Getting back into the real world.

Wellllll… Sort of.  I am getting a little bit more done now a days, what with Lady A aka THE CUDDLE MONSTER in Mother’s Day out and all.  I must say that I love how quickly the took to the ladies there. Yesterday was her first day and she cried.  WHEN IT WAS TIME TO LEAVE. Winning!  Score one for the MDO program.  Alyssa was exhausted because in a playtime atmosphere, little naps are had.  She came home and slept for A LONG TIME. MDO 2, Mama’s worries? -100.  She did have the sniffles and has been tugging on the right ear, so today we hit the doctor’s office and it turns out that Miss Thang has an ear infection in that right ear and an upper respiratory infection. Same one I had last week and thought was merely a sinus infection. Yeah. No.

She won’t be attending tomorrow unless by some miracle she doesn’t have any more gross stuff coming out(which I doubt will happen).  But she WILL be there on Friday and I LOVE that place.  Currently I am brainstorming ideas for her first birthday party in November.  It’s crazy how involved and detailed we parents get with our progeny’s birthdays.  Our little fairy princess will be having her party at her Honey and Popi’s house.  My mom and dad have a really nice place, perfect for throwing an adorable little party. I’m already excited about decorating that big ole house.

Speaking of decorating, I am totally excited about the events that are coming up! I have four floral events and two of them are in the Fall, one is later this month!  This is what I mean by “getting back into the real world.” I have good, healthy, hard work to do. There is nothing more satisfying than hard work that fulfills your spirit.  I’m not saying that what I was doing as a full time mom, before, was in any way diminishing.  But in order to feel fulfilled and for my family to be able to meet its long and short term goals, I need to work.  It was my good fortune to find a husband who was willing to help me start my own floral business.  He knew that I loved working with my cousin, Dianne the Florist of the Universe, and that I needed a creative outlet.  Without the Handsome, none of this would have been possible.

I already cleaned out the office and set up my files. I’ve placed an order with a wholesaler. I’ve ordered Oasis and other florist goodies. I am LEGIT. Business cards are on their way.  I even have a website!

http://www.enchantingfloraldesigns.com

These are exciting times, my friends.

In other news, my best friend is now a novice with the Dominican Sisters in Michigan.  She looks thrilled and tickled pink in every SINGLE picture I’ve seen of her. Her name is Sr. John Catherine, and if you want to send her some happy thoughts, send her a letter!

Sister John Catherine, 4597 Warren Road, Ann Arbor, MI 48105

She doesn’t receive letters from outside of her family until Christmas, Easter, or one of her feast days, whichever comes first, but she could always use some extra love in the mail.  I miss her, but I feel connected with her at Mass and when I pray for vocations I always think of her. I hold her close to my heart. She’s going to get a journal of letters I’ve been keeping on Christmas.  It’s not as hard as I thought it would be, this silence from her.  I do wish for a word here and there, but one of her superiors posts on their Facebook everyday and I have been able to see her happy face several times.  Just seeing her joyful face has chased my woe-is-me feeling away. Because I know that I am only being selfish when I miss her so deeply.  I know that God’s will is for her to have this time of discernment, this time of peace, this time of prayer.

I am going to try to keep my blog going as much as I can, with this extra MDO time, I should be able to do everything right?

Your Pretty Busy-but-Happy

Steph

So… It’s been a thousand years or something.

It feels like it has been a year or something since I last posted… wait. It HAS been!  Having a baby and starting a business and traveling with a baby… twice… really catches up with a person!  But even though I’ve been absent from here, I haven’t given up this blog which was my escape so long ago. I could vent all of my varied experiences and the world who wanted to know, would be able to read on.

During the sabbatical I have had so many emotional changes and experiences. I said goodbye to my best friend who is about to enter her second year with the Dominican sisters in Ann Arbor as a novice. I miss her so very much, but I know in my heart that she is in the place God wants her to be.  We, my sister Rachel, and Lady A and I visited her while she was temporarily in Indiana as a postulant. She was radiant with happiness. Her whole demeanor is completely new. She is a smiley- faced nun. I love it. Auntie Sister prays for us and has been home to visit in late May, early June. She still has that happy glow when she speaks of her sisters and the Motherhouse. She’s made a CD! The sisters made a CD during Lent and the beautiful chants are so very heart touching and soul soothing. There are samples of a few songs if few follow my link.

In other news, my darling Lady A is nearly eight months old and boy! Is she a handful or what? She had colic in the week six until the fourth month and from then launched into aggressive teething… She is still teething, but she has those middle bottom two and we think that she’s working on the top at present. I should rename the child Drool Machine, but I’m sure that would be frowned upon and may get me charged with child abuse in future if I did that. She made it into her eighth month by the hardest. I can be grateful about her health. Aside from a couple of booger nose colds, she hasn’t been seriously ill (knock on wood).

She is a seriously beautiful child and I truly hope that she has an awkward stage SOMETIME in development or she will end up being a mean girl, and I will NOT like that. There should be glasses, braces, and (if she has her daddy’s bad luck) a bit of acne. Her parents had plenty of awkwardness, never fear. What’s odd is that this child is in the 90% for height… at present anyway. Handsome and I are short. He was so short as a youth it was sad. Even his younger by two years brother loomed over him. Until junior year and I could suddenly see the hairs in his nose. Any who. Back to the Lady.

by Kelly Powell of Powell Photography

by Kelly Powell of Powell Photography

Alyssa 4

by Kelly Powell of Powell Photography

Alyssa 5

by Kelly Powell of Powell Photography

Alyssa 7

by Kelly Powell of Powell Photography

Alyssa 8

by Kelly Powell of Powell Photography

2013-01-21 08.30.10 2013-01-22 15.12.49 2013-01-23 15.13.18 2013-01-23 15.30.51 A doctor A smile

She is geniunely happy to meet people, as long as mommy is in sight or hearing distance. She loves my mother and her Honey got her to laugh for the first time, which delighted and astounded us. We almost cried. I understand why the myth of Fairies being born of a baby’s first laugh came to be. There’s something truly magical and heart- melting about the delicious sound. Particularly when it’s your child. I’ll never forget it. She is an absolute treasure. It is already an adventure.

 

Your Pretty Baby Kissing,

Steph

Update: just a quick note

Well, October has been lovely. I can’t believe it’s almost over. For the first time in several years I only went to the Revel once during the festival and then only for four hours.  My 33 week pregnant self couldn’t waddle much longer than that. I am now at 35 weeks and it’s limiting. I have achieved difficulty in mobility at this point. Before October I was fine. I felt big, but then, that’s a no-brainer. Of course I’m big. I’m in my third trimester! But now life is harder. Hormones rage, sleep is uncomfortable and rarely achieved, feet are swollen.  One feels like a water balloon. One day I will explode and hopefully it won’t be in a place too difficult to clean. Next week I could give birth and Lady A would survive, uncomfortably, maybe, but she’d be here. I am so ready to hold my little girl outside of my innards.

I am now a Louisiana State Florist!  I am thrilled to have passed the floral exam, not having taken a class and knowing what to study for.  My cousin helped so much. She’s such a blessing to me. Speaking of blessings…

My best friend has been Auntie Sister for nearly two months now… Her letters show how happy she is. She sounds busy and dedicated and so very content. Her letters are full of enthusiasm and joy.  By no means does she sound unchallenged and bored, the way her phone calls to me used to sound. Her “voice” is now cheerful, inquisitive, and bright. She is my little prayer warrior dedicated to her work. I love and miss her deeply, it’s been hard to adjust to not being able to pick up the phone and chat about “Once Upon a Time” or the latest development in my growing inmate. I write her long letters and tell her all that I can, and in return she tells me she loves hearing about Lady A’s latest whatever, my family’s exploits, and everything I’ve been up to. Her last letter to me was enormous! I was delighted. Her picture is on their website and she’s the first one! Her smile and the smiles of the other postulants are so very infectious.

Handsome and I have been getting ready for Christmas… hey, it’s smart when you know a future shopping inhibition is going to pop out at any moment. We started buying Christmas in July. HAHA!

I hope you all in the internets are having a marvelous holiday season. Halloween is coming soon!

Your expecting,

Steph

It’s always fun around here.

So lately life has been interesting. I’m in a sort of limbo right now. We had to rip out our shower because it was leaking. And that wasn’t exactly a barrel of laughs. We have had people of all walks of life come in to fix the shower, one way or the other.

Fairy Godmother was a big help, as usual, and made life a bit less terrible. All we lack now is a shower door. After that, we move back into our bathroom. After a thorough cleaning, of course.

Sometime next week my best friend comes in town to say goodbye. She’s going to a convent in Ann Arbor, Michigan. I’m so happy that she’s found her calling. A part of me is sad, because the chances I’ll get to see her will be MUCH fewer. Especially with Lady A. One can hope that she’ll be a fantastic traveling baby, and one day I could take her up to see my dearest friend, but we shall see. I know that my pal will be in a good place. When describing this particular convent to me, she compared it to another she experienced.

“Remember how I told you how quietly joyful those other sisters were?”

“Yeah, these aren’t?”

“At this one? They laugh! Their joy over flows! And I haven’t been hugged so much in my life! I feel loved and useful and I’ll get to learn…”

“Sounds like A***** Heaven.”

“It really is!”

I am thrilled for her. It will be a challenge for me to learn to write. Writing letters is a fun way to keep in touch, but not as instant as this here internets. And folks, everyone can write her as much as they want. That’s a very charming picture in my heart. I’ll be able to teach my little Lady the art of writing letters to her Auntie Sister.  Auntie Sister will have to send me a picture of her in a habit so that I can teach Lady A about her. I’ll have the old pictures of us in my wedding, and my little girl will have access to them when she’s older. I am glad to know a Sister of the Habit. She’ll be my first close friend entering religious life and I love that it’s her.  It fits her like a glove. The devotion, the sisterhood, the teaching, the learning; it’s all a close reflection of my dear friend. In my heart, I can see her there, loving her family and friends through prayer from afar.  She’s dedicating her life to a very great vocation.

In other news, two of my friends have had little boys this week! Seeing the little faces makes me nervous-excited-happy. My friend Peanutt is going home today! Her little boy is so cute and I can’t wait to help her as much as she needs. Even if it’s to hold a screaming baby boy so that she can take a shower in peace. I understand that she’ll need it. And since I’m not far from her, I can visit anytime she needs me. I will be a text away. I’ll need the practice anyhow. I’ll have my own little one in short time.

If only I could get over this chest cold funk- I could go see my Grandma in the hospital and other friend with her baby son!

I hope all is well in your world. Any news to share?

Your Pretty Drowsy-from-cough-meds,

Steph

Soooo there was this awesome cruise and she’s a girl and pregnancy is… um.

So back when I last typed up my crazy life story there was a beaner. She’s a girl and her name is going to be Lady A(for further reference), and she still enjoys bean burritos and now fruit.  See the fruit thing started in Europe…

From the tear-away calendars I made for the folks back home. It was cute, but slightly inaccurate as to how the trip actually happened.

On May 25th, my adorable cousin, The Future Tooth Fairy, and I finally got to go on our trip of a lifetime. We had been planning, and expecting this trip for four years. It was like a dream. We were actually going to get to go on our European Adventure. Even though I was now married and then pregnant. There are rules about traveling whilst pregnant, and I understand why they are put into place. It’s slightly uncomfortable to be pregnant on a journey of a lifetime. At least I wasn’t yet rolling around with a cantaloupe up my shirt yet.

Enough about the belly.

On our amazing journey we learned several unexpected things.

At SHV… ready to board our flight… still ready… two hours later boarding a barely serviced plane *stinky bathroom included* and then- rush flight to ATL.

Always fly at 6:00 am out of SHV. Shreveport Regional Airport is remote and tiny. Get out as fast as you can, cause it ain’t like Dallas. You can’t just hop another flight to get there. (no matter where “there” is, it surely has a larger airport than SHV) Thanks to a crazy plane mishap, we almost missed our flight to Barcelona. We arrived in ATL just in time to board our flight. This means by the sheer skin of our teeth. I have never run so fast through an airport in my life. If we hadn’t caught that flight, we would have been delayed in ATL for an overnight stay, not cool, when we had reservations and tickets and plans for Spain. We were the most disheveled, dehydrated individuals to board that flight. Tooth Fairy and her husband Unc B, almost didn’t make it. They got off at the wrong concourse and the rest of us were already in line for boarding. Fairy Godmother and The Future Tooth Fairy were supposed to have already boarded, they were the only disgruntled pair in the first class section. Thank goodness the Fairy Godmother is the FAIRY GODMOTHER OF FAIRY GODMOTHERS!!! Because she and FTF were riding first class, they held the plane for our baggage. We made it! and OUR BAGS made it! Thank you Jesus!

Drink water. We were going to load our carry ons with important things like snacks and H2O at ATL. The only thing we saw in that airport were the signs pointing us to our concourse and then our flight. There were convenience stores, of course, but they were mere blurs on our mad dash to the plane. When we landed after our meal and six hour nap, my feet were swollen. I had consumed a very salty meal and as much water as they offered, but it wasn’t enough to prevent the swelling. DRINK and PEE! It’s important.

Know stuff about the foreign place you are landing.  Yes, there were signs with English on them, however the main language in Barcelona isn’t Spanish. We read the signs and the top, main, in BOLD FACE lettering language was a local dialect called Catalonian. Brilliant. It’s an odd, interesting lingo and a cross between French, Spanish, and Italian(imagine that, being on the Med and all) and none of us could really read it, forget understanding it. So on signs there would be Catalonian and Spanish, and sometimes if you were very lucky, English.

Use a travel agent if at all possible.I know this is going to be a shock, but travel agents usually know how to travel. It’s like, their job, or something.  Our agent got us in contact with an affordable company called Autoventures.  They do whole day and half day tours of cities. The company hires guides who know their stuff and their city and who drive you around on a private tour. When we reached Barcelona, we were scheduled for a half day tour of the city and the futbol stadium, Camp Nou.

Waiting for our driver

The driver was very helpful, taking us to see the outside of La Sagrada Familia, the unfinished church by Gaudi. He showed us many interesting buildings of the city, things built for the Olympics when they were held there and things built for the two world’s fairs held there. Barcelona is an architecture dream. It was very interesting, there’s a part of me that wants to go back to see it awake and not groggy from jetlag. You know, call me crazy, but viewing a city through sleep- deprived eyes, isn’t the best way to do it.

The unfinished church, La Sagrada Familia

The church should be finished in 2022… it’s not for a lack of money at present, but a lack of TIME. The details that are going into the structure are awe inspiring. They only have to demolish a condemned apartment to finish it, you know, things like that. We got to see the home stadium of Lionel Messi- my soccer hearthrob- Camp Nou. FC Barcelona’s Stadium is bigger than Death Valley, and they plan on building a bigger one to hold all of their fans!

After taking us to the stadium, our driver took us to our hotel where we checked in and left our luggage in our rooms. We then took a slight  long walking tour of the city. We saw several awesome Gaudi structures, including the lightposts. We went to a really awesome Italian place for lunch. Being closer to the actual country, they have more authentic Italian food. I can alway tell we’re getting close when they have squid ink pasta. Yeah, it’s black and all. Back to our learning tips. This next one is crucial.

Feed the Italian lady. I’m not referring to myself… I’m referring to The Tooth Fairy. We were in a pastry/ gelato shop and after four of six of us got our food, Tooth Fairy was about to order her goodies and the shop lady ignored her and went to help someone else. Death to the SHOP LADY. From that point on, we learned how crabby a 4’10 individual can become when denied chocolate. She was not to be placated. she was NOT going to buy ANYTHING from these PEOPLE and that woman could go TO HELL as far as she was concerned, denying The Hobbit food was a bad move.  We sometimes lovingly call our Tooth Fairy “the Hobbit”, because of how she resembles the individuals in Tolkein’s books. She enjoys her meals, she likes peace and quiet, and she doesn’t care much about the goings on of the Big Folk. So really and truly this tip should be Feed the Hobbit.

Take naps where and when you can. When traveling, devout Catholics never have the excuse not to go to Mass. The Mass is the same everywhere. Sure, it could be in a different language, anything from English to Vietnamese is possible. However, the aerobics are the same, the worship is the same, The God is always the same. In Europe, the churches are amazing. The architecture is breath-taking, the chapels and everything is so OLD!  Something I read once holds very true to Europeans and Americans. “Americans think that a hundred years is a long time, while Europeans think a hundred miles is a far distance.” When a culture thinks that something from the Depression era is Antique, that culture has no concept of “old.” Any who. Where does the nap fit in? Well, this lovely Saturday vigil we found a church. It was the Cathedral of Barcelona, no less.

The lovely altar inside the Cathedral of the Holy Cross and Saint Eulalia

The barely shown- gated area below the altar is the crypt of St. Eulalia, virgin and martyr. Us Catholics and our dead people, we crack me up. Bodies and Crypts and Tombs, oh my!  We wanted to at least try to make it through Mass so we found a pew and parked it. Remember that language thing I was talking about earlier? Yeah. Mass was in Catalonian and there were no books to follow along. We couldn’t even pretend  to follow along. All we knew were those three things: Jesus was here, we could and did pray and thank Him for getting us there safely, and the Catholic Aerobics were generally identical to the ones back home. We couldn’t even say the sign of the cross! It wasn’t Spanish! Ah well, I got an amazing homily, which later I found, after jerking my eyes open in shock and having to swallow and sit up, was a dream. Hey, God speaks. It’s like Dumbledore says to Harry,”Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?””

My message was simple. “Be grateful for all that you are given. You are given much.” Deep Jesus words. In a homily nap. Nice.

We then ventured back to the hotel. Two thirds of us took a shower and ventured back out for food, Handsome and myself and peanut, Unc B and The Tooth Fairy. (She was much better after a quick nap) We took part in tapas,  which is like bar hopping but for food- bar snacks and drinks. That night was extremely loud and happy because just a few days before, FC Barcelona won the Copa del Rei- The King’s Cup- and there was to be a huge celebration at the stadium and a parade throughout the city that night.  The FG and FTF went to bed early and woke up early and ready to rock the next morning. Our little group of four and a half stayed out until sundown- which was about 9:45 and then headed to bed. I’m pretty sure I slept like a dead person and was out before ten. We woke up at about eight thirty and headed to breakfast on the hotel. It was pretty good, my favorite part were the melon slices and hot chocolate… and the baby wouldn’t let me eat HAM. The stuff Barcelona is famous for and princess prissy won’t let me try it.  Thanks Kid. Ah well. The rest of the food was ok.

We then got our stuff downstairs to impatiently wait on the bus to take us to the ship. The Norwegian Epic was to take us on our journey and we could not WAIT to board her!

Lovely ladies await their transportation…

When we arrived, we went through the security checkpoints and looked for our area to check in. Fairy Godmother strikes again. Next tip:

Cruise first class when you can. She found that in order to go to certain restaurants and lounges on the boat, we had to be part of a certain section of the ship. So she went to find out if she could upgrade us. She could, she did, and we are eternally grateful. The rooms were amazing. For reference see here.

The shower view

Ready to sail away! After a brief, required safety meeting, The Haven guests were invited to Posh, our exclusive lounge and deck for mimosas, and for preggers, a fruit juice cocktail.

Handsome discovered a new ability: he can always sense when we are moving- aboard ship. He was the first to let us know that we were leaving Barcelona. We discovered my pregnancy fruit obsession aboard the Epic. Everyone received a fruit basket and I ate ALL of our fruit. Except apples. Lady A and I share a disdain for apples, which makes me happy.

We ate a lobster dinner that night in The Epic Lounge, our complimentary first class restaurant were they practically learned our names and by the end of our trip knew our preferences.  Handsome and I bought the drink sticker, a special sticker that allowed us to receive non alcoholic beverages anywhere on the ship, I got the addition of juices in my drink package and got an extra special sticker.

The first day on our cruise was our only day at sea. All the ladies got spa treatments. I got my very first pregnancy massage and I want another, stat! All the fairies got seaweed wrap massages and the aunts got their nails done. FTF and I had already gotten ours done at home. That night we attended the Cirque Dinner and Dreams show. The food was ok. but the show was amazing! Acrobats of all kinds entertained and amazed us! There were clowns everywhere!

The next day was Future Tooth Fairy’s Birthday!!! What a way to celebrate! We had a Pompeii, Sorrento, Capri excursion all planned and we had a great day full of history and beautiful views.

We first went to Pompeii for the history.

The streets of Pompeii- uncommonly deserted- this picture was taken because our guide, Enzo took us the back way around the site. We got rare views of the city because we took this route.

We marveled at the city, and though there’s still city left to uncover, the archaeologists are now currently working on restoring what has already been uncovered before moving further. Tourists cause a great bit of damage to this historical site.

The Newlyweds in Pompeii

In Sorrento, we ate at a decent restaurant that you could tell that their food was mostly made to sell. In my Family we have discovered that there are three types of food. Made to sell, made to eat, and made to give away. Free hot dog meals, continental breakfasts, and the like are made to give away. Made to sell options are found anywhere people sell food (duh). And made to eat food… that’s food made with love. Ridiculously fancy restaurants, Mama’s table, Grandmama’s table, rare spots in the world… food made to eat.

Quaint restaurant in Sorrento

We marveled at a wood shop where they made inlaid wood carving. Tables, chairs, music boxes, picture frames, trays… I decided that if I ever get a hundred bucks to get whatever I don’t need, I’d get a jewelry music box. That shop was really amazing. The three of us young (under thirty) people had finished looking at the wares early, so we left the adults in the shop, still oooing and aaahhhing over ceramics and other such stuff. We went in search of GELATO!!! Oh yeah babe. We found a quaint stand and ordered a cone each. We returned to the shop and the adult were only just finishing. We then hopped a boat from Sorrento to Capri.

Capri was the most beautiful place I have ever seen!

Look at that water. The Future Tooth Fairy told us we could have just left her there. I could see why!

Our Fairy Godmother’s favorite view of Capri… still a good view! Not seeing bad parts of this place…

Handsome and I in the Villa Krupp Gardens.

After a hike to the  best view in the town, we went in search of a bathroom and gelato. My Handsome was the one to save the day. He found a gelateria with a restroom inside.(In Europe you can only use the potty if you buy something from that place. It’s not just a common nicety, it’s required for pee pee privileges.)

Of course, Handsome had found THE BEST GELATO IN THE WORLD!

Handsome and the Future Tooth Fairy pose with their treats, Chocolate for Handsome(of course) and Lemon and Pistachio for the Birthday Girl!!!

We are all smiles after a trip to the potty and fresh gelato in front of us! FTF and TF had the same Lemon and Pistachio and Unc B had Pistachio and Chocolate. I continued with my fruity theme of Lemon and Strawberry.

We have the best Fairy Godmother!!! She picked lemon.

Aren’t those desserts just plain lovely?!? We enjoyed some time in the shade to cool off a bit before heading back towards the Ship.

The next day was to be the hottest one for us. Rome was next on the agenda. We were required to wear long enough (at or below the knee) dresses and all men must wear pants in churches and especially at St. Peter’s Basilica. Our guide took us everywhere and gave us the BEST tour of Rome money can buy. We didn’t get to go inside the Colosseum, it’s lines were out of this world, however, he did take us to many other interesting historical sites, including St. Paul outside the Walls, St. Peter in Chains, and many more places besides! We finished our day in the Vatican Museum where we spent a very long time gazing at the Michelango Masterpiece ceiling.

Michelangelo’s Moses at St. Peter’s in Chains.

We tossed our coins to assure that we will return!

Amazing ceiling inside the Vatican Museum… too bad one cannot take pictures inside the Sistine Chapel.

Our whole crew in front of St. Peter’s! Hi Pope Ben! Hi!!!!!

Our driver was staunchly Roman. He did not like the “Barbarians” (Germans) in his city and called the influx of Asians “The Yellow River”. Needless to say, we wondered what he was calling us when he left us. We  think he liked us, at the very least, he liked the Fairy Godmother and this was a very good thing, it’s always good for our FG to be well attended. He would always smile at her, and look at her when he was talking about the places. It was kinda cute, he looked like he could have been her dad and perhaps she reminded him of a daughter or niece… who knows?  He drove like a freak and he could have been my grandfather! I mean, the man shot us back to the boat at 120km/hr at least!

The next day was Florence. Our driver was efficient this day, however, he was very quiet and just sort of let us do our own touring. We told him what we wanted to do and he took us where we could make it happen. He took us where we could see the whole city and take a quick picture, he took us up to the Duomo and the Uffizi Gallery. He was surprised at how quickly we would go from place to place. We wanted to see as much as possible. Though Rome was amazing and Capri was lovely, We fell in love with Florence, My FG and I.

My Fairy Godmother and her pregnant godchild!

Lunch at the Four Lions or “4 Leoni”

Handsome’s Gnocci dish. YUMMMM. All of us had amazing dishes and enjoyed it all very much.

Us on the Ponte Vecchio or “old bridge”. We shopped for a little while and then went along our merry way.

We stopped for a short trip to see the Leaning tower and attempt to take a picture of us holding it up. We really didn’t do it right… ah well.

The required “hold up the Leaning Tower of Pisa” Picture!

Annnnnd then we boarded the ship and headed to France!

France wasn’t our favorite country, but here are a few highlights of those days.

The first day we had our driver take us everywhere he could along the Cote d’Azur. He was Romani who disdained of everything French.  When we told our concierge, Adrian asked, “Then what was the man doing in France??!!

Wild poppies everywhere!

Fairy G climbing the steps of Eze, the medieval village still in use. We found some lovely ceramics there, including the salt and pepper shakers we now use everyday. We also went into the Fragonard Parfumerie and bought some perfume for ourselves and some for Rachelody. We got an adorable bib for Lady A there as well. She’ll wear it for a picture.

The Aunties in the gardens of the Villa Rothschild- Ephrussi. We had lunch there on our way to Monaco. The house and its views were breath taking!

Future Tooth Fairy posing in front of the house. Every thirty or so minutes a water fountain would play in sync with music. It was so lovely. We saw a bit of one of the shows.

We climbed the stairs to see the Prince’s Palace in Monaco, took pictures, and went on our merry way. The stairs about killed me. We saw that the Grimaldi family, had been in power since 1297, celebrating their seven hundred year reign not long ago, in 1997. We didn’t know that we could have seen the graves of the royal family, including Princess Grace. Our guide didn’t mention it until we got back down stairs and we were certainly waaaay too pooped to go back up that nonsense stairway.

The next day was a bit disappointing. We learned one more tip:

You get what you pay for.  Our last tour was through the ship and because there wasn’t anything we were crazy about viewing, we skimped on the cost. First boo boo. Our tour guide was kind enough, but we could barely stand her voice. She had a bright and bubbly monotone. Ok, I know that sounds weird, but her high yodel was all one tone. It was high pitched, for certain, but it remained in the same range of loop-de-doo speech patterns. Yeah, I learned nothing about Provence. All but FG were sleeping on our journey to and from Avignon and Aix-en-Provence. And SHE got flashed(?) Can you get flashed if our bus just happens to drive by some naked lady in her yard touching on herself? Good question. Fairy Godmother freaked, sat up to see if any one else was awake, no one of our party was, so she slumped back down. Poor FG. She got a unwelcome view, that’s for sure.

In Avignon we saw the outside of the Palace of the Popes and looked into the Cathedral which was getting ready for a wedding. It was extremely old. We didi a bit of shopping, I bought some soap and a music box that plays “La Vie en Rose.” After that bit of a dud tour- the tour lady hadn’t known that the museum was closed that day… grumble grumble… we boarded the bus for the next city… only to find that the single Japanese man had wandered off and was missing. We waited and waited and she finally went to find him. An hour later, Henry, the bum, was led onto the bus. We put a bell on him at the next stop. Ok, not really, but remember the lack of food getting to the hobbits? Yeah. It was lunch that dear old Henry was depriving. US. of. LUNCH. Fat Kids gotta eat. The tour lady made Henry hold her hand throughout the next stop. There, I’m not kidding. She wasn’t going to loose that dude again. We kind of let the Tooth Fairy and Unc B wander off with her tour after their French meal and our Italian one- Fg, Handsome, and I wanted something recognizable to jab a fork into. We hit the pizzeria. The Family Grey ate French food. The four and a half of us were done touring with home tour lady chick. We got what we wanted most- French pastries.

Best part of the day: Patisserie Shop. I hear the Hallelujah Chorale

YUM!!!! Happiness can be bought. Maybe true joy cannot be, but simple happiness, you bet your sweet sugary behind.

On the way back to the bus with our sack of future happiness, the saw a flower shop- YAY! Look! Peonies! I loved the flower shop.

Aren’t these gorgeous?!?! There were all kinds of colors.

When we got back, we went up to Posh to say goodbye to our last post and ate the pastries. It was a lovely day and we felt kind of sad that we hadn’t spent the entire day aboard ship. It was our last day with the ship. That night Handsome and I saw the Blue Man Group show and it was well worth it.

We had a lovely time on board the Epic. Every where we went, we were treated well by the staff and we had a favorite concierge. Adrian was our personal magician. He made reservations for us and if/ when we ventured into other restaurants, he would locate us and ask us how we were. He was AMAZING. Our staff in the Haven took very good care of us, from the masseuse, to the bar staff. Our butler, Joha, was very helpful, he performed every slight task we required with efficiency and he wen above and beyond for us when we needed breakfast earlier than was normally allowed. I would definitely cruise with them again, but only if we cruise in the Haven. I’d almost go as far as finding our Adrian’s ship. He made it known that I was pregnant and gave me my extra pillow and on the 29th, my dear cousin was wished a “Happy Birthday” everywhere she went. We could have Filet mignon every night if we wanted. Life was wonderful and I will never forget the trip.

Our trip home was less stressful, but we stayed up nearly the entire time so that we could go to sleep when we got home. I read three Stephanie Plum books and fought off sleep. We arrived four hours early in ATL and waited, no yearned for our plane to arrive. When we got home, Handsome’s parents were ready to take us to our house. Be it ever so humble, there really is no place like home. We took showers and crashed on sheets I had changed moments before we left on May 25th. Best idea ever.

Since that was nearly forever ago I’ll give a few more updates.

Lady A is a girl and is growing at a steady rate. my “bundle” is 22 cm, and I am 22 weeks along TODAY. I have a Love Map of stretch marks forming on the lower part of my belly, a fact that I’m not too concerned about, since my belly was never my best feature in the first place, I NEVER show it anyways. The baby’s kicks are getting waaaaay more pronounced, I wasn’t surprised when I started feeling her pretty early, I have no torso to speak of, so she was bound to run out of room. I look like I swallowed a basketball these days and I have to pee a lot. But I wouldn’t give her up for the world. Sure, she’s very annoying at either 2, 3, or 4 in the morning, but she’s ours. I can’t wait to see her little face, I really cannot wait to hold my little girl. Handsome isn’t going to know what hits him. His little girl is going to rule him like the princess she is. And yeah, I’m going with a princess theme, but never forget, every princess comes from a queen. And Mama is the Queen.

Her awesome aunts have already started spoiling her. We had a painting day the day after we had a gender reveal party with close family and friends. They have nearly fished four princess paintings that will be hung in her room. FTF- I have actually finished drawing the rest of the Jasmine painting!!! Help!  I would draw and they would paint in the colors and I’d help mix paint colors. It was really fast this way. After that, I’d touch up, shading or outlining as needed and three of the four are completely done.

I’m so grateful for all the help and advice I have gathered over the past days. People never stop giving unsolicited advice, like: “Don’t pick that up! It’s bad for the baby!” Well, no you’re wrong there. It’s fine for the baby, it’s bad for mama.  But unless I go slinging stuff every which way, I’ll be ok. The relaxin’s there, trust me, I feel weird joint-wise, but as long as I’m careful, I’ll be ok. Lord knows, Miss Thang is fine. She has quite a bit of growing to do.

Her tests came back negative for all that they have tested her for. She’s a healthy-so far, bouncing little fetus. She doesn’t like my seat belt, pressing against it when I stop and the thing tightens. She is definitely a she. No boy parts to be seen. Poor Papa. He wanted a grandson. Maybe next time Daddy-O. She likes her arms up by her ears and face, when looking at her yesterday, the ultrasound technician showed us her little self in that 4-d mode. She was a movin’ and a groovin’ and dodging the camera.

Pregnancy is… pregnancy. There are truly sucky moments. And there are the cool moments. Like, when she hears Handsome, she dances for a minute and then settles. She is already a daddy’s girl! I’m very grateful to be out of the first trimester. I thought the exhaustion would never end. As the third looms up before me like a thunderhead, I can at least focus on the fact that she’ll be here that much sooner. My little turkey is on her way.

My life is a full one. I am very grateful for everything. From My Fairy Godmother and Handsome and my parents, to all of our friends and extended family who have been so supportive and wonderful. Thanks for the Love, Prayers, and  Good intentions.

Your Pretty Content and Grateful,

Steph

One plus One makes Three…

Yep. Me and the Handsome are expecting a little one.  Since I crave bean burritos… we definitely know this kid is part Mexican.  For humor’s sake I’ve been contemplating calling it “Beaner” instead of “it”. Because calling my baby an “It” annoys me, and saying “little him or her” at every reference moment is also annoying and time consuming, Beaner it is. So Beaner is currently 10 weeks and 5 days in production according to Beaner’s size. I know, we didn’t quite wait until the end of the first trimester, but we waited until all normal signposts were still a “go” for Beaner production.  I didn’t want to tell the planet we were pregnant AT ONCE! for a couple of reasons:

1. The parental units of said Beaner were still getting used to the idea of being parental units. Handsome is sort of still at reeling stage. Poor Handsome is a planner and this was a surprise detour on the Path of the Handsome. We were worried how everyone would react.  To our shock and amazement, we were the only ones shocked. Every other living soul (close family and friends) were supportive and excited.

2. (the most important reason) I could have lost the Beaner. In fact we had a minor(read MAJOR) scare at Easter and I was put on bed rest with no happiness until I saw The Doctor. The Doctor gave me an “all clear” with instructions to quit my taxing exercise class. Zumba. Sad Princess face. Life is hard for a mourning mommy that lost her baby. Prayers for a cousin rise up. She’s struggling with physical, emotional, and spiritual pain. I could keep Beaner to myself until we got The Doctor high five.

Handsome declares that he is not calling his child “Beaner”, he’s reverting to the male pronoun, because he is he a “he”, so he’s using “he” to refer to The Beaner. I decided that he can call Beaner a “he” all he wants to, it’ll probably solidify my chances of getting the little princess I want. I’d take the other pronoun too, just with less excitement. We don’t have the boys in my family. My dad has Three  Daughters, a Wife, a Female dog-human(The Pepper), two sisters, and a niece. Most of my cousins on Mama’s side are girls. The force is strong with the females. Women are EVERYWHERE!!!

But the Handsome is the gender-determiner… so… God knows for now. He’s going to place me with the Beaner I need.

In other news, Cousin Bri is also pregnant with a girl. My long time friend- Ally Wally is pregnant with a boy. Beaner will have friends EVERYWHERE!!! Yay for babies! All you girls in Bossier: DON’T DRINK THE WATER. Unless you wanna be totally pregs, in which case my advice changes to: DRINK THE FREAKING WATER. Cousin T just had her little girl in February, she is full of new-mommy love and excitement. I am so glad to be able to ask a bajillion questions to a nurse-lady related to me. She’s an awesome caregiver. Love you T!

I am finally getting used to the idea of being a “mommy”. I have a more constant reminder that I’m pregs… All the lovely body changes happen to ME. It’s no wonder Handsome has a harder time. He can still wear his favorite jeans. He can still eat things like french fries and not feel like death warmed over a sheen of cold sweat.

I don’t have really bad morning sickness, in fact other than the usual feeling of exhaustion-ugh-have-I-just-been-run-over-by-a-mac-truck?-why-can’t-I-sleep-enough? and a bit of nausea, my pregnancy symptoms are relatively benign. I have killer heartburn though. Heaven forbid I go two days without a Zantac. I thought I was having “evening sickness”. Nope. Simply heartburn that’s easily managed. Thanks mommy friend from Dallas. You have been a lifesaver. You know who you are.

In other news, I got laid off from my job in January… and then Handsome came up with an awesome idea.  If I wanted to continue working with my cousin The Florist, I should, and I should see if she could teach me. The Florist was very enthusiastic and she is helping me get my Louisiana Floral License.  I love working with flowers. I also recently got a job at LaBloom in Shreveport.  It’s been great fun learning flower shop ways. I have been trying to absorb as much as possible and I greatly appreciate all of my teachers.  The Florist has been a wonderful help and I hope to flourish in this new endeavor.

Beaner can still be around with flower business. That’s the beauty of it, as long as I get established, I will be able to work from my home and Baby Business will be a challenge, but not unmanageable… I hope. And pray. And cross my toes.

Anywho, that’s the flight-status update on The Princess and the Handsome.

And Beaner? Beaner is proving to be my Handsome’s child by being an evasive goober for the Nurse yesterday at our appointment.  We weren’t going to get a sonogram because if she could capture Beaner’s heartbeat on the speaker and time it, Beaner wouldn’t get pictures. Instead, Beaner evaded the Mean Lady’s microphone after she found Beaner’s heartbeat TWICE. Mean Lady dug the microphone into Mommy’s tummy and nope. Wrong spot! Sonogram time for Beaner the Ham.

On screen my sister got to see little Beaner wave Beaner’s little arms at the camera and Beaner looks quite content. On the OPPOSITE SIDE of where the LADY had originally found the beat. Beaner, evasive little Ham, wanted to take pictures with Beaner’s Aunt Rachody.  Rachody got to see and hear Beaner’s heartbeat. 173 beats per minute. Quite normal according to The Doctor. The Doctor rocks. She is a friend of my Wonderful Cousin M. A close friend. I remember throwing a shower for M at The Doctor’s house. I think it was for M’s eight year old who should not be eight because that makes me old. The Doctor has given me the necessary Doctor’s Note for the Mediterranean Crooooze! Which will be happenin’ soon! Yippeeeeeee!

Life is awesome folks, I hope you’re having an awesome week!

Your Pretty Awestruck,

Steph

Sorry this is late! but I wanted to share my Valentine’s…

I love the newlywed life. I make lots of yummy things for my sweet Handsome husband to try… and then he had to go to the doctor where we learned we had gained a bit more than we wanted… so now It’s time to make healthy fun newly wed things… or at least learn how to moderate the intake or  perhaps exercise more. Anyways… This Valentine’s Day I made conversation heart- s’mores dipped in candy melts- for the Handsome Husband and our families. Yum!

I googled “homemade graham crackers” and found this recipe. I looked like other bloggers had used this method, so why not try it?

Wellllll I learned why people don’t make their own graham crackers. Graham crackers, made this way, are a pain in the patootie. They get all gross and sticky while trying to shape them the way I wanted. So naturally no two crackers are exactly alike, thus making the- sandwich dipped in candy melts- section a complete mess. Also I can’t find my connection for my camera to me computer… so… I had to use my phone’s camera. Photographers::::warning:::: go away. my pictures aren’t perfect and I’m okay with that. This is for entertainment and mild idea purposes only.

So after making heart shaped tiny cookies*** next time I’m using a bigger cookie cutter*** I dipped them halfway into melted chocolate.

They were sort of tasty at this point… and this was Handsome and my version of the Superbowl. Really? There was a football game on? Nice. Glad I had cookies to make. And so was Handsome.

After they dried I stuffed them with Marshmallow fluff. nom nomnommmmm

Please excuse the horrible shaky picture. I was laughing at this messy part.

And then I dipped them into different colored candy melts with… mixed results. Apparently Candi Quik works wonders, while the stuff from craft stores was just… crap on a pogo stick. Sloppy looking pink and blue ones totally made me pout a lot.

I wrote on them with red edible markers and experimented with the sparkle gel. After the gel had dried on the cookies below, I realized I should have use that stuff in the first place.

Over all, I thought they came out cute.

Obviously these were only fit for family, but hey, they were a hit with that crowd. I was told that they disappeared quickly from the little blue plates.

I hope everyone had a wonderful Valentine’s day. I know we sure did.

Your Happily Newlywed,

Steph

I’m baaaack- a revisit to St. Lucia

Ok… this business of being a newlywed is no joke. Especially at the busiest time of the year. I love being occupied. Poor Handsome is not very used to the comings and goings of an active gal like me. You’d think he would be, giving that we dated for two years before we were engaged, alas, he’s not. The presence of THE NEWLYWEDS is very often requested, and I LOVE it. Poor Handsome. We have to schedule do-nothing-days for him to readjust to life. I’m an attention whore seeker and he’s shy. I’m surprised he didn’t go catatonic with all the people at the wedding. Of course we had a wonderful honeymoon to look forward to… tales of which I’m finally going to share with you.

We went to the island country of St. Lucia for our honeymoon and it was fantastic, just what a newlywed couple needs after the work and stress of a gigantic wedding. We flew out the morning after we got hitched… are we crazy? Yes. His kind but always early parents brought us to the SHV airport and hour and a half before our six am flight… Ok, so this would mean we would be late at airports such as DFW, LAX, DEN, etc… at good ol’ SHV? Shreveport Regional Airport? We were approximately an hour early for check in. Shreveport’s airport is cute, functional, but verrrrry small and at six am? Nearly inactive. We were asleep on our feet, it’s a miracle we made it through all the check points and to our hotel in one piece.

Though I knew I probably looked like a ran-over dog, there were obviously other couples who looked much worse for the wear at our connecting flight from ATL. One girl still had her hair in an updo!!! Seriously? Other girls also had obvious just- got married and didn’t bother to shower- hair and make up…. My favorite was this one girl who still had feathers attached to an ENTIRE HEADPIECE attached to her HEAD. Hey, she’s never going to see these people ever again, including this amused observer, so I guess get your money’s worth girl! GET it!

Everyone who had JUST gotten married looked positively exhausted. Our Wedding weekend was the weekend of 11-11-11. I have no idea why such couples were obsessed with a bunch of ones- perhaps their favorite number?- but that meant our flight was jam-packed with young couples from all over the US.  I can only imagine the running joke with the stewardesses.  ” Betty! Betty! I have a guy with countable hickies!!!” “Oh Diane,  I’ve got full wedding hair on row 6!” “I’ve you two beat. Wedding dress with train on row 46.”

I can. Only. Imagine.

How many times do you think they’ve had to stop a couple from “using the airplane bathroom” together? Thankfully I didn’t hear any debacles of this nature during our flight. However, I WAS in a MILD coma in my seat, so Lord only knows what could have been happening.

When we arrived, we all staggered into the St. Lucia customs line. It was a loooong line. Handsome and I were nearly cross-eyed with exhaustion. We got checked in with the Sandals Resort buses and they drove us an uncomfortable 20 miles- one and a half hours across the island to the resort. I hadn’t realized our ride would be so long. 20 miles normally means 30 minutes or less to my flatlander brain. Bah. St. Lucia snorts derisively at my naivete. Mountains were everywhere. St. Lucia is a volcanic island, it’s natural beaches are more of the black rocks variety. Once we got there, the concierge service we had signed up for, whisked us away for an immediate check in- to the tunes of steel drums, clean moist towels, and a quick serving of Rum Punch. We got into our room  and were delighted by the flowers decorating the room and champagne and special services menu offered to us.  Our bags arrived and we ordered the first of many room service meals. We both passed out at around seven pm St. Lucian time- only five PM at home!

We loved the beautiful island. We went on a canopy tour of the rainforest, went snorkeling, kayaking, sailing on a catamaran, and we went on a drive- in Volcano tour. The volcano tour was more like a tour of the island with a short visit to a stinky sulfuric pipe, similar to Yosemite. The Island tour was well worth the trip. We saw THE ENTIRE ISLAND on our honeymoon. All of the water sports were on-the-property of the Resort. We even went on a walking tour of Fort Rodney through the concierge service. They promised us a surprise at the end of the tour.  While we were extremely curious as to what the surprise would be, we only thought it would be a small rum-punch or chocolate party- similar to what we had done at other evening events. NOT SO.

The whole time we were on the honeymoon, every time we left the resort we would pass the original Black Pearl from the Pirates of the Caribbean movies 1&2. Naturally, Handsome and I would try to take a picture of the ship as we zoomed past.

The walking tour of Fort Rodney was fascinating to us- we are both a little bit dorky and love a bit of history. The guide showed us the excellent view of Martinique, the French island, which he said, that on a clear day, one could see the very cars driving on the island. This meant that the top of the fort where we had climbed was excellent for the occupying British to spy on the Frenchies.  After our climb we were led to a boat where they had us sit and, yes, enjoy a bit of Rum punch. Whoo hoo!

We also had a light snack on the boat and the Captain took us out on the water. Soon, we pulled up to the big surprise. They pulled up to the harbor of the BLACK PEARL. Handsome and my cameras had both died, after all our touring of the fort and taking dramatic cliff pictures, we had two empty batteries. Not only did we have no pictures of the BP, but the Captain stopped the boat on the water for us to watch the sunset… SAD HONEYMOONERS. (We were a bit lucky that on the way home a couple who went with us on the tour spoke with us and we told them of our sad predicament, the kind lady sent us two copies of the Pirate Ship. We were so happy to receive their card.)

Overall, the island was magnificent, the food was fantastic at the resort, and the people were so very kind. Theirs is a rich, interesting heritage and they embrace it cheerfully and with a sense of humor.  They are very proud of their booming tourist trade and banana plantations. We bought some banana barbecue sauce and I have no idea when we’ll ever use it, but even Handsome liked it.

We were sad to leave the island, but we were very happy to be back in the United States. We only had about eight loads of laundry and several hours of sleep to catch up on. Changing my name was exasperation itself, but we all lived happily ever after.

If only I could get used to filling out forms with my MARRIED name!

Your reminiscent,

Steph

Life in the New Year, Getting Back on Track.

This past Christmas was so awesome!  Family and friends were so wonderful and generous as always! Handsome and I are doing our level best to make sure we get to see both of our families at Christmas. We had a great break from work in which we took time to put away some Christmas and finally begin our setting up of our home as it should be- daily.

We still have so much to do, but we have hung a TV, built a shelf in the bathroom, and put away our five tubs of Christmas decorations.  We also spent time playing Handsome’s new game. I gave him Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim for Christmas and I like to “help”. (which is really me getting motion sickness from the swirling Handsome does when he’s searching, battling, or running in the game. I yell, “Eat something, he about to kill you! Power up, Power up!” alot.) I was super geek-excited when Handsome got the book for the game in yesterday. It’s a nice, large hard back book full of tips and tricks to manage through the game. It’s super cool and now I have something to look at when he makes it spin too fast!

We learned a new game this New Year’s Eve with several of our friends. Brother Monkey, the Bearded Monkey, the-future- Mrs, Mrs. Joooones, and the Red Monkey all came over to play Munchkin Quest with Handsome and I this past weekend. I’d say it was Epic, but it wasn’t. Epic Munchkin Quest would probably have made our heads explode. What with THE WEDDING and all, it had been too long since we had all met and played. I missed them all.

This year is going to be full of firsts for Handsome and I. We are so happy to be together at last.

I can’t help but wish everyone the happiness I have with the Handsome man in my life. I know that life as we know it isn’t perfect, trust me, I am far from perfection. But I also know so many dear friends who are going through hard times. The kind of times that are heart breaking and soul stripping. Loss of so many means and of so many loved ones is a truly terrifying ordeal. My heart goes out to them, my prayers are always with them.  May the Lord Bless You, all the Days of your life.

I hope that 2012 improves for those dear friends who are looking at a tenuous road ahead of them.

On a lighter note(hopefully), it’s time for the exercise to resume as previously scheduled. I missed the classes. It’s nice to take a break once in a while, but WeddinghoneymoonThanksgivingChristmas was nutsoid. We were crazy busy and most of the precious down time went to finding Christmas presents. Hey, shopping for entire days on one’s feet counts as exercise, right? Right? We have probably walked all over Shreveport/Bossier in the past two months. Handsome is back at the indoor place and he’s been having a good time getting in shape the competitive way.

I read a fascinating article about how some people are truly made for competition exercise and some people… just…aren’t. The little ballerina that couldn’t, the little leaguer who’s afraid of the ball, the wanna-be that for some unknown reason just couldn’t do that back handspring to make the cheerleading squad? All me. Forget the fact for a moment that it’s true I had other activities as well. (The piano lessons, the Girl Scout Troop, Band, Oboe Lessons-ugh)  I was a squishy, musical, crafty kid.

It’s okay if your kid isn’t a sporty kiddo. It’s okay if they prefer arts and crafts over jock straps and catcher’s mitts. but they need to be healthy too. Even if they have the metabolism of a bird, the need the strength training and nutrition of a human. I had several friends growing up who were into martial arts, which probably would have been a good answer for myself. But there are also other ways to learn how to maintain fitness. They are coming up with kid-gyms. Where kids can play games and in doing so, build endurance and strength.

One of my favorite PE classes in Middle School was the year they were building the actual gym at Elm Grove. I loved not having to play volley ball and dodge ball and get reamed in the face. Our teacher, Mrs. B, dragged us all upstairs for Richard Simmons(Dicky Slims to me and my family- haha) videos like Sweatin to the Oldies, Disco Sweat, etc. She taught us how to square dance among other things to get us moving. I remember her class because it was the best year for a non-competitor like me.

So it’s no wonder that Zumba classes work for me.  Hey, I trip up and have to retie my shoe like any other goober in there, but I also can push myself or restrain myself. I can either get it big and sweat my brains out, or I can simplify moves that the instructor does if the day was particularly wearing. I truly admire anyone who leads classes for humble bumbles like me. They are guides to stay healthy, and if someone can manage to smile and have fun with it? Even more props. (I’m sure we of the awkward and the silly give other inspirations for grins, but hey, you get amusement where you can.) I also like to play dance games on consoles. Set on Easy of course.

I truly admire runners. I have secretly always wanted to learn how to be one. People, including the Handsome Husband Face, have tried to teach me how, but I cannot grasp the concepts. I can’t figure out how to breathe. I’m really special. I get hives just thinking about last time I made the attempt to run in an open field. Open field my rear end… grumble mumble grumble grumble… One of my cousins is a RUNNER. She’s awesome and I applaud Runner Cousin for all of her hard work and determination. She leaves parties early and goes to bed when she knows that she has a race the next day. She’s an inspiration.

Maybe one day I can too, be a runner. Maybe then my thighs, that I have named Thunder and Behemoth, wouldn’t wiggle ever so much. Props to the running machines out there. You inspire people. Like Forrest Gump. “I just felt like runnin’.”

I hope everyone has a wonderful week, I promise to report about the Magical Island Honeymoon soon!

Your striving towards better fitness,

Steph

Just Call me a Chicken…

Sooo… yeah there was this wedding thing that was crazy and awesome and fabulous and all… It was so eventful that it’s a terribly intimidating post. I’ve been intimidated. My own wedding was my bully. Blog wise.

The rehearsal was wonderful and fun. After the rehearsal our dear group of friends came over to our future abode. Friends that have been constant as the sunrise. They made all of my butterflies fly away… temporarily anyways. When Manda brought in her wedding present to us, the others asked if they could get/ bring in theirs. We said sure! So then we had an impromptu wedding shower, only without cake. (Unless you count the rehearsal dinner dessert of cheeeeeesecake! yum-Bernie) We visited until Genius looked down at his watch and wished us a happy wedding day. We all laughed. Then when everyone had left, Handsome and I exchanged our gifts to each other.

I opened this beautiful box and inside were two things, another package and a small scrapbook. It was a mini history of us. He Made it!  Handsome had used up his creative quota on the most beautiful book for me. I loooooove it! The last page was left blank for a picture of us on our wedding day. I was so happy and impressed with my dear future-Husband-face. The smaller package was a necklace from Jared’s. It’s very pretty and something to cherish.

I got him cuff links from the fabulous company, Celtic Promise. The cuff links matched his ring. I also gave him a blog I had started while we were only dating, but by then, I knew. Handsome was THE ONE. It’s a private one and all his. I knew he would like it, especially since it’s something he can access whenever he want.

It’s funny isn’t it, that both us gave the other two presents. One, a dialogue of beautiful memories; the other, something decorative and symbolic of our special day.

The wedding day? Insane amounts of fun.

We began the festivities with a Bridal Luncheon hosted by none other than the FAIRY GODMOTHER!!! She is the best anyone could ever ask for.  The bridal luncheon was at Chianti’s and it was FABULOUS. The flowers were gorgeous, the food was delicious, the wine was perfect. I settled my stage jitters with my out of town guests and family and dear friends.   Having this lunch was wonderful. I got a chance to see and visit with people who took the trouble of traveling hundreds of miles so see me get married. My wonderful FG made a beautiful toast that made everyone tear up joyfully.  My aunt and godmother is a wonderful woman y’all.

I attempted to eat the entree’(who on Earth can eat properly on their wedding day??), and almost left before they wheeled out the dessert cart… and then everyone laughed as I backed up the bus and plopped myself back into the chair… CHOCOLATE MOUSSE cake! Perfect for the nervous princess and the only thing that sustained me throughout the wedding. I got my hair done at the Renaissance Salon in Bossier City where the ladies there do a fantastic job and Tessa worked her magic on most of my ladies and my adorable fairy princess godchild.

We arrived at the Church and I was cooped into my bridal room until it was time. We got me dressed and received our flowers from our Flower Lady Cousin. We marveled at how adorable Miss Flower Princess was. The Baby provided relaxing and celebrational music.

After I was dressed, the girls were dressed, the guys had arrived, the Trolley was waiting, guests were all there, and everyone was lined up by the Wedding Gurus… we all realized one thing was missing- The Minister!!!!!

Well… everyone but me anyways. They had taken my stuff away, including my appendage known as my cellphone… and I was alone for twenty minutes before they informed me. I was surprisingly not freaking out. I was only worried about the dude. What could have happened? (Handsome was freaking out for both of us) My dad went out and made a short announcement that we were all here and merely waiting on the minister…

Guests enjoyed the music played by Shreveport Symphony members… who came and left… still no minister.

He finally came an hour late. By then I was really ready to walk down that aisle. Everything was set back- late by an hour.  .. but let’s focus on the awesome parts…

I married the love of my life!

Handsome was awesome. He made my gals swoon…

My girls looked AMAZING. I mean, look at them. All single. And on March 16th all legal. wink wink.

The cuteness squad ruled.

Daddy marveled at the beauty of his daughters,

The wedding party was great! Look at us! Ah-MAYZIIIING!

After our quickie photo shoot we jumped into the Trolley and got ourselves to the Petroleum Club, where we started the dancing.

Smug bride face.

Such a happy couple. side note- I’m wearing my Flower Princess’ charm bracelet- I have started for her. She’ll get it when she receives her First Holy Communion… but she can wear it to fancy things while I’m around- like to my wedding. She was falling asleep on the Trolley so we put it on me for safe keeping.

The cake was gorgeous! Alyson at A Piece of Cake was awesome!

The grooms cake was a chocolate xbox 360- It totally suited the groom. See the figurines? The soccer player groom and shopper bride toppers were too cute, but too informal for my cake, so I had them set on the groom’s table. Handsome likes them quite a bit. He saw them in a magazine, and loved the soccer player.

After cake, and during cake, and throughout the reception people danced to the rhythms of Windstorm Show Band of Shreveport. The Windstorm was AWWWEsome! Another bout of awesomeness brought to me by the amazing Fairy Godmother.

Another favorite of the guests was the photobooth-

My girls ham it up!

Mom and her teacher gang- Kindergarten and the principal.

She made this awesome scrapbook for the wedding and they had an attendant who helped our guests stick a copy of their strip onto a page for us, while they got the other.

Phelps Photo booth- they were an extra last minute add-on, but they were fabulous! Contact Roy at phelpsphotobooth@gmail.com. He’s reasonable and great to work with!

Fairy Godmother and I loved on the Handsome. Because he was just too… well… Handsome!

My beautiful cousin caught my bouquet, which accidentally was one of my bridesmaid bouquets… whoops! Sorry girls! I couldn’t find the toss bouquet! If I had tossed the actual one, someone would have gotten hurt for sure. That thing was HEAVY. But gorgeous. After that we took several pictures of Handsome and me.

I couldn’t stop kissing him. After being showered with bubbles, we jumped into my car(It’s the bigger of the two vehicles and I had to fit. I was huge in that dress!).

The next morning we were sleep deprived and drunk from exhaustion- not alcohol… but I’ll tell the Honey moon story some other time.

And it all couldn’t have happened without my Fairy Godmother. She’s amazing, folks. She has thoroughly spoiled me. I love her more than I can tell you and she is wonderful. I can only hope to be as elegant and generous as she is one day.

Thank you so much, dearest Lady,

Your Pretty Princess

Photos by Jena Leigh Photography

All of my vendors did not give me anything for endorsing them, but they were amazing. Thanks be to all of them.

Now… on to Christmas! Handsome and I are ready!

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