Thursday, October 16, 2014

Shower the People You Love With Love

I shouldn't wait until five days after an event to write about it, but this week has been full and I just didn't have it in me.  Let's begin with a blurry photo.

It's the only shot I have of the bride-to-be and her shower hostesses. Go me!

How 'bout we back up? Hubs and I drove down to Maryland last Friday and have mercy!, it was a long, aggravating ride. We sat on the NJ Turnpike for about an hour, literally inching our way forward. Hubs was in the passenger seat on a work phone call so I was driving, and for the record he is not the world's best passenger. Every few minutes he'd cover the phone and whisper shout-'You let four cars in!' Don't let four cars in!!'

Yeah, so the trip down was delightful. We met our friends at a restaurant near their house and we kind of wanted to kiss the ground when we got out of the car. The friends we met were our hosts for the weekend and the shower was held in their lovely home on the river. Their daughter got married almost two years ago, and we've all been friends since the girls were in the second grade. Sigh.

Daughter2, my friend E, and her daughter K, planned the party and everything was so sweet and special. Lots of little touches that made the day feel really personal starting with this-

The bride-to-be is sometimes called the candy queen, so her sister knew she wanted to have a candy bar on the day.

The bridesmaids are wearing a particular shade of green that doesn't exist in large quantities in the candy world, so we just went with all shades of green, and it was so pretty.

I'd ordered a banner that read Love is Sweet, along with treat bags that said the same, from two different Etsy shops and they were super cute.

I neglected to snap a photo of the candy bar set up with the bags at the end of the shower, but it was darling, and everyone took home a goody bag filled with green candy as their favor.

Daughter1 absolutely loves the brown Kraft paper look so our hostesses tried to incorporate some of that into the day. My friend wrapped up some boxes with Kraft paper and green ribbon to put in her foyer, and her son asked if he should move them into the family room to be opened. She told him they were empty, just there for decoration, and he Boys! Daughter1 loved the way it looked!

Then there was this adorable chalkboard sign-

This was on the bride-to-be's Pinterest board, so my friend copied it for the shower. She'd planned to hang it on the front door, but since it was a rainy Saturday it was hung in the foyer instead.

Several of the bridesmaids flew to DC for the weekend (three couldn't make the date), and honestly just having these friends in town for the weekend would have been enough for Daugther1. The shower was icing on the cake.

Sisters...sisters...never were there more devoted sisters...these girls y'all.

Both grandmas were able to be there too, and that is really, really special. It's not often both grandmothers are able to be in the same state at the same time. It's us, remember?

My girls are so well loved by these two wonderful women.
So am I.

And these aunts...

They went to a lot of trouble to be there on the day, and I don't say that lightly. Honestly my big sis made an 8 hour drive up and an 8 hour drive home in a two day time frame, which means she was literally on the road longer than she was in Maryland. She wanted so much to be part of our girl's day, and she was. That's what love looks like people.

Fun fact-brides still need Pyrex.

We played a couple of games because hello, do you know us?

Daughter2 organized a fun round of Wedding Scattegories and we also played Bingo while the bride opened her gifts. She got so many lovely things, which were the perfect combination of useful and beautiful.

We wrapped it up late afternoon, and the bride and her posse headed back to D.C. for some Bachelorette fun. We helped our host and hostess get the house back in order, then the four of us may or may not have dozed through a baseball game from the comfort of their couch. We're not old.

Sunday morning we woke to a heron on the boat house and the soft gentle beauty of fall on the river.

We managed to squeeze in a boat ride before getting back on the road headed north. I dropped hubs at the Newark Airport because he had a flight to California Sunday evening, and all I can say about that is better him than me. I was pooped.

So thankful for friends who love my girls. Who've watched them grow up and who watch them still. Who open their home and their heart and make a memory. For family who hold my girls close and who go the extra literal mile in loving them.

For sisters who share a heart connection. For daughters and laughter and all the love showered on a bride-to-be in this once in a lifetime season.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Hodgepodge, eh?

Welcome to a middle of the week, middle of the month, Wednesday Hodgepodge! Raise your hand if you 'get' my post title today. If you've answered the questions, add your link to the party, then go say hi to the neighbors. Here we go-

1. What's your favorite time of day? Why?

Early morning. I love the quiet, the color of the sky at sunrise, and most especially that first cup of coffee. I love the way the whole day lies ahead of me, filled with possibility. 

2. Waffle iron, toaster, coffee maker, mixer, blender...which small appliance most needs replacing at your house?

Can you tell I recently attended a bridal shower? I'm going with a blender because we are currently without one. 

3. It's National Grouch Day (October 15th)...what's something that makes you feel grouchy?

I'm kind of like a toddler, in that if I haven't had enough sleep I can get a little grouchy. Also, like a toddler my move is much improved with a nap. 

Do we actually need a day devoted to all things grouchy? Hoping there's a National Be Cheerful Day on the calendar somewhere too! 

4. Ever been to Canada? Is that a country you'd like to visit? According to Trip Advisor, the top ten best destinations in Canada are-Vancouver, Toronto, Montreal, Quebec City, Victoria, Calgary, Niagara on the Lake, Niagara Falls, Whistler, and Halifax.Which city would you most like to see?

I've been to Prince Edward Island which I absolutely loved (and wrote about here), and then en route home we drove down through New Brunswick into St. Andrew by the Sea, St. John, the Bay of Fundy, and the Reversing Falls, before heading into Maine. It was a wonderful trip. Our friends who live on PEI have a daughter getting married next summer, so we are making plans for a trip back that way in 2015.

I've never been to any other cities in Canada, but would happily see them all. Tops on my list at the moment are Vancouver and Whistler. 

5. What was your favorite food (or one of your favorites) when you were a child? Is that still a favorite?

Bologna, egg salad, and marshmallow fluff (not all together!).  

I could not begin to tell you when I last had bologna, but I'm pretty sure it's been decades. I don't eat marshmallow fluff these days either, unless it's in the form of Christmas fudge, and even that I haven't had in years. Egg salad is still one of my favorite foods. 

6. Do you cry easily?

Yes.  I sometimes wish I didn't, but tears form pretty easily for me, both the happy and the sad. 

7. Have you started your (gasp!) Christmas shopping? If so when, and how much? If not, when will you even begin thinking about it?

I've started, mostly just a few smaller stocking stuffer gifts, but they're our favorite anyway, so important. And it wasn't so much a deliberate decision to get started early, as it was happening upon items that made me think of a friend or family member and instead of doing what I normally do...say I'll come back later...I bought. We have a wedding happening right after Christmas this year, so I feel like it would be in everyone's best interests if I'm a little bit ahead of the game in holiday preparation. See question #3-ha! 

8.  Insert your own random thought here.

I'm going to recap the bridal shower in tomorrow's post. It was too much to squeeze into a random thought, even for me. ahem. So how about I post a fall foliage shot here instead, because we can never have too many of those, can we? 

It was a gray drizzly day here on Tuesday, but the colors are glorious all the same. Here's what I see outside my kitchen window-

...outside my family room window-

...when I pull up the driveway into the garage-

"Even if something is left undone, everyone must take time to sit still and watch the leaves turn." ~Elizabeth Lawrence

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Hodgepodge Questions-Volume 194

I'm regrouping here at the moment, which I know I say practically every single Tuesday here lately, but I've been away all weekend and stuff piles up fast y'all. I enjoyed every minute of the shower celebrating my sweet daughter-bride, and I promise to bore you with too many words and pictures just as soon as I have a free ten minutes. For now you'll have to settle for the questions to this week's Wednesday Hodgepodge. Be sure to hop back over here tomorrow so we can share answers!

1. What's your favorite time of day? Why?

2. Waffle iron, toaster, coffee maker, mixer, blender...which small appliance would you say most needs replacing in your house?

3. It's National Grouch Day (October 15)...what's something that makes you feel grouchy?

4. Ever been to Canada? Is that a country you'd like to visit? According to Trip Advisor, the top ten best destinations in Canada are-Vancouver, Toronto, Montreal, Quebec City, Victoria, Calgary, Niagara on the Lake, Niagara Falls, Whistler, and Halifax. Which city would you most like to see?

5. What was your favorite food (or one of your favorites) when you were a child? Is that still a favorite?

6. Do you cry easily?

7. Have you started your (gasp!) Christmas shopping? If so when, and how much? If not, when will you even begin thinking about it?

8.  Insert your own random thought here.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Fabulous Fall Fragments

The fragments are not really all that fabulous, but fall is. I know there are people who say they don't like fall because it signals winter right around the corner, but how can you not love the staggering beauty of this season?

October skies are the absolute best. Sunrise, sunset...morning, evening, late afternoon. Whenever. The autumn light does not disappoint.

I saw Gone Girl on Wednesday evening with some friends, and we all thought it was pretty intense.


Much more so than the book, in my opinion. In fact, this is one of those rare times I can say I actually liked the film better than the book. About midway through the book I started thinking the plot had taken a turn towards the ridiculous, but the film felt much more believable. Plus Rosamund Pike is utterly perfect in her role as the 'gone' girl.

Just for fun I'll post this pic of the gone girl before she was gone.

We took this at the Cartier Polo Match in Windsor back in 2008.  At the time we only knew her as one of the 'Bond' girls (Die Another Day), but I've become a fan of some of her work since.

There were a number of celebs at the match that day, including this guy who ended up standing almost beside me, and whom I almost missed because I was busy trying to spot Prince Charles.

Yes. I know that's him.
Hubs thought it was hilarious.

I'm excited to celebrate my Daughter1 this weekend at her very first bridal shower. Excited to see my Daughter2 as well, because I do not see nearly enough of Daughter2 in this season. The weekend will be far too short, but sweet nonetheless. We take what we can get.

My two sisters will be there too, along with my own mama, my mother-in-law, and one sister in law so lots of family fun on the weekend calendar.

Half-Past Kissin' Time

Your turn...what's on your calendar or your mind this fine fall Friday? Why not share over at Half Past Kissin' Time?  Enjoy your weekend everyone!

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

The Wonderful Thing About Hodgepodges Is Hodgepodges Are Wonderful Things

Welcome to this week's edition of the Hodgepodge. If you've answered the questions, add your link at the end of my post. Also, please be sure you've added a link back here somewhere in your post, in case your readers want to join the party too. You'll find the code for our cute button on my sidebar. 

Do try to say hello to whoever linked before you, because that's the neighborly thing to do here on a Wednesday. Okay, here we go-

1. Do you manage your own money or do you have a financial planner who helps in some way? Do those kinds of conversations stress you out? A lot or a little?

We do a bit of both. We work with our financial planner to manage the big picture. Do the conversations stress me out? I don't know if 'stress me out' is the right's more like I have brain strain after we've spoken to them.  Like I need to go lie down with a cool cloth on my forehead. All those numbers y'all. And percents and pie charts and other math related jargon. Not my love language. 

2. The second week of October is Pet Peeve week. Off the top of your head share TWO of your current pet peeves.

I don't think I have a lot of pet peeves, but here are two that sprang to mind-

People who leave their shopping carts in the middle of a parking space instead of walking the literal three feet to a cart return. 

People who drive S-L-O-W in the passing lane, which in America would be the left lane. I mention that because it seems so many drivers don't know this. They think it's A-OK to pick any old lane and drive. It's not. Left lane=passing lane. 

3. What is one thing you'd like to learn right now, this very week if you could?

Calligraphy. Do you know what calligraphers charge to address wedding invitations??? Yowza! Many years ago I attempted to teach myself, but then let it fall by the wayside. I have nice handwriting, and it's something I enjoy doing, so I'm going to see if I can pick this back up. I'm betting there's a YouTube instructional video out there somewhere too. 

4. How concerned are you about the health related news concerning Ebola? How about Enterovirus D68?

On a personal level, as far as me actually contracting Ebola, that worry is low. I have not traveled to the countries primarily affected or knowingly had contact with anyone who has. That being said we do travel a lot, so the idea of diseases spreading via air travel percolates in the back of my mind from time to time. 

The Enterovirus doesn't worry me quite so much because it primarily affects children and teens. Even if adults catch the virus we typically, over time, have built up much greater immunity and are able to fight it. I do have a daughter teaching school and know she is vigilant with washing hands, doling out Kleenex, and wiping down desks. Teachers are also part mom-part nurse-part many many things. 

We live in a global society in the 21st century, so those in charge of such things need to have a plan as to how they communicate with the general public. I understand they don't want to unnecessarily alarm citizens, or create panic, but we also need accurate information when these types of issues start making headlines.  

5. Garfield, Nemo, or Tigger...your favorite orange cartoon character?

Tigger, because the book in which he originated (Winnie-the Pooh) will always hold a place near and dear to my heart. Plus Tigger is an optimist and I admire that trait in people as well as tigers. 

6. I'm going to see Gone Girl with my neighborhood book club this week. So often books made into film are disappointing. What's a book turned film you thought was well done, in that the casting was 'like you pictured' when you read the book, and the film plot remains mostly true to the book plot?

I'm curious to see the film because I did not love the book like so many other readers did. I loved the first half of the book, and then it turned for me. Daughter2 saw the movie over the weekend and said it was pretty intense, but she hadn't read the book beforehand. 

If I see a movie before reading the book, then I don't care as much about casting as if I've done it the other way round. If I read a book first I care much more about the casting and especially staying true to the plot. Also, if I see a film soon after having read the book I'm more invested in how true the story is to the original. If years pass between the reading and the seeing then I don't seem to mind changes quite so much. 

Some books I thought were done well in their conversion to film were Gone With the Wind, Little Women, Jurassic Park, and The Help. 

7. What is one story your family always tells about you?

Stories told about me generally mention one of three things-

My love of words from a young age. 

My stubborn streak. 'I can do it myself' was an oft repeated declaration of mine from the time I could talk.  

My inability to ride in a plane-train-car-boat-amusement park anything- without losing my lunch. 

You do know when I say 'lose my lunch' that's a figure of speech, right? 

8.  Insert your own random thought here.

Someone sent this to hubs recently, and it's worth a look, even if you're not into cycling. Amazing!! I know that word is overused, but Danny McAskill has nerves of steel, and talent to match. Plus the scenery is positively breathtaking...makes me want to book a trip to Isle of Skye, pronto. 

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

HP193 and Then Some

If you're looking for this week's Hodgepodge questions don't run off. You'll find them at the end of this post if you keep calm and read on.  I normally write a blog post on Monday mornings, but the day was just too full to squeeze it in, so instead I'm going to throw out a bunch of random here on a Tuesday.

Firstly, Gary Puckett. He was fantastic and we loved the show. He sang every single one of his hits and encouraged us to sing along. Which I planned to do anyway, but it was nice to get the go-ahead from him.

It was so chilly here on Sunday. Hubs and I went to early church because he was playing golf with a friend later in the day, and when we came out of the service at 9:30 am it was still only 40 degrees. And windy! We finally broke down and turned the heat on here at home, because why be cold when you can be warm?

Monday morning we had a follow up appointment with our financial advisors. Don't be jealous, it's not nearly as much fun as it sounds-ha! Actually they're super helpful, but I find all those numbers and scenarios and 5% versus 6% a little overwhelming. On top of that, their office is in a town almost an hour away, and on this particular Monday morning the major highway we needed to access was shut down in both directions. North and South. On a Monday morning. For several hours. And we were in separate cars because hubs needed to leave our meeting and go directly to a work meeting.

Thankfully we heard about the closure before we got to that area, so we took the nearest exit and wound our way through much stop and go traffic to get to where we needed to be.  Thanks Google! We were thirty minutes late to our appointment and even though we'd phoned, and they knew of the road closure, it did not make me feel better. I loathe being late. I think I had a headache before they even started talking risk, commodities, bonds and mishmash.

Prior to leaving the office we googled the incident to see if we could take the highway back (seriously what did we do before Google???) and we learned there had been police activity on the road. A suspicious parcel was dumped on the highway which meant the bomb squad had to be called in to investigate. Better safe than sorry, right? The parcel turned out to be stuffed animals and someone's trash, but there was Arabic writing on the bag so it was inspected. Such is life in the suburbs in 2014.

Okay, I know you probably did not need to know all that (or any of it), but I needed to tell it in order to make room in my head for the Hodgepodge. Here are this week's questions...come back tomorrow to add your link to the party. See you there!

1. Do you manage your own money or do you have a financial planner who helps in some way? Do those kinds of conversations stress you out? A lot or a little?

2. The second week of October is Pet Peeve Week. Off the top of your head, share TWO of your current pet peeves.

3. What is one thing you'd like to learn right now, this very week if you could?

4. How concerned are you about the recent health related news concerning Ebola? How about Enterovirus D68?

5. Garfield, Nemo, or Tigger-your favorite orange cartoon character?

6. I'm going to see Gone Girl with my neighborhood book club this week. So often books made into film are disappointing. What's a book turned film you thought was well done, in that the casting was 'like you pictured' when you read the book, and the film plot remained mostly true to the book plot?

7. What is one story your family always tells about you?

8. Insert your own random thought here.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Five on Friday Fragments

Linking up with Friday Fragments over at Half Past Kissin' Time today.

Half-Past Kissin' Time

Also, because I conveniently have a list of five frags I'm going to go ahead and link up with Five on Friday too.

We're having the house power washed today. Hubs tried to get me to walk around the perimeter with him so he could show me specific areas I should then show them, but a) not my thing and b) quite often it is no hablo ingles and c) did I tell you it's not my thing? Here's hoping they do a good job. It will not be the job hubs would do if he were doing it himself, but hopefully it will be close.

My neighborhood book club read The Sea of Tranquility by Katja Millay this month. I really liked this one, the author's voice and the way the story unfolded. In fact, we all liked this one. The language is sometimes raw, but so is the storyline.

Daughter1's wedding invitations arrived from the printer this week which made us both supremely happy, and a teensy bit giddy. There's nothing quite like seeing it all officially in writing!

Hubs and I are going to see Gary Puckett perform this weekend. Raise your hand if you're old enough to know who that is. For those who do not, Gary Puckett sang lead in a band called Gary Puckett and the Union Gap back in the late 60's. I was but a child myself back then, but had a teenage sister who listened to their records.

Raise your hand if you remember records-ha!

Anyway, GP and the Union Gap sang songs that were catchy, the kind you couldn't help but sing along. Our girls when they were small loved one in particular called Young Girl, which has what might be some of the most inappropriate lyrics of the day. The thing is, you didn't think too deeply about it all back then, at least we didn't. In some ways the world was once a more innocent place.

Trust. We have something going on here at the moment that has me thinking about that word as it relates to faith. Not going into our own particulars, but I imagine most people reading here have something in their lives they are trusting God for. Because when we hear the word, that's how we most often frame it-can I trust God? Coincidentally or providentially or not at all by accident or happenstance, the very day our particular circumstance arose I read this in my Bible Study homework (Beth Moore in Children of the Day)...

'We say 'trust God' yet we agonize privately over whether He can be trusted. The Bible repeatedly suggest however, that God tests us to see whether or not we can be trusted. Maybe His point of view is something like this: "Child, you can trust Me;  I cannot do you wrong. The question is can I trust you? I have work to accomplish on this planet during your time here. I have riches of the Spirit to be stewarded. I'm testing your heart, and my deisre is to find it trustworthy.' 

Does that resonate with anyone else today?

And then finally there's this-

This amazing burst of color I see every time I open my front door.

And yes I do know that's six things not five, but that last bit was a tad too heavy note to end on. Happy weekend all!