I mean, as if it's not ALREADY Christmas season with eight kids and school activities and parties (did I sign up for two dozen sugar cookies or three?) times 6 and Christmas gifts to buy and wrap and forheavenssake you can't just let the house GO. Can you?
But here I am.
And even though I was tempted to bail the whole "Part 9" thing and join up on Boo Mama's Christmas Tour of Homes, I took one look around my sweet, blessed home and decided this is NOT the year for that.
And besides, she already has 524 links. Who wants to see one more Christmassey house when you've seen 524? As dear and wonderful as our house is, it's not really blog material, if you know what I mean. What with all of the kids and homemade decorations and all.
So here we go. . . .
The wedding plans began in a flurry. The morning after the Coach's surprise (to me) proposal, my mom and I headed out to the door to find "the" dress. You know the one? THE dress? Well, we didn't find it that day, but we DID find it the second day. Only to be told by the VERY proper, yet kind, dress shop lady that there was NO WAY they could have it in and altered in 7 short weeks. NO WAY. But she must have had pity when she saw my face because she promised to try - with the dress I tried on as a back up. It happened to be my size.
One of the tricky parts of planning a wedding is the DETAILS. Those pesky little things. Truthfully the Coach and I didn't know each other very well, so I continually fell back on one thing. Nothing mattered. Except marrying him.
This worked well for me. Only because I believed it with all my heart.
Wedding in a PRETTY, old, traditional church? I could live without it once the Coach said he thought we should get married in our own church where we met and had gone for years with room for everyone.
Reception downtown in the Petroleum Club on the top of the tallest building in our city? I could live without that, too, when the Coach's mom mentioned that she wanted everyone to be able to enjoy the reception without losing people in the transfer - especially people who maybe wouldn't want to go downtown, park, find their way, etc.
When it came to the wedding party (you have to keep in mind all of these major things had to be decided RIGHT AWAY ALREADY because we had so little time), we debated. He had 9 siblings. And five of them were married. I had two brothers. Both married. I didn't have any sisters, he had 7 brothers. It was complicated. And we only had eight weeks. So we decided to make it VERY simple. His youngest brother (still living at home) would be his best man. My best friend would be my maid of honor. His baby sister (then 10) would be a Jr. Bridesmaid. And that was it.
Dad (his) would marry us. The boys (my brothers and his) would be ushers. And because there were already quite a few nieces and nephews, we'd forgo the flower girl/ring bearer thing for the sake of time.
And thank heavens, it was CHRISTMASTIME! That made picking music and decorations so very much easier.
CHRISTMAS was already my favorite time of year. Favorite. So we picked Christmas carols and classical Christmas music and poinsettias and twinkling lights and big red and green bows and a black velvet Bridesmaid dress (and Jr.) and red roses.
The day came when we went to register at Dillards. Little did I know how much of the Coach's personality was showing. I didn't realize it at the time, of course. I had the foresight to go ahead of time and pick some options, so he would have less to wade through. It was a good thing. He lasted about 10 minutes. But he did tell me what he liked and we managed to get it all down. We were amazingly similar in our tastes - not having know each other long. Traditional. Simple. Practical.
One big mistake I made (he's forgiven me. . . I think) was adding Spode Christmas China to our registry, later, without asking him first. My mother had it, we used it growing up for the month of December. And I loved it. And we were getting married at Christmas! So I added it, really thinking it wasn't a big deal.
Except. Everyone saw it on our registry and thought OH how fun! And until our new set of dishes a year ago (thanks Mom!) we had more Christmas Spode than any other dish in our house! And I still love it. The Coach? Well, he didn't fully appreciate it until. . . well. . . I'm still working on it!
The showers began in full force with dates filling up faster than I could count. I took a trip with my family to Michigan just a few days after our engagement began and when I returned, we only had about 7 possible weeks left. I used the time away to order invitations and reserve the church, etc.
We filled the time quickly. We had kitchen showers, personal showers, brunches, Christmas ornament showers, nine in all! And lots of pretty, wonderful things to begin our lives with.
But a place to live? Not so simple.
We wanted to be close to the Coach's school, after all. He was coaching basketball TOO at that point (he coached football and basketball until our 5th was born), so being closer to school would mean a lot more time together.
We looked at apartments, rent houses, garage apartments, everything we could think of or heard about.
Finally we had a break through. A little rent house still being remodeled a few miles from school. It might be ready when we got back from our honeymoon. It wouldn't have a yard or any other "extras" at that point (it had been moved to the lot). It would have new paint and carpet, though. And it was the perfect location. We paid our first month's rent and hoped it would work out.
Although I know most would think it strange that the Coach and I were getting married (and quickly!) without knowing each other very well, it was truly wonderful. We didn't have a lot of time, honestly. He was working - teaching and coaching - more than full time. We both had very full lives. But the wonderful part about it was, that as our wedding drew nearer, every little thing we learned about one another was so precious. It was safe. We belonged to one another. And sharing our hopes and dreams and truly our hearts with each other was amazing.
And I knew all that I needed to know. I knew what mattered. He had let me see his heart - to follow hard after God. Determined to do the right thing. Realizing God's hand in bringing us together. Purposing to follow Him together.
And HOW I loved looking at him! (just being honest here)
With time to spare (ha!) we had everything set. The invitations sent, the ceremony planned, the dresses bought, the tuxes rented, the florist hired, the musicians asked, the reception planned, the honeymoon reservations made, the house rented. All set to go. Even my dress made in it in five weeks!
I couldn't believe it as I watched my "somedays" becoming "today"s before my eyes. And to know beyond a shadow of a doubt that God had brought us to this point and would carry us as we began life together.
And then, four days before the wedding, we found out the house wouldn't be ready to occupy until we got back from our honeymoon. No cleaning ahead of time, no moving stuff in so it would be ready for us. . .when we returned. . .on Christmas Eve.
Right about that time (four days and counting), the Coach called to tell me he had pneumonia. . .
Happy Anniversary, Coach!
(I love you so much more today than I did 14 years ago - and what an amazing adventure it's been!)