Wedding Bliss

My daughter’s wedding was beautiful.  I am so happy with the way it turned out which made all the hard work worth it.  It was a small wedding — only about 40-50 people.  But I wanted her day to be special so we still put a lot of work into it and made sure it still had special touches.   A little bit of rustic… a little bit of lace…  it was just beautiful.  And the rain stopped right before the wedding and didn’t start again until the last guests were leaving — thank goodness.  I thought I would share a few pictures with you.

The Bride & Groom

The Bride & Groom

Family & Friends

Family & Friends

Collages14

Collages15Yay!  We did it!

IMG_0961

As wonderful as it was, I am happy it is over.  And the next 3 will be easyier — they are all boys.

Wedding Planning

I’m back!.  Busy season was much worse this year than normal.  Through mid-September I was working up to 14 hours a day, 70-75 hours a week, which didn’t leave much time for anything else.  I hope I never have to do that again.

Since then, I have been working on planning my daughter’s wedding.  Actually she’s my step-daughter, but I raised her since she was 7, so I have laid claim to her as her mother. She is getting married on Oct 19, so I am trying to plan a wedding in just under 5 weeks. That’s not waiting ’till the last minute, is it?  It’s not that I wanted to wait and do it all in one month, it’s just that I didn’t have time to fit it in with all the hours I was working.

Thankfully, she had the location picked out and a general idea of what she wanted.   Also, thankfully, it is going to be a fairly small wedding – just 50-60 people.  But small doesn’t mean lacking in any area, so there is still much to be done.  And as someone who believes in doing my things myself, this is a DIY wedding.

So, here’s my plan and how it’s been working…

Week 1: Search Pinterest for ideas.  Total success!  There are so many great ideas on Pinterest.  We have very creative people in this world, and I am very thankful that they are willing to share their ideas.  Country or rustic weddings seem to be all the rage right now. We are doing a spin off of that — a little bit of rustic, with little bit of lace.  I think I would call it Shabby Chic.  At least that’s how it is coming together in my head.  I hope it ends up looking just as nice in person.

Week 2-3: Search for and buy all supplies.  Found some good deals on Craiglist, the local thrift store, and a local consignment shop.  Had to buy a few things new, but not much. And although I couldn’t find everything I was looking for, I found things I could substitute.

Weeks 3-4: Crafting.  I am making the flower girl dresses and hairpieces, ring bearer bow tie and suspenders, the ring box and a sign for the two ring bearers to carry, bride’s headpiece, wedding favors, all decorations for the wedding and reception, and many more things to mention.

Week 5 which starts tomorrow: Finish up the decorations and make all the food.  I didn’t get as many things made last week as I had hoped.  In fact, all I got done was the flower girl dresses and the hairpiece for the bride. Thankfully I am taking this next week off work; otherwise, I’m not sure I would be able to get everything done.   Hopefully, it will all come together without too much stress.  But I expect to be very, very busy for the next week.

hairpiece for the bride

flower girl dress

Thankfully, other members of our family are handling other parts of the wedding.  My mother-in-law is making the cake, my sister and niece are doing the pictures, a friend of the groom’s will be the DJ for the afternoon, and my (step) daughter’s mother is doing the flowers for the bridal party.

Oh, and did I mention that we also had 3 family birthday’s this week.  My oldest granddaughter turned 4 yesterday.  She is growing up so fast.  And honeyman’s brithday is tomorrow.

Eve turns 4

I’m making things to take to the fair again this year and they have to be turned in no later than this coming Monday morning.  There really is too much going on in my life right now.

Even with as much fun as I am having doing the stuff for the wedding, and as busy as I am with everything else, I so want to quilt!  I really miss quilting.  It has been at least 10 weeks since I have had time to work on even a little quilt.  So, that is my plan for the last half of October and all of November — QUILT!!!  Well, as much as I can with working full-time, traveling several weeks for work, and babysitting 5 nights a week.  Oh, why do I have a feeling I’m going to have a hard time fitting it in even then?

And, even though these are not quilting finishes, I do have several finishes, so I am linking up with Finish it Friday at Crazy Mom Quilts, Link a Finish Friday at Richard and Tanya, and Can I Get a Whoop Whoop at Confessions of a Fabric Addict.

Thoughts on Being a Mother

I’ve been thinking a lot today about being a mother.  You see, 23 years ago today my first-born son came into this world.  I was 22.  I was ready for this!  I had read the books and done my research.  I had everything planned.  I looked into his sweet innocent eyes and swore to be a perfect mom.  HA!  Did I ever have it wrong!

Everything was perfect for a little while though.  He was the sweetest little angel.  We would snuggle and cuddle.  When he woke in the middle of the night, I would rock him and sing sweet lullabies to him.  I made sure he was well cared for, fed, clothed, and loved as much as any baby could stand.  Often, I would just hold him while he slept.  I had this cross-stitched this poem for his nursery, and I lived by it.

Cleaning and scrubbing can wait ’till tomorrow, for babies grow up we’ve learned to our sorrow.  So quite down cobwebs, dust go to sleep; I’m rocking my baby, ’cause babies don’t keep.

I doted on him.  I kissed his little toes, and marked his major milestones.  In short, I was in love with my little man.

CCI10072013_00002

And then… he got a little older and started to exert his will.  No problem.  I had read all the books — remember?  I knew just what to do.

CCI10072013_00006

Ummm… Houston we have a problem.  I quickly figured out that although I had read all the books, he hadn’t.  So he didn’t know how he was supposed to respond to the ‘parenting style’ we were using.  And thus that day goes down in history as the day I realized I didn’t have a clue what I was doing with this parenting thing.

Also, you have to remember that this was ‘before’ the internet.  Before information was so readily available.  Yes, I had friends, parents, mentors even willing to ‘help’, but I lived with my ‘Army’ husband in very, very small German town 4500 miles from home! Our communication with family consisted of letters (the hand-written kind that took a week or more to make it across the ocean) and a 15 minute phone call home each month. Basically, it was like being dropped on a deserted island with nothing but a paperclip and a stale chip and being told I had to survive.  Yes, I know Survivorman could handle that scenario; and well, it may come as a surprise to you, but I am not Survivorman.  Sorry to disappoint you.

Thus began the power struggles (he takes after his dad… LOL… no seriously, he really does).  Time for bed… no, I don’t want to go to bed.  Clean your room, no.  Eat your food… food ends up on the floor.  If you’re a mom, you know exactly what I’m talking about.  But even then, he was sweet, kind, imaginative, joyful, loving, and much more.  In short, he was my sweet little angel and I couldn’t imagine loving anyone more than I loved that little guy.

Then came son #2 and soon after, being a single parent to two little boys.  Son #2 was just as adorable and sweet, but suddenly I didn’t have the time or energy to sing lullabies at 2am.  I didn’t have time to make a baby book, or mark the first step or first tooth on the calendar.  Then, it was all I could do to just ‘survive’ and hope we all got through this alive.  And there were days I wasn’t sure even surviving would be a possibility.

CCI10072013_00004

Fast forward ahead several years…  there were good times, and bad times, but mostly good times.  Remarried, 2 more kids added to the mix, and the oldest two become TEENAGERS!  Nothing, and I mean nothing, could have prepared me for the teenage years.  My best friend just ‘loves teenagers’ (so she says) — I’m thinking she must have a screw loose somewhere.  In my dictionary, definition of teenager = ‘which planet does this monster hail from and what have they done with my child?’

CCI10072013_00005

Power struggles multiplied by 100, school suspensions, trouble with the law, etc.  I had absolutely no idea what to do.  I was a really good kid and teenager – remember, I told you he took after his dad.  I prayed, I fought, I researched, I tried every combination of parenting known to man, and still he was determined to lead what I considered to be a path to destruction.  They say that everyone has to make their own mistakes and find their own way, but I was not prepared for the heart wrenching hurt it would cause me to watch it.  No one told me that the little baby that I sang lullabies to every night would break my heart one day.  No one told me that I would be totally unprepared for the decisions that I would have to make, and that some of those decisions would leave me second guessing myself for the rest of my life.  No one told me that your heart could hold so much love and so much pain for the same child.

100_2482

Oh, there have been good times since then.  He has soared off on his eagle wings several times, and come back home several times over the years. As a mother that loves him dearly, I want nothing but the best for him.  I want him to find his place in the world, to love and be loved.  I know he’ll get there eventually, he just seems to be taking a few detours along the way.  But, on this, his 23rd birthday, I have no idea where he is.   I have no idea if or how he is celebrating his birthday.  And for this mama bear, that is a bit hard to stomach.  But for all the trials and tribulations, for all the heartaches, the long nights, the prayers and tears, being a mom is the most important job in the world and I wouldn’t trade it for anything.  Because at the end of the day, you still have some of the most rewarding times and best memories a life can hold!  I love you son!

IMG_2136

“My Oldest Son”

My Oldest Son
From the first time you clutched my finger in your tiny hand,
I knew I was in love.
It was if you were squeezing my heart too.
I have never felt a love so pure and true.
And I would not give it up for anything in this world.
You are my love, My life, My first born child and I Love You!

Copyright ©2008 Suzanne Elizabeth Sweet

WHAT MAKES YOU HAPPY??

Dancing in the Rain“What makes you happy?” was the question posed to me by my 3-year old granddaughter last night.

Wow!  What a simple, but deep question.  It really makes you think.  What does make me happy?  And, if I know what makes me happy, then why don’t I do those things more often?

Let’s start this story with a short recap of recent happenings that might be draining my happiness.  It’s been a hard week/month… This week my middle son moved across country, my car broke, my phone broke, and busy season has started so I’m working 10-11 hour days.  Last week I spent a whole day not knowing if my oldest son was dead or alive as his roommate had reported him missing to the police and he wasn’t answering my calls.  Also, last week my youngest son turned 13, and I had a friend visiting from out-of-town (and her car broke while she was here). Then last month, I was sick twice, one of our mama rabbits died, my daughter announced she was getting married, we had family at our house visiting for several days (while I was sick), and we traveled to my parents house for several days for a visit.  Some of these happenings were a lot of fun, and some are not.  But they all have one thing in common — they create stress in me in one way or another, and I think this stress shows on my face.

My grand daughter is awesome though.  Even at the age of 3, she is very encouraging, nurturing, and uplifting.  She has a genuine way of complimenting others that brings joy to their soul.  She exemplifies Proverbs 16:24.  She often praises others and is very quick to offer compliments.  In her child’s eye, high-five’s should be common practice.  “You are wonderful!” and “You are so beautiful!” are common phrases in her dictionary.  And you know, coming from her, that it is the truth.  That that is what she truly sees and believes.  Because, even though as a three year old she knows how to lie, she doesn’t yet understand the concept of telling someone something you don’t truly believe just to make them feel better.

Prov 16_24

So when she asked me last night what made me happy, I believe that was her way of trying to help me put things in focus.  And she is right… we should think more happy thoughts!  Happy thoughts will chase the blues away.  They say ‘an apple a day keeps the doctor away’.  However, I believe that having an optimistic, grateful attitude is even better than an apple.  This is something that obviously I needed to be reminded of.

gratitude

So, what makes me happy? (in no particular order)

  • Hearing a child’s laughter
  • Hugs from my kids and grand kids
  • Spending time with family and friends
  • My lover’s kiss (well, my husband’s kiss, but ‘lover’ sounded so much more romantic)
  • Helping others
  • Hiking a trial and enjoying God’s creation
  • A walk on the beach
  • Playing like a kid
  • Digging in the dirt
  • A picnic in the park
  • Surprising others with something special

So, today I choose to focus on what makes me happy.  Today, I choose to be grateful and thank God for the many blessings that he has given me.  Today is going to rock!

today is going to rock

What makes you happy??  I love to hear what brings happiness to your soul.  I think we could all use a whole mess of happy thoughts to help us put things in perspective.  I know I could.  Oh, and be sure to give someone a high-five today!smile

Days Like Today

I just LOVE days like today.  Being able to just hang around the house and spend time with the family…  Not having a schedule, or needing to be anywhere at a certain time…  Not having to work at my ‘for pay’ job…  Doing things around the house, although not being very concerned with necessarily being productive or feeling like I have to get something done…

Actually it started yesterday.  I realized that the cherries on the cherry tree were ripe, so I enlisted the kids to help pick.  Once we had the tree stripped, I started hulling.  They were also a bit wormy so I had to cut away bad parts.  An couple of hours later, I had three 3-1/2 cups of chopped cherries (that was a lot of work for just a few cups of berries).  An hour or so after that, the sour cherries were three half-pints of sweet cherry jam.

Today, took my youngest and his friend to DefyGravity, a trampoline arena.  Wow, that looks like fun.  I might have to join in the jumping next time too.

Then…

  • The sun was shining and they sky was blue (for what seemed like the first time in 2 months);
  • Trip to Lowe’s for garden supplies;
  • Made potato cages for the garden;
  • my youngest and his friend picked peas, and lettuce, and then decided they would make a salad;
  • I then had them pull up the pea plants and plant beans;
  • honey man grilled hamburgers, and made potato salad and homemade ice cream;
  • Monkey #1 & #2 helped plant more beans;
  • Bonfire & music;
  • Roasting marshmellows and drinking (milk from a sippy cup); and
  • S’mores.

And that’s it.  As you can see, I didn’t get a ton done over the 14-hour day.  But it was great because it was stress-free and meant spending time with those I love.  Having some friends over to spend the day with, and having my older kids here too would have been great.  But, notwithstanding that, it was a perfect day!

And that’s why I love Days Like Today

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

On a day like today – the whole world could change
the sun’s gonna shine – shine thru the rain
on a day like today – no one complains
free to be pure – free to be sane
on a day like today
ya never wanna see the sun go down
ya never wanna see the sun go down

~ Bryan Adams

Blowing Bubbles and Playing with Crickets

It was a beautiful Spring afternoon in central NC this afternoon.   Sunny and chilly, with a slight breeze.  I’m loving the extra daylight at the end of each day.  And to make today even better, it was the last day of the first tax season this year.  I have several others throughout the year, but the first deadline is h-i-s-t-o-r-y.  Yippee!

So, to celebrate, the two older monkeys and I played outside this afternoon.  We blew bubbles, spilled some, blew some more.   We checked out the trees getting ready to bust out in blooms.  And we played with a wounded cricket that we found.  In all, it was a very good afternoon.

Enjoying the simple things in life.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.





Cutest Kitty!

K – 18 months old

DSC_0756

UFO #2 is done.  I crocheted a Hello Kitty cap for monkey #3.  She came to visit today and we got some great pictures of her in it.  This was supposed to be a Christmas present, but I got sick right before Christmas and didn’t get it finished.  I used a pattern posted by Crochet in Color.  It was very easy to follow.

We played outside and played with the baby bunnies.  It was a nice break in my work day.  She turns 18-months old in just 2 days and is talking up a storm.  I think she liked the hat.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.