One of my brides reminded me of the importance of taking time to record the love shared in a marriage. I’m not talking about engagement sessions or weddings. That day you say “I Do” is just the beginning of a lifelong adventure together. My parents are celebrating their 35th wedding anniversary next month. Life can get so busy we forget to stop and record the little moments that tell the story of the journey. Thanks Mom and Dad for being an amazing example to me and for loving me so much! You are both spunky and fun, thoughtful and hard working. These photographs will make me smile for many years to come.
Archive for the ‘Thoughts’ Category
Well, our Christmas decorations are stored and the presents put away for the most part. We had a wonderful Christmas with our family. A group of my girlfriends got together this week to catch up. Someone brought up that each year it doesn’t really feel like Christmas. That magic we all remember as kids just isn’t there like it used to be. Its easy for me to get caught up in one of my favorite things: making & giving gifts. Each year Dave and I come to realize it’s not about the presents, parties and Christmas movies (I like those, don’t get me wrong). It’s about celebrating the humble birth of our savior Jesus Christ.
I got a little crazy making gifts this year. I always tend to think projects will take a lot less time than they actually do….Thanks to my loving husband helping me everything got done. My favorite two projects were taking a pallet and making it into a fun photo display (thanks Dave for making the silhouettes and painting all of the frames) and making rag dolls that look like our 4 nieces (which would have been bald without Dave helping me!)
Last fall Real Simple Magazine had an essay contest: “When was the first time you felt like a grown up?” A trip for two to New York and some cash was the prize. And while I didn’t win,
I had a lot of fun thinking about the topic and trying my hand at answering the question. Its a bit of a read, but a great little glimpse into my personality.
Mrs Carrie Miles. Like most girls longing for wedded bliss I had practiced writing that name long before a beautiful heirloom diamond ring was placed on my finger. I had my own four step process to becoming a wife which would usher me into the true world of adulthood. You see, I was born a planner. I started dreaming of my wedding during childhood camping trips. I would pour over thick, glossy wedding magazines on loan from the library. Those hot summer days of dreaming evolved into a hope folder stuffed to the gills with magazine clippings. Eventually all were organized into a three ring binder complete with sketches and dimensions of custom invitations, favor ideas, registry lists, honeymoon destinations and the names of future children.
In my mid twenties I went so far as to make a ring book. A tiny accordion style scrapbook with pictures and filmy velum overlays described the ring of my dreams and the symbolism behind it. But the most serious symptom of my plan-ahead-itis came with an ebay purchase. I came across the perfect bridesmaid dresses – the ones that anyone would wear numerous times after the wedding (and they did!) Thirty nine dollars each, still with tags and the exact sizes of the three girls I would have in my wedding someday. How could I pass up that deal? I even bought an extra dress in case my married cousin happened to be pregnant and we had to morph one of the dresses into maternity wear.
As I grew older I began to think I needed to take matters into my own hands. Eharmony was just the tool I needed in order to jump start the hunt for a husband. The commercials for this online service made it look so easy. After several less than perfect first meetings, I had almost given up. But match number 221 proved that there was a Mr. Right, after all. Two months into our relationship I knew he was the only one for me. After a wonderful weekend spent with him and his parents I hid the small ring book wrapped in brown butcher paper and a red silk ribbon and placed it under his bed. An email was waiting for me when I got home saying that it was an amazing little book, and it was a wonderful little package just like me. Step one of my mental checklist to becoming a wife was complete: Deliver the ring book.
Step two took longer than I anticipated. We got to know each other in every season, spent time with family and friends and went through numerous books and Bible studies on marriage. During all of this I was eagerly anticipating that special question each girl dreams to be asked… One snowy Michigan day in early December I was late driving to Mr. Right’s house for a Saturday date. Of all things I was stuck behind a funeral procession to a cemetery! I remember laughing to myself thinking that if this was the day of the proposal I sure was making him squirm by not being on time. I called to let him know I was running late and his voice sounded calm and normal.
I had an inkling something was up when I finally pulled into his driveway and noticed Christmas lights twinkling on the front porch. He had told me he wasn’t decorating for the holidays this year… I opened the door to find a winter wonderland. The family room was transformed. A Christmas tree with all of the trimmings stood in the corner, snowflakes on the floor, lights around a chair of honor abeautiful mistletoe arrangement hanging from the doorway and my favorite Bing Crosby tune playing in the background! He had a huge grin on his face and I hugged him, not sure of what to do next. He sat me in the chair of honor complete with twinkle lights around it and bouquets of roses surrounding me. He got down on both knees and read a letter that melted my heart and ended with that question I had waited to hear all of my life.
My response was “Of Course!” He picked up a large Christmas ornament and opened it up to reveal a black velvet ring box. My mouth must have dropped open when I saw it, the most beautiful diamond ring I had ever laid eyes on. But the best part about it was the story behind it. Three round diamonds made up the setting, the middle one larger than the other two. They were heirlooms from his family, one from his grandfather, one from his mother’s engagement ring and the third he purchased. I had something borrowed and something new before I even started planning our wedding day! Step two to becoming a wife was complete.
With all of my years of planning in place, putting together the perfect wedding day went pretty smoothly. Step three began with a tour of the chapel where I would finally walk down the aisle. As the big day approached all of my planning payed off. The day itself dawned cool and bright. I felt like I was dreaming as eight close friends sang acapella as I walked towards my handsome groom. All of the details came together to form the meaningful and wonderful wedding I had always dreamed of. Step three, (better known as going to the chapel) was complete.
Step four, “Happily Ever After,” better known to me now as the leaving and cleaving stage. After returning from our tropical honeymoon I began to realize that this phase of Mrs-hood is a life long process. Who gets the last Klondike bar? Is the proper procedure to squeeze or roll a tube of toothpaste? Do the dishes belong on the counter or in the dishwasher? Who’s parents house do we wake up at on Christmas morning, and do we buy my favorite brand of peanut butter or his? ADULTHOOD?! For me that milestone was met when I began putting the everyday needs of someone else before my own. The selfish days of my youth no longer seemed to fit and I began to embark on the greatest journey of my life with Mr. Right at my side, his hand in mine.
Dave and I love making Christmas gifts for our family. I have many fond memories of fashion shows my cousin and I would put on when we visited our grandparents. There was a big box full of dresses, and a dresser drawer full of jewelry and shoes for us to parade around in:) So, this year we made dress up boxes for each pair of nieces. I had more fun getting costumes, feather boas, clip on earings, tiaras… I think I might have had more fun putting it all together than the girls will have dressing up! The boxes were a hit, and the girls wasted no time trying out the goods.
Merry Christmas! The holiday rush is over and I’ve got some fun blog entries to capture what a great holiday it was for the Miles Family. Dave and I decided not to get a Christmas tree this year… it’s a long story but, after getting all amped up about that pine tree scent, going out to a special ‘Christmas tree’ breakfast at IHOP, and then driving for over 30 minutes on slick roads in a blizzard to our tree farm of choice only to find that it wasn’t open, well… we opted for plan ‘B’ … I filled up a basket I have on loan with our Christmas ornaments, put it on our coffee table and put our tree skirt & gifts under the coffee table. It was fun and quirky just like us . Each month I’m going to do a favorite things blog, so here is the first one. Enjoy!
December Favorite Things
Our Coffee Table Christmas Tree:)
Squeezable Sour Cream
Thinsulate Mittens – I lost one and found it a week later in a Starbuck’s parking lot!
Homemade Christmas presents (blog entry coming soon on this)
Zumba! class twice a week at the Y, super fun!
Family & Friends laughing
Warm winter boots & slipper socks.
Asian Wrap Pj’s from Garnet Hill – so cozy
Snuggies! Stella and I both got one and I’m wrapped up in mine at least once a day
Feeling like I live in a snow globe.
Fa la la la Lifetime Christmas movies
Behind every fortunate woman is someone who believes in her – someone sitting in the bleachers, quietly applauding every success, shouldering each disappointment, waiting in the twilight or the drizzle after everyone else is gone, loving her. If she is really lucky, that person is her husband.