Monday, January 18, 2010

Awesome Book: "The Help"

I stumbled across this book on Amazon and bought it on a whim.  I have a Kindle, so it was there for about a week before I started reading it.  And once I started, I couldn't put it down.

If you grew up in the South, or knew someone who grew up in the South, or had parents who grew up in the South, this book will speak to you. The Amazon review doesn't do it justice. It tells the story of the black maids that work in the homes of the white families in Jackson, Mississippi in the late 1950s and 1960s, just about the time that the integration movement was sweeping the United States......unless you lived in the Heart of Dixie.  It's the story of the women that came into the homes and raised white children, while leaving their own children at home so that they could have food on the table.  It's the story of their hearts and the joys and heartbreaks that they faced, and of the dichotomy of love and hate that they shared with the white families that hired them.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Fruitcake Wedding: The Ceremony

I've already written about our ceremony, and I can't say enough how many people commented, complimented, and have shared in the words we chose to live by.  I think the one thing I'm most proud of is the script to the ceremony, and I've felt honored that people have chosen to use it, in whole and in part, in their own weddings.

The actual ceremony went by so incredibly fast.  One minute I'm freaking out behind closed door about not tripping and falling and the next, Mr. Fruitcake and I were walking back up the aisle...married!

My dad walked my down the aisle, and I don't have words for how proud my daddy was when he put my hand in Mr. Fruitcake's.  He stood with us while Mr. Fruitcake's Man-Wife read our opening prayer:

(Did I mention that it was about a million degrees?  It wasn't SUPPOSED to be, but in South Alabama, the first weekend in May is always a crap shoot.)

My best friend read her reading, which I had tailored specifically for her:

I was so proud of her--she was so afraid that she wouldn't be able to make it though the reading without crying, and while she visibly struggled, she managed to keep it together.

Niecey, on the other hand, had never been to a wedding, had never been in a wedding, and...well, let's just say that she didn't really see the point in having to stand up for a ceremony when there were so many other things to do...

Did I mention that the Reverend looked like ZZ Top?

We had decided that we wanted to say our vows together, rather than reading them one at a time.  When it came time to say them, we...well, we both forgot the words.  And had ourselves a good laugh standing in front of all of our family and friends.  All we could think was that everyone knew at that moment that it was truly a Mr. and Mrs. Fruitcake kind of was so typical of something we would do.

I had promised myself that I wasn't going to cry, and i ALMOST made it though the ceremony.  Until, near the very end of the ceremony, when Mr. Fruitcake caught my eye and mouthed, "I love you."  Aaaaand, I lost it.  Predictably.

And when I lost it, so did Mama Fruitcake:

But guess what?  The next few seconds were the ones where the Reverend pronounced us Mr. and Mrs. Walters--and the tears?  They vanished :-)

We were MARRIED!  And it was officially time to celebrate!!

I had one more little trick up my sleeve--Mr.Fruitcake had been a part of all of the wedding planning, but I had saved a trick for him.  I had arranged for fireworks to be set off as they pronounced us husband and wife, and for the fireworks to go off over the lake.  Unfortunately for me, I had undercalculated what time the sun would go down, so the fireworks were somewhat lost in the setting sun.  But Mr. Fruitcake was surprised, nonetheless, and he'll tell you that he loved being halfway up the hill and turning around to see them.

Party time!

Friday, January 8, 2010

Fruitcake Wedding: Showtime!

After the craziness of the morning of our wedding, it had somehow become afternoon.  And "afternoon" meant "ohmygodthisweddingishappening...soon."

I had been prettified, my shadow Niecey had been prettified, all of my favorite girls were on hand (except Mama Fruitcake.  She was manically shampooing the carpet in her bedroom.  At home.  45 minutes away).  And when Mrs. A pulled into the parking lot at the Lodge, everything had been finished.  Everything.

Giving Mrs. M a huge hug for taking care of all of the details

After the frantic morning, we had about an hour left before I had to sequester myself in my room away from earlybird guests and, more importantly, Mr. Fruitcake. I got a chance to really look around and see the transformation.  We had chosen the Lodge for a lot of reasons, but it had taken a lot of work to take it from a hunting lodge on a lake to a spot perfect for our wedding. But the hours of work that my friends and family put into our wedding made it perfect.

Have I mentioned that our wedding  And by colorful, I mean crazy explosions of bright summer colors?  The thought of having a monochromatic wedding was my idea of hell, and our wedding was anything but white lace and roses.  We were more of a hot pink, neon yellow and flaming orange kind of couple.

Have you picked up on the pinwheel theme yet?

Suddenly, my girls were on me like flies, herding me into my "suite" because Mr. Fruitcake had arrived on scene.  The "suite" was actually the room that we had used to stash all of the decorations that we had taken down. Which resulted in one of my favorite pictures from our wedding.  You have to know me and Mr. Fruitcake, and know how much of an outdoorsman Mr. Fruitcake is, to truly get the irony of the picture, but it makes me laugh every time I see it:

 Yes, my wedding dress is hanging from a deer head.  With a tractor supply company hat.  And rose petals.

Mama Fruitcake finally shows up, and it's suddenly time to get into my dress!  My dress, my dress, which I love, love, love. 

Of course, Mama Fruitcake, Mrs. A, Mrs. M, Miss E, Miss S, and Sis Fruitcake all start crying.  Which causes the classic Fruitcake gesture:
Meanwhile, Mr. Fruitcake is being subjected to the photographers and last minute preparations:

And then, there's a knock on the door from Torrie, our coordinator, and it's time to get this show on the road!!

My dad met me at the door, and literally had to keep me from falling down.  The nerves were getting the best of me. Don't get me wrong, I was ecstatic to be marrying Mr. Fruitcake, but suddenly, the idea of eloping held a lot more appeal!

We had made the decision, way back when we first started planning our wedding, that we both had too many close friends to avoid hurting someone's feelings by choosing a wedding party.  If we had chosen everyone that is truly important and close to us, we would have had 20+ people on each side.  So.....we got rid of the whole idea of a wedding party.  Sort of.  We asked his then 7-year old niece (Niecey) and 8-year-old nephew (D-man) to be our maid of honor and best man.  And my 2-year old niece (Fruitcake Jr.) and 2 year-old godson (A-man) were our ring bearer and flower girls.  We also let Niecey and D-man pick the song that they would come down the aisle to. 

The Little Mermaid's Kiss the Girl it was.

Seriously, the sweetest kids ever.

The opening strands of Disney started playing, and D-man and A-man started their long walk to the altar.

I was watching from around the corner, and could hear our guests awe-ing over A-man's cuteness and inability to pass a single pinwheel without wanting to spin it.  It took more than three quarters of the song for these two to make it to the end of the aisle.

Then it was time for my girls.
Niecey, normally a hellion who never slows down, was suddenly shy!  And Fruitcake Jr.  couldn't wait to be in the spotlight, but didn't quite have long enough legs to make it down the stairs alone. Fruitcake Jr. was pulling Niecey down the aisle!

And then it was time.

I had chosen, thanks to Mrs. A, a far more contemporary grand entrance song than I had originally planned--I had kind of pictured myself walking to Pachabel's Canon in D or something similarly "wedding-y."
But the more our wedding took on a life of its own, it just didn't fit.  And when I heard the song that I chose for the first time, it fit perfectly.

We didn't use the particular version, but I can't find a clip of the version that we used online.  The words are the same, but it's a more mellow version.

Daddy Fruitcake and I started our walk, and I remember thinking that I wasn't sure that it was possible to be any happier than I was at that exact moment.

I didn't get to see this picture until long after the wedding was actually over, but it immediately became my favorite, because the camera caught what I had not been able to see----Mr. Fruitcake's expression the first time he saw me as I walked down the aisle:

The next thing I know, Daddy Fruitcake is putting Mr. Fruitcake's hand in mine, and the ceremony is under way!



Thursday, January 7, 2010

Fruitcake Wedding: The Pre-Game

The morning of the wedding was a TOUGH one.  Because of some pre-wedding jitters and the fact that we had a bunch of friends coming in from miles and miles away, we had gone out to the Flora-Bama the night before after the rehearsal dinner.  Thoughful (thoughtless???) friends made sure we had drinks, shots, and other nameless concoctions to celebrate our wedding, and Fruitcake was a RumCake that night.

Blessed Mary, I have wonderful friends.  M and A got up before the buttcrack of dawn to go to Chick-fil-A (did you know that they open at 4 am?  Seriously?).  So when I woke up (grumpily to the sound of an alarm), they had hot coffee for Mama Fruitcake, a ginormous Diet Coke for me, and chicken biscuits all around.  Happy Fruitcake.  Except that because of a scheduling problem (the girl that was supposed to do my hair, and Niecey's hair (my niece) went into premature labor, and we had to rearrange our day), I had to be at my hairdresser at 8 am.  (Did I mention that the wedding was a 6?  That night?)

Mr. Fruitcake, in keeping with the tradition that we wouldn't see each other after we parted ways at the FloraBama, agreed to bring his 8-year-old niece back to the hair salon on his way home from his sister's.  However, on the way to the hair salon, I get this picture from SIL Fruitcake:

Mr. Fruitcake, still on the couch at his sister's condo.  Oops. Running a wee bit behind schedule.

Thanks to one of my very best friends, I only had to worry about climbing in and out of her car.  Mrs. A took care of the rest.  And thankfully, SIL Fruitcake threw some cold water on Mr. Fruitcake and got him up and moving, and my niece came around the corner just in time to hop into the stylist's chair.

Because of the rather awkward location of our wedding (I LOVED the Lodge.  Getting to it was another story), we had to go around the world and back the morning of the wedding.  Not to mention that the ONLY MAC counter is in Mobile, which meant driving 30 minutes in the opposite direction.  But lordy-loo, it was so worth it.  First of all, MAC makeup is incredible, especially for special occasions where you know you're going to be photographed.  Secondly, their makeup artists are incredible.

Suddenly (ok, it was really like 2 hours, but whatever), I went from plain-jane Fruitcake to feeling very much like a bride on her wedding day. And a very real set of butterflies set in!

(And yes, I totally rocked the fake eyelashes.  I love them, since mine are naturally blonde and straight as a stick, which also means invisible.)

Did I mention that my makeup artist (Sharon) rocked? (If you're in the Mobile area, go check her out.  Get a free makeover.  I promise that you won't be sorry).

Niecey was getting bored and cranky, so Mrs. A took her to the Disney store while I finished up.  And somehow, Niecey managed to finagle a promise for a milkshake.  Cue a drive-thru stop at Checkers for a strawberry milkshake for Niecey and a loaded order of fries and another giant Diet Coke for moi. (I should add the Mrs. A was freaking out inside, but did a beautiful job of hiding it from me.  "A freaking milkshake.  Everything we have to do, and we have to stop for a freaking milkshake.")

While Mrs. A, Niecey and I were being prettified, Miss S, Mr. J, Mrs. M, and a horde of other people were working their hineys off getting the Lodge ready for our ceremony.


(Mr. J with our daisies)

The ceremony site:

The pinwheels:

The tent:

 Our favors:

 Our guestbook:

i LOVED our guestbook.  Instead of doing something that was ultimately going to end up in a box in the attic, my dad gave us a copy of The Best of Life, which highlights the best photographs taken over 75 years of Life magazine.  We provided a basket of Sharpies, and our guests signed the pages. We have some hilarious and touching pages, and it's something that we can now display on our coffee table.

And suddenly, it was time to boogie on to the Lodge to finish up our last minute preparations and get this show on the road!

Did I mention that we had a photo booth?

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Meant to Say Wednesdays

Chief started something fun!

To Mr. Fruitcake: "The trash ran this morning."

What I meant to say, "Why the EFF was I outside in blizzard conditions this morning when you promised to take out the trash, told me you were GOING to take out the trash, and even said you DID take out the trash.  WHY was the trash still in the kitchen this morning, a full 3 hours after you left for work, and why am I schlepping it out to the ROAD?"

To uber-snotty classmate: 'Oh, you have test again?"

What I meant: "FINALLY!  I have outscored your utlra-studying ass on SOMETHING!  Eat my shorts!  Booya!  Ha!  HAHA!  I haven't cracked a book since before Thanksgiving and STILL outscored you!"

To classmate: "I like your new 'do!"

What I meant: "What in God's green earth were you thinking with THAT?"

Gah...I could go on and on and on...

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Fruitcake Wedding: The Final Preparations

We were still frantically trying to find someone to perform our ceremony. All of the rent-a-ministers who make their living performing beach ceremonies down the road were booked (we were getting married on a popular weekend).  All of the local judges were booked for the weekend.  All of the pastors and priests were either booked or wouldn't perform our ceremony because we weren't members of their particular church (I'm Episcopalian, Mr. Fruitcake is Methodist, and to date, we haven't found a church home for both of us.).

Enter The Universal Life Church.  It wasn't our first choice.  It wasn't even our LAST choice.  It wasn't on the radar screen.  But with now just over 24 hours to go before our wedding is supposed to take place, with more than 250 guests coming in from all over the country, something had to happen NOW.

And the more we thought about it, the more that this seemed like the perfect solution to our current problem.  Submit a person's information, and ten minutes later, print out a Certificate of Ordination permitting them to marry us in the State of Alabama.  (FYI, not all states recognize officiants ordained online.  Alabama, fortunately for us, does).

Lo and behold...Reverend Beau was born.  Beau, who looks like a stunt double for ZZ Top, was the perfect solution to our somewhat offbeat wedding.  (Props to The Offbeat Bride Tride for so many of the ideas that we used in our wedding, as well as the Bees and members at WeddingBee for the help with our script and for the idea of ULC).

Less than 24 hours to go, and the crisis of the ceremony was finished...but there was still so much to be done.  God bless Susan, Meg, Emily, Justin, Joe, Mom, Alisha, the Gibbs and everyone else who worked nearly around the clock that last 48 hours to get everything together.


(What the main room in the Lodge looked like before we started decorating..)

Gave way to this:

...and suddenly, it was time for the rehearsal dinner.  And bless her heart, Susan stayed behind to finish the last minute decorations with my aunt.

And the next morning was showtime!

Monday, January 4, 2010

Fruitcake Wedding: The Pre-Preparations Train Wreck

Three days before our wedding, the judge that we had picked to perform our ceremony emails me.  He had been given the script to our ceremony months before, and he had a few "minor" changes that he wanted to make.

The changes?

He had deleted the vows that Mr. Fruitcake and I had written together and wanted to insert the vows that we had very adamantly avoided...the ones that say, "I promise to honor and obey my husband..."

I promptly emailed him back and said that while I appreciated his input, Mr. Fruitcake and I had worked very hard to write something together, and we weren't comfortable using those vows.

The next morning (48 hours before our wedding was supposed to take place), I get a response.  He replies:
"I appreciate the opportunity to perform your wedding ceremony.  However, if you are unwilling to reword your vows, I will not be offended if you choose someone else to perform your wedding ceremony."

Chaos ensues.  48 hours before our wedding is supposed to take place, and we suddenly have no one to perform the actual ceremony.  We (and by we, I specifically mean "I") were freaking out.

(Fruitcake and Mr. Fruitcake trying to come up with a solution)

Mr. Fruitcake said a lot of "Yes, Ma'ams" and started making phone calls.  As did eleventy bajillion friends in 50 states.  We probably called no less than 100 people, and in one memorable occasion, I even called the pastor of the lady who was working in Ann Taylor when I got the email via my Blackberry.

While this is going on and phone lines were spontaneously combusting, other wedding preparations are coming together.

My arbor, which Papa Fruitcake had custom built for me, arrived:

And my daisies arrived:

(Phone lines are still on fire at this point, as well as Facebook pleas and Twitter begging)

The months of purchasing, resulting in boxes of wedding paraphernalia, had been delivered to the Lodge, and were just waiting for us to set everything up.

Have I mentioned that we're now at 36 hours from the wedding?  And we still have no one to perform the ceremony?

Saturday, January 2, 2010

I take too many pictures

2009 in Pictures

Mr. Fruitcake decided to make an honest woman out of me!

I watched Fruitcake Jr. grow up a little more every day

I conned Mr. Fruitcake into having engagement photos done.

We weren't really this cool...

We started a new Mardi Gras fashion trend...

Shook out the sillies to celebrate the upcoming wedding with some awesome ladies

Spent a lot of time at the park

Got married!!



 Danced a million miles

Helped my best friends move really, really, really far away

Saw LOTS of corn between Mobile and Minot, ND

Made it to the not so magical Minot, North Dakota

Got to be a Fairy Godmother

Played in the rain

Saw my favorite pint-sized ball of fire turn TWO!

Dressed up as the Pacmans...

...and went trick or treating as Pippi Longstocking

Spent Christmas with the best sister-in-law ever

And hid three sneaky raccoons in a Christmas tree...

Here's to an awesome 2010!