Monday, April 30, 2012

Christmas at the end of April

Better late than never for a trip report, right? Especially when it comes to Disney!

Can you believe that with Husband leaving for France and a major foot surgery, I never got around to posting pictures from our New Year’s trip with his family and my family to our most favorite vacation spot?

Instead of an involved trip report, here is our trip in bulleted form…

  • We met lots of fun characters.





  • We enjoyed the Christmas decorations in all the parks. Really, that’s why we go!





  • We had fun pictures taken with additional things added in later.



  • We stayed in one of our favorite hotels, the Animal Kingdom Lodge. Mom and Brother got a room with a view, and saw lots of giraffes. Hubs and I got a parking lot view.



  • New Year’s Eve in the park was a hoot.







  • Hubs, Brother and I learned about saving money in Innoventions. Good stuff to know!



So looking at all these pictures really makes me want to go back again. It’s a good thing I only have to wait 95 days to be there again. Winking smile

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Anniversary ABCs

Five years ago today, April 28, I married the love of my life. To celebrate, we’re going to a fancy French restaurant here in town (albeit with a Groupon coupon!) and we’ll remember our honeymoon in Paris. We will remember the amazing journey we’ve taken over these five years and dream about what is next to come. The next five years of our marriage will involve a graduation from law school (wooo hoo!!), hopefully a big lawyer job for Hubs, more work on my wedding planning business, maybe a move and maybe a family expansion. But all of that in it’s own good time. We’re enjoying the two of us in our life together now.

To commemorate the big anniversary, here’s a walk down memory lane from our wedding (thanks to Melissa for the idea last year!):


Attending: We had invited over 230 to attend our big day, but the actual number ended up around 130.

Bridesmaids: We couldn’t say no, so we had a bunch! A few friends from college and post-college, plus a cousin or two thrown into the mix for good measure.


Catering: Fabulous food provided by the company that also does the food for the boys’ dining hall. Strange, I know, but people tell me it was the best wedding food they’d ever had.


Dress: I have no idea who made my dress. I don’t think the tag was in it when I bought it. It came from a shop in South County next to the place where I bought my first dance shoes. I loved that little tie-in!


Engagement: Hubs proposed after pre-commencement at SLU in 2006; my graduation party the next day turned into an engagement party!

Flowers: The flowers came from a shop in St. Charles. They flew in purple calla lilies after I fell in love with them in the sample bouquet. The florist was so nice – when I was worried about the size of bouquet given my petite-ness, I didn’t want to be overwhelmed by flowers. They needed a sample bouquet to use at a bridal show and so they made a sample of mine so I could come and see a real one with real flowers! I saw it in person and starting sobbing. It was SO perfect.


Groomsmen: We had a bunch of these too. There were friends of Husband’s from grade school, high school and college, plus our two brothers. It was so neat to have all these dapper men in our party!


Honeymoon: Hubs surprised me with our honeymoon. He and his mom planned it with our travel agent and I didn’t know where we were going until we showed up at the airport the day after the wedding. Then I found out we were headed to Paris! I was so excited, I burst into tears. It was magical. I wish I had pictures of the fancy dinner we had the last night, but it was the Taillevant – one of the restaurants in the book 1001 Places to See Before You Die. You should go, because it truly is amazing.


Invitations: I wish I had done some more research on these – but I don’t think I even have a picture of the invitations! They were simple cream invites with basic black printing. There weren’t any coloring on there (still hadn’t decided on the color scheme) nor was there any “theming” because our wedding didn’t really have a theme.

Justice of the Peace: Nope, we had a priest perform our ceremony, a la our Roman Catholic tradition. In fact, we had 4 priests presiding!


Keepsakes: After losing my dad two years ago, one of my favorite keepsakes from the wedding (other than the wedding album and all that) was a perfect picture of me and my dad as we walked down the aisle. I love this picture.


Ladies Night: My bachelorette party was a few gal friends and me out at the bars on the Landing in St. Louis. We had a blast dancing at the piano bar all night.


Music: The reason we chose this church (other than my Husband had gone to the school attached to it for high school) was because of the organ. I love organ music and I wanted a big sound on my entrance and our big exit. My cantor was my best friend and her sister played the organ. But the best part? A choir made up of family and friends singing How Beautiful as the communion meditation. It was so amazing, words can’t express it. I’m just glad that I have the video on my computer and can pull it up whenever I want to remember that moment.

Newlyweds: I think we might be beyond this phase! I don’t know if we can call ourselves this anymore.

Old, new, borrowed, blue: Old – my MIL’s high school ruby ring; new – wedding dress; borrowed – antique earrings from my mom/great aunt; blue – little bow on my garter


Photography: Matson Photography

Question popping: I knew it was coming for a while, but he sure surprised that night after commencement! I thought he would have asked much earlier in May.

Reception: We hosted our reception at the Switzer House on the campus of the St. Louis Priory. Technically, the reception was held in the Priory High School’s dining hall. That sounds awful, but I think the wedding party was able to decorate it very well! It didn’t feel like a dining hall at all. Plus, the price was just right. ;) But the real reason we got married here? This staircase.


Shoes: I could never quite find the right shoes for this dress so they were simple white sandals. This was before the idea of colored shoes under your dress got really popular.

Trash the Dress: Hubs really wants me to do this; well, he wants me to get rid of the dress that’s taking up tons of space in the basement. But I can’t imagine messing up my wedding dress!

Unique: I’d say it was pretty unique to have our reception in the boys’ dining hall of the high school. It was so amazing and I wouldn’t have changed it!


I also was serenaded that night to “You’ve Lost that Loving Feeling” a la Top Gun, but it was a tradition in my high school theatre that the leading lady was serenaded on opening night by the guys of the cast. I was never a leading lady at that school, and Hubs remembered that. They dragged me to the center of the dance floor and I had no idea what was going on. I started crying when they started singing. It was amazing.


Vows: In the Roman Catholic tradition, our vows were standard. However, the priest performing the ceremony wanted us to read them ourselves rather than repeating after him. He said it takes him out of the ceremony and places the importance of the two of us speaking to each other in the presence of God. We are marrying each other, he just presides over it. It’s a sacrament from God and as we spoke those words to each other, I completely understood why he wanted it to go like that.

Wedding Woes: As amazing as it was, it is SO tough to be an events person and plan your own wedding. I wish I had hired someone like me to take care of the little details during the day so I could have concentrated on enjoying myself! It would have saved our wedding party the hours of decorating the reception, too. ;)


X-rated: Um, this is a family blog.

Young Kids: We had the most adorable flower girl and ring bearer, plus a few infants around too! The infants were our godson, Moose, and the daughters of two of my cousins. It was great having the little ones there!


Zzzzzz: It was a late night and an early morning. I have no idea why we scheduled such an early morning international flight! We did, however, make hotel reservations for right near the airport on the wedding night so we could be a bit closer for our flight.

So writing all of these memories really made me smile. Our wedding day was wonderful and I am so happy that we were able to celebrate with all our friends and family. What a day!

Happy 5th anniversary, Husband!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

And God Blessed the Broken Road, Part 10

To catch up, you can read Our Love Story here.

Once Husband had asked my dad for permission to propose, I figured it was only a matter of days. After all, it was after Easter and almost to May – my self-imposed deadline for proposal. I said he couldn’t propose before May, so I thought for sure we’d be engaged on May 1 – why wait any longer?

Well, May 1 came.. and went. May 2 came… and went. On and on, every new day came and went and I kept wondering WHERE my engagement ring was.

I was awfully busy with finals and moving out, so I couldn’t dwell on the issue too much.

Finally, we were at graduation week. Husband was there with me the whole time, helping me celebrate during our Senior Week (even though he graduated the next December). We had a great time with my family during the pre-commencement ceremony – this is the part of graduation ahead of the big ceremony with the typical commencement speaker, where your name is actually called and you walk across the stage. With a school as big as ours, we do this by school so it doesn’t take years to graduate the students.

That night, we were unwinding at my new off-campus apartment while the roommate was off somewhere else, because it had been a long few days. I was sitting on an awful, small little couch that we had sofa covering on that didn’t really match anything else. I loved that it was my first non-campus apartment but it was so low to the ground, it was almost impossible to get out of gracefully!

I had taken off my gown and hung it up, and sunk into the low couch, and closed my eyes. I called out to Husband who was doing dishes in the kitchen how happy I was that my family enjoyed having him around at the celebration earlier in the day. I said that it felt like he was part of the family already!

Something made me open my eyes, and I saw Husband kneeling in front of me, with a small ring box in his hands. He smiled and said, “Well, why don’t we make it official?”

I immediately burst into tears and he put the ring on my finger. It was amazing. Beautiful. A perfect moment. Just the two of us in what would become our first home together, starting our lives.

He claims that I didn’t answer yes for a few minutes. Well, I had to go into the kitchen and see it sparkle in the light! ;) After he prompted me with the question again, I finally answered with a big ole yes!

That was May of 2006, and we were married the next April. Five years later, we are still going strong!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

And God Blessed the Broken Road, Part 9

To catch up, you can read Our Love Story here.

We had said I love you, we had shopped for rings, we had learned that we could travel together. There was one other thing that had to be tackled before Husband could propose.

He had to ask my dad for permission.

Now, I’m a strong-willed, professional, modern woman, but I’m also traditional. I told Husband in the beginning of our little adventure that he was going to have to ask my dad for permission to propose, there were no ifs, ands or buts about it.

After our spring break trip to the Grand Canyon, we started making plans to visit Dallas over Easter break. That would give Husband some time to get to know Dad, we could plan graduation festivities, and he could ask the big question.

We were there for a long weekend, celebrated Easter with my extended family who lives in the area, and then it was Monday. We were flying out late that night, and Husband still hadn’t asked the question. I had been pestering him all.weekend.long, because, seriously? That’s the main reason for the trip!

Finally, he went into the study and asked if he could talk to my dad for a few minutes. From the way he tells it, he told my dad that he loved me very much and would like my dad’s permission to ask me to marry him.

And what did my dad do?

He said (and I QUOTE!), “I think that would be a good idea.”

And that was that.

No questions about how much he loved me, how he was going to take care of me, nothing like that. Just a simple statement and that was that!

Husband was relieved, Mom was annoyed that she wasn’t included in the questioning as well, and we were done, and on a plane back home to school to finish out the semester.

More to come…

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Having a Husband Home Is Awesome

Having my husband home is awesome. I just can’t get over that he’s really back for good!


We won a trophy. This is a Sunday Night Dinner Crew, a la team Cougar Terror, tradition. I don’t get the name, and I don’t quite get the idea of a trophy. There are no rules, but if someone does something sufficiently awesome, they get the trophy bestowed on them. Hubs got it for surviving France. A few days later, it went right back to our friends because he ran the marathon in St. Louis a few days ago. That was sufficiently awesome for the trophy.

I also keep getting these great picture texts from Hubs who has been very productive at the house while I’ve been at work this past week.

mail holder

I have been so frustrated with the mail flying all over the foyer when I walk in the front door so I found this inspiration picture on Pinterest and hoped that I could create something similar. The problem was our metal door. I can’t put any nails in it to hold up the basket. Insert my brilliant husband. He found a wreath holder we had in the basement and set it up! Now, it doesn’t work perfectly, because the mail still tends to fly around. But he’s the first person home usually, so he gathers everything up into the basket and it keeps it from cluttering up the table. So it’s definitely a step in the right direction!


Another fun addition he made was the key holder near the front door. As you may remember, I’m prone to leaving my keys INSIDE the lock on the outside of the door, aka where people can open the door and come into my house using my own silly keys I forgot. I just seem to be busy about getting in and dealing with the mail on the floor, etc, etc, etc, and somehow ignore the keys. But now, my keys have a home that isn’t in the abyss of my purse, and I will notice when they aren’t there. It’s really quite helpful! Three days and counting, and no keys have been left to brave the elements outside!

So yes, having my husband home for a week has been wonderful. I may never let him leave again!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

100 Foods Challenge

How many of these have you tried? (I marked the ones I've tried in blue.) Thank you to Sarah at Things She Said for the idea on a quiet Thursday when I wanted to post but can’t seem to get my thoughts straight enough to write something.

1. Abalone

2. Absinthe

3. Alligator

4. Baba Ghanoush

5. Bagel and Lox

6. Baklava

7. Barbecue Ribs

8. Bellini

9. Bird’s Nest Soup

10. Biscuits and Gravy

11. Black Pudding

12. Black Truffle

13. Borscht – what IS this?

14. Calamari

15. Carp

16. Caviar

17. Cheese Fondue

18. Chicken and Waffles

19. Chicken Tikka Masala

20. Chile Relleno – I feel like living in Texas for all these years really should have given me the opportunity for this one

21. Chitlins

22. Churros – best in Disney, however.

23. Clam Chowder – ew. Clams.

24. Cognac

25. Crab Cakes

26. Crickets

27. Currywurst

28. Dandelion Wine

29. Dulce De Leche

30. Durian

31. Eel

32. Eggs Benedict

33. Fish Tacos

34. Foie Gras

35. Fresh Spring Rolls

36. Fried Catfish

37. Fried Green Tomatoes

38. Fried Plantain

39. Frito Pie – done best at the rodeo, of course! The original “fast food”

40. Frogs’ Legs

41. Fugu

42. Funnel Cake – anything with fried dough is ok in my book

43. Gazpacho

44. Goat

45. Goat’s Milk

46. Goulash

47. Gumbo

48. Haggis

49. Head Cheese – EW. EW. EW.

50. Heirloom Tomatoes

51. Honeycomb

52. Hostess Fruit Pie

53. Huevos Rancheros

54. Jerk Chicken – tried while in Jamaica on a rum tour. Fabulous.

55. Kangaroo

56. Key Lime Pie

57. Kobe Beef

58. Lassi

59. Lobster

60. Mimosa – YES.

61. MoonPie

62. Morel Mushrooms

63. Nettle Tea

64. Octopus

65. Oxtail Soup

66. Paella – on a beach (literally) in Nerja, Spain. Awesome.

67. Paneer

68. Pastrami on Rye

69. Pavlova

70. Phaal

71. Philly Cheese Steak – but not in Philadelphia.

72. Pho

73. Pineapple and Cottage Cheese

74. Pistachio Ice Cream

75. Po’ Boy

76. Pocky

77. Polenta – but not a fan

78. Prickly Pear – you can eat this?

79. Rabbit Stew

80. Raw Oysters – I wanna try ‘em!

81. Root Beer Float

82. S’mores

83. Sauerkraut

84. Sea Urchin

85. Shark

86. Snail

87. Snake

88. Soft Shell Crab

89. Som Tam

90. Spaetzle

91. Spam

92. Squirrel

93. Steak Tartare

94. Sweet Potato Fries

95. Sweetbreads

96. Tom Yum

97. Umeboshi

98. Venison

99. Wasabi Peas

100. Zucchini Flowers

I’ve had out 28 of the 100. Some of these things are actually edible? Crazy. Some sound like a challenge on Fear Factor. I don’t think I’m as adventurous like Sarah, but I sure thought I was. I have some dining reservations to make!

Monday, April 9, 2012

Things that I’m Loving Right Now…


  • This guy with a big ole smile on his face, eating at our favorite steakhouse for Easter Sunday. He might just be the best little brother a gal ever asked for.
  • Spending time with my mom and brother. He’s doing so much better, we’re not even missing that one point on his LSAT that he jokingly says the collision took away. Thank you for all the prayers – it is a miracle that he is still with us, walking and talking and making jokes that go over my head about ancient philosophers. We are so very grateful that my dad was up there acting as a guardian angel that night.
  • Speaking of my brother, he finally got the rest of his head shaved. The asymmetry was driving me crazy!


  • In less than 24 hours, THIS guy will be home from Europe for good. I cannot tell you how excited this makes me.
  • Family. I love everyone that is included in that grouping and I’m making sure they all know it. So Mom and MIL who read this blog – I love you!


  • Regular shoes. I never thought I would be so happy to wear tennis shoes. I’m still moving slowly but wearing matching shoes is helping keep my hips in alignment while walking, so that’s a good thing too.

cinnamon rolls

  • Cinnamon rolls. These were the best cinnamon rolls I think I have ever had. They were Grands Cinnabon and Mom said that calories didn’t count on Easter so I had one. And then I collapsed from a sugar coma. Oh my.

What are you loving right now?

Thursday, April 5, 2012

And God Blessed the Broken Road, Part 8

To catch up, you can read Our Love Story here.

Before we went to my parents’ house in Texas to celebrate Easter that spring of my senior year of college, we spent Spring Break travelling together. Both Future Husband and I love to travel and we figured if we were going to spend the rest of our lives together, we should make sure that we could travel together well!


Since we didn’t want to buy plane tickets, we settled on an old-fashioned road trip. Husband had never been to the Grand Canyon and I have fond memories of driving trips across the Southwest with my family when I was a kid. So our itinerary was set – the old Route 66! We had a blast, staying in dive hotels along the way, eating at the famous Big Tex and seeing the Cadillac Ranch, on the way out to the Grand Canyon. We even stayed in the National Park when we got there, and took a sunrise tour of the canyon.




Then we turn around and started driving back! We actually ended up spending a night on the way back from the Canyon at my parents’ house, because of wildfires in Oklahoma that were directly in our path on the way home.


Once we decided that traveling together was a-ok by both of us, it was full speed ahead to popping the question! More to come…

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Baby Showers are Always a Fun Time

I’m not sure I’ve mentioned it here, but Husband and I are going to be an uncle and aunt for the first time, and very soon now! His brother and the girlfriend are expecting their first sometime next month, although, we are wondering if the little boy might be coming early! We can hope. Smile

Over the weekend, my MIL, Husband’s cousin and I threw her a big ole baby shower at the Parish Hall. It was so much fun! Since their nursery will be Lion King themed (I mean, c’mon. Is anyone surprised that it’s a Disney-themed nursery?), we decided to go with the same theme for the baby shower. Although, it ended up leaning more towards a “King of the Jungle” theme only because there aren’t a whole lot of Lion King plates out there. Our colors were orange, green and brown and I am so happy with the way it turned out.






The one thing I loved about this shower? We decided to hire a caterer to do the heavy lifting. This saved us SO much work! The great lady who runs the catering company came early to set up the food and it was yummy. The bread was even freshly baked that morning! Quite impressive.




As much as I love cooking for something like this, we had over 20 people who had RSVPed and with all the decorations and setting up the games, etc, it was SO forth having someone else worry about the food.

Speaking of games, we played a few, but I only got pictures of the TP game.




In addition to this one, we also played the “Baby” game – everyone got a diaper pin and you got to steal another lady’s pin if you caught them saying ‘baby.’ This was actually really hard because there was a real baby in our midst! The ladies who tied with the most pins at the end of the shower ended up gifting their prize to a little girl at the party, which was really sweet.

The other game that didn’t get pictures was the Baby Food game – trying to guess which flavor of baby food in various jars passed around the room. Great Grandma was the winner of that one and she got every single one right!

Finally, the piece de resistance, in my opinion. The diaper cake. My present to the mom-to-be.


Originally, I was going to make little centerpieces out of diapers, onesies and wash cloths for each of the tables. But with my foot and catching a cold, that just didn’t happen. But I was able to make it out to Target on Friday night to get the supplies for this masterpiece.


I was so happy with the way it turned out! It has a receiving blanket rolled up in the middle, plus a Cardinals treat hidden inside! Included was a stuffed giraffe and a rattle as well. Everyone kept asking where we had bought the diaper cake and my MIL just smiled and said that I had made it! I was very happy. The mom-to-be seemed to really like it as well.



We were so excited to shower her with gifts and she was a gorgeous mom-to-be with her corsage. Can you believe my MIL made that out of tulle and baby socks? I was impressed!

Our nephew will be here before we know it! The countdown is on!