Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Invitations are ready to go!

Okay, I finally addressed the last of the wedding invitations. They turned out really cute! Lindsay came up with the idea from something she had seen before, and then my niece, Joanna, designed them and had them printed. They really tell their story. I took photos of it, but since it is much longer than a normal piece of paper, it took three photos to get it all in. This is the top of it:

And this is the middle section. Sorry about the different coloring in the photos. My flash was being persnickety, so it went off randomly.

And this is the bottom of it:

The reverse of it tells all the details of the wedding, the reception, and a map to our home. The invitation folded up in 3rds to fit in a 6 X 6 kraft envelope.

And, we made two different inserts. One for those who will be attending the temple marriage ceremony and the luncheon, and then another who will just be attending the luncheon.

And here is the happy couple:

Awkward view of the photo, but again, I couldn't get my flash to not make a total white-out of the photo. Anyway, invitations: check. They are stuffed, addressed, stamped and ready to be dropped off at the post office. We had about 315 or so, so it took me a little while to address them while Lindsay stamped the return address and licked them, and Bob put the stamp on them. What an awesome team! We were going to do labels, but found out that since the stuffed envelope was exactly 1 ounce, the labels would have made them too heavy, and each one would have cost an extra .20! 

We also had a little thank you card printed for the people who come to the luncheon (which will also have a ring ceremony at it for those who are unable to attend the temple). It just expresses Linds and Ryan's gratitude for those special people in their lives. We will also put a little favor with the card, and put them at each place setting at the luncheon. So, now I need to make 70 more little mint favors. Correction: WE need to make the favors. Linds is more than willing to help with anything at all.

Friday, May 18, 2012

World's best mom

me and my mom in the backyard

I am lucky enough to have the best mom in the world. Literally. She is an amazing lady and at 81 years old, hasn't slowed down a bit. She works in her yard more than any other person I know -- of any age. And she loves it! She volunteers at the MTC as a pretend investigator to help the missionaries practice teaching. She goes to the temple often. She is always up for an outing, or a road trip to Logan, or shopping, or whatever.

I remember watching her very closely as I was growing up, and wanting to be just like her in every way. I wanted to have a wonderful, happy marriage, I wanted to be a mother, I wanted to be a gardener, I wanted to cook for my family, I wanted to create a lovely, warm home, I wanted to be strong and able to do hard things in life, and I wanted to have a steadfast, deep faith in God. 

More than once, as I was in my teen years, I had activities and exercises in school where we were supposed to write what we wanted to be "when we grew up". I inevitably said that I wanted to be a mom, which disappointed many a school teacher. My mom taught me through her lovely example and also through her little lessons on cooking and cleaning and sewing and gardening. Although I still have much to learn in every category, I can honestly say that I have the life that I always dreamed of as a child -- a life just like my mom's. 

My mom and I spent the afternoon together yesterday, driving down to Springville and picking up our flower pots. Every year we drive down there in January, drop our empty pots off, and wait excitedly until somewhere around Mother's Day when we can pick them up. Yesterday, we were as giddy as school girls as we drove up to the nursery. We filled the Excursion with our pots, and then went back in and bought more plants until we had filled the car to the brim. So. Much. Fun.

For Mother's Day, I made my mom a bird's nest necklace with six little pearls in it representing each of her daughters.

I packaged it on a piece of foam board, bordered with newsprint, and faced with a piece of floral scrapbook paper. I pinned the necklace at the top to keep it in place.

I also gave her a "Forget Me Not" plant, and some chocolates. 

I am so grateful to have the mom I have. She truly is a woman of grace, strength, humility, joy and faith -- and so much fun! Oh, how I love her!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Tidbits: missionary, wedding, YW and garden...

You know what this means, right? We have reached the one year mark in Wilson's mission. His chart is exactly halfway done. Actually, to be totally correct, this is a photo from yesterday, so today we are into his second year! It sounds pathetic -- that I am counting down, but I miss that kid! Just like when Robbie was serving in Singapore, I don't let Wilson know the extent to which I miss him. I don't want him to get all homesick and sad because he thinks I am sad. To be honest, I am not sad. I love that he's on his mission and I love that he loves being out there. He is totally immersed in the work and doing an awesome job as a missionary. He is being obedient and working hard and helping to change lives. I absolutely would not want him home right now. He needs to be where he is, and he needs to be his best. I love the strength I see that he is gaining, and I love to see the growth he is making. He could not get that in any other way at this time of his life. It is an amazing blessing for him and also for us, to have him serving.

We finally got all the components of Lindsay and Ryan's wedding invitations, so we have started putting them together. They are darling! Linds and I spent a few hours yesterday folding and tying baker's twine around the invitation. We have a few more to go. This is what the finished product looks like. I'll post more detailed photos of it at a later date.

Last night we had a game night for the Beehives at our home. We decided since they have been working so hard on Personal Progress, and also pretty busy with the end of school projects and papers they have to do, that we would do a fun game night. We started off with this ball of treats.

We all sat in a big circle. We started with one girl trying to find the end of the tape to start unraveling it, while the girl next to her rolled dice. As soon as she rolled doubles, the one with the candy ball had to pass it along, and so on, until the ball was totally unrolled and the candy was dispersed to the girls. They all went away with some candy. Pretty fun!

After that, we played a game that Courtney had prepared, which was one from "Minute to Win It". A paper grocery bag was placed on the floor, and each girl, one at a time, had to stand on one leg, while lowering herself to try to get the bag in her teeth (without falling, and without touching the floor with hands). It was pretty tricky, actually. Each time we made it around the circle, the bag was cut a little shorter and we all tried it again. It was really fun, and we all laughed and had a great time!

The girls all brought their favorite treat, so we all munched on the goodies for a few minutes. Then the girls decided to go out and play volleyball. It was fun to see them all playing together and having fun with each other. We have such a great group of girls, and they are fun to plan activities with. They are so excited about any ideas, and really participate well. We have 13 girls right now, so its a good-sized group.

I love this time of year!  So much beauty at every turn. I took this photo about a week ago, when my wisteria was in its last stretch of blooms. So pretty. 

The garden fills my soul -- even when my days are hectic and crazy, like they have been. If I take just a minute to walk around the yard when I'm out feeding the dog or the fish, or getting the mail, or whatever, I can feel myself breathing more deeply and the stress seems to shed away. Now, if I can just keep that feeling when I'm NOT in the garden....

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Angry Birds Youth Activity

We finally had our Angry Birds Activity last night. I think the kids had a lot of fun. At least it was something a little different for an activity!

The planning started with making beanbags. Lindsay cut out the fleece and felt for me, and I sewed them all together. Easy peasy. Then, I decorated a few in Angry Birds fashion....

and took the rest to mutual a week ago so the girls could decorate them and put their own flair on them. They did such a great job! It was fun to see how they decorated their own. We had them sign their names to the back, so after the activity they would be able to take their own home.

I drew faces on green beach balls to look like the pigs in Angry Birds. I was going to have the girls help me with that, too, but in my experimenting, I found that I had to use special pens (that took forever to dry) to paint on the faces. I thought that might not work on a mutual night when I had to transport the beach balls back home with wet faces.

We also put the word out for people to save their cardboard boxes. We got most of them from our business, but I told Bob I would do my part and order as much as I could online so that I could contribute boxes to the cause. Nordstrom shoes, here I come! :)

There wasn't much more to the preparation, other than printing off some scripture questions and cutting them into strips. Little things like that.

When we got to the church, we divided into four teams. We have a large enough mutual, that I figured it would be best to have two games going on at the same time, with four teams involved. Two of the teams went into the Primary room, and two went into the Relief Society room. Once in their rooms, one of the teams (the Pig team) had 3 minutes to answer as many scripture questions as they could. For each correct question, the received a pig beach ball. 

Once their three minutes was up, they went into they gym and started building their tower with boxes and pigs. They had three minutes to build their tower. 

While they were building the tower, the other team (the one left in the other room) answered scripture questions for 3 minutes to earn bean bags.

After the team had earned their bean bags, they came into the gym and (standing behind the designated blue line) threw their bean bags at the towers to try to knock all the pigs onto the floor.

It was harder than it seems to knock those pigs down. The towers were built pretty solidly, so it wasn't easy!  It was fun to watch the kids zing those bean bags across the gym. The boys threw it so hard that they usually sailed it right past the target, and the girls threw it so soft that they would hit the target, and the bean bag would gently fall to the floor. Pretty funny!

We played a few rounds, switching Pig and Bird teams, and also with a few variations of how they had to build their towers. Afterwards, we had little Rice Krispie bird nests for dessert.

Courtney and I made the bird nest treats, which actually were really easy.

I think it turned out pretty good, and it was fun that the Beehive girls were involved in the preparation. It was fun for them to feel a part of the activity. The good news is, the Beehives aren't in charge of another Combined YM/YW Activity until next year. Yippee!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Another Bob invention: clematis trellis

What an incredibly beautiful time of the year it is! Every time I go outside, there is something new blooming and adding its beauty to the gardens. I love this old birdhouse. It used to have a trumpet vine climbing all over it, until I realized that trumpet vines can quickly take over an entire yard. I got rid of it as soon as I could by cutting the main trunks and painting a stump killer on it. But I left the old woody vine that surrounds the birdhouse. I love how it looks in any season! Just to add some interest to it, I planted a clematis that is climbing up the old dead stalk and making its new home there. Love it!

Clematis climbing
up the old birdhouse

And speaking of clematis, look what Bob made me! I have three clematis vines growing up the side of our east vinyl fence. If you know clematis vines, you'll know that they need something to wrap around, or hang onto, which doesn't really happen with a vinyl fence. So, Bob welded me some trellises for them. Aren't they awesome?!  It amazes me that I only need to come up with a need or concept of something, and he can always figure out how to make it or build it. He is incredibly talented and so good to me! He couldn't possibly be any busier with his calling as bishop and running a busy business, but he always finds time to do little sweet things for me, like building three trellises for my clematis.

Bob's newest invention:
a clematis trellis

The colors are beginning to really come out in all varieties of flowers. It still seems a bit early for that, but I guess I'll go with it! I just hope all of the gorgeousness doesn't fade out before our wedding reception in June. I'll have to get a lot of annuals to make sure and fill in any blah spots. 


Columbines are one of my favorites, though I wish they lasted all summer long! I love the combination of colors. So pretty!


And in other news, I am just about ready for our Angry Birds youth activity tomorrow night. I'll try to take pictures and post about it afterwards. It will be a fun night, I hope! It has been a bit of work to prepare for it, and our house is full of beanbags and beach balls, but after tomorrow night, that should all be cleaned up! And then on to all the preparation for the wedding! Yay!

Update on Mr. Snake: He has been a no-show ever since my last sighting. No one has seed hide nor hair of him, and I think they are beginning to think I may have digitally produced him in that photo. But then again, those who are near and dear to me know that I am nowhere near tech-y enough for that.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Wisteria and the Royal Wedding Shower

We've been so busy around here! The thing is, I am hearing that same thing from everyone. We collectively need to figure out how to slow down and create opportunities to smell the roses! I definitely think that it takes some real effort to slow down. We had a really fun time "smelling the roses" at Lindsay's bridal shower, which was given by my sisters and mom. Since Lindsay's wish was to have a bridal shower where hats were worn (or at least optional), that is exactly what was done! Everyone was so cute in their hats. The photo below is of my beautiful mother (even with her eyes closed, she's a beauty!) with Linds. My mom had just purchased her hat on a trip to California, but knew that for this occasion, it needed some embellishing. She put some darling roses around the top. So cute! What a fun shower, and what dear sisters I have for making it so special for Lindsay. We have one more coming up in a few weeks that is being put on by some of our ward friends, with Whitney's help. Should be fun!  After the first shower, Lindsay said, "I can't imagine needing one more thing for our apartment. It seems like we have received everything we need!" (She still has the other shower and wedding to go, so she'll quite possibly be overwhelmed with the generosity of friends and family).

Lindsay and Grandma Bowen at the
Royal Wedding Shower

Other wonderful news...my wisteria has finally come into full bloom! Actually, last week it was at its peak, which is when these photos were taken:

There is something about wisteria, with its rich, heavy, fragrant flowers that hang down from the vine. I love it! I have a couple of vines in our front entry way that climb up the brick and meet in the middle overhead. I also have a monster vine in our backyard that starts down on the basement level by the pond, and climbs up one level, and goes all along our deck railing. I love how it creates some privacy during the summer months for us. We can lounge up there, or eat, or nap, or whatever, and we don't feel like all of the surrounding homes are joining us! The vine was getting a bit crazy last year and going up along the roof line, but I cut it back so that the highest it goes is along the deck railing. I don't want it messing with our soffit or roofing or any of that. I need it to be at my reach so I can control it a bit.  We have learned a thing or two about growing wisteria. The most important is that it does not need or want to be babied and fussed over. In fact, I can't fertilize the lawn anywhere near where the backyard vine grows, or it won't flower the following year. Bob and I also have been known (in the fall or late winter) to take a heavy chain and also the claw of a hammer and beat the main stalk of the vine. It kick starts it into healing from its wounds and produces beautiful flowers the following spring. I think there is a pretty good allegory about life in that process. I think about it every time I look at those lovely wisteria blooms.

And lastly, an update on the snake. Bob and Robbie have scoured the backyard, several times over, and that old snake hasn't shown itself since it was there in all its glory waiting for me to happen upon it. I can't explain it, except to say that he is one smart cookie. Bob gave me a step-by-step tutorial on how to kill a snake with a shovel. When he said to bring the shovel down just so that it cuts its head off, I told him I wouldn't have any idea where that would be since my eyes would be closed during the process. I think I stumped him. I'm hoping that wherever the shovel comes down would be sufficient to end his life. At any rate, I don't even know if I could get close enough for any of that to happen. Maybe one of these days....