Wedding Central

It’s beginning to look a lot like wedding central.

The countdown for wedding number one (our middle daughter) is now down to two digits.  The planning is mostly accomplished, now we’re down to the ‘doing.’

We’re making lists and checking them twice, happily marking our progress.  Church, reception venue, photographer, and DJ were booked long ago.

All the fashion accoutrements needed for the bride to make her grand appearance are purchased as well as the bridesmaid dresses, shoes, and gifts.  We haven’t forgotten the groom and his cadre of men, so tuxes have been ordered.

Mama’s got her fancy dress but is still searching for shoes.  Papa’s been fitted for his tuxedo.  Invitations are printed, assembled, stamped, and being addressed.  Wedding food tasting is on the agenda for this weekend and then flower choosing.  Dress fittings are also scheduled.

Yet there is still much to do and the bevy of wedding preparations yet to be completed swirl around in my brain like a whirlpool while ideas dart in and out of my thoughts like fireflies flashing in the dark night.

And then I’m reminded that I will be caught in this wedding web two more times this year when son and oldest daughter also marry.  It’s enough to make me dotty.

So what are my thoughts in the middle of all this much ado about weddings today in my book called Opportunity?  I awakened this morning singing the following ditty to the tune of “It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas:”

It’s beginning to look a lot like a wedding,

Everywhere you go.

Take a look at the dining room,

Where much of the decorations loom

The kind that make you smile and think of love.

It’s beginning to look a lot like a wedding,

Bridal goods strewn throughout the place

But the prettiest sight to see is the bride that soon will be

Beautifully all dressed in lace.

A pair of bright yellow shoes and list of who’s who

Are accomplished on the ‘to-do’ things.

There’s still a cake to be baked and favors to make

And a cleaning for that sparkly ring.

And Mom and Dad can hardly believe their daughter is getting wed.

It’s beginning to look a lot like a wedding

Everywhere you look;

There’s a shower to hold and vows to be told,

And hair appointments to book.

It’s beginning to look a lot like a wedding;

Soon the bells will start,

And the thing that will make them ring is the happiness that sings

Right within your heart.

Copyright ©2012 mamasemptynest.wordpress.com

Catching my breath and saying thanks

blogDSCN8700Henry Kissinger supposedly said, “There cannot be a stressful crisis next week.  My schedule is already full.”

That’s exactly how I’ve been feeling this week.  Mama’s nest may be empty, but her schedule is not only full but overloaded!

 To say it’s been busy here lately is a gross understatement.

With all THREE of my children getting married this year, the pace of life has ratcheted up several notches!

Here’s a run-down of my week’s calendar since last Friday.

  • Friday, January 27 – Drive into city to go with both daughters for evening appointment at bridal salon.  Grab fast food dinner on way to salon.  Watch oldest daughter try on several gowns.  More to come on that!  She did say yes to the dress! (And we were there until past closing time!)
  • Saturday, January 28 – Clean house, run to grocery store in morning.  Visit yet another wedding reception venue with oldest daughter, fiancé, and Papa in afternoon.  After preparing decent sit-down dinner for four, try to relax and watch movie with family.
  • Sunday, January 29 – Attend church and then visit another wedding reception venue. Say goodbye to oldest daughter’s fiancé on his way back to that other state and say hello to middle daughter who came home from the city for more wedding planning.  Spend all evening researching wedding ideas, invitations, cakes, flowers, etc. with oldest daughter and planning the next two days’ activities with middle daughter.
  • Monday, January  30 – Work all day.  Call church to book oldest daughter’s wedding date.  Receive text message from her that chosen reception venue site is now taken on that date.  Call church again to ask for other open dates and chose one.  Text daughter.  Call church again (by now, the secretary must think I’m insane!) to confirm and book a different date.  Immediately upon return home, run to craft store with middle daughter to purchase decoration supplies.  Turn the kitchen into a wedding preparation station, but still take time to watch “The Bachelor” with middle daughter so we can complain about all the annoying girls on the show.
  • Tuesday, January 31 – Take day off work to perform various tasks with middle daughter including cutting, gluing, making lists, searching online, and general wracking brain for ideas.  Stop.  Drive to chiropractor’s appointment to be cracked, popped, stretched, and adjusted because hip is really acting up.  Feel sick afterwards but decide there’s no time for that.  Meet oldest daughter at 5 p.m. appointment at reception venue to sign contract and make deposit.  Come home, grab dinner, and order decorating items found online.
  • Wednesday, February 1 -  Go to work and try to accomplish as much as possible.  Attend co-worker’s family member’s memorial service with other co-workers.  Grab dinner and head off to church with hubby for Bible study, which he is leading.  Check email and note that son sent a link to his engagement photos with fiancée.  Quickly glance at all 187 photos and decide to table deciding on favorite one for another day.  Spend restless and sleepless night.
  • Thursday, February 2 – Go to work with headache and toothache (probably from stress).  Go straight from work to chiropractor’s appointment.  Meet hubby at home, grab quick dinner, and proceed to church for evening event with guest speaker (dear friend of mine). Remember to show son’s online engagement photos to hubby.  (Still haven’t picked which one to use for engagement announcement.)
  • Friday, February 3 – Try to organize bridal bombardment that’s taken over dining room.  Chat by phone with sister to arrange for trip out of town next week to search for mother of the bride dress (that’s right, I still don’t have a dress to wear for wedding number one!)  Run to nearby fabric store in search of elusive item needed for table centerpieces.  Come home disappointed and empty handed.  Turn to the internet to search for item, still not found.  Spend way too much time viewing wedding sites.  And finally, log in to neglected blog where I find I’m very behind in approving comments, replying to comments, not to mention reading my favorite fellow bloggers’ posts.

That’s been my week in a nutshell, with no end in sight.  By the end of this year, I will have scads of time to devote to whatever I want, including this blog.  For now, I’m just trying to keep my head above water and my body from collapsing.  Breathe, breathe, just breathe.  That’s become my new mantra.

All of this is my feeble attempt to explain why I haven’t responded to some very kind and encouraging people who lauded my blog with more awards back in January.

I’ve been remiss in not acknowledging and publicly thanking the generous fellow writers who bestowed honor on me and I’m so sorry for that.  Kate at Believe Anyway graciously sent two such awards my way.  One was the HUG Award, created by blogger Connie Wayne.   If you’d like to know more about this award, you can read about it here.  Thank you, Kate, for deeming my blog worthy of this honor.

Kate also passed One Lovely Blog Award on to Mama’s Empty Nest.  There are no rules for this award, and I find myself grateful for that because, frankly, I just don’t have time to follow a list of rules right now.   All of my blogging buddies have most lovely blogs, so if you’re reading this, you’re a blogger, and I read your posts, please consider yourself named as One Lovely Blog!

Another new friend, Dor from Technicolor Day Dreams,  bestowed the Versatile Blogger upon me.  Thank you, Dor, for thinking of me in this category.  I appreciate your nomination very much and I’m enjoying getting to know you!

I received this award once before and followed the rules then, which are: thank the person who nominated you and link back to them in your post;  share seven things about yourself; pass the award on to 15 more bloggers, and contact the bloggers you have chosen to let them know they have been selected.  But this time around, forgive me for not following the rules and passing on the award.

I’m truly thankful for these new friends and their sweet recognition.  Their encouragement gives me joy on this day in my book of Opportunity.

I’m just sorry I can’t participate in the award giving as much as I’d like to, but honestly, I’m just trying to tread water here the last few weeks and it doesn’t look like that will change any time soon.

Breathe, breathe, breathe.  And in the meantime, give thanks.

Copyright @2012 mamasemptynest.wordpress.com

Pennsy style signal

blogDSCN8506It was like a step back in time.

On the quest for wedding reception venues, oldest daughter, her fiancé, and dear ol’ Dad and I visited some spots in the city a couple of weeks ago.

Daughter moved to the city her first year out of college when she landed a job there and a great apartment with one of her best friends.  That same job took her away to a Southern city for a few years, but last fall she found a new job back in the metropolis that she loves so much.

So naturally, upon getting recently engaged, her thoughts turned to holding her dream wedding day in a spot in her beloved city.    She researched,  surfed the net for sites recommended, and made appointments for viewings.

blogDSCN8513Her dad and I drove in from our country home to meet oldest daughter and fiancé to spend most  of a Saturday checking out possible sites.   One of those was the historic Pennsylvanian Union Train Station.

Hubby was eager to visit this place because of his love of all things railroad.  The building we visited was designed and constructed in the early 1900’s as a train terminal and office building for the Pennsylvania Railroad, which happens to be the railroad my father-in-law worked for and a source of great interest for my husband.

Back in that era, trains were the way to travel, which is why the Union Train Station was erected.  From the limited research I read,  I found that the station building was designed by Daniel Burnham, a Chicago architect.

blogDSCN8518Renovated in 1987, the edifice now houses condominiums and office spaces, but the first floor, where the original concourse is located, can be rented out for special events such as weddings.   It’s interesting to note that Amtrak trains still depart and arrive near this spot.

The 13-story structure is simply stunning with marble floors, arched openings, and elaborate terra cotta and plaster work.  The ballroom, originally the grand concourse once crowded with passing travelers, boasts 11,000 square feet available for celebrations.    The space is covered by a 40-foot vaulted ceiling, much of which is a massive copper and iron skylight.

As we investigated this space like no other, I could see that my husband’s imagination wheels were turning.  He wanted to see every inch of the place.

I noticed him sitting in one of the gleaming, polished wooden benches and looking around, and I supposed he was imagining the concourse full of busy passengers coming and going to cities like New York, Philadelphia, or Chicago.  Supposedly, nearly 10,000 travelers journeyed through that area every day back in the station’s heyday.

blogDSCN8525But my favorite spot was the magnificent entry rotunda, designed by draftsman Peter Joseph Weber and listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

The Neoclassical style domed structure features corner pavilions and allowed for turning spaces for horse-drawn carriages.  This spectacular construction begs to be photographed and I couldn’t stop taking pictures there.

The Pennsylvanian, as this majestic structure is now named, proved enthralling.   No doubt it would be a magnificent and photogenic spot for a wedding reception, but it wasn’t the place for our daughter’s wedding reception.  In railroad terms, “Pennsy style” is a type of railroad signal developed by the Pennsylvania Railroad.  So for us, the signal we received was no go.

Just getting to view the inside of this stately and historic landmark though in my book called Opportunity was a treat we all enjoyed and time spent together exploring added to the joy.

And so the quest for a spot to celebrate wedding bliss continued.  But that I’ll save for another day’s  post because for now, I must spend time with middle daughter working on her wedding decorations.

blogDSCN8521Copyright ©2012 mamasemptynest.wordpress.com

 

Brides R Us

blogDSCN7843My regular followers may have noticed Mama’s Empty Nest has been a bit absent on the blogging scene the last few days.

Matter of fact, for two consecutive days, Mama didn’t even turn on her laptop.  That has to be some kind of record!

Never fear though, Mama’s not MIA (missing in action).  I am, however, definitely in action – wedding planning action, that is.

In between chiropractor, dental, and car maintenance appointments, and – oh yeah – that crazy little thing called work, the last week or so has been chock full o’ nuts activity.

Mama’s feathers are ruffled, not in an agitated way but in a feverish mode, from a flurry of flying here and there.

With one family wedding scheduled for late spring (middle daughter) and two – yes, two! – planned for fall (son and oldest daughter), the nest is ensconced in a full tilt tizzy.  It’s a joyful tizzy, but still a tizzy nevertheless.

Can I declare right here and now that I’m ever so relieved to have only two daughters, not three?  Way back when son was born, we felt fairly certain we would be dealt “three of a kind” and our third child would be another girl.  Pleasantly surprised with a son instead, we were given a “pair and a spare.”

I didn’t think much then, when our children were 5, 2 ½, and a newborn, about their future weddings.    But wow!  I’m sure thinking about that now! Being the mother of a groom is a piece of cake (pun intended) compared to the responsibilities of the bride’s parents.

So as son and fiancée start planning their nuptials, I’m happy to just come along for the ride. But my ode to joy isn’t just because I only have two daughters’ weddings to plan; joy’s derived from the pleasure of watching all three of my children find their true loves.

So on to the flurry!  Both of my girls ventured out of the city back to our country empty nest for a wedding planning marathon last weekend.   Starting out Saturday, we launched a gift registry mission for middle daughter with a trip to the suburbs.  Her groom, swamped in time consuming grad school classes in the state next door, is pretty much unavailable for preparation activities such as this until just shortly before the wedding.

First let me mention that this is the daughter who truly dislikes shopping.  She’s one of those “get in, get what you want, get out” type of shoppers.  Definitely not a shop til you drop kind of girl.

With that knowledge fully recognized, this mom expected to have to convince, cajole, and coerce to keep my darling daughter focused on the task at hand – completing a gift registry.  Imagine my shock and awe when I realized we were in one store completing her bridal gift registry for a grand total of five hours!  You read that correctly – five hours!

We had an amazingly helpful store associate assisting us in our quest (until her shift was over!).   And we truly had fun!  It overjoyed this mama to see middle daughter so excited over choosing prospective wedding gifts from china patterns to pig-shaped bag clips and oldest daughter helping.  We laughed, we oohed, we joked, we aahed, we marveled, we zapped her finds on the hand-held register.

It was akin to an episode of the three musketeers.  Armed with the store device instead of swords, we came, we divided, and we conquered!  And then the weary wedding planners headed home to recoup because the next day guaranteed to be another day of going bridal.

Sunday we ventured back to the ‘burbs for a large bridal show.  Vendor after vendor paraded their wedding fare to both of my girls.   As we approached each booth, the vendor would ask, “Who’s the bride?”

My girls would smile demurely and I’d reply, “Both of them!”

Vendor would ask my daughters, “Are you friends?  Sisters?”

“Sisters!” came the happy answer.  “Getting married in the same year.”

Vendor’s attention refocused on good ol’ Mama, eyeing me up carefully saying, “Ooooooooh!”

I then laughingly retorted, “And that’s not all!  My son is getting married this year too!”

Their eyes widened, mouths forming that proverbial O, and probably money signs appeared in their brains with that cah-ching sound.  I firmly believe that when you admit the items you seek are for a wedding, the price suddenly sky-rockets, and then take that times three!  Cash cow!

But what a day we had!  We sampled wedding cakes, cupcakes, chocolate covered strawberries, chocolate covered pretzels, and candy favors until we were dizzy on a sugar high and oldest daughter developed real food hunger crankiness.

We saw everything you can imagine you might want to rent/purchase for a wedding and then some.  Flowers, gowns, venues, photographers, DJs, limos, decorations, services ranging from dance lessons to make-up to chiropractic to wild bachelorette party ideas.  You name it, it was there.

After registering for every door prize being offered in addition to a slew of other give-aways, we tasted macaroni and cheese cupcakes and tiny toasted cheese sandwiches with a tomatoey dipping sauce from one caterer.  Both were scrumptious, by the way.

And just as the weight of our shopping bags full of brochures, catalogs, and coupons became a heavy load to carry and our legs and feet tired from all the standing and walking (especially Mama) we welcomed the chance to sit and enjoy an hour long fashion show featuring wedding gowns, veils, bridesmaid dresses, and tuxes for the men.

Alas, my girls didn’t win one give-away item (I really hoped one of them might win the all-expense paid honeymoon cruise) so we loaded our tired selves into middle daughter’s car and headed home to the nest.  And there, we hauled out all our gleanings, searched for more ideas on the internet, and the girls pinned their finds on Pinterest.

It’s official.   Wedding planning has taken over our thoughts, our discussions, our very lives, at least for the women in the family.   But don’t worry, Papa had his moment in this marriage madness.  While Mama helped middle daughter register for wedding gifts, Papa was getting measured for the tuxedo for her nuptials.  He also was pleased to hear we found a reasonably affordable DJ for the first wedding in the line-up.

I think he enjoyed hearing his daughters gush about our two days of going bridal but realistically plan their lovely yet affordable weddings.  He loves his girls and wants them both to have a memorable wedding day.

And that’s what it’s all really about – love – because I know that every day in my book of Opportunity, love gives us such joy.  And love is a beautiful thing.

Copyright ©2012 mamasemptynest.wordpress.com

Excuses and sticker shock

Mama’s Empty Nest has been absent the last few days.

How many days can you miss posting on your blog before you are considered a truant?

Does WordPress or your readers send a truant officer out after you to see what’s going on and haul your sorry self back to cyberland?

I don’t have a doctor’s excuse because I haven’t been sick.  I can’t get my mom to write an excuse for me either because she and my dad are up in heaven where you don’t need excuses for anything.  I can’t even claim my cat ate my homework.

I’m sincerely hoping I haven’t lost my readers due to my absence.  From my site stats, it looks like few (emphasis on few) people are even checking my blog to see if I’ve written a new post.  So I am a little concerned that some readers have drifted away while I was otherwise preoccupied.

So what’s my reason for so much inactivity on my blog?

Well….I could just say I’ve been busy.  (But that’s a little evasive.)

I could say Easter preparations occupied my time.  (But that’s untrue.)  Only one bird came back to the nest for the holiday;  we had a very simple meal and I didn’t even unpack the Easter decorations, let alone put them out for display.

I could say I don’t have any interesting ideas to write about.  (Not true either, since there are lots of unwritten blog posts swirling around in my head.)

I could say I’ve been unmotivated to write.  (There might be a smidgen of truth to that one.)

Or I could say my laptop has been acting up. (Again untrue.)  It’s been fired up and surfing jauntily all over the net while it rests on my lap and attracts my attention more than ever before.

So I might as well just ‘fess up.  There’s actually a good reason for my blog inactivity.  Another past time has garnered my full attention in my non-working hours.  Middle daughter was home for the entire Easter weekend and we were doing a full press….on wedding planning!

And at this point, let me just declare that I am still not over the sticker shock of the cost of weddings.

So on this 26th page of Chapter 4 in my book of Opportunity, I’m looking fervently for opportunities for Mama and Papa to give dear daughter a beautiful but cost-efficient wedding of her dreams.  I’ll keep you posted on that seemingly impossible task.

©2011 mamasemptynest.wordpress.com