Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Searching For My Wedding Dress #FredNMimiSayIDo

This past weekend I headed out with the boys to stay with my parents. Mom really wanted to be part of helping me look for a wedding dress. I just loved that, and I was excited for it, too. She and I had spent some time looking online at dresses.

Now let me set the scene for the ceremony. We’re planning on something extremely simple. We’ve rented a room above the Federal House restaurant in old downtown Annapolis. That’s where it’s all going to happen. The “ceremony” and our meal. There will definitely be less than 40 people. So, for real…simple.

Simple is how I was hoping my dress would be. I thought something I could wear more than once. A dress that’s more like a cocktail dress in a champagne color. I was also looking for inexpensive.

The dress hunt was about to begin! Mom and I were pretty excited. That is until we started for looking for boutiques by her. She lives by a pretty populace city. We could only find 3 shops online. We headed to the first one by mid afternoon.

In we walk to the boutique and I immediately know this place is going to be spendy. She had maybe 40 gowns in her shop. Mom and I perused the dresses, but there wasn’t anything we were expecting in my price range. I did find a beautiful lace covered A-line gown that I decided to try on for fun. I mean, first of all, it wasn’t at ALL what I was looking for, it was too formal, and it was beyond my price range at $1500! I was mostly doing it to humor my mom. I wasn’t sure how many dresses I’d get to try on with her, and I wasn’t really interested in the dress.

Lace Wedding Dress

Weeeell, let’s just say as soon as I zipped myself into that dress, I was smitten. It fit me like it was literally made for my body. It was more gorgeous than I expected, and I fell in love with it! Not what I was expecting. In fact, before I went into the dressing room, every time the owner would turn her back to me, I’d mouth to my mom, “No way I’m getting this,” to reassure her that I was trying it on for purely amusement purposes.

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For me, as soon as I felt it on me, it became the dress I knew I would’ve always wanted for a large, church wedding. It was so interesting because you would look at it and think there was a doily on the dress, but on, it was absolutely soft and delicate.

Then I took it off.

That was a sad moment for me. I knew I would never be able to afford the dress, and it was exactly the dress for such a simple ceremony, but man I loved it.

From there mom and I headed to a non-existent bridal shop. We forgot there was another one by the first boutique, but when I looked on my phone, it turned out that it had closed at 2. TWO? On a Saturday? It was so weird. If you were one of only 2 boutiques in a 30 mile radius, wouldn’t you want to be open longer on a Saturday? Oh well.

Sunday mom called another bridal shop…an hour away. Mom was determined to look at more dresses. Thankfully it was in the direction for us to come home! She convinced dad to go with us, too! lol He was thrilled. Ok, not so much.

We ended up with an appt at 2pm, and the guys headed to Dick’s to kill some time. Once again, the dresses were pretty expensive, and the first ones we saw as we walked in were twice as expensive as the first one I tried on. Turned out those were the couture gowns!

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The nice lady showed us where the off the rack dresses were. We found a few that we liked, but nothing that was comparing to the first one. I did try on one that wasn’t like the first dress at all. It was very ‘goddess’ like. There was just something light and flowy about it. The top was big and would’ve need to have been taken in.

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It turns out when you add a sash/belt to the middle it makes me look like I have a figure instead of just being wide and straight. Mom and I actually liked this one, too and it was close to my price range. Well, add in adjustments and the almost $300 sash, and it was over $1000!! Back to square one. =(

Square one led me to David’s Bridal. I knew they had an array of bridesmaids dresses that would be affordable and I could get in a color I liked. I also figured they’d have something off the rack that would be a bit fancier, but closer to something I could afford. At least that was my hope!

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I pulled out 3 bridesmaids dresses and found one that was ok. From there I went to the sales rack. I found two gowns that were…G-O-W-N-S! lol But, by looking at the price tags, I knew I could afford at least one of them.

I thought they both looked ok. The first one not as much as the second, but the second one was so intricate and so ball gowny, I just didn’t think it would work right for the ceremony we’re having. Sakes alive, who knew a dress would make me want to do our ceremony in a church? lol

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I didn’t leave with a dress, but I know that there are a bunch out there to choose from! I called mom on my way home telling her I was going to email her the pictures I took. She wasn’t thrilled with them. Oy! So there are lots to choose from, but will I find one? Gah

As soon as I got home I started searching for more dresses. Dresses, dresses, and more dresses! Someone suggested searching for consignment wedding dresses, but I have no idea if there’s anything like that around here. I just want a dress. I had fun trying on those gowns because I never did before. Sad, isn’t it? I never got to wear anything as grand as a gown.

I had it settled in my mind to wear a cocktail dress and then I tried on a wedding gown. I’ve ruined myself towards a cocktail dress, that’s for sure. I’ve got a little bit of time, but not much since my wedding it under three months away. I will have to get off the rack and hope that nothing needs to be taken in or hemmed!

How hard was it for you to find your wedding dress? Was it the dress of your dreams?

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

My Daughter, The Social Worker & Giveaway #EarnItFrameIt #ProudGrad

Church Hill Classics Disclosure
Last week was an extremely stressful week for my oldest daughter. After three and a half years to get her Bachelor’s Degree, and two years to get her Master’s Degree, she took her licensure exam to become a social worker! Being that she’s 23, she hasn’t had a lot of real life experience in the field. The past six months she’s been working at a hospital learning to do social work as an intern. Even with that under her belt, she knew it wasn’t going to be an easy exam.

Now, that being said, she’s done amazing in school. She has always gone above and beyond what an instructor has asked for, and in some instances received a score higher than what was available. She would call me stressed out about a paper and then instead of getting 100 on it, she’d get 110. lol That girl has always worked so hard for all of her good grades. It’s never come easy to her.
Custom Diploma Frame
Since the start of the year, I’ve been praying for her test. Praying that her anxiety would be lessened, and that she would have rest. If you have a child in college, you know that high anxiety and little rest is a very common thing. Have I mentioned she works at an elementary school, answers phones at an engineering firm, interns at the hospital, and is a student. As a mom, I can’t wait until she gets a job in her field and will be able to have down time that she’s probably needed for the past 7-8 yrs! She was the same when she was in high school.

She’ll be graduating May 22nd, which is the same day my second daughter comes home after being gone on her almost year long mission trip, and it’s Fred’s birthday! I’m SO incredibly sad that I won’t be able to be there to see her graduate. The mom guilt is huge, to say the least. I also wasn’t sure what to get her as a graduation gift. When The Motherhood asked me if I would work with them and Church Hill Classics, with a review of one of their frames for my daughter’s diploma, no way I could resist!
Church Hill Classics
I had a feeling it was going to be a little tricky because she’s going to two colleges. I don’t know how to explain it. I guess they’re brother/sister colleges? It took some going back and forth with her, and her talking to one of her friends to find out exactly where her degree would be coming from. I guess every other year, the students graduate from the other college. She sent me a photo of a friend of hers who got the same degree she did this past year. It had BOTH colleges on the diploma.

I ended up emailing Church Hill Classics because I wasn’t sure which frame to even go with since they have both colleges. So many selections between frames, mats, color-enameled medallions, beautiful campus images, foil embossing of the school name and/or seal and even an opening for a tassel. I wasn’t sure of which college she would even want for a frame. Turns out emailing was THE best thing I could do! The response was immediate. I sent an email late at night explaining where my daughter was graduating from, and sent an image of her friend’s diploma. The customer service gal replied immediately, and said she was going to share my quandary with her colleagues, but didn’t think I’d be able to get what I was looking for. Lo and behold, they had a frame with BOTH colleges!! I was so thrilled by her response!
Church Hill Classics Frame
Well, I’m happy to report that my daughter passed her exam last week! I never doubted for a moment that she would, but I’m really happy she has that behind her. This past week I also got the frame for her diploma. Do you ever shop online for something and not really pay attention to EH-VERY detail? heh heh heh Let’s just say I MAY have missed the part that explained how large the frame was. I mean, I went through all of the frame choices, picked out her mat, and upgraded the glass.

When the frame showed up, my jaw dropped! This thing puts any other frame I’ve ever seen to shame! NOT. KIDDING. It’s H-U-G-E! Her frame is no shrinking violet. And it’s gorgeous. I don’t think anyone else graduating from that college will have as nice of a diploma frame as her. It’s absolutely going to have a prominent place in any home she ever lives in.



Church Hill Classics Frame University
If you have a loved one graduating this year, this is definitely the gift to go with! Can you imagine their diploma, that they’ve worked so hard for, sitting in some drawer? Did you know that 56% of respondents to a survey by The Motherhood said they haven’t framed their diploma? Years from now, the cash that was tucked away in an envelope will be spent and forgotten. A customized frame will fit your graduate’s personal style! Church Hill Classics has over 1,500 colleges and universities to choose from. Go find yours.


What is your graduate getting their degree in?
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Saturday, March 21, 2015

Do You Take Water For Granted? #WaterEffect #WaterNow

Thanks to World Vision for sending me an umbrella and Royal Silk Scarf made with luxurious silk, using Fair-Trade practices in exchange for sharing about World Water Day!

When we went to Peru on our mission trip a year and a half ago, one of the things we didn’t have to worry about in the city of Lima was a lack of water. We did have to be careful of the water we drank, just like you do in most other countries. There were places on the outskirts of the city that I’m sure had limited or no safe water, and it was overwhelming at times.
Homes in Hills[5]
When Smooch told me she was going to go on a year long mission trip, the first concern at the top of the list for me was her not getting sick because of the water. When she went to India several years ago she got sick right when she got there. It was so hard to be so far away from her when there was nothing I could do for her from the States! Such a helpless feeling as a mom. Now she’s been in 9 countries in the past nine months. I haven’t gotten to talk to her about how she’s been feeling the last couple of months. I know she had issues with her health the first couple of months. I’m hoping to talk to her then next time she has access to Skype.

Did you know that March 22nd, that’s this Sunday, is World Water Day? It’s been a recognized day since 1993, that’s the year Smooch was born! In face, her birthday is under two weeks away. Well, World Vision is encouraging everyone to make a difference on that day. They have some amazing ways to provide a better life for people around the world.

One way to do that is to contribute to their Clean Water Fund. How wonderful would it be to know that for just $25/month you could provide 6 people with clean water every year? A gift of $50 provides one new person with clean water. Truly, it’s such a small amount that could mean the difference between life and death for someone!
World Vision Water Now
I think about what it would look like if the kids and I were in some of the conditions the kids and families are in. Would I let Buddy and Doodle go down to the waterway down the road to draw water for us every day? Give them containers they have to fill, make them walk on a dangerous road, carry those full containers back, and then use it to drink, cook, and bathe with it? I just can’t even wrap my mind around that.
World Vision World Water Day
I also wanted to teach the boys about this day and what it looks like to have to draw your own water, and what that actually looks like. The creek by our house seems to have clean, clear water. I asked my youngest to grab an empty jug and fill it up. I tell you what, that was quite the eye opener. He said to just boil it. Let’s just say we had a terrific conversation after that!


World Vision Clean Water Fund
What is one way your family can make a difference on World Water Day?

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Going To The Chapel, And We’re Gonna Get Married

I know I’ve been married before, but I have the words “She’s finally getting married, she’s finally getting married,” going through my mind. The past month has been a very crazy and busy one. At the beginning of the month, I headed over to Fred’s house, and when I got there, he was standing inside the front door with an engagement ring.

He had done a blog post in which he asked me to marry him!

Engagement Ring

Very apropos considering the fact that he and I had met on Twitter! I get embarrassed pretty easily and he was about to get down on one knee and I told him, “No, don’t get down on your knee!” I mean, it was just he and I, in the entryway to the house. hahahaha So we went upstairs where I got to see my engagement ring. I sat down at the dining room table, and had to read through the actual proposal. I kept giggling because I was shocked that it had finally happened!

It was a very sweet post, and I knew it would be one that would resonate with all the romantics out there. I think that’s what he was going for. After I finished reading it, I’m pretty sure I spent the rest of the night giggling. How could I not? I was FI-NAL-LY engaged!

Engagement Ring 2

At one point, Fred came up to me and said, “Did you ever answer me?” I was pretty sure I’d said yes, and I was wearing the ring, so I told him, “I think I said ‘yes’, and I’ve got the ring on! So definitely yes!” lol

I was absolutely in awe of my engagement ring. We had gone to the jeweler at the beginning of December so Fred could get an idea of the style of ring I liked. I was actually surprised because I thought for sure I just wanted a basic band with a solitaire. I’ve got little fingers and knew something big would look ridiculous on me. I’ve always been bummed about that, but such is life. The ring he chose is exactly what we had been looking at, but somehow he found one that was more beautiful than any we had looked at. He did good!

Now I’ll be honest here. Well, I’m always honest, but still… I had totally expected him to propose while we were at a concert over the Valentine’s Day weekend. I had flat out told him not to propose on a holiday. To me, that’s too cliché. I knew it was coming, but didn’t know when. He reassured me it wouldn’t be on Valentine’s Day. He also knew that he couldn’t wait too much longer because we needed to get to planning. I really hoped he wouldn’t go into March, so the only day I could figure out that he’d remember would be the day of the concert.

Diamone Engagement Ring

Turns out he was trying to plan to propose at the concert. Mmmmhmmm He had contacted Family Force 5 to see if they’d help him propose to me. At first it seemed they’d be able to help, but it turned out they had such a short set for the concert it wasn’t possible. He tried a couple of other avenues, but they didn’t pan out. I have to admit, I’m totally ok with that. I probably would’ve freaked out if he’d done it at a concert with all of those people watching. lol I didn’t even want him getting down on one knee when we were by ourselves, can you image my reaction having hundreds of eyes on me? Oy vey!

Now we’re in planning mode. We’d like to do an intimate dinner with our families and people from church. Then we’re planning on heading back to Minnesota where we’ll be able to celebrate with my dear friends! Keep an eye out for the hashtag #FredNMimiSayIDo because we’ll be using that as we prepare for the wedding! =)

What’s the best proposal you’ve ever heard of?

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Trying To Raise My Modern-Day Knight

Disclosure

Since we moved to Maryland, I’ve done a lot of thinking about how I’ve been raising my boys. Lots of thinking, not lots of “doing” or “changing”. We moved from our home where they had a LOT of people investing in them. People at church, family, friends, neighbors, teachers, etc. We truly lived in a community where we were a village raising our children. It was wonderful, blessed, and beautiful.

We’ve tried getting connected at church, but the boys haven’t really made any friends there. We don’t know our neighbors except one person. I never see any kids and that’s probably because we live on a very busy street on the outskirts of the neighborhood. We live two hours from family and only see them every other month or so. The boys, at least Buddy, has one teacher pouring into his life. Needless to say, this has been a hard transition for us. We’re not “surrounded” any more.
Men's Breakfast
I’ve tried to parent my boys in a similar way I did with my girls, at least when it comes to the basics. I think my boys talk to me a lot more than my girls ever did at this age. My girls had great friends they could confide in as well as adults they could turn to if they wanted to talk to someone other than me. I could relate to my girls though. My boys…not so much.

Inside I’ve struggled knowing I don’t know what it’s like to be a boy growing up into a man. I’ve tried to teach them my expectations as a mom on how they should behave, but I don’t know what boys think about or what they struggle with. As we go about our daily lives, I try to pour into them about how they should treat others or what to do in certain circumstances. Basically I’m raising a modern-day knight. At least I’m attempting to. It’s not easy to do in a world that shouts out against that kind of thing. Meh, I don’t take any lip so I’m fine going against the grain of this world.

My boys only get to talk to their dad on the phone since he’s still living in Minnesota. That means he doesn’t have a lot of opportunity to parent them. Now, I will say that about once a year I have to ask him to have a serious talk with the boys about their behavior. It always seems to do the trick. Thank goodness! He and the boys, as well as their grandma (and now Auntie Beryl) have been memorizing Matthew 5. Every week they add a new verse and they each recite how far they’ve memorized. It’s really an amazing thing to listen to!
Reciting Scriptures
I’m very thankful to have Fred in the boys’ lives as well. Since we’ve met, he’s shown the boys how to treat a lady and how to take care of her. He is always kissing me and telling me he loves me. He opens my car door every single time (unless I beat him to the punch). He makes us dinner. He goes out with us. I mean, there’s so much he does just living his life that is a great example to his kids and my kids. He showed Jacob how to shave for the first time. Recently he took both boys to a men’s breakfast at church. He’s involving the boys in his life. I hear Buddy saying to me now, “What would Fred think about such and such?” It’s pretty cool and happens on a regular basis.
Learning To Shave
Now, my son is coming up on his 16th birthday. I can’t really talk about it because I’ll probably burst out crying. How can my little boy be that old? It’s mind boggling to be quite honest. I recently read some really neat ideas on ways to make turning that age more meaningful in Raising Modern-Day Knights. There are different milestones to make those transitions a beautiful gift and experience. Of course, it’s done by dads for their son’s in this book, but as a single mom, the task falls to me.

I took one of the ideas and modified it to make it our own. I took Galatians 5:22-23 and asked 9 men who have had an impact on Jacob’s life as a young boy/teen to write a letter based on the main words in that scripture. So, one will take: love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. I asked them to write him a letter explaining what that word means to them as men of God and what it should look life in his life as he grows into a man of God. I plan to put them into a book somehow and present it to him on his birthday. I’ve also asked his dad to write him a general letter about what it means to be a man of God. I’m so thankful these men are on board and have found it an honor to be asked. Each man I asked about each of their words were men who I thought exemplified each word. Not that they all don’t live that scripture completely, but I felt like the Lord showed me what each man should write about.

Also, suggested in this book was to give your son a coat of arms like the author’s did for their sons. It was a really neat story, and I thought I’d try to make one online myself. I went to quite a few websites and never found anything that compared to theirs. The other ones were just cheesy. Guess there’s no real reason to reinvent the wheel, eh? This coat of arms is pretty heavy duty and much more than what I expected it to be. I truly can’t wait to share that day with my boy!
Coat of Arms
Raising boys isn’t an easy task and not for the feint of heart. We have a lot of work ahead of us, especially single moms. I’d encourage you to find men who can pour into the lives of your kids. I know a dear friend of mine got her two boys hooked up with men from the Boys & Girls Club after her husband passed away unexpectedly a few years ago. It’s something I had always wished I’d done, but again, we had a great circle of men in my boys lives from church. Don’t be swayed by what the world says boys and men should do and how they should behave. We should care about what the Lord wants from our boys. What does He want them to grow up to be. My end goal is for my boys to love the Lord with all of their hearts and to be men who love their family. I want them to walk with integrity and know that in the end they will hear from God, “Well done good and faithful servant.”

What’s the most important thing for you to teach your son?

 
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Woven by Words by Mimi B is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.