Monday, June 28, 2010

Summer Reading

In case you're new here, this is Delilah.  And she is having a problem with this summer.  You see, nine months out of the year, she is left alone here from 7:30-4:00.  This allows her to sleep uninterupted, maximizing her nocturnal behaviors that start as soon as I am ready for bed.  She would rather I read quietly during her "sleepy hours," and since I live to please my furry, psychotic roomie, I bring you what I've read so far this summer....

I have most of Jennifer Weiner's books, and I enjoy her writing style very much.  That said, I really loved this book.  It was a fast read, and there was really very little exposition up front, which is always a plus with me.  The book is a little bit mystery, a little bit love story, and a fairly good look at female friendship, be it now or then.  It's funny and sweet without being overwrought.  I totally recommend it if you are looking for a light read. (Which coincidentally is pretty much all I read, in case you were wondering.)
Speaking of, here's a memoir that will make you laugh until you cry!  I adore the pint-size Broadway dynamo, Kristin Chenoweth.  I actually read this book when it came out in hardcover, but I couldn't help picking it up in paperback with the new chapter!  Any girl who has ever dreamed of treading the boards will love this book about the girl from Broken Arrow, OK who made it big in NYC!  (And it's totally my book of the month at Versatile Vocalists!)

Kelly Corrigan had cancer.  Then, her father was diagnosed too.  This memoir of the ties that bind us and how we deal with being somewhere between childhood and adulthood made me laugh, cry, and want to be part of the Corrigan clan.  I loved how the chapters alternated between the present and memories from her past.  I was actually sad that the book was over at the last page.
This is the book I'm reading right now.  I'm not very far into it, but I've read Elin Hilderbrand's books before and I really like the way that she brings Nantucket to the page.  (Not that I've been to Nantucket, but all of her books are set there.)  Her books read like a mini-vacation and her characters are so wonderfully flawed and realistic that you find yourself wrapped up in their saga before you even realized it. 

I have a whole shelf full of other great books I hope to get through before school starts!  I promise to keep you updated!  (And I promise that I have received no compensation for my stellar reviews.  Purely a love of books at work here!)

Sunday, June 27, 2010

One Busy, Bad Blogger

Okay, so I know that I am posting non-stop today, but I feel like I need to explain what's been going on!  I have been so crazy busy this last week.  While recovering from Matt and Mel's wedding, I was still teaching my college class, trying to work on my bedroom (actually made a little headway there) and was helping with another wedding that was yesterday! 

My friends, David Michael and Lauren, were married outside yesterday.  It was beautiful, it was God-centered, and it was HOT!  I'm talking about the kind of hot that makes you melt into your Spanx, ladies!  (And if you are the kind of girl who doesn't have to wear Spanx, well, I don't even want to talk to you right now!)  I should say that we have had some of the hottest weather I remember having in June here.  Yesterday, for instance, it was 95 with like 700% humidity.  (In my spare time, I'm also a meteorologist, obviously.)  I have been helping them plan since their engagement in February, so it was amazing that the time had finally come.  While I pretend to be a wedding coordinator, this was the first weekend that I really was the point person for things.  The girls and I made the bouquets, and (with the help of some very awesome people) I was the one responsible for gettting the tables together, the wedding started, etc.  It was overwhelming, but when I got to see Michael's face as Lauren and her dad walked toward him, it was pure bliss.  (I joked that I couldn't tell if I was sweating or crying!)  But what matters in the end is that two wonderful people, who are madly in love, are married!  They left for a three-week honeymoon, and I wish them all the happiness in the world!  Can't wait to see the pics they get of Colorado!

In other, non-wedding related news, this is another busy fun week!  I have class (of course) but I also have a family photo shoot for my third grade teacher, birthday girls' day out for Crystal's birthday, and her official family birthday celebration on Sunday complete with fireworks (I hear that it might also be the celebration of the birth of our country, but in our neck of the woods, it's all about my dear friend!).  Somewhere in there I am hoping to make some more progress on my bedroom too.  Oh, and coming tomorrow, my summer book list!  I promise to be a better blogger this week!  Expect lots of posts and pictures!

Wedding Weekend Recap: Sunday

For Father's Day, my dad requested breakfast at Cracker Barrel.  And since it was across the street from our hotel, his kids were more than happy to comply.  I mean, what makes you feel better than the Barrel?  (Just ask my blog friend, Amy Beth.

Here are the bride and groom, the morning after.

And, in the interest of full disclosure, here are the sisters of the bride and groom!

Lunch was great, and afterwards, we headed back to Matt and Mel's so Dad could look at their getaway car, and we could watch them open their presents.  However, their cat, Nahla, wanted to help.

After taking out one bow, she went for the bags.

"Mama, I iz the present, rite??"

That night, the happy couple headed off for Myrtle Beach and they had a great time.  I am so glad that we had a great weekend, and that I officially gained such a great sister! 

Wedding Weekend Recap: Saturday

Been a little busy, but let's finish Matt and Mel's wedding before I hurry on to some of the other things I want to talk about.  I couldn't have imagined a more beautiful day for the happy couple!  Here they are coming out of the church to the guests ringing bells and the wonderful church bells!  (Of course, they only drove around the block because we had to finish pictures with my friends, David Michael and Lauren (who were married yesterday!).

Lulu was one of the bridesmaids (I chose to sing instead).  Here she is with Daddy!

My family always turns out for these big days.  This is Mom's side of the fam.

These are my grandmothers all dressed up and waiting for the big event!

The bride's bouquet!  (Isn't it gorgeous?!)

Cutting the cake!  We all had wonderful cupcakes from Larry's!

The cake close up.  I loved the arrangement on the top.

Mama and Daddy dancing the night away.

The Mom's bouquet (which is much cuter than a corsage might I add!)

This is what happy looks like!

Coincidentally, so is this...

The girls are living it up!

I had to add this picture simply because I am amazed that she can jump like that wearing those heels!

The cutest guy at the wedding steals the bride!

And here I am with two of Mel's former roomies, who happen to also be two of my new favorite people!

After the reception was over, we had a karaoke after-party and I ended up getting back to the hotel very early in the morning.  But it was totally worth it!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Wedding Weekend Recap: Friday

Friday started bright and early with me putting together the practice bouquet.  I don't know about your wedding traditions, but among my people it's all about the practice bouquets.  So I gathered up all my trusty goodies and got started.

With the help of my furry assistant, I layered the bows from Mel's wedding shower, plus some of the table roses and a whole lot of glue and ingenuity to get this.... (drumroll, please)

Lovely, right?  You have to keep in mind that being a little tacky is the name of the game when making a practice bouquet.  Perhaps I should remind you of the last one I made...

The one I made for Lindsey's wedding was roughly the weight of her first child.  I know, you are amazed at my crafting skills now, for sure. 

Well, at any rate, I loaded everything up and headed to the town where the wedding was.  I'd never been to this church, and was completely wowed by how totally gorgeous it was. 

The priest was awesome and made rehearsal as painless as possible.  We were in and out in about an hour and everything looked set for the big day.

Next, it was on to the rehearsal dinner, which came from one of Matt and Mel's favorite restaurants.  The food was so yummy!  Especially the homemade rolls and the Chocolate Delite (which you might call the world's best four-stack pudding).

With all the main festivities out the way, it was time for a little fun.  With the addition of two of Mel's former college roommates, we loaded up and went to a local establishment where we could enjoy a good band and meet up with the groom and groomsmen.  Let's just say a good time was had by all.

Stay tuned for Part II: The Wedding...

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Guess Who's Getting Married This Weekend?!

My little brother is getting married.  Yep, that's right.  The big day that I've been talking about for months now is finally upon us.  (Or almost!)  And an event such as this seemed like a really good time to show a few recently scanned, but fairly old family pictures.

This is us in the early days.  I feel that I should mention I was spoiled rotten, and it really rocked my three year-old world for this new kid to show up.  In fact, I was mad at my mom and asked her to take him back to wherever he came from.  But, they brought him home anyway, and I eventually warmed to the idea. 

Besides, he was kind of fun when he wasn't messing up my pictures.  There is an incident where he hit me in the head with a baseball bat and I somehow ended up in trouble for it.  That was unfortunate.  But mostly, it was fun stuff.

See, don't we look like we're having a great time?  That was Easter of 1990-something.  (Or as I like to call it, the Easter That Fashion Forgot.)  My brother was an athlete from the start, unlike his more uncoordinated, fine arts loving sister.  Matt did karate, baseball, and basketball as far back as I can remember.  And while I didn't make every game or sometimes went for the socialization factor (Hello?  Have you met me?), it made me so proud when he won a match, hit the ball, or scored a basket.  I'm still really proud, but for completely different reasons.  Matt and I were never really the sit-down-and-talk-about-your-feelings kind of siblings.  I may have mentioned it once or twice, but my family doesn't really work like that.  However, when it matters, when it's time to be there, we show up.  Matt sat through a lot of musicals (which weren't exactly his thing), because they were my thing.  And I know that if I ever really needed something, (like a large, handmade desk moved into my house, for example) he'll be there and he'll move it.  I love my brother more than I could ever actually express, if for no other reason than he's MY brother (and there's only one other chick in the world with the honor of saying that)!
My bubby has been a lifelong Cardinals fan.  This was a trait that was instilled in him by Grandpa Gus from the time he was very young.  (Just one more thing they shared other than looks!)  This picture was taken from their hotel of old Busch Stadium, on the night of Matt's first live game.  And to this day, if you listen closely on game nights, you can hear Matt yelling at the players and declaring his general dislike of Tony LaRussa.

My parents eventually added my baby sister the mix, and we all grew up to be happy and well-adjusted individuals.  I became the brilliant, glowing personality you know and love and decided to teach.  Matt went into the health care field instead, spending five years in the STL going to school before coming back home.  But he didn't do that before he made another good choice.

  Because through my cousin, Rob, and Katie Ochs, he was introduced to this girl several year prior.  Their first official date was on Matt's birthday, New Year's Eve, but I believe this was actually taken on the night they met (thanks, Katie O.!)  My first impression of Mel was something like, "Boy, she sure does like high heels a lot."  (Just the kind of girl I am, I suppose!) LuLu called her Giggles for the first few months.  But it didn't take long before we grew to love Melissa.  She just fit right into our family.  She went with Mom and me to Women of Faith more than once, and if she can make that trip with all of those crazy people, she's totally meant for us.  And a year ago March, Matt asked her that all-important question, and she, of course, said "Yes!"  So, really it's felt like she's been my sister-in-law for a long time now.  This weekend will just make it official.  And I can't wait!  
Stay tuned for plenty more pictures and a lifetime of happiness!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

On Love and Marriage

In my quiet time (which is a lot of the time because I live alone), I've been thinking about love recently.  There have been all sort of catalysts for this.  Yesterday, I sang at a funeral for a woman I've known my whole life, Christamae, who was married to Paul for 70 years.  Crystal and I had a talk about relationships on Friday night.  It's been the topic of shows and articles and movies.  I have two weddings in as many weekends coming up.  How could I not be thinking about love and marriage and all that jazz?!?!

Mostly, I've been thinking about how funny it is that for the first time in my life, I'm not searching for a relationship.  Sure, there have been times that I have said this in the past, but I really mean it now.  It's not that I'm saying I don't want have all that, it's just the first time that it wasn't really at the front of my mind constantly.  Maybe it's because I'm finally content with my life.  I feel like I have some direction, some purpose, a lightly drawn plan for where I'm going.  And I think I've come to terms with the fact that if God wants me to be single, I will be.  And should He want me to be married, I will be.  And I won't be able to force His hand either way.  So, why continue to struggle with it?  Sometimes, I wish that I could go back and give some of this knowledge to the girl I used to be.  Maybe she would see that it doesn't have to be all drama, that you don't have to go throwing yourself into brick wall situations just to feel needed, just to think you are loved.  Of course, it's only with experience that you can learn some lessons.

And while we are on the topic of love and marriage, I can't imagine being married for 70 years.  (Of course, I'd have to live to be 100 for that to happen to start with!)  But, even more I can't imagine the grief when that person goes on to Heaven, leaving you.  I always thought the song "Johnny and June" was a little unclear of what we all really want.  I don't want a love like that first part of their lives together.  I've seen Walk the Line, and that didn't really look like all that much to strive for.  It's those later years of Johnny and June Carter Cash that make me tear up just a bit, the idea that you are so wholly devoted to someone that you just can't live here without them.  That isn't the kind of love that could burn your barn down, it's the love that keeps your heart warm.  That's what Bob and Jane Norton had, that's what Paul and Christamae had, and if anyone should ever find themselves thinking they want to marry me, then it's the kind I want.  And you can take that to the bank.