on our blanket to wait for Jay-Z to take his spot. We may have dozed off only to jump up with a start an hour later as Jay-Z brought the crowd roaring back to their feet.

He went through all his best songs from “Empire State of Mind,” “Forever Young,” “Big Pimpin,” “99 Problems,” and a ton of others. I’m not even a Jay-Z fan, but the man is an entertainer. Dare I say he was the best “entertainer” of the entire weekend? He talked to the audience and continually thanked them for welcoming him to the big party in the middle of the field. He genuinely seemed appreciative and continued to tell the stage crew to bring all the lights up so he could “see everyone out there.” As his set wrapped up, fireworks were set off from the hill next to the stage. It was the perfect way to end the night.

As the sun came up Sunday morning, we tore down camp. We heard the music we had come to hear. Despite the sweltering heat of the weekend, we escaped any sun burn and heat stroke. We relished our time in the icy sulfur water and sitting under shade trees. This wasn’t the best “music” set we had heard in our times at Bonnaroo, but it was definitely an enjoyable time.

A few fun thoughts on our time at Bonnaroo;

-We were greeted by a life-size cardboard cutout of Larry Bird every time we approached our camp site.

-If you wear a flowy dress, it’s not hard to slip a flask or two past security.

-If you’re a girl and your camping, don’t leave home without your Lady J. (google it)

-The burritos that sold for $10 each were worth it.

-Kenneth once washed his muddy feet off in the wash basin of one of the food vendors. We don’t think they noticed.

-Don’t be in a port-a-potty when a helicopter takes off.

-Don’t set your tent up behind a port-a-potty.

-Helicopters blow up enough wind when they take off that they will knock port-a-potties over.

-Rotten egg smell fades over time, but the memories of Bonnaroo do not.

Until next year…

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Viva Las Vegas!!

Many years ago, probably back in the day when my sister thought I’d never settle down and marry, she promised to take me to Vegas before I said “I Do,” for a girl’s getaway.

As the wedding date got closer, Rhea realized the wedding was really going to happen and the promise she made all those years ago needed to be fulfilled. She set a date, bought plane tickets, and booked a room at the Bellagio. Mom, Rhea and I started making plans of fun things to do in “Sin City.”

We excitedly packed our bags the night before. Sparkly shirts, high heels, and party dresses filled our suitcase. Funny how getting up at 4:30am to fly to Vegas is easier than getting up at 7am to go to work. With iced coffee in hand, we boarded our plane. Dad later admitted to mom that he wished he would have been invited. While I love traveling with my poppa and he’s usually invited to every event I attend, sometimes a girl just needs some “girl time.” This was one of those time!!

The flight over the Grand Canyon, Hoover Dam, and Lake Mead was beautiful!!! It’s amazing how the rock can vary in areas from blood red, to pale yellow, to dirt brown. The water was blue as could be and after sitting in a stuffy plane for a few hours, I daydreamed about parachuting out of the plane into the sparkling waters below.

Seeing my luggage on the conveyor belt at the destination airport always brings happiness to me like nothing else. As we stepped out of the airport, we were greeted by the warm, dry climate of Vegas. It was welcomed after the muggy weather we’d had in So. Indiana. I love that there is a line of taxi’s just waiting to whisk passengers away to the nearby strip. I also like making conversation with the drivers. They always have interesting stories and good advice on things to see and do.

The strip had changed a lot in the 5 years it had been since my last visit. Buildings were taller, lights were brighter, and everything seemed a bit more crowded. Walking into the Bellagio was truly walking into an oasis in the middle of the desert. The ceiling of glass flowers in the lobby were as colorful as the real flowers in the botanical gardens located off of the lobby. The front desk clerk was more than helpful, welcoming us and directing us to the concierge for tickets to events and other helpful information.
Ceiling in the lobby of Bellagio
The view from our room was of the multitude of pools we could cool off in. We could also see the mountains in the distance. These mountains are so different then the mountains in the Teton, but they are defiantly beautiful in their own way. We quickly cleaned up, changed clothes, and headed out to explore. Before we headed out that night, my sweet girls surprised me with a few bachelorette goodies! Naturally I donned the veil and sash so everyone would know the life altering leap I was about to take.

We secured tickets to the Cirque du Soleil show “O,” located right in our hotel. I was surprised that on this random Thursday night, the show was sold out. To think about all the shows that are offered on the strip and all the people that come through Vegas, for this show to be sold out tonight and throughout the weekend, that’s a ton of people seeing shows. Maybe the recession really is disappearing into the horizon?

The shows stage is a grate-like platform that drops to create a pool effect on the stage, or rises to make the water completely disappear. The acrobats, synchronized swimmers, and all the other performers create quite an impressive show. It’s almost dream like as horses soar through the air and divers tumble thru the sky. We were happy we chose this show.

That night we were whisked into The Bank, one of the newer clubs on the strip, by men dressed in suits. I imagine it is an ideal job for younger guys; dress up in a suit, and pull as many attractive females into this club you possible can. The club is located in the Bellagio which was quite convenient for us. If you are looking for a way to gain a lot of attention from the male population, put a veil on your head. It amazed me that guys would come over and strike up a conversation (flirt) with a girl that is clearly about to get married. Naturally I was nice to them, but also made it quite clear that I was “happily” about to get married. I didn’t mind that they wanted to supply us with beverages.

My feet could only handle my heels until about 2am-ish. As we made our way back into our room, we were greeted with a box of chocolate truffles. A card from the Bellagio read, “Thank you for spending your special time with us!” Nothing like a few truffles as a late night/early morning snack.
Momma and I visiting the flamingos

The next day, we explored the strip, popping into the Flamingo to see the birds and walk through their gardens. After a quick stop for breakfast sandwiches and some of the best iced coffee ever, we boarded the local bus and headed to the outlet malls. The shopping was nothing short of phenomenal. The rest of the evening Rhea and I grabbed a couple lounge chairs by the pool and soaked in the Vegas sun.

That evening, I was greeted with another bag of wedding-related goodies. Pinning my veil into my hair, we headed to Plant Hollywood to watch Tony & Tina’s wedding. No, it wasn’t really a wedding, but a show that is very interactive with the crowd. The entire show is the wedding and reception that we were a guest at. We were able to meet the wedding party and the ex-boyfriend of the “bride” was at our table. The cast was quite humorous and the food was decent. We even got wedding cake as dessert! There were toasts and dancing and all the rest of the drama that usually happens at wedding receptions.

Tony & Tina's wedding

We walked the strip after the show, stopping to watch the pirate show at Treasure Island, the volcano at the Mirage, and the water show outside our hotel. That night as we entered our hotel room, we were greeted by a plate of chocolate covered strawberries. They were the largest, best tasting chocolate covered strawberries I have EVER eaten. They were from that hot future husband of mine. It was such a sweet and thoughtful gesture. Those strawberries were gone within minutes.

Saturday morning brought a trip to the spa. Nothing says relaxing like a trip to the spa. I was greeted with a plush white robe and slippers. I grabbed an apple and curled up on one of the plush couches. It’s the kind of plush that you basically disappear into a pile of pillows once you sit down. I sipped my bottled water and flipped through a magazine while I waited for my massage therapist to come find me.

The massage was excellent. It was a fusion massage which combined using heated stones and heated oils. I fought sleep and she rubbed away any stress that may have been hiding out in my body. I didn’t want to sleep and miss a minute of what she was doing!

After the massage I took a dip in the hot tub than immersed myself into the cool pool. It felt amazing and my body welcomed the hot and cold mixture. A friend that lives in Vegas, Stephanie, then met me by the pool for some poolside girl talk. It was so nice to catch up with her and hear about the exciting things going on in her life. It had been about a year since I last saw her, so we had a lot to talk about! Laying poolside always makes girl talk even better!

That evening, Stephanie joined us for dinner at Tao. It was kind of nice having her car there so she drove us down the strip to Tao. The food was AMAZING and the place was packed!!! As we walked in, we walked past these rows of large white tubs filled with water and rose petals. I wanted to hop in one and splash around, but didn’t feel it would be appropriate.

After dinner, we ventured to Pure located in Ceasars Palace for a little nightlife fun. There was a very long line that we didn’t feel like waiting in. Rhea convinced me that I could get the bouncer to let us in without waiting in the line of 200+ people. Maybe it was the devil horns we were wearing or the red feather boas draped around our neck, or maybe I’m a good sweet talker? Either way, he lifted the velvet rope and let us in. Thank goodness because I would have hated being shot down in front of a crowd.

The morning came too quickly and before I knew it, we were back on a plane flying home. I boarded my plane, wearing my white tank that says “Bride” in sparkly little diamonds, with fun memories in my brain and sleepiness in my eyes. It was an absolutely fun-packed weekend. We couldn’t have squeezed in 1 more event or activity if we had tried.

A few moments that will live forever in our minds;

-$14 Gellato & very yummy hotdogs

-Very friendly/congratulatory people

-Multiple conversations with fellow Brides-To-Be

-Guys with thick accents talking about his previous Vegas conquests (ick)

-Forgotten purses

-Mentioning your about to get married will get you into any club you want

-The “situation”

-Nick and his texts

-Chocolate truffles, chocolate strawberries, and more chocolate truffles!

-Shopping shopping and more shopping!!

Thank you Rhea for a fabulous time in Vegas!!! It was a great

Friday, May 28, 2010

Some days are better than others...

Today was one of those days I probably should have stayed in bed...

1. I got a speeding ticket for going 23mph over on my way to work. While I was sitting there, I got a text from my boss that said, "I understand if you arrive late."  Apparently she just drove by.

2. I’ve been walking around the office for an unknown amount of time with the tag on my thong sticking up above my pants, clear for the world to see. The cleaning lady told me when I walked by.

3. I received a voicemail from a “concerned neighbor” that I had interviewed someone that is “dangerous.”

4. I received the following cover letter attached to a resume. (it’s not a joke) - To Whom It May Concern: I can do this job and do it well if given a chance. I do not want to work in a factory or in health care. Unfortunately there are no jobs or any major opportunities in Evansville . For people that have never lived anywhere else besides the Evansville area, they don't know any better. The city of Evansville is its own entity and has a giant ego. Have a nice day! P.S. Go ahead and give this job to someone you know and continue with the buddy system the city of Evansville has going for itself

Let's hope I can make it home without getting a ticket or letting anyone else know the size of my panties.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

The Evolution of Relationships

As I get older, the relationships I have with those around me become more powerful and deeper than those of my younger years. I’ll start with my family. Growing up there were times I figured I knew what was best for me and didn’t appreciate the guidance that was given to me. I sometimes felt the decisions made by my parents were purely selfish or in an attempt to keep me from experiencing life. Now looking back, I smile, shake my head a little bit, and feel so grateful for the “guidance” they bestowed upon me. Like the time they forbid me from bringing over the guy that was once featured on America’s Most Wanted, or when they nailed my window shut so I couldn’t sneak out…yes, now I understand the restrictions they put before me.

These days, my parents don’t put restrictions on the people I see or have to remind me that I’ll be grouchy if I stay up past 10:30. I’ve learned from them. I’ve learned that it’s possible to do anything you want to do, if you set your mind to it. I’ve learned that life isn’t fair, but no one said it was going to be. And I’ve learned that your family will always love you, no matter what you do. They are absolutely amazing people…from my momma making sure my lunch is packed and ready to go each and everyday before work, to my poppa surprising Scott and I with a plate of fresh smoked ribs in the evening. I value them more each day and I could never thank them enough for the loving, great people they are and instilling those values in me.

Sisters have a unique bond that can’t be replicated. When I was little my sister was there to play with me, bite my arms when mom wasn’t looking, and participate in the Christmas morning scavenger hunt with me. She was my built in playmate. On family vacations, my sister was the one that built sand castles with me or walk me to the city pool during the long, hot days of summer. While our 3 year age difference seemed like decades during the high school years, as we’ve gotten older the age gap has closed. We’ve watched each other go through the ups and downs of life and have managed to emerge tighter. She’s always quick with a joke but brutally honest when she needs to be. She gives everything she has to those she loves. She can be so strong but can get hurt by the words and actions of others. I wouldn’t change a thing about her silly, crazy, sometimes fashion-lacking ways. (Kidding cckins) I’ve even forgiven her for telling me there was an egg in my forehead (when I was younger) that she needed to crack. I would let her hit me in the forehead until she felt the egg was cracked.

Photo by the talented Nicole Neff
Scott Andrew. My previous posts have described the earth shattering effect this man has had on my life. Our relationship has taught me about patience, compromise, and loving someone so intensely that sometimes you think you may burst. Our relationship has made me happier and healthier. It’s also made me realize the importance of all relationships, not just ours. He encourages me to spend time with my family and girlfriends. He encourages me to build those relationships and work on the issues that sometimes arise. He stresses that no relationship is worth throwing away and to do everything possible to preserve friendships with those around me. His wisdom is so deep that I know I will continue to be amazed by him 50 years from now as we sit at a local church hall playing BINGO eating Tums.

Girlfriends. Growing up, everyone has that childhood “best friend.” The friend that always went to the mall with you on a Friday night followed by a slumber party at their house. You made promises to be best friends forever and be Maid of Honor in one another’s wedding.

Unfortunately those childhood dreams change and don’t last past the walls of high school. You start meeting new people and that’s when the life experiences begin. As we get older, parents pass away, people get engaged, babies are born, and divorces happen. Through these life experiences, we see who our friends are. We see the people that stick by our side when life isn’t perfect. We lean on one another’s shoulders and give much needed hugs on those long days. These friends make you laugh at just the perfect time, sometimes for no reason at all. I value these people that I call my friends. These strong, intelligent, beautiful women that in this busy adventure of life make time to have me be a part of theirs. To those women…Thank you!

My challenge to you let those in your life know you appreciate them. Let them know you value their relationship and you’re glad to experience this life with them. Family and Friends are what makes this experience worthwhile…and it is very worthwhile.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Wedding on the Brain!

As of today, we are 99 days from celebrating one of the biggest days in our lives! As exciting as it is, it is also a tiny bit bittersweet. Scott and I are coming upon the 1 year anniversary of being engaged. From our congratulatory dinner with my parents in Florida, to the gift of matching rocking chairs from his parents, the engagement photos, planning this amazing party to celebrate our life together, the anticipation …it has been amazing.

Photo by the fabulous Nicole Neff

The planning has been easier than I’d dreamt possible. To see how Scott has helped with ideas, logistics and cutting all those wine bottles…it’s only a glimpse at how he will help me with all of life’s decisions. It’s funny because people will ask, “Are you getting nervous?” My response, "Not in the slightest."

As bad as I want July 16th to get here so I can say my vows and become his wife, I want time to stop. I want to soak up this excitement and energy and remember how it feels at this exact moment for the rest of my life.  My brain thinks about weddings from the moment I get up to when I lay down at night.  I even went through the phase I dreamt about the wedding.  Sometimes I would forget to buy a dress and not realize it until I was walking down the aisle, to the time everyone at our reception was eating cat food.  What in the world do those dreams mean?
Previously I’d mentioned my “two wedding planners.” I figured I’ve left you hanging long enough….so I’ll explain.

After Scott and I decided we would marry at the beautiful Jackson Lake Lodge, we discussed all of our wedding plans with the lodge provided wedding planner, Shannon. I had known Shannon from my previous life when I worked in Wyoming. I was more than delighted to have someone I know help with our wedding. We swapped e-mails and phone calls and plans were falling into place ever so easily. Than all the sudden…phone calls weren’t being returned, e-mails were going unanswered, and it was making me a little nervous. Scott could tell I was getting upset so he even made a few calls. He was quickly irritated when his calls weren’t getting a response either.

While skimming comments on Facebook, I noticed on Shannon’s page that she had taken another job and would be leaving the lodge. *gasp* I felt like I had been flicked in the stomach. Why wouldn’t my wedding planner fill me in that she was leaving? Had I not been her friend on FB, I would have never known that my wedding was now being placed in the hands of a stranger. All of my discussions with Shannon about details and ideas were simply lost. It was a sad day for this bride-to-be.

                            Wine bottle centerpieces..what a lovely idea! :)
Shannon finally called back and told me what I already knew. She was leaving the lodge but would be staying on until they hired her replacement. Once they hired someone new she would be handing over all our notes and would make sure the transition went smoothly.

For a few months after the new girl, Emily, started, Shannon and Emily would call and we would discuss menus, flowers, colors, etc. I enjoyed having the two of them to bounce ideas off of and gather feedback from. While the fun lasted a month or two, Shannon went on to her new position and I wish her well. While I’ve never actually met Emily, I look forward to meeting her in July and hope she enjoys her new position as our Wedding Planner.

In the meantime, the only other wedding “oh crap” came with the guest list. Naturally, Scott and I want to share our wedding with our friends and family. That being said, we chose to marry in one of the most beautiful spots on earth in a fairly intimate ceremony. Our “intimate” guest list quickly shot to 185 people…and 85 of them were under the age of 15. Due to space constraints at our location, we quickly realized we have a lot of little cousins. At that time we had a decision to make, either marry at home to accommodate our large family, or marry in the exact location we want to marry and have an adult only ceremony and reception. Since it’s our wedding, the decision wasn’t that hard to make.

Our neighbor, who is a very nice man, began asking questions about our wedding. He was genuinely excited for Scott and I. Maybe a little too excited as he burst into our kitchen one afternoon exclaiming, “I booked my reservations for the lodge.” I immediately double triple scanned the guest list in my head and knew he wasn’t invited. As I quickly crunched numbers and added him to the list carved into my brain, he mentioned his brother and he (adding another one to the guest list…) would drive out there in the new suburban they bought specifically for this trip. Nice…

A few days later, the same neighbor came over to tell us his sister would also be joining the two of them as guests at our wedding. (Now adding 3 “extras” to the list). If he comes over with any “additional” guests, Scott and I will be having a serious conversation with our neighbor.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Where Does the Time Go?

Has anyone noticed that sometimes life hits warp-speed and you don’t even realize it until you look at the calendar and the month is over?

Let’s talk about change. I don’t mean quarters and nickels, I mean changes in life that cause you to stop and look around. It started late one evening in Feb. I got a phone call from someone that was not only my co-worker but one of my closest friends. She said was quitting her job and moving to Indianapolis. I know Indy isn’t far away but this is a person who has worked next to me for over 2 years. She’s the kind of friend that had tears of joy well up in her eyes when I told her Scott and I got engaged. Not having her to share life’s daily joys and struggles was going to be hard. The week after she left I began to speak to her through the office wall, then realized she wasn’t on the other side. It’s just one of those reminders that life isn’t always pink clouds and fluffy bunnies, sometimes it’s sad. The selfish part of me wanted her to stay here…but I know the reasons she left and I wouldn’t want to hold her back. To my dear friend and previous co-worker…I miss your guts and know you will be wonderful at all you do.

In the same stretch of time a new associate joined our little office. It’s always interesting meeting new co-workers because they are like a multi-chapter book you can’t wait to get your hands on. As I studied her resume before meeting her, it read like a page from National Geographic. She has studied and lived in various places around the world including a stint in the military. Her personality is larger than the world she has explored and I knew within minutes of meeting her I would enjoy having this person play a role in my life. Losing one friend and gaining a new one reminded me of the quote, “When God closes a door he opens a window.” I will always miss the door and am very thankful for the new window.

The month of February also brought with it engagement photos!! Days after Scott and I became engaged we hopped a plane to Florida. My sister took engagement photos of us frolicking on the beach. They are beautiful and I love them. A friend of mine, Nicole Neff, who started her own photography business in the past couple of years called to ask a favor of Scott and I. She wanted to beef up her portfolio of engagement photos and needed a fun “in-love” couple to pose on the slopes of Paoli Peaks. Scott and I had wanted to head that way and ski so it worked out perfectly! She took action shots of us tearing up the slopes as well as the so-cute-they-will-make-you-puke shots. She was awesome to work with and I can’t wait to see the pictures!! If you want to check them out, she will post them on her website at

And the most shocking news of the past month…last year Scott and I were discussing things we wanted to do in the New Year. For some unknown reason, I said I wanted to run a marathon. I’m not sure if I had been hitting the sangria when I said this because I am not a runner. I’ve never been a runner and I avoided sports in high school that included running (hence I was in drama). But I opened my mouth and these ridiculous words blurted out. Fast forward to February. The company I work for sponsors the “Run of Luck” which is a 7k run/walk that benefits Soles 4 Souls, Evansville Christian Life Center, and Caring Paws Rescue. About a month before the race, Scott mentions the event and says “we’re signing up.” My heart stopped and I heard the world come screeching to a halt. Me Run? I would rather just donate every last cent I have to the “Run of Luck” and call it good. I would rather take off walking across the Sahara Desert than sign up for a run! My sweet future husband reminded me of that statement I made regarding a marathon and that this was our chance and with the wedding coming up, this would be a great way to get in shape. (Yes, he smartly managed to tie the run to the wedding and he knew I couldn’t say no)

The training began. The first night Scott and I ran, I came home and puked in the kitchen sink. We had run less than one mile and I hurt. Not only did I hurt but my skin felt clammy and I couldn’t catch my breath. My mouth tasted like I had been sucking on quarters. It was awful. “Why did I sign up for this,” I asked.

Before I knew it, race day was upon us. In the prior month, I had run a total of six different days and the longest I had run at one time was one mile. With 7k starring me in the face, I was scared. Since it was a St. Patrick’s Day run, Scott’s friends happily sprayed green paint in my hair to get me into the spirit of the race. I figured it would help me get spotted when I collapsed at the 1.5 mile marker.

The gun went off and the race began. There were so many people crammed at the start line that we had to start out walking. I didn’t mind. As the group began to disperse, Scott said, “You ready?” And off we ran. It wasn’t a fast pace but we were running. We passed some people and a lot of people passed us. As Scott called out we had already finished 1 mile, my first thought was “that’s all?” I pushed on. Running downtown along the river helped take my mind off what I was actually doing and soak up the scenery. Spectators lined the course and I found their cheers surprisingly helpful.

At mile two my stomach had a twinge of cramping but my breathing was in control. Scott, who stayed by my side the entire time, said words of encouragement. Mile 3 came and went and I fleetingly thought I could do this forever. Than mile four. I felt as though I was swimming in cement. I wanted to lie down and fall asleep. My left hip flexor felt odd and I wondered if it was possible to lose a leg while running. I wanted to walk but Scott placed his hand on my lower back and said we could do this. He would set little goals for me, “Pass this guy up here in the yellow shorts…” and I would push to pass the guy. A sudden burst of energy pulsed through me as we ran by Penny Lane Coffee House. As many of you know, this is the place Scott and I met and also the location of our first kiss. We may have slowed our jog down for a quick kiss. It defiantly helped me finish the race.

As the finish line came into view, the crowd cheered us on. I was laughing with exhaustion as I neared the finish line. A gentleman in the crowd made eye contact with me, gave me a smile and began clapping. We passed the finish line. Scott scooped me up in a huge hug and told me how proud he was. I felt elated. The girl that hated running just ran over 4 miles. There was an emotional feeling in my throat as I thought about what I had just accomplished. For 29 years I laughed at the idea of running if I wasn’t being chased. Now, with the encouragement of Scott, I did something I never dreamt of doing. I wouldn’t say that I “enjoyed” the running aspect, but I loved the feeling I had throughout the entire event. Scott mentioned there’s a 5k this summer he was interested in doing…my reply, “sign us up!”