Monday, June 29, 2009

One Notices That Heather is Awesome

Dearest readers and fans, worldwide,

I've always known that the photos will be almost the most important part of my wedding day. I wanted to somehow capture all of the joy and emotion and be able to look over it, reminisce, laugh at the stories, and see all the things that I missed that day. So choosing the photographer for the wedding was a major, major deal for me.

I had one photographer come to cover primarily formal pictures, he came strongly recommended by a dear friend, Tracey, and he did a stellar job. His name is Don Long as you know, and he also threw in a pre-wedding photo shoot free of charge, and printed two photos and brought them to set on the gift table etc., also free of charge, and threw in a little extra time on the job shooting, also free of charge. He was a huge blessing to us.

But I also wanted a very creative, very innovative and female photographer who could follow me and my girls (even into the bathrooms!) and shoot almost strictly candid photos. I needed somebody who would be able to see the little details and somehow bring the whole day to life again, in jpeg format!

A friend recommended me to Heather Olson, saying, "Have you seen her photography on Facebook? She is so amazing..." I quickly checked out the facebook, immediately contacted Heather, and booked her as fast as I could! She has a knack for photography, angles, light, and most importantly, she has an eye for those tiny vignettes that are so often ignored by the camera, but so poignant when caught on film.

Words do not do her skill justice, so I am going to post some pictures here. These are just from before the ceremony!

Lovingly yours,

Mrs H
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Friday, June 26, 2009

Mystery Gifter

Detectival Readers,

Mysteriously, there were two gift bags from our wedding that did not have names or cards attached, and so I have been left wandering in a sea of puzzlement as to who needs to be thanked. If you were the giver, or if you happen to know who the giver was, please let me know.

Gift #1: Anti-static dryer balls, and a ladle (both from Bed, Bath and Beyond)

Gift #2: Non-stick BBQ Grill pan, 2 beach towels.

Many thanks for your assistance and concern!

Wonderingly yours,

Mrs H
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Because "Thank You" is not too strong a word ... er, phrase ...

Dearest, most devoted readers,

Today I am thrilled to inform you that the Thank You cards for the wedding gifts, are being placed with gentle care in the mail receptacle.

There are three different versions of the Thank You card - collect them all! - with various photos from the wedding. One is a family theme, one is a bridal party theme, and one is a "silly" theme (goofy or fun pictures from the wedding). They were quite entertaining to make.

The reason I put photos on the cards (including cards I mailed out prior to the wedding), is two-fold. One, it is always fun for family members and friends to get to know the bride and groom a little better. Sometimes they only know one member of the esteemed wedding party, and the photos help to acquaint them better with said bride and groom. And two, whenever a thank-you card is received, the sweet sentiments read and appreciated and then quickly discarded. I wished to somehow give my generous patrons a brief moment or two more of entertainment and show my own appreciation, and I felt that by personalizing the cards, I could accomplish such.

To all those who brought gifts to the wedding, who attended the wedding and thus gave me the inestimable joy of their presence and their celebration with me, to all those who were unable to attend but who thought of me and tendered well-wishes and prayers, to all those who have contributed to my path in life and given me such happy memories and have helped to bring me to this point in time, I wish to once more extend my deepest, most sincere and humble gratitude. My friends and family members, both extended and immediate, have brought unspeakable joy and gladness to me, and I just could not live my life without that bright and harmonious love.

With a full heart yours,

Mrs H
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Thumbnails of the three different versions (click to enlarge):

Bridal Party Theme

Family Theme

Fun (Goofy!) Theme

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

On Wedding Photos

Dearest readers,

Our formal photographer, Don Long, has given us a DVD of all the wedding photos he took. There are 705, and they are beautiful!

In the meantime, here are a few favorites for you to view; click on the thumbnail to view a larger version of the image.

Bride standing in the front of the Chapel prior to ceremony.

Groom gives thumbs up before ceremony.

The groom and groomsmen outside the Chapel.

Bride and bridesmaids before the ceremony.

Lighting the Unity Candle during the ceremony.

Bride and groom with the senior Mr. and Mrs. H

Bride and groom with the bride's family.

Bride and Groom share a kiss after the wedding ceremony.

Mom fixes the bride's lipstick.

A pouty face for the flower girl!

Smiles with the maid of honor.

A kiss for the husband before heading to the reception.

The wedding rings.

Another kiss, this time at the reception.

I hope you enjoy these photos, my friends, and I am excited to share more with you in the upcoming days!

Formally and candidly yours,

Mrs H
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Saturday, June 20, 2009

On Things Domestic

Dear Industrious Reader,

Shortly before the wedding, I purchased a beautiful book called "Ball - Complete Book of Home Preserving." It has inspired me to new heights of domestic wifedom. Just looking at the cover makes me wish it were 4AM and dark out, so I could energetically rise from my rest and, in the vigorous spirit of the exemplar Proverbs 31 woman, tirelessly care for my family. Would that such emotions were so strong when my alarm actually goes off in the morning!

But I digress.

Today I experimented with my first recipe from this hallowed new book (my only other home-preserving book is a pen-marked, tattered canning guide from the mid-60's, a loan from my grandma). I made Red Pepper and Garlic Jelly; ultimately, the process went very well. I am still struggling with getting the pepper and garlic floaties to suspend themselves appropriately, mid-jelly. I keep continually going back to the jars and twisting them, trying to shake the solids down into the bottom.

As you can see, they have a deliciously golden color. To my joy, when Mr. H came into the kitchen he declared that something smelled delicious, and upon learning the nature of said delicious smell's source, asked if he could use it to spice meats at barbeques. Of course, that is the idea, so I agreed.

The recipe is very simple and is included below; garnish meat, crackers and cheese, or chips with this tasty topping.

Just the other day I made a loaf of bread - haven't eaten it yet - just because it felt like something a wife would do. Perhaps tomorrow I will slice it and make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich with some of the everlasting jam I made last summer...


Mrs H
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Red Pepper and Garlic Jelly
Makes about three 8-ounce jars

1 c. finely chopped seeded red bell pepper
3 large cloves garlic, cut into thin slivers
3/4 c. cider vinegar
3 c. granulated sugar
1 pouch (3 oz) liquid pectin

1. Prepare canner, jars, and lids

2. In large, deep stainless steel saucepan, combine red pepper, garlic, and vinegar. Stir in sugar. Over high heat, stirring constantly, bring to a full rolling boil that cannot be stirred down. Stir in pectin. Boil hard, stirring constantly, for 1 minute. Remove from heat and quickly skim off foam.

3. Quickly pour hot jelly into hot hars, leaving 1/4 inch headspace. Wipe rim. Center lid on jar. Screw band down until resistance is met, then increase to fingertip-tight.

4. Place jars in canner, ensuring they are completely covered with water. Bring to a boil and process for 10 minutes. Remove jars, cool (rotating occasionally to suspend solids) and store.

5. Feed to an appreciative husband.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

On Planting, and Growing Things in General

Addressed to my dear readers,

Today I examined the miniature garden that flourishes on the back porch. All of the plants seem to be doing quite well, with the exception of the Marguerite Daisies.

This is supremely vexing; when I purchased the beautiful daisy bush at Home Depot, it was a veritable pile of bright, golden flowers. I potted it and hung it on the porch, and by that very night the Eastern Starlings had found it and started tearing it to shreds. Mr. H would run out onto the porch and try to chase away the birds, snapping them with a kitchen towel, but they were very persistent in their cause; even more annoying, they wouldn't even take the blossoms, but would just snap them off and leave them laying on the porch. Now, it is a pitiful stack of spiky stems and browning, drooping blossoms, half torn by starlings.

The rest of the garden seems to be doing quite well, though - the herbs, flowers, tomatoes, lettuce, and radishes. There are some hardy looking cucumber sprouts that are recovered from what looked suspiciously like a sharp beak that had broken the leaves off... Not to be pointing feathers here, but ...

Growing a marriage is, naturally, a profitable pursuit, and far more fruitful than pruning tomato plants. It takes a lot of care, one can imagine; little cliche seeds of love and kindness, and all that rot. We can always learn tricks from experienced gardners - I learned how to prune tomatoes from a lady who had grown them many years. She showed me which branches to trim and when, which branches would bear fruit. She showed me how to cut off the waste, and leave the good. In a marriage, you sometimes have to cut off wasteful branches - selfishness, laziness, a constant inward focus. All of these branches can take up a lot of space in the terra cotta pot of life, and a lot of energy in the photosynthesis of life, and a lot of emotional strength (I do not think plants have a comparable feature to emotion). Sometimes, it is better to just snap the branch off and leave it in the burn pile. Give more room for the fruitful branches of love, sympathy, forbearance, and selflessness to grow.

With these valuable seeds of truth, I close my second epistle.


Mrs H
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Wednesday, June 17, 2009

On Beginnings

Addressed to my dear readers,

It is with great joy that I dedicate this series of anecdotal notes to that person nearest and dearest to me, my husband. Without this superior specimen of manhood, the premise of this composition would not be possible, and indeed I would be left to write about my shallow, meaningless, single life.

Perhaps it was not quite shallow, and neither was it meaningless; but by these drastic terms I mean to indicate the even greater depth and meaning my life has taken on since the happy day of matrimony befell me. It feels, indeed, as if my life has taken on a fuller and more resolute sense of purpose and belonging since I became a matron.

Dear audience, let it not be said to you that married life is a hamper and a strain to tie you down from the pleasures of single life! I do not deny the many pleasures of being single and unattached, but I do not think that the single person paying bills is particularly more of a hardship than the married couple paying bills. By this illustration, I mean to indicate that there are stresses and realities of both the celibate and the wedded state. But the joys, the simple pleasures, even the problems when taken on by a resolute team of two, of marriage far outweigh these paltry tangibles!

I felt, upon marrying my husband, that our relationship took on quite a new feeling. I had been told by some that marriage was not altogether different from the relationship of engagement (all the more so if a couple chose to live together prior to that ceremony). However, for our part, I felt that it was completely different. With my husband, I felt a sudden oneness of spirit and of heart; I felt completely at ease with him where before there was restraint and caution. I felt safe in his protection and a willingness to support him and the vows I had pledged that day. Indeed, I felt as if every word spoken by the minister, of the flesh being not twain but one, not separate but a whole, had become a perceptible blessing covering us both.

Marriage, my girls, is wholly different and an experience apart from anything you have yet encountered. Do not underestimate the power of the sacred and precious words you will speak on that day!

With these words of incalculable value and wisdom, I close my first epistle.


Mrs H
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