Friday, April 30, 2010

just a warning...

this is probably the last you'll hear from me for a few weeks.

i've got some getting married business to attend.

(... and then honeymoon in savannah, ga.)

pray for us over the next few days! talk to you week after next!

Monday, April 26, 2010

the bridal chronicles: chapter 7. the fun stuff...

It really depends on how you define fun...

The first part of this post was most definitely fun.

Ashley, Christine, and Marjo planned a bachelorette party for me this past Saturday night. They even surprised me with an impromptu lingerie shower! We went to Molly's and feasted on heavenly chimichangas and drank margaritas.

There were hats, crowns, plastic beads and swirly straws. Along with a "dunce cap" that we had to wear if we said certain words. Yes, this party had all the right elements.

My sweet Ashley. Although she planned on coming back to Memphis for the weekend of my wedding. Her moving back here is way better! I don't know how I would have done all this otherwise.

We didn't get too many photos, we were having WAY too much fun. Check out my Miss Bachelorette sash. Hot right?

Lori! Can I love you too much? Yes, I can. I love you too much. (Lori knows what this means.)

This photo cracks me up. All the married gals gave me marriage advice. Apparently this one was a little shocking. I also love how Margaret was holding my hat on my head. It was such a fun time! I really wish we had gotten a group shot. There were quite a few more people in attendance. I think the photographers had more fun getting ridiculous shots of my face throughout the party.

We even had an after party. I still can't believe Christine, Janine, and Ashley saw my apartment like that. It ended with a dance party/ sing along to Kings of Leon. So much ridiculous fun.

The girls told me it was a "thank you note free zone". So, THANKS GIRLS!

Today, the proactive sisters, aka Cindy and Ashley, came over to help me work on some stuff. Actually Ashley started the day by being my shuttle while my car was in the shop.

They tied ribbons on 300 programs. Am I not worthy to call them friends? Yes. Yes indeed.

The second half of this post, is debatable fun...

Last night I finished the last of the pecan pies. 40 to be exact. They're Brandon's favorite dessert. So, we're serving them in lieu of a groom's cake.

This looks pretty messy, but it's controlled chaos. Anything for the actual wedding is sitting here. The reception items are all in the bonus room. See? I have a system.
Today we finished the bouquets, the programs, and organized the day of items. Just a few more details, and we'll be ready to get married! It feels so good to get things marked off the list.

Now, I clean my house! It's disgusting.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

the bridal chronicles: chapter 6: april showers...

I don't know if these April showers are going to produce any May flowers. But, they did produce quite a few wonderful presents!

Yesterday I had a sweet shower hosted by some of my mom's good friends. It was a linen shower.

Once again, I'll just take you on a guided tour through the photos...

The sweet pink and green invitations. I am dying to know where I can find that white and green bedding. You know I'm a sucker for green!

It just melts my heart to see how well these 4 get along. From left to right: (top row) Cailyn (my goddaughter) Grace (my godsister, aka, Meribeth's daughter) and Clare (my sister) (bottom row) Fiona (my other godsister.) The older girls are all Junior Bridesmaids and Fiona along with her brother Pavel are going to be icon bearers in the wedding.

The sweet hostesses, my mom's dear friends: L to R: Mom, Linda Johnson, Jane Mills, me, Linda Shoemaker, and Judi Clement. (I consider Judi one of my girlfriends too, she was the secretary at my last job and we had so much fun together!)

Me and my beautiful Mudder. I'm so happy some of my aunts and my grandmother were able to make the shower!

I really love this "family photo". Here's Meribeth with all of her daughters spiritual and birth daughters. She is mine and Trish's godmother. And also my sweet goddaughter, Cailyn (Trish's daughter). Does the family tree confuse you yet? I really love this one!

Did anyone else feel like they looked REALLY awkward when they opened presents at their showers? I feel like I just look silly. Please know, if I'm acting odd while opening your gift. It's not because I'm ungrateful. Because seriously, I am grateful. I just get a little nervous.

Call me obsessed, but look at this amazing food table. The menu consisted of: scrambled eggs with crab, a maple glazed ham, garlic grits, baked tomatoes, bacon wrapped breadsticks, mini muffins, fruit, chocolate AND strawberry cake for dessert. Yum!

Seriously, I want to eat shower food every day!

Today, we went to the second redbirds home game of the season. It was P.E.R.F.E.C.T. outside. We sat on the bluff and enjoyed the newly added Ghost River beer that's now served at the stadium! (I highly recommend the Home Run Red.) And, since it WAS the first game for us this season, we got an order of the beloved bbq nachos to share.

(Please note: we'll be serving Ghost River at our wedding. Now don't you want to come?)

Me and my sweet goddaughter Cailyn. We had a blast together. Don't you love how we both did the nose crinkle.

We thought this one was so perfect. But that darned bright sun made C squint. Maybe we can recreate the photo again next time!

The Meyers were also there, and Anna-Marie explained to us how sure she was that her mommy is having a boy. (They haven't found out yet...) I'm anxious to see if her prediction is true.

Sweet mother-daughter photo.

When we came home, we broke out the grill. I am HIGHLY opposed to using any wedding gifts pre-wedding. BUT Susan (who bought this gift for us as the group St. John gift) insisted we use it. She told me she was disappointed that we weren't planning on using it during the perfect weather.

So, in an effort to not hurt her feelings. We opened up the grill. :~)

My mom gave me some deer steaks from a deer my brother shot. (Thanks Caleb!) So, we ate two of those. (Yes, the former vegetarian went from not touching any meat to eating Bambi. Forgive me.) I very simply seasoned them with salt and pepper. I also made mashed potatoes and tomatoes with olive oil, salt and pepper. (Really only an effort to add some fresh non starch produce to the plate.)

The steaks were really good. I got really nervous; it was our first time grilling with the charcoal grill AND our very first time cooking deer meat. The steaks were pretty thin, so next time we'll cook the a little less. But, otherwise, it was delicious.

I've kind of had a really wonderful past two days! Made all the more wonderful when I realize: I'm getting married in TWO WEEKS!

Friday, April 16, 2010

the bridal chronicles: chapter 5: woah!

Slow down!

No, seriously.

It's only 2 weeks away. I am getting married in 2 weeks!!!

There's so much going on. I had my amazing shower with the Women of St. John on Sunday. And this week has thrown me into SUPER wedding mode.

I don't have much to say.... Enjoy the photos.

The fun started with a super fun cookout given by the Cushmans for the choir. They wanted to thank us for singing. We had such fun. Here I am with my favorite altos. Love these ladies.

Not only can they sing... Nathan and Bill played some fabulous music for the party.

My sweet boss Lori hosted the Shower for the women of St. John. Here I am with Brandon's mom and sisters and my mom.

Lori said some ridiculously sweet things before everyone ate.

Please note the fabulous table. Mindy coordinated the food and had several people make the same chicken and noodle salad recipe. They also served fruit salad, rolls, and Mindy's fabulous herbed savory cheesecake. (It's served with crackers.) Then for dessert, they made buttermilk cupcakes with lemon icing and chocolate cupcakes with marshmallow icing. Needless to say, I was in heaven!

I can't tell you how many people asked me if I made the food for the shower...

My mom, me, and my sweet goddaughter Cailyn. C was my right hand girl at the shower. We had fun together.

Three of the fabulous hostesses. (There were so many more sweet women involved in making this shower incredible.) Left to right: Meribeth, Lori, Me, and Mindy.

Love this apron from our sweet friends the Hodges. You all know how much I love a good apron.

Last night, Marjo, Michele, and Ashley came over. We started scheming about centerpieces. And we also made the bouquets. My mother MADE these flowers. They're made of linen and pillow ticking for the petals. Isn't she incredible!?!?

Look at this mess! It really stresses me out. But, for the next two weeks, this is my life.

Ashley also helped me paint the cake topper dolls. She expertly mixed the paint to match our true hair color. I think they turned out adorable! They're even wearing wedding crowns!!!

Now, you tell me, where could you buy something this sweet!? Moments like this make me proud to be a DIYer!

Things aren't slowing down one bit until after the wedding. (I'm so ready for the rest and vacation that our Honeymoon is providing!) I've got a linen shower hosted by some of mom's sweet friends tomorrow, and then things kick into HIGH GEAR!

Hang on for the ride dear blog friends, this is going to be crazy!

Thursday, April 08, 2010


Christ is Risen!

I bought some yogurt this afternoon. The expiration date was May 2, 2010. I thought to myself: "I should eat this quickly, that's soon."

Then I laughed at the irony. May 2 is our wedding date. And it's really soon. OH.MY.GOODNESS!

Some new wedding related items:
a. We sent out the Invitations. Wow. It's really official.
b. I had to make more thank you notes. I honestly didn't know this many people wanted to give us stuff. and it's not over. My Women of St. John shower is this Sunday, at my sweet bosses house.
c. I set up another registry, at Williams-Sonoma. Those things are fun to create!
d. I feel like time is slipping away faster than ever!

But, my life does not ONLY revolve around wedding planning.

Here are some scenes from this Bright Week:

1. Outside play. My sweet friend C likes to spend time outside these days. It's been so beautiful. As soon as she gets in the car after school she says "Miss Caitlyn, can I play outside when we get home?" It's all she can think about!

2. Feasting. I've done a lot of this, this past week. I bought a large ham to be blessed in my Pascha basket. (Along with some other traditional items like bread (or Sister Schubert's rolls), butter, salt, red wine, eggs, and some of the delicious cheese i've been missing so terribly!)

This scene is from breakfast with my sweet friend Ashley, who just moved back to Memphis! We had ham and toast with goat cheese, and fried eggs. Can anything be better?

3. Pascha presents! I got these sweet Williams-Sonoma Spring Bunny mugs from my parents. They are one of the many reasons I love to have solid colored dishes (I have white already, and have registered for red Fiesta Ware too.) I love to have sweet extras to add to my existing place settings to bring in the season.

I think I'm going to leave these up for at least a couple of weeks. The time of celebration for Orthodox Christians is not limited to only Pascha. We celebrate how Christ trampled down death by death for quite a while! Meaning, that I will celebrate the spring and the Paschal season for quite a while!

My sweet bosses also gave me a beautiful Calphalon pan for a Pascha present. How much do I love them!?!?!?

4. Pollen. Any Memphian can tell you, we've had a greenish-yellow tint about us this week. The pollen is out in full force. (Not as much anymore after the storms last night.) But, pollen means the blooms are coming out. And just look at this bouquet of dogwood flowers.

{10 points if you get the song reference from the last line.}

PS- Doesn't anything flower look sweeter in a Mason jar? I love it!

Talk to you soon.

Wednesday, April 07, 2010


Christ is Risen!

Here are a few photos of the spring beauty that I'm seeing these days. The first is of my dogwood tree right outside of my window. It brings me joy every time I look outside. The second is the only remaining hydrangea from my Pascha basket. I think it looks so sweet alone in the mason jar.

(PS- I'm glad to report, there will be an increase in photography on this blog in the coming weeks. I have finally replaced my camera!)

And, in light of my friend Esther's death this week, I was reminded of this portion of St. John Crystostom's Paschal homily in my friend Hannah's facebook status.

"O Death, where is thy sting?
O Hell, where is thy victory?

Christ is risen, and thou art overthrown!
Christ is risen, and the demons are fallen!
Christ is risen, and the angels rejoice!
Christ is risen, and life reigns!
Christ is risen, and not one dead remains in the grave.
For Christ, being risen from the dead,
Is become the first-fruits of those who have fallen asleep." - St. John Crystostom, Paschal Homily

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Memory Eternal.

Christ is Risen!

I want to write more about Pascha soon. But for now, I want to share this news with you.

Our church community is grieving because our sister, Esther, has fallen asleep in The Lord. She died last night surrounded by her sisters, parents, husband, baby son, and two of our priests. (I wrote more about her sickness following the birth of her son, Elliott, in my previous post.)

I am sad to say, I was never given much opportunity to get to know her very well. I am good friends with her older sister, Sally, and her mother sings in our church choir with me. We only met a handful of times. But, she was so kind and immediately remembered my name. I saw her last at a baby shower a few short weeks ago and we spoke for a few minutes. She was such a sweet and kind person. It's really hard to believe she's gone.

Thank you again for remembering her in your prayers.

May her memory be eternal!

Thursday, April 01, 2010


Please remember one of my sweet friends, Esther, in your prayers. She is the sister of my friend, Sally, and a member of my church.

A few weeks ago Esther, while pregnant, got sick. Her illness, along with gestational diabetes prompted the doctors to deliver her baby, Elliott, by C-Section a few weeks early. Following the delivery, Esther's condition worsened and she contracted pneumonia. Much of the time she has been under full sedation, and has been on oxygen for a few weeks, and has since been moved to 100% oxygen.

Last night several of our priests visited her to commune her and to give her anointing through Holy Unction. Please pray that these sacraments will work for her healing and full recovery.

Her condition is incredibly bleak. Please remember her in her prayers. Along with her family, especially her sister, Sally, who is taking care of baby Elliott for the time being and for Esther's husband Luis.

Below is a prayer for the sick:

"O holy Father, heavenly Physician of our souls and bodies, who hast sent thine Only begotten Son our Lord Jesus Christ to heal all our ailments and deliver us from death: do thou visit and heal thy servant Esther, granting her release from pain and restoration to health and vigor, that she may give thanks unto thee and bless thy holy Name, of the Father and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit: now and ever, and unto ages of ages. Amen."