Sunday, January 16, 2011

Meet the Bridal Party

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!

Ashley - Ash and I go way back to Calvary days when I was always vying for her attention and bribing her and Amy to be my friends with candy I always had stashed in my purse during choir! haha JK She was a typical tom boy and always had the coolest shoes, coats and nike duffle bags that I was always trying to copy. It was after high school that we got to be a lot closer when we played softball together and I moved in with her. We've had a lot of great times and I'm sure there are still two insurance salesmen out there that wonder why we told them our whole life story when they came by! haha Ash is fun loving and always so fun to be with. She has a great sense of humor and can take jokes as well as she hands them out. She has really been a true friend over the years and I know that I could call her up at a moment's notice and she'd be there if I needed her. She has a true compassion for people that is so sweet and nurturing. She's got adorable boys that have the most advanced vocabularly for their age but keep us constantly laughing at their quips and antics. Ty likes to call me up and just chat when he's bored! haha She always has the best attitude about things. She definitely looks at life with a glass half full mentality. Ash is truly a breath of fresh air to me and just says it like it is. I know I will always get an honest answer out of her which I appreciate. I have so much respect for who she is and the woman of God she's become.

Holly - Hols has been my Chicago shopping buddy for years. We had a lot of fun when she lived up north trying out new restaurants and finding new cute shops to bankrupt our bank accounts. That was back when she didn't think she could live in "rural" America ever again. haha Since then she moved back to town and now lives in the woods. Kind of ironic. ;-) Love you Hols! Holly is another true friend. We met originally over our AC connection but reconnected at Fuel years ago. She cracks me up with all her phrases, "dude", "dudie", "sombrero", "jiz", "feed bags" "thanksgiving ham". She has endless stories and they're always hilarious. She keeps us rolling with her sense of humor and her views on life. I had the pleasure of helping her plan her wedding and I don't think we've ever talked on the phone as much as we did those 6 weeks. haha But we had a great time doing it and I think we pulled it off with great success. Holly's always up for being spontaneous. Baby G might slow that down a bit but I love seeing her be a mom. Holly and I always had this common bond of working our way up in the corporate world. We'd compete over salary playfully and always be jokingly jealous over the other one making more. I've always looked up to her and respected what she's done in her career in so many short years, so it was interesting to see her hang that up for a while and go into mom mode. Not surprisingly she's great at that too! Hols and I have been through a lot together and I appreciate her always being there for me. I never have to wonder what she's thinking because she will always tell you and I appreciate that about her.

Nichole - Nichole and I were instant friends when she moved into Gabe's Place down at U of I. Her and I and Holli Kieser found a common bond of Friends, Dawson's Creek and the fact that we didn't like to go to class! haha We spent countless hours sitting in my family room contemplating the worlds problems or maybe moreso boy trouble and watching our favorite shows. Every year, Nichole was kind enough to invite me to Chicago for the 4th of July with her family so I got to know and love all of them over the years as well. They made me just feel like part of the family. Even though she and Aaron don't see a necessity to move to IL to be closer to all of us, they did wise up and move closer to us! haha So we don't get to see each other as often as we'd like but thankfully for Facebook and blogs we haven't missed a beat. I appreciate her perspective on life and that she's totally real. She always has an honest answer for me. She loves her family and is such a good mom. She keeps me accountable and I appreciate that. That's what friends are for.

Denise - Denise and I have been roomies for over 5 years now. We met at Fuel and became fast friends. We've spent countless hours talking about our boy woes and she's always been a great listener. No matter how many times she heard the same thing over and over she would always actively listen to me. She's always up for my dumb ideas and was very influential in helping me pull off "Summer of Fun" and "Summer of Fun part 2". haha We've been a lot of places together and it's always nice to have a travel companion that will just go with the flow. Whether it's a weekend to Michigan City with friends, out to California to visit my parents or crossing the Atlantic to visit Holli and Andy in England, she's game. She's got to be the easiest roommate. She's barely home, never has people over, picks up after herself, and is very understanding to Kate and Whit having friends over on weeknights even though she has to be up at the crack of dawn for work the next day. She's a great sport letting me tease her and being able to joke around. We've had a lot of great times and hopefully many more!

Amy - Amy and I became friends in college through Marissa but we re-connected over the last couple years when marriage, kids and time had come in between. When I started my "dinner rotation" we started getting together and now it's pretty much like clockwork that every 6-8 weeks we get together and catch up on EVERYTHING! We have our routine down pat. I come to Morton. We wait till Adam gets home and then we head to Avantis in East Peoria. We eat and chat over dinner and then head back to the house by about 8:30pm. Then Adam heads out and goes to the gym or to hit golf balls. He usually brings us back candy, pop or ice cream or a combination thereof and then he showers while we eat our snacks. Then he sits in the family room with us and we all sit and chat till around 2am. We might try for a new record and just stay up and grab breakfast the next morning too. haha Amy is a great mom and I love seeing her interact with her kids. They crack me up with all the things they say and how they immediately get shy when I enter the room. :-) She always looks great. She's my inspiration for putting heels with jeans and a t-shirt. She's always such an active listener and has been excited for me and Brian the whole time. She's always wanted what's best for me and was very honest with me about the guys before Brian as to why they may not be good enough for me. I always enjoy our time together and really excited to have her in the wedding party.
It's got to be easy to see why I picked this group of girls. It was not a hard decision. I wanted people in my bridal party that I'd still be talking to in 20 years and not have my kids go, "who is that?" when they look back at pictures. :-) This group of girls means the world to me and I am so honored to have them standing next to me on that special day!