Saturday, May 31, 2008

Merriment was had by All

After we ate, the party really got started.

The bride and groom danced... so did the Doodlebug.

My sister-in-law hired a band. Initially, the Nutty Papa and I weren't so sure about this. We didn't think a band could keep the energy up during the dancing like a DJ could. Boy, were we wrong! The band did lots of fun things to keep us interested. They had a fun time with the Father-Daughter dance. (I missed out on those pictures because my battery died!) The Father and Daughter did a Saturday Night Live spin where they danced and insisted the music needed more cowbells. The longer they danced, the more cowbells started popping up all around the reception hall. It was crazy! Even Grandpa came out banging a cowbell. It was fun!

Then they had the bride get out there all by herself. They told her to "Do her thang" like no one was watching. And she did. I was impressed. That girl can move!

Then they invited the groom to join her and to show us their moves. And let me tell you, that groom has some moves folks!

Finally they invited the parents of the bride and groom out and they got to show off a little too. Did you know my sister-in-law and brother-in-law can really cut a rug? Well, they can. I promise!

The Baby and I even got out there and did our thing... he's still working on his moves. But he shows real potential.

The kids were in perpetual motion. They danced and danced. And when they weren't dancing...

they were outside discovering new things to do. The Doodlebug had to be rescued by another mom, SuperMom to be exact, because her mother was too busy partying to notice the peril. She dance until her feet were blistered, and then went outside and dropped a huge rock on her foot. SuperMom swooped in and bandaged her right up. I'm glad someone was there to rescue her. Thanks, SuperMom!

Eventually, the Doodlebug made her way back onto the dance floor. She's learning dance etiquette. She's gotta learn when she isn't interested in dancing with a fella, she's gotta turn him down gently. She hasn't learned that yet. She just dances with everyone. But she's not always happy about it.

The Baby was the first one to pass out. I was amazed he could sleep with all the music and partying going on. Just goes to show, if you are tired enough, you can sleep anywhere!

The most romantic moment of the evening was a tender moment on the dance floor with my Mother- and Father-in-law. He's not getting around as confidently as he did 10 years ago, so seeing him whirl his bride around the dance floor made my heart flutter.

Some people partied too hard.

Chojuk, however, waited patiently for his moment in the spotlight. He had been practicing his dance moves, see. He was waiting for his moment to shine... to do the Cha Cha Slide.

The bride and groom left around 9:30pm. They hopped in their painted up rental vehicle and took off. It was a quiet exit. No rice. No birdseed. They just slipped out the door while the rest of the guests continued to party into the night.

And after they left, Chojuk finally got his moment. Check him out! He really knows what he's doing! I was so proud... and relieved they finally played his song. He'd have been heartbroken if he hadn't gotten to do his thang.

We had such a great time with our family and friends. I can't wait until the next party my sister-in-law throws. I wonder what she'll have up her sleeve next time?!?

Friday, May 30, 2008

The Reception Begins

After the wedding, we all drove a few blocks down to the reception. It was beautifully decorated. The blue flowers had made their way over there and they were on the tables. And the center pieces were tall vases filled with white and blue flowers... and sticks. Later I learned the sticks were dogwood. My mother-in-law saved some of the sticks for her own flower arrangements at home. She's crafty that way.

We were met at the door by a candy buffet. Yes, folks. A buffet of candy. A table completely devoted to the sweet toothes (?) of the guests. This was the brain child of the bride. Who would have known that she had such a sweet love of candy. And all the candy in the buffet was blue. Blue M&Ms. Blue Rock Candy. Blue Jelly Bellies. Blue, Blue, Blue! It was awesome!

On the other side of the door, was the guest book. It was so neat. I want to get married again just to get one of these books! (I would, of course, marry the same man. We've talked about doing this. If we did, I know who'd plan it!!) The book table had Polaroid cameras on them and you were to take your picture and put it in the book. Then sign it. How clever is that?!? I imagine years from now, the bride and groom will look at those books with awe at all the guests that were at their wedding. And when the groom says, "Who was that crazy Aunt of yours who interpreted at our wedding?" BAM! There I am. In the book. Great, I tell you!

After we signed the book, we walked around and visited. I tried to follow the bride around with my camera and take pictures of her with various people. I was annoying, I know. But I have a blog to maintain and you needed the details. You can thank me later.

Anyway, I snapped a great picture of the newlyweds with my Father-In-Law...

and with SuperMom and her husband, my brother-in-law. SuperMom has 5 children and is the busiest woman I know. What makes her super? She has a clean house, always looks beautiful (and clean) and is the most organized woman on the planet. I cower in her shadow.

Did I mention there was a candy buffet?!?

At the reception, my sister-in-law, the mother-of-the-bride, the party planner extraordinaire, was finally able to kick off her heels and celebrate. She had been planning and dreaming about this wedding for 18 months. Now she could truly enjoy the fruits of her labor. It was great to see her having fun.

The groom had a chocolate cake. I am not a big chocolate cake eater, but everyone said this one was phenomenal. It was spiffied up more than a traditional chocolate cake... and by that I mean there were some fancy flavors in there to enhance the chocolate taste.

The bride opted for a less traditional cake. Although I am a big fan of white bridal cake... and by big fan, I mean I have been dieting so I could have an entire layer for myself... this cake was really fun! Each layer was a different flavor. One flavor was Italian Creme and the other layer was red raspberry. Unfortunately, this forced me to eat 2 pieces of cake so I could taste which one was the best. The Italian Creme won hands down. The red raspberry was good, but strong. You'd have to be a big fan of red raspberry filling. The Italian Creme was so good, I had to have an extra piece just to make sure it was really my favorite.

The bride also chose not to feed the cake to her groom, another nontraditional approach. I rather appreciated that choice. This meant when I was finished eating my meal, I could dive right into the cake without having to be polite and wait for the bride. Isn't that considerate of her?

This is what happens to a beautiful cake when a Doodlebug is left unattended. Oops!

And what party would be complete without an open bar. But we couldn't stop at an open bar, oh, no. At each place, there was a list of premium adult beverages that they suggested we try. It was impressive. And wouldn't you know, most of them were blue. I rather enjoyed the blue cosmopolitan. But the Wedding Cake drink was cool too!

Gotta love being Catholic!
(Seriously, though, he was just being a polite guest and serving this pitcher to the folks at his table. But he took some serious ribbing for walking across the room with it!)

I mentioned the MND monograms when I was talking about the swag a couple days ago. It was everywhere. My sister-in-law must have spent a lot of time ordering MND things. There were the ribbons on each basket of swag, the individually wrapped cookies from the swag baskets, stationary for all the notes and directions, napkins, coasters and...

water bottles! I'm tellin' you. It's the attention to detail that makes a party memorable!

Another considerate thing my sister-in-law did was make a special buffet for the children. This buffet was for ages 12 and under and included chicken nuggets, mac and cheese, and rolls. How cool was that?!?

This thankful Mama was glad to have food my kids would eat! And the kids were pretty thankful too!

Although I think they appreciated the candy more than the mac and cheese.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

The Ceremony

I managed to interpret the ceremony without much issue. I did flub the homily. I forgot to tell the deaf people when they were supposed to respond. And I forgot about 1/4 of the signs. But I muddled through. And for free interpreting, it was pretty good.

This is what I saw during the ceremony. I was planning on interpreting next to the priest, however there was a woman with low vision and she needed me closer. She actually watched me through a scope like a sailor. It was a first for me and proof that you are never finished learning about the world you are living in.

The priest's sermon was really good. He talked about the concept of a marriage being 50-50. When he started, I was thinking, "No... it's more like 40-60 some days, and 60-40 other days." But as he talked, he said that to say a marriage is 50-50 is inaccurate. It really should be 100%-100%. If both people aren't willing to give 100% all the time, it's going to be hard. He even reminded the bride and groom that when she is pregnant, to which she scowled at the crowd, he needs to forgo his play time if she is in need of his assistance or company. I'll be sure to remind them of this when that comes along.

This is the bridal party... minus one groomsman. I can't find him. I think he stepped out for a minute. Each guy had a gal that they escorted out of the church at the end, except for the missing man. Maybe that's why he's missing. Since he looked like such a stud muffin walking two ladies out, maybe he was swarmed by the single women and he can't find his way back into the church for pictures... maybe not.

I really liked the flowers. They were pretty. I loved that they were blue. And simple. Lovely.

This is the bride with her family. The handsome guy on the left is my father-in-law. He's celebrating his 80th this year. He's been a workin' man all his life; military, sales, but above all, a rancher. The lady he's got a pretty good grip on is his wife. She's the first love of the Nutty Papa's life. He's a Mama's boy and with good reason. She's a wonderful lady. Behind the groom hides my sister-in-law, her husband, and my niece. She's studying to be a chef at Emeril's alma mater. BAM! (Although she's not the BAM! type. She's more of a "Ta-da!" or "Voila!" type.) It's cool to know someone doing something so different with her life. I'm enjoying her ride from the back, back, back seat.

Here is my brother-in-law, my sister-in-law, their daughter, their new son-in-law and the outlaws. My sister-in-law is the mad genius behind much of the cool stuff that happened over the weekend. I have never been to a party that she's thrown that I didn't thoroughly enjoy myself. Seriously, she should do this for a living. Someday, I'll tell you about her youngest daughter's graduation party. Cool.
Tomorrow, I'll fill you in on the reception. And hang on to your hats folks, it was quite a party!

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Wedding Day Play

While the bride and attendants were busy getting their hair done for the wedding, we played. We spent the morning in the pool. It was the baby's first time to swim.

After the initial shock... I imagine he thought, "That's a big bathtub! And it's cold!!!"... the baby warmed right up and was a natural. He kicked and splashed. His cousins came to check on him a few times too. They seemed to enjoy having him in there.

And the Doodlebug had fun too. We got her one of those floating bathing suits. And now she says, "I know how to swim too!" (Without the suit, she'd sink like a rock to the bottom. But we'll just keep that between us. Shhhh.)

For lunch, we were invited to a luncheon for out of town guests at the hotel. I can't tell you how nice it was not to have to go out and find something to eat for lunch. We were served sandwiches and cookies. And the cookies were fabulous!! Homemade. Yum! Some friends of the bride who lived locally hosted the luncheon. How considerate! We should all have such nice friends.

The kids ate peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, fruit, and chips. It was so nice that they considered a menu especially for the kids. I'm tellin' ya folks, it was nice! And it was hosted in the hotel so we didn't have to drive. And the kids even got to eat in front of the television, watching cartoons. This kept them distracted so the adults could enjoy some quiet, undisturbed, visiting time.

And for those of us with kids, we know how rare that is. The room was decorated with quilts. Each table had a different beautiful quilt on it. I was so relieved when my kids chose to eat out in the lobby in front of the TV. I had visions of peanut butter and Cheeto cheese all over those beautiful quilts. Thank God for small blessings.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008


My niece got married this weekend. And as I expected, it was a glorious event. There are so many cool things to tell you, I think I'll break it down into a few days posts so I don't bore you to tears. I'll begin with our arrival.

We arrived at our hotel on Friday afternoon. When we arrived and checked in, we were given a gift. Swag. You know swag. It's what celebrities get when they participate in big events. Free stuff. Swag.

Well, my sister-in-law, the one who is teaching and should be a party planner, she gathered items from her little town that would be of interest to out of town guests. She packaged them up, tied them off, and included a nice note about the cool things about her town.

She packaged them in an empty Blue Bell Ice Cream carton, because we were in the home of the Blue Bell Creamery. It's the home of the best ice cream in the country. The home of the original singing cows. And the name of the ice cream that belonged in the carton... Wedding Cake. Clever.
She also included a sample of coffee from a local coffee shop. (This was really foreshadowing... if I had really thought about it, I would have realized the coffee was in there to help us recover from the reception. Whoo-wee!) She also put in there a bottle of wine from a local winery, and a bottle of Brianna's salad dressing. (Who would have known Brianna's was from Texas?!?... duh, I would have if I'd read the label!) And she included some individually packaged cookies with "MND" and the wedding date on them. This "MND" theme was prevalent everywhere... but we'll discuss this later.

I was so excited to have gotten swag, I told everyone about it. "Hey, did you get swag? I got swag. It's so cool. I must be important." I felt important until I peeked behind the check in counter and saw about 100 more of these little swaggish items. So I wasn't that important. It's still cool!

After we got checked in, I had to get ready for the rehearsal. The Nutty Papa stayed behind to play with the kids at the hotel. (And watch cartoons. Watching cartoons is big fun for farm kids without cable!) This is my niece. Isn't she beautiful?!? I'm sure you can't tell it from this photo, but she was nervous. She walked in with her planner in hand and seemed all in control. But I could see. (That, and her arms are crossed. Body language, people.)

The priest was great. He taught the attendants to walk in and out. In and out. In and out. It took an hour. Then he dismissed the attendants and we did a walk through of the wedding so the readers could practice. I got a little practice in there too. The groom's pastor's wife is deaf, so I did a little interpreting that night. Can we say R-U-S-T-Y?!? Whew! I forgot there were all those Catholic signs. Sacrament? Saints? Peter? Paul? Eucharist? Well, I just had to do my best. It was free after all.

During the rehearsal, the groom asked the priest if he would be wearing a mike for the vows. The priest told him that he wouldn't and that it was really important that they speak up so everyone could hear. And then he said something that really hit home for me. He said that although they were there giving their vows for each other and that was a really big moment and everything, they were sharing that moment with other married couples. The vows were a reminder to those couples of their vows too. A reminder of their wedding days. And it's true. I had many flashbacks to my wedding day almost 11 years ago. And I appreciated the priest's insight. What a cool guy!

The rehearsal dinner was nice. GREAT food. Pecan crusted chicken breast with asparagus and baby potatoes. And strawberry shortcake for dessert. Yum!

The bride's sister was feeling the love. See? That's love folks. Count on it!

Monday, May 26, 2008

Water, Water, Water

I haven't talked about the orchard lately. What happened to the trees, you ask. Why isn't that Nutty Mama doing anything with them, you wonder. Fear not. I'm here to tell ya today, the trees are fine.

It's hot in the Nutty Forest right now. We have had 2 days in a row with high temperatures in the upper 90s... we're talking 98 and 99 degrees here folks. It's HOT! And what the trees need most is a good rain to cool us off. But since rain isn't in God's forecast, we're doing the next best thing. Irrigating.

There are three options for delivering water to a tree in an orchard. Some farmers drip irrigate. This means they have little water hoses around the trees that just constantly drip, drip, drip. If you don't have too many trees, this is a nice way to irrigate. Here at the Nutty Forest, we have 1,500 trees. So that would mean lots of hoses trailing all over the place. Not the best choice for us.

Another way to bring water to the trees is to flood irrigate. To do this, you just open up the valve and dump a truck load of water into the orchard. This works if you are in a valley or somewhere the water would stand long enough to settle into the ground. The Nutty Forest is off a farm road and it would get washed away if we tried that. Next!

Here in the Nutty Forest, each tree gets special individual attention. Each tree has her own personal sprinkler to provide water and nitrogen directly to her roots. We offer the finest quality nitrogen for our special trees, N32, and it's served up through the water, a few times a year, depending on how many nutlets a tree has. The trees received a good helping of nitrogen in March, so we are strictly watering right now. We have the water running 24/7. I water half of the orchard for a few days, and the other half the next few days. Water is super important.

I noticed a problem the other day, however. When the Great Pecan Man was here a few weeks ago, we dug. Remember? We dug and dug and dug. I still have nightmares about all that digging. Well, the other thing the Great Pecan Man did was calculate... he added, subtracted, divided... water flow, minus number of trees, divided by rate, blah, blah, blah... and voila! He created the half in one day half the next philosophy. Previously, we were watering one sixth of the orchard at a time. It took forever to get everyone water and they were impatient. This way works so much better!

Anyway, since we have recalculated how to water the orchard, I've noticed that the sprinklers aren't really saturating the entire area around the tree. Just the spots where the water is hitting. It doesn't look right. I need to contact the Great Pecan Man and ask him about this. Or better yet, I'll just summon him through his wife, who reads my little blog here...

Dear Mrs. Great Pecan Man,

I hope you and your family enjoyed your vacation and didn't get sunburned. (I can't imagine the Great Pecan Man vacationing... does he offer complete strangers shovels and tell them to start digging? Do you have to pack shovels for him in case he gets a digging urge? Does he offer suggestions to resort staff about how to more effectively run the irrigation system?)

Please ask the Great Pecan Man what I should do about this little problem I've discovered... are my trees alright receiving this spotty water treatment or should I press on and buy new sprinkler heads for all 1,500 of my precious trees?

Thank you for your time, Mrs. Great Pecan Man. I hope to visit with you soon.


The Nutty Mama

There. That should take care of it. I'll let you know what he says. In the mean time, I'll be watering. You should too. Go forth and water your trees!

Saturday, May 24, 2008

My Most Embarrassing Parenting Moment

While I am working around the house, I have been enjoying listening to my new iPod shuffle. I wanted it so I could listen to podcasts. I wanted something interesting, faith filled, motivational.

While reading about podcasts at iTunes, I found a fun one called Catholic in a Small Town. It's a husband and wife team who chat weekly about life in a small town, being Catholic homeschooling parents. I have really enjoyed it. And on one of their podcasts, they asked about other parent's church experiences with children. They asked if the listeners had a story to share, that they share it. It got me thinking of mine. And is it a doozie!

When the Nutty Papa and I moved here 3 years ago, we were visiting the local Catholic churches for a new church home. There are three in the area and we would bounce around all to three. One Sunday, we decided to visit the smallest of the three churches. Getting ready to leave the house is always such a production with small children. You feel like you are a nomad, packing up the house and moving every time you leave. Diapers. Wipes. Snacks. Drink. Change of clothes (in case there's a blow out). Toys. Books. It's enough to make you insane. And the minute you neglect to pack something, that's the thing you'll need. So we are usually running late for church, because we have 4 small children to pack up when leaving the house. (At the time, we only had 3.)

We arrived late, as usual. When we entered the church, my well trained 4 year old marched right to the front to sit down. (We like to sit in the front. I think it helps the kids behave when they can see what's going on.) Not wanting to add to the distraction of my son sitting in the front, we quietly joined him. Immediately, the Doodlebug started fussing. She and I wrestled in the pew for a while. I tried books. Rubbing her back. Quietly singing in her ear. Nothing worked. Finally, I broke out the secret stash of cheerios. Magic.

Then the Snuggle Bug started. And at 2, he was terrible. He started crawling under the pew and he headed toward the back of the church. On his way, he knocked down a kneeler. Bam! The Nutty Papa grabbed his foot and pulled him back. He tried holding him on his lap, but the Snuggle Bug is wiggly so he wouldn't sit. The Snuggle Bug isn't a whisperer. He hasn't figured out volume control so when he'd argue with the Nutty Papa, it was in full voice. The Nutty Papa decided not to talk to him because he was talking so loudly. Then he discovered the books. He started flipping through the books. When he didn't find the one he wanted, he threw it. Bam! It naturally hit the floor... not the quiet way... but flat on the ground, and made a huge noise. This was during the sermon. I was tempted to get up and walk out. But since it was in the middle of mass, I stayed put and just prayed that it would end soon.

Soon, the Snuggle Bug decided he'd had enough and started for the door. Chojuk, wanting to help, practically tackled him and drug him back kicking and screaming. Luckily this was during a song so you couldn't really hear the screaming, but you saw the kicking.

Finally, there was the light at the end of the tunnel. The communion was done. The priest was cleaning things up. And he was asking for announcements. I began to breathe again knowing it was almost over. The priest looked back at the deacon sitting by the alter and asked him if he had any announcements. And the deacon stood and said he did. Then he walked toward us, sitting in the front row, and said, "I have something I'd like to say to this young family in the front." Oh, no! I felt myself start to slide down in the pew. My face reddened. I wanted to crawl into a hole and hide. What was he going to say? Nice try folks. Come back when you have better control of your kids. Time seemed to stop while we waited for him to begin.

"I wanted to applaud these young parents in the front here. (WHAT?!?) My wife and I had 4 small children at one time and I remember how difficult it was to bring them to mass. It's easier to stay home and let them be children. But these young parents are bringing their kid to church to teach them about God. They are setting the stage for these young children for a life in the church and that should be commended. Let's give them a hand." And the members of the church all stood and applauded us. I could have died!

Every once in a while, I run into someone who had been there that day. They always remember the deacon's speech. Telling me how beautiful my family is. And when I try and apologize for my children's poor behavior that day, they don't remember. My children hadn't distracted them at all.

So whenever I have bad days at church, I think about that day. I thought my children where distracting everyone. And no one, but me, noticed.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Back in the Saddle Again

This weekend, one of my many nieces is getting married. I always look forward to parties thrown by my in-laws. They really know how to have a good time. This party in particular should be spectacular because my sister-in-law who is throwing the party really knows how to throw a good party. She plans everything right down to the wire. Things I'd never think of. Brilliant.

I'm a little nervous about this wedding though. See, I have a small role in it. It seems my soon to be nephew-in-law comes from a church with a deaf population. So, my niece asked me to interpret for the wedding. Since I love my niece more than my pride, I accepted. However, it's been a long time since I have interpreted anything. Sure, I still sign while I drive. That's how I practiced in college. I'd just sign whatever was on the radio. I still do that. And the kids ask me every once in a while how to sign something. However, I can't imagine the priest doing a lot of talking about dogs and milk at my niece's wedding. So I'm nervous.

I'll just do my best. I'm a little rusty. But even if I flub it up, I imagine the deaf people will get what's going on. It is a wedding. And if I get stuck, I can always talk about dogs and milk.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

A Celebrity Among Us

My kids are cute. Let's face it. They are. Dimples. Blond. Blue eyes. Cute. I look around in the world and think, "I have some cute kids!"

Recently, however, we had a guest over who really made a move on my heart. Darling. Beautiful!

Meet The Campbell's Soup kid. Seriously. She came to my house. She partied with us. And by all accounts, she seemed to have a good time. She never once fussed. And even enjoyed the food.

I am so honored to have hosted such a famous face.

Be nice to me. I might get you her autograph.