Thursday, May 28, 2009

Return of the Newlyweds

They're baaaaa-aaack. 

They had a great time, lots of relaxation, early to bed and early to rise, waited on hand and foot. Apparently they're so in sync now that they dress in matching outfits.  Ha!

For those of you who wanted to see her ring, here's the unofficial picture.

Here's a few pics from the honeymoon...they were at El Dorado Royale.  This is the view from their balcony.

Does it get more gorgeous!?!

This is from the inside of their room looking out over their private pool.  Yeah, private pool.  No fair.

I'm glad they had a good time.  They're back to work, back to the norm, loving being married so far. Here's to many good years to come...

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Long (working) weekend

M was in C-U this weekend for a boatload of gaming. That left me at home with the two girls, and that wasn't going to fly, at least if we were all to maintain our quality of life and a scrap of sanity..  I planned to let the girls go to Grammy's for the weekend so I could knock out a bunch of WAY overdue jobs around the house...some just plain inexcusably neglected.  But I decided to have Mom and Ryan come up to help me with some of the more "manual labor" tasks for a couple days instead. 

They took care of painting the yucky brown doors and trim.
mompaint  ryanpaint hallpaintmidhallpaintafter 

Ryan also cleaned off the deck and the deck furniture and cushions. 

He cleaned the grill, set up the hammock, and pulled a bunch of who knows what out from under the deck that had been there since before we moved in. 

On Sunday, they managed to get the kitchen wall (where we had removed paneling last year) patched, primed, and painted.  They got alot done! 

Braska went home with Grammy and Uncle Ryan to visit for a bit so I could theoretically get more work done around the house with only one child.  But apparently, Braska keeps her sister occupied more than I realized.  Kinlee's been massively clingy, and I'm not getting anything done at all.  It's frustrating, but I don't know what the answer is.  At this point, I can't foresee ever getting this house in order, (at least not for the next year!), and that's really causing me alot of stress right now. 

I don't know how you guys do it!! How in the heck do you manage kids, cook meals, keep the house, AND put up witty, informational blog posts?!?

I used to be so with it...

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

What we want

As most of you probably know, I spend alot of time emailing, chatting with, responding to moms who fear DS for a particular reason, who are pregnant with babies who have been diagnosed with Down syndrome or those who have just had a baby and received a diagnosis. Each time there are different things to be said, and I often think I should compile the responses. So far I haven't, but tonight I re-read one that I'd typed up earlier this evening and just had a feeling I should share it here. I get alot of lurker traffic and I know many of them come after searching a variety of Down syndrome related things on Google. Who knows when someone else may benefit from something said. It's humbling to think so... but it's worth everything to even possibly help someone or save a tiny precious life. So for what it's worth, here are a couple excerpts from my comments to the latest new mom that I've talked to. Please be praying for her and her precious baby. I realize it may not make complete sense, but I felt it important to keep out the identifying pieces and other quotes that she said. She does not have a definitive diagnosis, but she is quite fearful... and she's 22 weeks.

I have no doubt that this baby is exactly what you need, no matter what the chromosome count may be. You said, "I am just not sure if this is what I wanted from this pregnancy," but let me put it this way... I'm guessing you wanted a child. You probably wanted a little cute bundle to nuzzle on when she's falling asleep. You probably wanted to dress him or her in the most adorable little clothes and take pictures at the first haircut. You probably wanted a child to watch splash in the bathtub and crawl down the hall with no diaper after the bath. You probably wanted a little buddy to help you bake cookies or rake leaves or decorate the Christmas tree. I would guess you look forward to the first day of school and to showing her the ocean for the first time on vacation. You surely were looking forward, with fear possibly (!), to the teenage years and the phone calls and friends coming over. And you may have looked forward to high school graduation, as you cry tears of joy at the accomplishment. IF (and it is a big IF) your child has DS, she will still be able to do ALL those things!! You'll ADORE your child. Just like you share the kicks and squirms that she is making right now, you'll share countless moments of special glances and smiles between mom and child.

Since you asked for our two cents... I'll summarize this way... you've got a beautiful baby inside you right now. He or she is moving, growing, feeling pressure when you happen to push in the right spot, and she can hear what you say to her. She has eyelashes and fingerprints!! How exciting is that! That means that she is the only one like her anywhere! :)

Much love to you and your precious tiny one. :) I have been and will continue to be praying for peace and wisdom for you.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Multi-mothering again

Isn't this how everyone does bathtime??  No??? 

Sunday, May 24, 2009

The United Tour

Way back on 4/25, my sister-in-law Skye and I went to see Michael W. Smith and Steven Curtis Chapman in concert. As most of you know, SCC is my favorite artist of any kind and any time. I've been to lots of his shows...I had a number, but now I can't remember. It's weird that Caleb, his son, is playing guitar in his band, and his son, Will Franklin, also plays drums with SCC now that he's graduated from high school. I remember when I saw a show in college and Will Franklin was turning 2 that day. Wow... that's forever ago, yet somehow I remember it well.

And some of you will remember this and this from a year ago this week when SCC's daughter Maria was killed in their driveway accidentally when she was hit by the car her brother Will was driving. This week Mary Beth, Steven's wife and Maria's mother, wrote on her blog a few times about how they're walking through this month of both Maria's birthday and the anniversary of her death. My favorite posts are here and here. They're worth a read, and that means alot coming from me. The concert audience was definitely emotional, as was SCC understandably, when he played "Cinderella," written for his daughters.

While he was singing "Cinderella," a dad in about the 5th row on the floor stepped out into the aisle with his little girl, maybe 7 years old, and they danced through the whole song. It was really moving. She just twirled and hugged him, and it obviously will be a memory for her forever.

Anyway, The United Tour was such a hit with these two super powers teamed up last fall that they added another "leg" to the tour this spring, and I was thrilled to find out they were going to be just a few miles down the road from us out here in St. Charles County. M occasionally does some side work for individuals who need help with their computers, and he was kind enough to give me some of that income specifically for a ticket since he knew I wanted to go. His only stipulation was that he would NOT be going with me. He's been to many a concert with me, but he wasn't up for this one, and that was ok. I found out Skye was interested and the plans were made and tickets purchased.
Wow... officially my least favorite pic ever to be posted on one of my blogs...but Skye's cute enough to cover for me a little bit. :)

The guys did some songs separately, they sang each other's songs--which was way fun for us who know all of both of their stuff-- and they did some awesome worship times together.

This is SCC.

This is MWS in the middle, SCC on the right, and Geoff Moore on the left. He made a quick appearance, which was cool. He's SCC's best friend for years and years, co-writer on several songs, and he was one of my other fave artists back in the 90s in his own right.

It was a great show, and even though we were in the LAST/TOP row in our section, the seats were great, too. I could have stayed for at least another 3 hours easily. When they've been making music, earning Doves, Grammys, and charting #1's for close to 20 years, it's hard to compile it all in 3 hours, as you can imagine.

Here's a few clips of the concert... it's always hard to get the feeling for it on such a poor recording, but still... good stuff.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Prepare for blog post influx

I'm playing catch-up with a whole ton of things I've been wanting to post about for a long time, so there will be several posts on all the blogs over the next few days. (For that matter, I'm mid-way if you haven't seen the last few posts, pop on over.)Thanks to Windows Live Writer (Meredith, you're thinking it's about time, right?!) I'm conquering more in a much shorter time at the computer. Drag-n-drop photo posting is so much nicer than uploading them separately. I'm scheduling posts so they don't all hit at once. If you've not been following Kinlee, check in on her too. She's growing so darn fast!!!

So if you're on a reader, you're good to go. If you're not on a reader, be sure not to miss something wonderful!

(Ok, so it might not be all that wonderful, but it might at least be interesting, thought-provoking, or entertaining. That's something!)

Get those comment-typing fingers ready. Let's set some records!!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Rehearsal and dinner

Braska practiced her walk.

The bride, the minister (Cousin Jason), and the groom...and the church's "hostess." Long story.

Patrick and Rachel at the rehearsal dinner at Lucas Park Grille where they met.

The bride's parents (and mine too).

My brother and sister-in-law.

Me and M

Dinner was very nice, although extremely dark. What's with these places who don't want you to see your food?? I guess I'm not appreciating the ambience enough. I like a romantic place, but wow...that was seriously dark. The food was GREAT! Overall, it went well, complete with a mini-tour of St. Louis on the way from the hotel out here to the restaurant in downtown. On the way home, the limo bus was rocking with a sing-a-long of a variety of songs from "Lovin' Feeling" to "Humpty Dance." Quite entertaining.

Thanks to Mr. and Mrs. D for a very nice dinner!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Mother's Day Present

Forgot to put this up with all the busyness of last week. I got a VERY cool Mother's Day present. Braska and M presented this on Sunday morning, right when I was very frustrated with the way the morning was going... and it was a very nice change of direction for the day. (As always, click on the picture to make it larger. Check out the words, especially one very special phrase.)

The frame came with the shapes, but the words were all chosen by M. The picture inside is a special version of a pic of the girls with a little caption on it that I did a few weeks ago. (Inspired by you Sara W!)

It's from, and now that I'm aware of them, I'll be using them often. I've already ordered my first gift for someone from there.

Great job, honey. Really good. And thank you, again.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Happily ever after

We'll do this a little backwards since so many of you are anxious for some wedding pics... I've got a few of the rehearsal and dinner from Friday night, but we'll get to those in a couple days.

I'm still trying to catch up on sleep...or at least I'm still super tired, so this is going to be pretty matter-of-fact. Imagine a few witty comments in here somewhere for me, ok?

This was the stage at the chapel building of our church. Rachel rented the columns, and it turned out SO good that she did. Maybe those kinds of stories will come later... It was simple but very pretty. And let me say, there were lots of issues with the amateur photography of the day, at least with our these pics are FAR from great, but they still give you a peek. There will be tons of good ones, I'm sure, when the "real" ones come back.

Before the ceremony, there were a few pics, without the bride and groom seeing each other, of course. This is Rach and Mom.

In the "primp room," this is Rachel's new sister-in-law, Ashley.

Rachel posing for the photographer for some solo pics.

Then the ceremony started with the moms lighting the candles for the unity candle trio.

These are the bridesmaids, all friends of Rachel. Kerri, Toni, Chrissi, Aislinn, and Jamie.

The groomsmen, Steve, Brian, Bostjan, Paul, and Ron.

Braska walking down the aisle as one of the flower girls, with the assistance of her Aunties Joy and Julia.

Here's Dad and Rach.

Getting ready for the "giving away."

The opening prayer, and a side shot of her dress...

Watching the soloist finish his song...


After some more family pics with the whole gang, the wedding party headed off to downtown for more pics. The rest of us had a short break before we headed to cocktail/hors d'oeuvres hour before the reception.

It was great to see family, of course, including Miss Carly and her mom, Cousin Lindsay. Carly's gonna be a big sister!!

Here are a couple pics of the reception ballroom. Pictures don't do it was really beautiful. I got there early to go in and put on a few last minute touches that Rachel wanted. It turned out really well, I thought.

The screen in the background has a pic of the couple...the kiss picture from just above. They played a montage of their pictures on there.

These were the placecards that assigned each guest to a table. And the framed piece in the background states that instead of favors, they decided to donate to a charity for each of them in the amount they would have spent on favors. Rachel chose Reece's Rainbow. Very very cool.

When the wedding party entered, Rach and Patrick started the evening by cutting the cake. It was dark in the room, so it was hard to get a good pic. But the second one is there just to show the neat effect of little mini-lites in bud vases that made the stand to her cake. The cake may seem small, but they also had cupcakes.

Dad was really nervous about the whole father/daughter dance, and it was almost shelved, but it turned out just fine. He did really well for his first dancing ever, pretty much.

M was nice enough to ask me to dance...not really a strength of either of us, but it was very thoughtful.

And here's a shot of my hair BEFORE I took out the 40+ hairpins and looked like a curly mess.

It was a LONG day from my 8 am hair appointment to getting home around 11:30 pm. But I think it was a success for the most part... there are always parts that make the couple shake their heads or roll their eyes, but that's the fun of mixing family and friends and formal wear.

Post-wedding numbness

There is alot to tell, bunches and bunches of pictures to show, but I'm in need of sleep. And I've slept most of the day today, like my body is just finally letting go of all of the rushing of the last week or so. And yeah, it wasn't even my wedding...I don't know why it got so crazy. Bottom line: It went off pretty well, it was beautiful, and fun was had by all. Last night before bed, at way past midnight, I took my hair down. After removing over 50 hair pins, this is what was left. And I feel like this sums it up well.

The newlyweds are off to Mexico in a few hours... I hope they have a marvelous week.
More to come...

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Here comes the bride

Congrats, kids!

The new Mr. and Mrs.... Patrick and Rachel