Saturday, June 29, 2013

Engagement Pictures!

A couple of weeks ago Brandon and I headed to a nearby park with our photographer. Despite rain delays, a few wardrobe malfunctions, and some hair-frizzing humidity, we had a great time taking engagement pictures together. All credit goes to our absolutely amazing photographer - Jenn Anibal - who we absolutely love and are excited to work with again in January.

Love is not proud
Love does not boast
Love after all
Matters the most

Love does not run
Love does not hide
Love does not keep
Locked inside

 Love is the river that flows through
Love never fails you

Love will sustain
Love will provide
Love will not cease
At the end of time

Love will protect
Love always hopes
Love still believes
When you don't

Love is the arms that are holding you
Love never fails you

When my heart won't make a sound
When I can't turn back around
When the sky is falling down
Nothing is greater than this
Greater than this

Love is right here
Love is alive
Love is the way
the truth, the life

Love is the river that flows through
Love is the arms that are holding you
Love is the place you will fly to
Love never fails you

Love Never Fails - Brandon Heath

Brandon and I have our own favorites scattered throughout - but I think this last one is truly my favorite because Jenn managed to capture the incredible love, awe, and respect I have for my future husband.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Young Love

I've heard you never forget your first love. 

Well "love" might be a bit of an exaggeration, but I certainly will never forget my first childhood infatuation (Jason), especially since we are still friends today. And this past weekend I had the the joy of witnessing his marriage to one of my dearest friends.

But just for fun, lets go back a few years..... when I looked like this

Circa 1996

When I was about 6 my family switched churches. Our new church was fairly small, but I immediately made a close group of a few special friends. One of those friends was a fellow very energized little boy - Jason. There were about 6 of us in our little group and together we managed to get into just a little bit of mischief (I don't think that it's a coincidence that the church enacted a parental drop-off/pick-up policy for the elementary Sunday school program after our group moved onto middle school...). 

I'm not sure when it happened, but around 3rd grade I decided that Jason was the man I was going to marry (remember, I was born with a very Type-A planning mindset). This idea was only solidified in my mind when Jason and I bumped into each other while in the church basement choir room playing hide-and-go-seek in the dark and subsequently claimed that we'd "kissed" each other and were "married" the following year in a Sunday school re-enactment of the wedding ceremony where Jesus turned water into wine (still wondering why the children's minister specifically credited us in her retirement speech for attributing to her grey hair?). He made such an impact on my young life that I even documented our forthcoming marriage in my journal.

As you might suspect, years went by and we both got a little wiser :) It might have been the fact that I shot up to be about a foot taller than Jason around 5th grade, or the fact that I turned down his offer to be his official girlfriend at VBS that year (suggesting that we wait until we were older). But we did remain friends.

About 2.5 years ago Jason's girlfriend moved to the area. I had heard a lot about Jenna in the past, but didn't know her that well. But that didn't last for long :) Jen quickly became a dear friend and is such a sweetheart. We shared a lot of laughs over Jason and my childhood crush, but recognize that she compliments Jason so much better than I ever would!

This past weekend Jen and Jason officially became Dr. and Mrs. S.! The wedding was beautiful and the company was the best!

Not only was Brandon able to join me at the wedding, but as an extra treat, Jess and her husband were able to drive in from Minnesota! Making this the first time that our special foursome has been back together in a year!

It also was the first time that I got to see my adorable matron-of-honors little baby bump! 

I do love weddings :) Just 198 days left for us!

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Say Cheese! (or Yoga!)

When Brandon's parents were in town a couple of weeks ago we decided the rainy Saturday would be a good time to head over and scout out the museum that is part of the complex where our reception hall is located. Part of the intrigue with going with this reception hall was that we have the opportunity to use the museum space/historic buildings for pictures beforehand. Given that the wedding will be in January and there likely won't be much of an opportunity to do outside pictures :) we thought this would be a fun way for some more creative scenery. Honestly, the museum is neat and we found some places that we will probably drop by on the wedding day, but the promenade that is along the museum and a beautiful staircase room is what I am really looking forward to having access too!

Brandon had never been to this museum before (the Henry Ford) and I think he was really surprised by the quality of the museum and exhibits. (I can't wait to take him back to tour the village another day - if you are ever in metro Detroit I highly recommend a visit!) 

Some of our favorite spots... 

The Rosa Parks bus

They actually hold weddings/receptions in the museum itself as well - in this area right around the plane. They tried to sell me on it originally, but besides the fact that it's not exactly my style, I politely told the wedding coordinator that if we held the reception in a museum, I was pretty sure my history-loving groom would disappear after the first 10 minutes....

This locomotive is huge!

This is looking at the outside of our reception hall! The ballroom is on the second floor and the first floor is where we will hold cocktail hour (or the wedding itself if we decide to hold it at the hall).

The promenade (so much prettier in person, excuse the poor cell phone pictures).

Practicing for the big day! This room is where we will have our first look. As much as I would love to wait to see Brandon until I am walking down the aisle, we decided we would rather have some extra time for pictures before the ceremony.

More pictures of the staircase room.

Sidenote: Just in case you were wondering about the title of this post...Brandon has a hard time relaxing for pictures. A while ago, a friend sent him a video about perfecting your smile. While it sounds corny, one of their tricks was to say "yoga" instead of "cheese" if you say something while smiling for a picture. Believe it or not, it actually seems to work! Or at least it makes us laugh :)

Monday, June 17, 2013

A Picture Worth a Thousand Words

"A good father is one of the most unsung, unpraised, unnoticed, and yet one of the most valuable assets in our society." - Billy Graham

My big brother celebrating his first Father's Day with Isaac - 5 months.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Meet the Parents

This father's day I have something extra special to be thankful for - a future father-in-law.

Family is incredibly important to Brandon and I, and I am so incredibly thankful to be marrying into the family I am.

My future in-laws and my parents

It seems clear that it is becoming more of a rarity for both a husband and wife to come from in-tact homes.  Only a couple of weeks ago my parents celebrated 39 years together, and today my future in-laws are celebrating their 40th wedding anniversary! The best part about it is that if you would ask any of them the secret to their successful marriages - they would all point back to their faith and a shared love for and dedication to the Lord.

Brandon and his mom

Last weekend Brandon's parents were able to make a quick stop in Michigan to meet my parents! Given the distance, they had only exchanged e-mails before this and had never had the chance to meet in person. Brandon and I had a great time showing them around the wedding venues and we all had dinner together at a potential rehearsal dinner spot (or groom's dinner according to the Minnesotans...).

My future mother-in-law, myself, and my mom

Brandon and I are both very aware of the differences between our families :) We know that the next year will bring many adjustments as we get used to different family interactions and traditions. But we are ultimately so grateful to the men and women who raised us and hope that we can follow in their footsteps in our commitment to one another and in raising a family dedicated to following Christ.

Thursday, June 6, 2013


 I know I'm biased...

I know none of you really care about seeing pictures of my nieces and nephews...

But really, 

How can you look at this little man and not fall instantly in love?!

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

The Registry Challenge

Last weekend Brandon and I started working on our wedding registry. I have to admit that I didn't expect for this to be a part of wedding planning that frustrated me...

Although Brandon is older and has lived on his own for over a decade he definitely has a bachelor kitchen (you might remember my adventure making cookies in his apartment last year with a decorative bowl and pizza pan) and his bedding and towels were hand-me-downs when he inherited them. I have several basics I've been saving for my own home someday, but they are more decorative and kitchen accessories than what we will practically need.

I THOUGHT we were prepared going in. We had scoped out several stores and had decided on 3 places to register based on what we were looking for - Target, Macy's, and Crate and Barrel. I had 4 spreadsheets that broke down exactly what we were looking to register for and some price comparison information I had researched between the stores. (yes I freely admit I have a type A personality - especially since these spreadsheets were organized by room/area and alphabetized)

But the whole process was still overwhelming.

First, regardless of where you register, the prices are still overwhelming. Typically I am an incredibly frugal shopper. Before making any major purchase I like to research different options for quality reviews and price compare. At the end of the day however, I much prefer quality over quantity. Brandon is the same way. We'd rather spend more on a nicer, more reliable brand that will last longer than save a few dollars in the moment. This means that we will often wait longer to make a purchase, but that is fine with us.

This process works great when we are making our own purchases, but when you are registering where do you draw the line? Do you go for the more expensive item that you might typically be willing to pay more for, or what might seem to be a more reasonably priced item?

The funny thing is that after we had haggled over making our initial selections at Macy's we sat down with a salesman at the wedding registry station to download our scanner and he commented about how inexpensive our choices were so far! We both looked at each other shocked - since we both felt the opposite!

Second, it's hard to anticipate what we will need! Brandon won't be moving to Michigan until September and we likely won't have nailed down a place to live for another month or two (and we needed to get onto wedding registry now because my future mother-in-law is throwing me a shower when I am out in Minnesota in August). We have some color preferences and a general idea, but for the  most part we are going with a lot of neutrals right now. 

The lists some stores recommend just seem so excessive and wasteful! For example, we've chosen not to get china but are going with a nicer everyday plate - I know too many friends (and siblings :)) who have registered for china and a decade later it is still sitting in a storage box - never used. Along with that we are foregoing crystal and silver. I do plan on finding some chargers and different table linens to dress things up if we do want to have a fancier sit-down dinner.

So any recommendations? Anything you've registered for and loved? What about something you would do differently?