Wednesday, April 1, 2015

No Foolin', It's the Hodgepodge

It's an April Fools' Day Hodgepodge! Thanks for stopping by, and here's hoping that no one plays you for a fool today! I especially hope the weather is finished giving us glimpses of spring, only to snatch it away again. It's been a long winter. Thankfully, today's forecast calls for 69 and sunny. No foolin'!

Thanks, as always, to Joyce for hosting the party. Click on the button to pay her a visit, and be sure to say hi to the other Hodgepodgers as well! (Thanks also to Joyce's newly married Daughter1 for updating my header photo and bio! Check out her design services here.)

1. In honor of the date...when were you last sent on a 'fool's errand'?
I don't know if it was a 'fool's errand' but I made my first trip to Jungle Jim's on Monday. It is a tourist attraction disguised as a grocery store, which, according to the website, offers over 150,000 products. Including octopus. And alligator jerky. And super fresh (as in still swimming) tilapia.
There are all sorts of interesting items decorating the store, I even noticed that someone ran off and left her ruby slippers. I don't think we're in Kansas any more.
They have cheese, cheese, and more cheese, including this fancy carved block. O-H...

2. Peter Rabbit, Bugs Bunny, The Energizer Bunny, The Easter Bunny, Rabbit (Pooh's friend), White Rabbit (of Wonderland fame), or the Trix Rabbit...which of these 'famous' rabbits can you best relate to right now?
Seems like I'm often rushing to get somewhere or to get something done. As my late mother-in-law used to say, "that's why God gave us the last minute." I have improved a bit, but I'm still going to say that I relate most to the White Rabbit of Wonderland. I'm late, I'm late

3. When did you last find yourself scrambling to get something done? Explain.
It's just a week and a half past the wedding of son Adam and his bride (wife!) Courtney, and I did a fair share of scrambling to pack, load, arrange, and implement some of the things that add to the fun and festivity of a wedding. So much fun.

4. Last time you were up at the literal crack of dawn? Why? Last time you stayed up all night? Why?
All nighters or an appointment with the crack of dawn usually involve travel for me. Which is a good thing, and worthy of the interruption to my sleep. I most recently stayed up (almost) all night when we were waiting for the birth of sweet baby Piper. So worth it.

5. Crack a book, crack a bottle, crack a joke, crack an egg...which have you done most recently?
Crack a book. I have read two good ones for my book club recently, Yellow Crocus, by Laila Ibrahim, and The Aviator's Wife, by Melanie Benjamin.

6. What's your favorite part of a typical weekend? Tell us why that's so.
Sunday afternoon nap. Obviously.

7. What's something I'd find on a bookshelf in your home? Other than a book I mean!
Family photos, and a few knick knacks. (Do people say knick knacks any more?)

8. Insert your own random thought here.
I plan to share additional wedding photos soon, so be sure to come back if you care to see a few (dozen hundred) more. This is one of my favorites of the bride and groom and our grandchildren, who loved being part of Uncle Adam and Aunt Courtney's big day.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

March Marriage Madness

This time last week, we were celebrating the wedding of Adam and Courtney. Although they grew up on opposite ends of the same county, they became friends and fell in love while students at Purdue University. Adam proposed to her on one knee under the bell tower, and they chose to get married surrounded by the campus and traditions that were an important part of their love story. 

This meant that we packed six well-filled plastic totes, ten lanterns, one cooler, two suitcases, two hanging bags, two bridesmaid dresses, and three bags of clementines into the car and headed north. Check in, unload, organize, and take a little break at Pappy's Sweet Shop, our first stop on the campus landmark tour.
As a Purdue family, we have experienced many of the well-known traditions on and around campus. Breakfast club, sledding down Slayter Hill, tailgating at Ross-Ade, delighting in Drew Brees (maybe that's just me), and a favorite of the younger generation: Thursday nights at the Cactus.

The Neon Cactus is located on the levee, and features Purdue grad and former Purdue Varsity Glee Club member Bruce, who now spends three nights each week as the Piano Man, entertaining students in the piano bar. Shylah called ahead for special seating, and they had a some welcome favors set out for the bride and groom and friends.
But first, all attention was focused on our Boilermakers. Fortunately, there were big screens all around for a perfect viewing atmosphere. Unfortunately, the Boilers weren't able to finish, and our tournament run ended there. We will, however, remain 'ever grateful, ever true.' (More on that in an upcoming post.)
We moved to the piano bar to drown our sorrows, and Bruce soon discovered that Adam and Courtney were getting married in TWO DAYS! and invited them up front along with another engaged girl.
I obviously borrowed a few of these photos from the Cactus website since they are way better than the dark, blurry phone photos I managed during the evening.
The Piano Man can be described as a talented entertainer with a foul mouth and an inappropriate sense of humor. Hilarious to the college crowd, but a bit shocking to the tender ears of a mama. As a dad himself, he is sensitive to that fact, and often urges parents to put on their 'ear muffs!'
He had a little mock wedding for Adam and Courtney as a preliminary rehearsal to their big day.
First timers to the piano bar are, not surprisingly, called 'virgins', and are treated to a free song of their choice.
 Courtney and some of her girls even ran into some old friends.
The view from the piano, parents in the back.
 A blurry photo of the happy couple.
 Mama and her boys.
 Stewarts storm the stage.
 I don't remember what they were singing, but it must have been a good one.
And Mama even got to dance with her baby. "Country roads, take me home…"
And we did head home, to the hotel, shortly thereafter. Friday morning would come early, and there were things to do and preparations to make. At least for some of us. :) And just in case Thursday night's fun might muddle my memory of what day it was, I had this handy reminder on my phone. :)
While some of the girls got manis and pedis, I made a trip to Meijer, set up wedding decorations in the ballroom, and drew on clementines. Since I know you are just dying to know about the whole clementine thing, they were part of the rehearsal dinner decor, which I also set up on Friday afternoon.

Way back in the summer, I booked a room in Mackey Arena for the rehearsal dinner, as a surprise for Adam, not even thinking that it would be smack dab in the midst of March Madness. Though there was a moment or two of concern as to whether we would actually have access to the room (that's a story for another day), it all worked out and inspired a 'March Marriage Madness' theme for the evening.

I found these cute invitations here, in the wedding colors of navy and coral.
I ordered spirit fan faces of Adam and Courtney from this website, and used them to decorate the tables.
The banner was a $5 add-on when I ordered the faces. Why, yes please! Later, all the guests at the rehearsal signed the banner for the bride and groom.
The clementines, upon which I drew basketball lines, filled the vases which also held the faces.
I had told no one about the faces, and it was a fun and funny surprise for all. The faces continued to make appearances throughout the weekend. :)
Who IS that behind the faces??
 The bride and her beautiful maids.
Hello! It's the bride and groom!
 We even got to have an up-close look at Keady Court.
The girls did some sideline posing.

As did little Noah James, dreaming some basketball dreams.
The girls ended their night-before-the-wedding in the suite reading the adorable letters Courtney's students wrote to Adam telling him why he should marry Miss Apperson. 
They're gettin' married in the morning!

Monday, March 23, 2015

They've Only Just Begun

We had a big, busy, beautiful weekend celebrating the wedding of Adam and Courtney. My baby boy takes a wife. Baby. Addybad. Little. LittleStew. Whatever we call him, he'll always be my baby.

While I am in full recovery mode today, and the new Mr. and Mrs. are enjoying some time in the sun and sand, I wanted to post a few photos from the big day. Hopefully, I will put together a few more posts to recap and record the events we shared with family and friends in celebration of Adam and Courtney.

The fabulous photography team of Sarah and Rachel, of LinneaLiz Photography, have shared just a few of the photos from the day, and we can't wait to see the rest!

The happy couple.
 The gorgeous bride.
 Boiler Up!

And a couple of photos caught by friends on their phones #stewpartyoftwo.
Pom pom exit.
The after party.
And I'll definitely show my age here, but all I could think about while posting these photos is the old song by the Carpenters (look them up, young ones):

We've only just begun to live
White lace and promises
A kiss for luck and we're on our way
We've only just begun...

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Our Newest Little Blessing

Our little Piper Jayne is five days old today, and I have a few more photos to share to celebrate her arrival. To recap her birth story from my perspective, I had been in bed for a couple hours on Sunday night without falling asleep, so I got up and took an Advil PM. A short time later, I was slumbering peacefully when I was awakened by a phone call from Jennifer saying that labor had started. I arrived at their house about 3 a.m., and they left for the hospital around 5 a.m.

I was at the house with this guy when he woke up in the morning. We put on his 'Big Brother' shirt, but he had no idea about the changes this day would bring to his little life. Good changes, of course, but changes nonetheless. :)
And before long, we received a happy text message that a healthy baby girl had arrived! A short time later, we learned that her name was Piper Jayne. As quickly as I could, I got Noah settled with Grandpa and high-tailed it to the hospital to meet her.
I got to watch her first bath, and her first hair combing. And she has hair!
Soon, the sweet nurse (who was also in attendance at Noah's birth) got her all hatted and swaddled, and gave Granny a chance to hold her.

Bryan's parents were next to arrive, and the visitors kept on coming.
Courtney was able to call for a sub so she could leave her class and come meet Piper. Then she was so sweet to go stay with Noah for the afternoon...
so Grandpa could come.
Ella and her family came to meet their cousin.

And Haleigh took a turn holding her, too.
Nana came to meet her fifth great-grandchild.

Uncle Adam even did some face time with Piper from his job site in Pennsylvania.
Later in the day, Noah got to go out for pizza with his cousins,

before going to the hospital to meet his baby sister. So sweet.

He was most enthralled with the balloon she received, and we took it home from the hospital with us. He entertained himself the next morning by peeking at Granny through the balloon.
He was also determined to take his baby for a ride in his little walker thingy.
I think we may have a safety issue. :)
I was able to add her name to the onesie I had started for her, so it would be ready for her to wear home.
I enjoyed a little snuggle time with both of them at the hospital on Tuesday afternoon.
Noah was using the ottoman as a boat on Wednesday morning while we waited for his little sister to get home from the hospital.
Here she is!
This will be fun!!
Sweet Piper, hanging out at home.
And Noah, who thought he should try out her carseat. Silly boy!
Nothing sweeter than a newborn baby.

A warm spot by the fire was a perfect place to snooze on a rainy afternoon.

Today, Piper made her first trip to the 'burg, since her mama needed to have her dress fitted for Adam and Courtney's wedding, which is ONE WEEK AWAY! That's a pretty exciting 12 day span for our family, don't you think? :)

Haleigh had a turn holding Piper.
As did Ella.
And Shylah and David were getting some practice time before THEIR little one arrives in early September. I KNOW! God is good, all the time.

I took this little video of Noah saying his sister's name in the morning before she came home from the hospital. Such a good big brother!