Wedding Superstars

It wasn’t long after Nikki got engaged that she asked if Ellie could be her flower girl.  Ellie was barely a year old and couldn’t walk but of course I said yes!  I knew she had more than a year to master walking in a straight line, and I figured that if she couldn’t handle it,  the ring bearer could just pull her in a wagon.

Since Nikki chose the flower girl, her fiancé, Orry, was given the task of selecting the ring bearer.     Five months before the wedding I received a panicked message from Nikki:  “Orry doesn’t know anybody with kids!  Will Topher be the ring bearer?!?!”  It took some convincing (and outright bribery!) but Topher finally agreed.  (It helped when I told him he could dress up – though he thought I meant dress up as in “dress up as Darth Vader” until a week before the wedding!)

I was worried about how they would behave, but  the kids were fantastic.  Ellie woke up sick the morning of the wedding (she actually threw up in the car on our way to pick Nikki up for breakfast!) but after napping all morning and most of the afternoon she woke up refreshed and ready to be the star of the evening.

She walked down the aisle with Topher …

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Then turned around to walk down it again with me!

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She stood beside with me for part of the ceremony, then sat with Nathan for the rest.

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She smiled, waved, and twirled for the wedding guests …

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And thoroughly enjoyed popping all the bubbles at the end of the ceremony!

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Topher was a pro!

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He had been reluctant to even be involved in the wedding at first, but he took Ellie’s hand and walked her down the aisle, and then solemnly went to his spot with the groomsmen and stood like a little statue for the entire ceremony.

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His arms got tired of holding the pillow, though.  I’m glad he didn’t have the real rings!

The original plan was for Nathan to take the kids back to the hotel after the ceremony and a few pictures, since the wedding started at 6:00 p.m. and they’re typically in bed before 7:00, but they were both behaving so well that we decided to let them stay.

Topher had an absolute blast getting his picture taken at the photo booth,

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And even though they were both exhausted and a little on the whiny side after their long day, it was nothing a little Paw Patrol on the LeapPad couldn’t fix!

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We left as a family right before the dance started, at about 10:30 p.m.  I couldn’t believe how amazing the kids were!  We definitely don’t make a habit of late nights with the kids in tow but we might be a little bit more willing to risk it now that they’ve proven they can behave themselves in public when overtired!

Maybe we’ll try a summer family movie night in Churchill Square after all …

Marriage is like Star Wars.

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Last month my little family travelled to Winnipeg to celebrate Nikki and Orry’s wedding.  We spent four days driving and only three days in the city –  but it was worth it!  Nikki and I  typically only see each other once a year since she moved to Winnipeg right after Nathan and I got married.  We Facebook multiple times a day, Skype every couple of weeks, talk on the phone, and send letters back and forth, but nothing beats being with your best friend, even if it is only a quick visit!

This is my Toast to the Bride.

“I’m the matron of honour, and I get the honour of letting everybody know how lucky Orry is to be married to my best friend. I’m sure he already knows most of this, but sometimes it’s good to have a reminder!

I met Nikki ten years ago, when we worked together at Brightwood Ranch. I remember the first time I saw Nikki: She was a few days late for staff training because she was still in high school and had to finish classes. She got out of her mom’s can and I remember thinking “She’s on staff?!?” She had blue hair and this high-pitched giggle and she was younger than some of our campers!

Nikki – or ‘Lil Blue, as we called her – and I were both wranglers and we worked pretty closely together that summer. It didn’t take more than a day of working with her for me to realize that Nikki may have been the youngest, but she was also probably the hardest working member of the entire staff. She would be up at 5:30 or so (usually because I had stuck my alarm under her pillow …)  at the barn, saddling horses, then rushing back to the café to serve breakfast. She would eat as quickly as she could, then head back to the barn for a full day of work. After that it was time to serve dinner – then participate in evening games, sometimes deal with unruly campers or runaways … I was 21, used to being up all hours of the night – and I was exhausted. But Nikki? She was always bright and cheerful. Well, maybe not before breakfast … If something needed to be done, we could count on Nikki.

She was also one of the friendliest on staff. I moved to Alberta from New Brunswick to work at Brightwood so I didn’t know anybody outside of camp. Nikki was the first to invite me to stay at her house for the weekend – the first to include me as part of her family. Since that summer, Nikki hasn’t only been one of my best friends – she’s been my little sister.

And like a little sister, she hasn’t always listened to my sage advice. I remember one weekend that first summer, we were getting ready for church when Nikki realized all of her jeans were dirty. She was going to wear them anyway but I suggested it might not be such a good idea to wear jeans that smelled like horse manure to church and offered to loan her one of my skirts. She put it on – then pulled on her poo-covered boots and marched outside to get in the car. I think she lasted all of 27 seconds before she changed her mind – hitched up that skirt, and kicked the door open to go back inside and change into her smelly jeans.   I don’t think anybody noticed – that was probably the summer a couple of the boys were trying to grow mold on their jeans.

The first time Nikki mentioned Orry in a brief message on Facebook, I suspected he might be the one. It didn’t hurt that he sent me a private message himself shortly after they started dating, introducing himself. When Nikki brought him home for a visit a few months later, I hoped he would be the one. I saw the way he looked at her, the gentle way he put his hand on her back, how he reached for her hand as soon as he sat down on the couch, the way he listened when she spoke. After they left, I sent Nikki a message, something along the lines of “I like him. Hold on to this one!”

I’m glad she listened.

I want you to know that I am so very proud of both you and Orry, and I am truly blessed to be your friend. But I feel like I would be failing in my duties as a friend – as a big sister, if you will! – if I didn’t give you something to think about.

Marriage is sort of like Star Wars. In the world of Star Wars you have the good guys (Luke and Yoda, who are the Jedi together with the Rebellion), and you have the bad guys (Darth Vader and the emperor who make up what is known as the Sith, or the Empire.) Most of you probably think I’m going to talk about the good guys and how they use the Force and they work together to bring freedom to the galaxy. While all that is true, I’m here to talk about the bad guys. The bad guys (the Sith) have a rule called The Rule of Two. The entire premise of this rule is that there will only ever be two, never more, and they are both guided by the force. They followed this rule for about 1000 years – because they found that if there were more, there was more opportunity for fighting and disagreements. The whole point of the Rule of Two was to keep the Sith strong.

What does this have to do with marriage, you ask?

Well, marriage is like the Rule of Two. You have the husband and the wife in a lifelong relationship who must rely on each other to ensure that the marriage remains strong. As the Sith were so committed to this rule, being completely sold on this rule for hundreds of years, it is equally important for you two to be completely committed to each other – if not for hundreds of years, then at least for your lifetime.

And with that, I invite you to raise your glasses with me to toast Nikki. May the force be with you.”

Around Here

We survived our road trip to Winnipeg at the end of June.  Actually, we more than survived –  the kids and I fell in love with the city!  Nathan bleeds copper and blue and will never leave Edmonton for more than a week, but I’m pretty sure he had a good time too.  We broke the 13-hour drive into two days and it wasn’t bad at all!

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My best friend Nikki got married.

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We’ve been spending as much time as possible outside, exploring new parks and playgrounds and having picnics.

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Topher learned how to read.

Ellie moved into her “big girl bed”.

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We finally used the cookie cutters I bought Nathan for Christmas two years ago.

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I’ve been working entirely too much (as always!)

And we’ve looked at every single house that’s come on the market in the neighbourhood we want to live in – and decided to buy a second car instead.

What have you been up to lately?

Around Here

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I feel like I’ve spent entirely too much time sitting in doctor’s offices lately.  I had wisdom tooth surgery in early January and since then it’s been one thing after another.   Sick days don’t exist when you’re a mama and it’s been hard on all of us!

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Topher was on Spring Break earlier this month and we took advantage of a rare day off for Nathan and went to Galaxyland, the indoor amusement park at West Edmonton Mall.  The kids spend most of the morning playing in the huge indoor playground, which Nathan and I thought was absolutely perfect since we both get motion sickness on rides!  We did have to stop for a carousel ride on the way out, though!

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We’ve been enjoying the nice weather and taking every opportunity we get to play outside! Topher and Ellie go everywhere in rain boots these days – even if it’s +18 and sunny.  I’ve learned to choose my battles!

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Last week we came across this guy on one of our walks – a definite highlight for my two city slicker children.  Ellie couldn’t decide if it was a duck or a chicken and Topher was convinced it was an ostrich.

Nathan is allergic to spring so he’s been spending lots of time inside, lying on the couch, waiting for his Reactine to start working.

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And finally – we’ve been counting our pennies, talking to our mortgage broker, and meeting with our realtor, trying to decide if now is the right time to purchase a house!  We haven’t made any final decisions yet but I’ve spent so much time purging, cleaning and organizing that I never want to shop again.  How did we get so much stuff?  Ugh.

What have you been up to lately?  

Two

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There are some things I believe without a shadow of a doubt:  Life is better with a dog, Coke is far superior to Pepsi, and birthdays are special.  On your birthday you should feel like the coolest person on the face of the planet.

We celebrated Ellie’s birthday last week.  I thought about having a party for about a millisecond before I changed my mind:  She’s going through a frustrating possessive phase and I couldn’t bear the thought of a house full of small children trying to play with Ellie’s toys while she hovered over them, glaring and yelling “MINE!  NO, MINE!

So I let Topher stay home from school and we had a Family Fun Day instead!  We spent the morning at a nearby rec centre with an enormous indoor playground, had a pre-lunch ice cream cone and smoothie, and played balloon baseball when Ellie woke up from her afternoon nap. Once Nathan got home from work it was time for presents (which Ellie opened very slowly and very carefully – finally, a form of destruction she doesn’t seem to enjoy!) and Ellie’s special birthday dinner: Mush (of course!) followed by an Angry Bird cupcake.

I still can’t believe I no longer have a baby, but a fiercely independent (and fearless!) toddler.

 

Related:  Dear Ellie.