Thursday, December 23, 2010

Our first Thanksgiving :)

I know I am a bit behind on my posts.  So much has happened in such a short time that it's hard to keep up.  These are photos from our first Thanksgiving together.  We had lunch at my cousin, Jeanie's house and then headed over to my mom's house for dinner.  Thanksgiving is usually pretty low key for my family.  It involves eating lots of food, lounging, looking at adds, and plotting our shopping trip for the next day.

My cousins came in from North Carolina with their two kiddos so it was nice to catch up with them and have an opportunity to beat the men in euchre - lol.  My brother left for California the next day for a three month nursing job in Laguna Beach so it was good to spend time with him before he left as well.  We had dinner at my mom's and the kids played board games all night.  They actually played an entire game of monopoly (which is one of my favorite games!!).

 The next morning I woke up at 4am to go shopping with my mom and sister.  We always have so much fun amongst all the chaos.  I got all of my shopping done in one day.  I even bought my bridesmaid dress for my sister's wedding :)

Thanksgiving was extra special this year.  I have six healthy kids, one amazing husband, a wonderful family, and a group of friends that are awesome!!!  God has done great things for us and we are filled with joy :)  I am thankful for His beautiful story of redemption in our lives. 

Friday, December 10, 2010

Our wedding | Part six of our love story :)

I know we had a short engagement but to be honest it felt like the wedding wouldn't come soon enough!!  I was so in love with Brian and every day I got more and more excited about sharing my life with him.  I wanted to spend every minute with him.  My whole world lights up when he is around.  When I talk about him I just glow :)

Our entire wedding was a labor of love put together by friends and family that love us dearly.  I always thought it would be neat to get married outdoors. The idea of getting married in an old rustic barn had crossed my mind as we started talking about getting married in the Fall.  Our friend, Leslie, out of the blue mentioned that it would be cool if we could get married in her in-laws barn in Avon.  As soon as she mentioned it we knew we wanted to have our wedding there.  The Dragons, the owners of the barn and property, were thrilled to let us use their barn at no cost (praise number one).

We found out along the way that another couple was going to get married in the same barn two weeks before us.  They ended up cleaning out the entire barn (pressure washed the floors, prepared it fully, and decorated the barn beautifully (praise number two).  They contacted us to let us know that we could use any of their decorations that we wanted for our wedding (praise three).  We were able to use all of their decorations which saved us a ton of money!!

Our friends and family were so excited for us and for God's story of redemption in our lives.  Everyone wanted to help out.  We started receiving emails, letter, facebook messages, etc.. from friends, family, and even people we barely knew.  These were an amazing encouragement to us.  The letters were filled with words of love written out of hearts that had been praying for us for a long time.  Our marriage was an answer to many prayers lifted up on our behalf.  It brings me tears just thinking about it.
We wanted to have a dinner at our wedding so a friend suggested a pitch-in dinner.  We thought about it and decided it was a great idea.  Everyone was volunteering to help and they all wanted to be a part of our special day so we asked everyone to bring a dish to share instead of a gift.  It was the most beautiful dinner, made with love, that I had ever seen (praise number four).  Our parents paid for an awesome barbecue dinner with pulled chicken and pork.  Our friends brought mashed potatoes, corn casseroles, rolls, a chocolate fountain with fruit and other goodies, tons of side dishes, drinks, etc... It was perfect!!! 
Brian had a friend that volunteered her time and talent to make our wedding cake for us, again at no cost (praise number five).  The cake was awesome!!!  We were so thankful for the time and energy it took her and her mom to make this masterpiece :)

My friend, Becky, volunteered to be our "wedding coordinator".  The day wouldn't have been the same without her.  She made our wedding sign, my bouquet, and Brian's boutonniere, she bought the chalkboard for our program, decorated the entire barn, made the kids treat sacks for the table, added special touches all over the barn ("W" coasters on the tables, sparkling cider on the kids table, crayons in cute metal "W" containers, etc...)  She put everything together and made the barn look magical!!(praise six) 
I wasn't sure how the weather would turn out the day of the wedding so I asked if anyone had heaters we could borrow.  I had a number of responses and had more heaters than we needed.(praise seven).

 Being a photographer myself, I knew that capturing this day in photos was very important to me.  I had no idea who I would hire to capture the special story of our wedding.  I had an acquaintance ask me to have lunch with her to throw some photography ideas around.  She had some questions about photography and I was thrilled to have someone to talk "shop" with.  We met for lunch and ended up talking about God the entire time.  I had never seen her work before and this was our first time ever meeting.  She had an amazing story of God's work in her own life.  Her husband was tragically paralyzed in a lawn mower accident several years ago and their entire life changed because of it.  Our stories were different but the author of them was the same.  We have both grown and changed for the better because of the difficulties we experienced.  I knew in my spirit that I wanted her to be the one to photograph our wedding.  We talked it over and she felt that God wanted her to do my wedding as well. Our wedding would be her second wedding to photograph.  I didn't have one doubt about her being our photographer.  She did an amazing job capturing our special day and presented us with the most amazing wedding photos!!!  I LOVE them!!(Praise number eight).

There was an old chandelier in the barn that didn't work b/c the wiring had been cut.  Brian's brother was able to rewire it and have it working for the wedding.  His sister-in-law decorated the food station in the barn and helped put up lights.  My family from California (Dad and Brenda) put the wine labels on for us.  My mom bought all sorts of candles and candle holders for the tables and around the barn.  My Dad, Gary, and his wife, Pam, put candles in all of the empty candle holders.  We had tons of friends and family show up at the barn the night before the wedding to help decorate, put up tables and chairs, and get the barn ready.  My friend, Leslie, made the "Just Married" sign you see in the photos.  Our friends from Broad Ripple, Erin and Bob, made all the carmel apples for us (70 of them!!!).  The worship band from church and my b/f/f, Carol, did all the music for the wedding.  They sounded beautiful!!!  My friend, Jennifer, sells the most gorgeous jewelery for "Stella and Dot" and she gave me all the jewelry to wear for my wedding.  I could go on and on and on about the million other little things that people did to make our day special for us. (Praise nine through one hundred :) 

There are no words to describe the way our hearts felt that night about our friends and family.  We felt truly blessed!!  I think I will write another post about our wedding ceremony and the thoughts I had that day.  There is so much to write about!!  Part seven will cover our wedding day, my thoughts about becoming a mom of six, and the way my heart leaped out of my chest when our pastor announced us "husband and wife"   Stay tuned . . . . . . 

P.S. I forgot to mention that my mom and I went shopping for a wedding dress after I got engaged and I literally bought the second dress I tried on.  It was inexpensive and beautiful (PRAISE GOD)   

Friday, December 3, 2010

Part 5 of our love story - He asked me to be his wife :)

Brian started looking at rings and secretly asked my family and my best friend to get involved in picking one out.  He asked me to go with him to look at rings so he could get an idea of what I liked.  What I liked was him :)  I would have been happy with anything he picked out b/c I wasn't focused on the ring, I was focused on being his future wife.  I felt like the most blessed girl in the world.  I was crazy about this man. 

Brian asked my dad to lunch so he could ask him if he could marry me.  He then took my mom and Kevin out and asked them if he could marry me.  I laughed when Brian said he was sweating during his dinner with my mom and Kevin and was worried he might not make the cut - ha ha.  My family had seen me go through pain in the past and they were prepared with a long list of questions for Brian to make sure he was the real deal.  It didn't take long for them to see that he was an amazing guy and that He was crazy about their daughter and planned to take very good care of her :)  Funny side note . . . .My sister's boyfriend asked my dad the next day if he could marry Anna.  Neither of them (Brian nor Jerry) were aware that the other had asked my dad in the same week. 

Jerry proposed to Anna the day after he met with my dad.  Brian had planned to ask me the following week.  So the funny part is at church that Sunday Ben, our pastor, asked if anyone had any praises or prayer requests.  My dad stood right up and said "I am excited to announce that two of my daughters got engaged this weekend".  I stood up next to my dad and whispered "Dad I did not get engaged this weekend".  I thought he had lost his mind - ha ha.  The entire church was staring at us and I was two shades of red.  I clarified "I did not get engaged"  Our worship pastor, Mandy, said "Ok, congrats to Anna and Jerry but not to Loree and Brian"  It was so funny.  My dad evidently thought that since Brian had asked him if he could marry me that he was going to ask the very next day.  He says he will never live that one down as long as he lives - ha ha !!

Ok back to the story . . .  So he bought me a ring (the most beautiful ring I have ever seen!!).  I had no idea that he had purchased a ring.  I thought he was still in the looking stage.  He planned his proposal out and had planned on asking me to marry him at the "Rooftop Garden" at fountain square.  It was already closed for the season but he was pulling strings to make it happen.  This is where it gets funny . . . I knew we had plans to eat downtown and I had some good friends that had never met Brian so I thought it would be nice to invite them along :)  About an hour before we were to leave I told him that I invited them along and that we had picked a restaurant out called "The Villa" downtown.  He seemed a little flustered about it so I told him I could call them and cancel.  He didn't want to be obvious so he just went with it and we had a wonderful dinner with friends and he held off on his proposal - lol. 

The next morning we went to church and when we came in we noticed that my family was there (My mom, Kevin, My dad, Pam, Anna, and Jerry).  It was the first time that they had all been there at the same time.  We all sat together and then in the middle of service Brian whispered to me that he would be back in a minute.  He left and didn't come back for 10 or 15 minutes.  I started to get worried about him and then I noticed his truck pulling into the church parking lot (I could see the front doors from my seat).  His truck was for sale at the time and I remember thinking "Did he just leave church to go show someone his truck?".  This would have been totally out of character for him so I was totally confused.  He came back in and sat down by me.  He mumbled something like "I will tell you later". 

Towards the end of service Ben asked if anyone had anything else to share etc...Brian stood up and said "I have a testimony to share with everyone"  He grabbed my hand and asked me to come up front with him.  I was still clueless.  He started telling everyone what God had done in our lives and what He was continuing to do in our hearts and lives daily.  Then he started talking about me and how much he loved me . . .the rest is a bit of a blur.  He was talking about all the things he loved about me and about how he wanted to romance me for the rest of his life .   At that point I looked down and noticed something in his pocket (A ring box).

 My heart started to pound b/c it was at that point that I realized he was about to ask me to marry him.  I looked over at my family and my mom was crying (clue number two).  He got down on one knee in front of our family and friends and said "Can I have you forever?".  He stole the quote from his two year old son.  Leo had said to Brian a few weeks earlier "Daddy can I have you?"  We thought it was the cutest thing ever.  I said yes (of course) and that was the start of our engagement. 

Brian had no plans of asking me to marry him at church that day.  He said that when he walked into church and noticed that my family was there and many of our friends that he felt in his heart that this was the right day and time.  He left the church to go get my ring :)  He told my sister Anna that he was thinking about asking me at the end of church and she highly encouraged it - lol.  It was perfect.  I was only four weeks away from becoming Mrs.Wheeler.  Stay tuned for part 6 - The most beautiful day ever - Our wedding :)

P.S.  If I had known he was going to propose that day I wouldn't have dressed like Pocahontas :)