Wednesday, September 30, 2015

And Then There Were Nine

I have been away from my blog for way too long. I'm unable to access my photographs. I've tried every which way. It obviously is going to require a trip to the Genius at the Apple Store. Time being a sparse commodity these days, I'm still working on making that trip.

This is an attempt to see if I can get some photographs on here in a back door way. Because the reason for this post deserves photographs aplenty!

The last post I wrote was about our daughter's wedding to her Dearly Beloved. I'm happy to announce that she and her husband have blessed us with another grand baby...NUMBER NINE! We now have six girls and three boys. Lorelai Elise was born on August 6, 2015, 4:42 AM. Her sweet Mom was experiencing problems with edema and rising blood pressure and protein which lead to preeclampsia. What was supposed to be a routine check with the Dr turned into 'Go Directly To The Hospital Now' moment.

Elise was a brave Momma working to bring her sweet Lorelai into the world. It was a moment in my life that truly there aren't enough words for. I had been warned it's different when it's your daughter giving birth. They were so right and as I was there and an involved participant it was also thrilling and terrifying at the same time. I'm glad for the years of practice keeping it calm on the outside while internally there is a tempest brewing.

As the story or Lorelai's birth is her Momma's and not mine, I'm going to go directly to the main reason for this post and present to you in photos our sweet, beautiful, kid on the block...

                                                               LORELAI ELISE

Mom and Dad worked very hard on Lorelai's nursery. That Degree in Design paid off once again!

She's been a really sweet baby from the beginning. Mom and Dad are doing a beautiful job in their new role as parents! I'm having a wonderful time playing Gramma with a new baby all over again!

We've had a busy year. All the family is in good health, the rest of the grandkids are doing wonderful. I hope to write another post soon and show you how they've grown.


Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Dearly Beloved...

First I need to let you my dear readers know that the photographs with the watermark Heba Salama photography are scattered throughout this post. There is no mistaking the beauty and quality of Heba's photographs compared with the others. The Heba Salama photography photos are not to be duplicated please. She has posted these photos on her blog. Until we get to go through all of the moments she captured that day, I will use these from her blog and the other photos were captured for the most part by Dave's Uncle Dan. We have more wonderful family now thanks to our ever widening circle of love! 

I will write more about the events leading up to this very special day. I'll try and back track at a later date to include the thoughtful and fun Showers given by friends, and the beautiful Bridal Luncheon my wonderful and loving daughters-in-love hosted in honor of Elise. The touching and delicious Rehearsal Dinner hosted by our new son-in-love's parents and the very special After After the Rehearsal Dinner bash my siblings threw. I could write volumes, but there are certain moments of Elise and Dave's Wedding Day I want to make sure to commit to this post.

Steve, Elise and I woke early the morning of her wedding day. We had a suite at a nearby hotel for everyone to get ready, but our daughter chose to spend one last night in her own bedroom in the home where she grew up. We skiddadled like crazy to get to the hotel to be there for hair and make up with her bridesmaids and some photo ops with the flower girls and ring bearers. Mimosas and breakfast snacks and fruit and cheese were sustenance for the morning.

I do want to mention these beautiful and fun loving girls were Elise's best pals all through her years spent at UNC-G in the Interior Architecture program. A talented, beautiful and wonderful group I hold dear in my heart as surely as Elise.

As hair and makeup lasted longer than expected we had to cut short our photo ops and only had a very few with the flower girls and the ring bearers. Trey and Peter were relieved they were given a short reprieve from photos. After the photos the bride and her bridesmaid and matrons of honor and the ring bearers and Pop and Sush all piled in the limo for a fancy ride to the Church!

And yes! The Flower Girls wore glittery gold Toms for their Wedding Shoes!

We had a verrry short ride to the Church thank goodness as I was feeling like Cinderella getting close to midnight. We were running behind and I didn't like that feeling! Dashing into the office area of the Church we quickly dressed Elise in her wedding gown. Thank goodness for those girls because I was all sixes and sevens trying to get her dressed. Heba was directing the show, I'm not sure if it was the Lord's intervention but heaven knows I was not up to the task. My friend took charge with her usual style and humor! We had the photo op first look of her Dad and her brothers before we sent the brothers off to be ushers. I do believe as we had to get her dressed in the Church office those pictures will have several Popes cheering us on! I gave my daughter a quick kiss and headed over to take my place in line for the ceremony. Oh wow…it was all a fast moving fairy tale at this point! I walked down the stairs to the area just outside the sanctuary. All the kidlets and wedding party members were gathered waiting for directions for their line up. Heba took my arm and turned me around, gestured to my family and said, Susie, look what you've done...

The fullness in my heart when I turned and looked up the Church stairs where the 'Church Lady' was arranging all the members of the wedding party was beyond measure. There, except for my husband and daughter (secreted away in a stifling confessional room) were my children and almost all the grandchildren from both the bride and groom's side. It was truly a family affair and will always be a treasured memory forever in my heart.

I am hoping our fantastic photographer of Heba Salama Photography, has a photo of that treasured memory but if not the fullness of heart for my life's blessings will aways remain. I truly had to turn away to keep myself from dissolving in a puddle of grateful tears. I am always very mindful of how blessed we are to have such a loving family; to look up and see them all in their wedding splendor was quite breathtaking. Smiling and enjoying the moment were my grown sons with either their daughters or sons…tugging down dresses and straightening bow ties. Beautiful. Loving. Joyous.

I don't ever want to forget the moment when my brother, my only brother, and yes to me always, my baby brother, escorted me up the aisle. Special does not begin to describe how I felt when he agreed to be my escort. The knowing in my heart as I started out with him patting my hand telling me, 'you tell me when you're ready'…that my Mother and Dad were really smiling down with their own hearts full. Bill had walked my Mom up the aisle as each of her daughters, his sisters, were married. When Bill first escorted Mom  he was a toddler. His last waltz down the aisle with Mom he was sixteen. Bill's no longer a teen and neither am I. I do feel like we completed a circle with our own waltz up the aisle.

Dave's Dad was his Best Man…how loving, how special!

I've had four turns as Mother of the Groom…what a change it was to be Mother of the Bride…thank you Angela and David for your wonderful son!

Watching the best friends of our bride and groom standing by their side as they were married; those are moments forever in my heart. 

A special thank you to The Brothers who answered their baby sister's call and agreed to be her 'Bridesmen'. They toasted Elise at the Rehearsal Dinner with a reminder that they would always be there and her Oh Boys! At the Wedding Reception her oldest brother toasted her once again with a reminder to Dave that they now counted him in the number of OH BOYS and knew he would always be there to answer Elise's call as well. Gulp, how to make a Momma cry!

My sons were either holding hands with their Flower Girl daughters or encouraging their sons that were Ring Bearers. It was truly a family affair. Positively the sounds of Beethoven's Ode to Joy was just the right musical selection. Each and every one of those walking the aisle were a great Joy in our hearts. I don't yet have photographs from the Church, but here are some from either before the ceremony or from the introductions at the receptions site.

Well I wouldn't want to be rude and leave out the Bride and Groom's grand entrance

Later a friend would tell me a future bride in attendance told her she was going to re-examine the thought that children detract from the bride. She said that she had never been to a wedding where they framed and completed the bride so beautifully. But that has been our story; each and every one of our children frame one another and cast an aura of love for one another.

And then the moment, yes the sob escaped and my tears flowed…turning and seeing the Church doors swing open to the joyous sounds of  Cannon in D! Pachelbel captured the solemnity and grandness of that moment so beautifully in his music. Standing proud, beautiful as the angel she is and smiling with her heart full was Elise and my loving and wonderful husband so proud with his heart so full. A beautiful sight to behold and  to treasure for all my life. 

I hope I will always remember the happy sound of our Katie-Kate when Elise reached Dave and she said in such a very precious voice, "Ohhhh YAY!". Even Father laughed with the rest of the congregation! These are the memories I hope my heart forever remembers.

The ceremony was lovely and Father Schrieber gave a meaningful sermon. The lighting of the Unity Candle to There Is Love or as some know it, The Wedding Song, was really touching. The wedding party and family stayed after the ceremony for more wedding pictures. With a family the size of ours my dear photographer had her hands full placing what she called her puzzle pieces!

Our choice for the wedding reception was a dairy farm about 40 minutes from where we live. I must say it was a beautiful location but it was that way because our wedding planner worked so hard to make it so. the owner of the venue had been ill for much of the winter and the site was showing the lack of care. Chad came to our rescue. He spent two days making sure it was as lovely as we wanted.  Chad Biggs, owner of  Your First Impression events planning, held our hand and walked me through all the steps to get to our big day. I would not have been able to have had the party we did without his expertise and very hard work.

From tearing out twinkle lights  that no longer worked and replacing them with working lights, to mowing the fields and having his crew paint the railings, Chad and his crew did it all. Chad clearly understood our idea of what we wanted the reception to convey and the beauty we wanted and made it all come true. Elise had always wanted a rustic setting with an elegant feel. With the fields and the pond for a back drop it was a gorgeous site. However I will say anyone using the facility without him will be very disappointed. Our photographer Heba who had been to this venue before as a photographer said she had never seen it look as beautiful as Chad had created.

The way we decided to set up for the event was to have the dinner inside the building and a tent set up outside for dancing. Everything turned out better than we had hoped for! The weather was a balmy 80 degrees in the afternoon and as the sun went down it cooled down to the lower 60's. Inside the facility Chad created a fairyland of twinkling lights intertwined with grapevines. Our florist, Shelley Pearson of Expressions of Love florist (suggested by Chad) had made glorious flower arrangements and bouquets. It was all so lovely, I only wish more people had seen it after the sun went down! When I walked back in to speak with someone it really was amazing…all aglow.

One of Elise's former professors from UNC-G is an artist. Her art is in stores all over the nation. We commissioned her to make a sketch of Dave's truck and turn it into a memory of the day. We had stamp pads for people to ink their fingers and forever become a tin can in their lives! What a fun and happy piece of art they now have!

The band was absolutely fantastic and we all danced the night away. HeartBeat of Soul could not have been better! That was one thing I made sure would happen. Elise loves to dance and loves a good band. I said I didn't much care how our wedding planner made it happen but Elise would spend most of her time at the reception being able to dance to her heart's delight. They did. We all did! We even had a real N' Awlins Second Line going to make it a real celebration…

We had the traditional Father/Daughter dance…Daddy and his beautiful girl danced to Isn't She Lovely. Her Daddy's first name is Steve. Elise thought it was a very good choice written by another Stevie Wonder. You know my Grandmother always called my husband, Mr Wonderful!

And the Bride and Groom danced their first dance to Darling You Send Me…Sam Cooke had it so right! 

They really had their audience captivated…

The cutting of the wedding cake, the bridal bouquet toss (All The Single Ladies) thank you Beyonce…it makes it so fun! And the removal of and garter toss! They all just seemed to come at once and so fast. What a whirlwind night of fun and love! Oh and the special toast from my husband to his daughter. She had a few rolling of her eyes as he does like to elaborate how wonderful his children are. It was really very special and loving. 

May I just say that it is truly a fact to remember that it doesn't matter what things might go wrong on the wedding day. It is the people and the memories they make that are what count. We had our fair share of things that didn't happen that should have and things that shouldn't have happened that did. But what did happen was the uniting of two beautiful hearts. Father reminded us all during the ceremony…may they be happier in fifty years than they were on their very special day. Because I know they were so very happy on this day. All too soon they were off in a flurry of confetti and to their Honeymoon in Grenada Sandals…The Spice Island!

Congratulations to the new Mr and Mrs and as always...

In no particular order, extra photos courtesy of our family photographers and professional photographer:

Abby had a tutu even though she was too young to walk the aisle, George had a seersucker suit!
Molly had a tutu as well, even though she was too young to walk the aisle!