So who says you're only allowed 4 bridesmaids or 8 max? I'm not exactly one to always go with what everyone else does, so when it came to picking my bridal party, it should be no surprise that I have 11. :-) It was more important to me to have the people surrounding me that I love and care about than to worry that I was breaking bridal party etiquette by having more than 8. So here they are in no particular order.......
Marissa - Marissa and I have been inseparable since we were little. I always wanted her and Jennessa's cool clothes, wear a two piece and get my ears pierced like they had. I was jealous of their gymnastic ability because my flexibility is that of an 80 year old and they always knew how to dance and well if you know me you know that that is not one of my strong suits! haha Marissa was always the bold one. She would do and say things that I didn't have the guts to. We spent countless hours in her pool and she and Jennessa taught me how to do a back dive from a squatting position. However over the years I've lost my courage on how to do one! haha We were like two peas in a pod in the young group. Running all over Morton and Peoria with friends having the time of our lives. I was so proud of her when she found her passion in nursing and went back to school to get her degree. She truly excelled at it and found that she's a pretty great nurse. When she met Ben I can't say that I was an instant fan! :-) 7th grade jokes like "I know you are but what am I" were flying and I was thinking who is this joker? haha When she told me as we were leaving that he was the type of guy she could go after, I was like really? That guy? Are you sure were talking about the same guy?! haha But Ben grew on me and not only is Marissa one of my best friends but I would consider Ben to be one as well. With marriage and kids we haven't gotten the chance to spend as much time together as we'd like but more so over the last year we've made an asserted effort to hang out. Recently she showed off her knowledge of horticulture and taught me how to plant flowers which is a huge feat since I kill every plant I own. Our efforts were for naught though when the bunnies picked off our hard work leaf by leaf, branch by branch. All I have left for peonie bushes are nubs! haha I know she'd do anything for me and cares about me and my well being. She would totally go to bat for me no matter the situation. She's got a great heart and truly cares about the people around her.
Whitney - I've been so glad to have Whit and Kate back in Illinois for the last three years. With a big age gap and 3000 miles between us, I feared we'd never be close. I've seen that change over the last couple years. I had to change from "mom" mode with them to sister mode which was a little bit of a challenge for me always having been in a more motherly role to them. Whit is beautiful inside and out. She has creativity just oozing out of her. I'm always so impressed with the things she comes up with. Her ability to draw and paint is amazing and I'm a little jealous that I can't even make stick people look good! haha She has a beautiful voice and when I hear her sing I get teary sitting there thinking that's my sister! She has a deep love for the Lord and I'm challenged by her. Whit has a simple quietness about her but when I want someone to shoot it to me straight or give me their honest opinion I always know Whit won't beat around the bush. Kate sees a little more gray so if I'm looking for sympathy I go to Kate! haha I loved the opportunity getting to know Whit better in the last three years. It's strange how you can go your whole life knowing someone but not really knowing them or their heart until you dig a little deeper.
Kaitlin - Where do I even begin with Kate? She has more energy than 5 people combined! She has such a fun loving personality and a heart for people that is infectious. She has a great sense of style and I'm always so proud of her as I watch her truly go after her dreams in fashion. With a 9 year age gap, Kate and I struggled to find a common bond even after she moved here. I may have been a little too tough on the noise factor when she had friends over and the fact that I would watch her curfew but I was taking my guardian role from mom and dad very seriously. haha When I mellowed and realized she's a college kid our relationship seemed to blossom. We found a common bond over Chipotle and the fact that were a lot more alike than we ever realized. Kate inspires me to go after my dreams. She knew what she wanted and she went after it. I'm a little too cautious. :-) She's got a great head on her shoulders and she's become like resident counselor for Eastview's high school ministry. I've always said Kate was a great combination of my mom and my dad. She's got the social butterfly skills of my mom and the tenacity of my dad never taking no for an answer. When you tell Kate no, she just knows that's time to start negotiating! haha Kate's a beautiful person and I'm really going to miss her when she moves to Nashville!
Rebekah - Bek and I were always the ring leaders when we were little. We used to boss Heidi and Tami around constantly and they for some reason always went along with it! haha We were always the instigators of our crazy games and play sessions. There was never a dull moment when the four of us were together. We could never just play a normal game. Instead we had to be doing flips over jump ropes onto mattresses, or throwing wet records across the room at babysitters because it made our haunted house look cooler and the records made a really cool noise when they went whipping past someone's head! haha Pancakes just tasted better in tie dye or green and no matter how many bobs we did Grandma and Grandpa's pool was still cold! haha As we got older Bek and I got the chance to live together in college. We would talk about our boy woes at night and she'd help me remember what I wore each day(I used to keep a calendar so I wouldn't repeat an outfit for at least two weeks, sad I know!) until one day we were trying to remember back two weeks and she finally said, if we can't remember what you wore, do you think anyone else will?! Good point Bek! Always the practical one! :-) Bek and I don't get to spend as much time together as we used to due to that LONG 15 minute drive across town! haha But when we are together we always pick up where we left off. I've always respected Rebekah as a wife and mother and look up to her in those areas and definitely what I want to model in my own marriage. When Aunt Kathie died she really became the glue that held them together. She has a lot of wisdom and when she speaks you take notice. She's gotten a little more reserved over the years but when the four of us get back together, her and I assume our normal roles and we still boss Heidi and Tami around! haha JK
Heidi - Heidi is my favorite neighbor! :-) We constantly borrow stuff from her, ask her to sew things for us, have things sent to her house and she's always bound determined that she asks more of us. Not so! :-) We love her little buddy and his new partner in crime, Oliver. :-) He's always so adorable and one of the most well behaved children I know. That is due in part to Heidi and Jarod's parenting. They keep a firm hand with Will but there's never a doubt that little boy knows he's loved unconditionally. Heidi has a great heart. She would literally do anything for you to the point that I feel like I'm taking advantage. She has a great sense of humor and can laugh at herself. She's gorgeous but is very humble and would never believe you if you told her. :-) She's always so positive and she has such a great flare for decorating. Everytime I go over to her house, walls are a new color or the place is rearranged differently since the last time I was there. All three of them get that from their mom. I would go over to spend the night and I would never know whose room was whose because it was different from the last time I spent the night! haha She always lets me ramble on and on on the phone to her or at her front door and I'm sure sometimes she's just thinking oh I shouldn't have answered my door! haha But she never acts like she's in a hurry or rushing me even though she's probably trying to figure out in her head how she's going to get everything she needs to get done after I leave. :-)
Tami - Tami is my partner in crime. She always goes along with all my crazy ideas and says they're so fun! I'm not so sure they always are but I appreciate that she humors me! :-) Tami and I have always been best buds. At family get togethers we were always paired because we were the closest in age and when her sisters ran off and got married we became kindred spirits! haha Tami is probably the most understated person I know. She's amazing at everything she does but she's so modest she would try to wholeheartedly convince you otherwise. All the Inoues got this creativity streak that I desperately wish I had. When we were little we'd draw or color and I couldn't even begin to copy their work without looking like a kindengartner had drawn it. haha Tami is a great writer. I miss her blog because she always had these hilarious stories about her slacker co-worker followed up by this very insightful post about how God was working in her life. It was a piece in to Tami's world that she may not so readily give up in conversation in person. Mainly because I monopolize 90% of the conversation when were together so she probably can't get a word in edgewise! haha Tami has an eye for photography that most people would kill for. I keep telling her I'll run her books so she can just do the fun stuff but she acts like I have another job or something! haha Tami and I have a lot of conversations that end with "that's between you, me and the fencepost." If only that fence post could talk! haha She's always a breath of fresh air and I love that no matter how much time goes between our visits, it's as if no time has passed! Can't wait for our road trip!