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.