A Vintage Winter Wonderland Wedding

Congratulations to the new Mr. & Mrs. Adam Dahms!!!

On Friday morning I left Josh & Claire and made the short trip to Chicago for the weekend for my best friend from college’s wedding. Originally Josh and I were supposed to use this as a weekend away, but Claire’s seizures were still too fresh and we wanted to make sure she was close to Riley and with a parent so Josh stayed home with her. At first I was absolutely bummed by this, but it ended up working out very well and I was able to spend some much needed time before the wedding with the bride. Christina was my very first college friend. We met the summer before starting at Ball State University. We met because she was randomly paired to room with a friend of mine from high school and we all lived in the same hall. Through four fun years of college, her living stints overseas, first jobs, a couple moves, living with Josh and me, a baby, now two weddings, a million laughs, a good amount of tears and even a few arguments…. here we are, ten years later…

Christina is one of the most sincere people you will ever meet and it showed in every detail of her wedding day. She so badly wanted to make everyone happy and comfortable the whole weekend from the manicures & pedicures on Friday to being up at 6:45am on Sunday to make sure I didn’t go in the parking garage alone. The wedding & reception itself was gorgeous, but I didn’t expect nothing less from my trendy, gatsby-loving, fashionista friend.

Christina and I are actually polar opposites and I am sure if we were writing this blog together, here is where she would enter some elaborate paragraph about our astrology and the reasons we get along so well…. and sometimes fight like we are sisters. I am a classic, simple kinda of girl- she is a trendy, vintage-y woman who beats to her own drum. I drink warm, red wine- she drinks white wine with ice cubs. I thrive on a routine- she’d rather live in spontaneity. However, we both value friendships, enjoy health & fitness, like to laugh, and have one of the most genuine friendships I have ever seen. As she wrote a speech to each of her bridesmaids she put it perfectly when describing our friendship, “(Hollie) she keeps my grounded and I unravel her a bit,” – I couldn’t have said it better.

WIthout further ado: a recap of the most magical vintage winter wedding weekend.

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What a fun rehearsal dinner downtown Chicago at Rock Bottom- it was a perfect atmosphere. Being the thoughtful individual she is, Christina wrote us all speeches describing our friendship and framed them. It was so fun to just be together with friends as well as meet some of Adam’s dear friends and their wives. I was in awe of how genuine all of the groomsmen and their wives were, but I shouldn’t have been surprised because Adam is a great guy.
After the rehearsal dinner we headed back to the hotel to prepare for the big day. We of course stayed up way too late talking, just like we used to do in college.

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How cute are these robes? Part of her gift to us, Christina gave us these awesome robes that have our names engraved in the back and wear while we get ready on Saturday. The wedding itself was a gorgeous Catholic church in downtown Chicago and the reception at The University Club. The University Club is a beautiful, old venue and had an old barber shop where we all hung out and got ready for the day.

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How stunning is this dress and this bride?!?! Just gorgeous! We got dressed and ready at the hotel and then a trolley took all the guests and bridal party to the church in different waves. Us girls were the last to arrive and waited in the trolley until it was time to walk down the aisle.

  I always love to watch the groom’s face as he sees his bride for the first time and Adam’s was priceless and showed his true love for her. Christina’s dad was also just so sweet: he adores her daughter and is so proud of the woman she has become and the man she chose to marry. The ceremony included a full Catholic mass and was gorgeous- from the homily to the beautiful Ava Maria, growing up Catholic, I truly appreciate the rich tradition of a Catholic wedding.

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The groom wanted me to make sure I took a picture of him opening his first beer with his new jewelry. He was so happy!
After the ceremony and mass was over we had some time to spare so the bridal party had some fun on the trolley while stopping places in Chicago to take pictures. We stopped at the one and only Wrigley Field as well as the apartment they lived in when they were in Chicago before Adam left for Bloomington to get his MBA. As soon as they people in their old building found out they were coming in the bartender at the restaurant below the apartment arranged for a champagne toast for all of us.
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After the trolley ride, we arrived to the University Club for cocktail hour and the reception. Before entering cocktail hour, the bridal party got to hang out in one of the rooms at the club where there was a pool table and drinks. I love that time where the bridal party just gets to be together- it is one of my favorite parts of any wedding day. Just as two families join together when a man and woman get married so do two sets of friends- it is beautiful!
The reception was incredible, elegant and it was obvious a lot of time and though went into every last detail.  We danced the night away despite the winter storm that was taking place outside.  What a great day it was and how thankful I am to be by my best friend on her special day.
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What I’m Loving This Week

I have mentioned my absolute favorite blogger, Julie at Peanut Butter Fingers many times before. Lately she has been doing a “Things I’m Loving Friday” post each Friday.

I thought I would follow her suit and participate as well. As I continue to think about and strive for true “contentment”. I often time find myself for wanting more: wanting to buy something new, wanting to accomplish one more thing on my to-do list, or wanting to add one more credential to my name. I thought this would beneficial to reflect on the people, activities, and experiences that made me happy, grateful and content through the week.

What I’m Loving this Week

Meeting friends at the gym for a workout

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I love working out and what makes it even better is when you can catch up with good friends over a burnin’ workout. After spending the weekend at the hospital with Claire and taking a couple days to regroup and feel comfortable to leave her, I was ready for a good sweat on New Year’s Day. After a simple text message I had a workout partner lined up and ready to meet me at the gym- talk about instant accountability! My friends are awesome because they do the workouts I create without complaining; unless I make them run too much and even then I just may get an eye roll or two.

Little Lamb’s Bible

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We’ve always prayed with Claire before bed each night. This week she even folded her hands on her own before prayer time- melted my heart. As a part of continuing to grow in our faith and pave the way for Claire we started reading two to three short Bible stories out of “Little Lamb’s Bible” this week. The stories are short, sweet and rhyming. She is pointing to the Bible characters in the story. I love this time with my two loves.

Happily Ever After: The Life-Changing Power of a Grateful Heart

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Guilty pleasure: I am a Bachelor & Bachelorette fan. However this book by the first Bachelortte, Trista Stutter is truly deep and powerful. I just started reading it this week and am not yet finished, but I am soaking in each word she writes. It goes right up my alley with living 2014 in a state of contentment by recognizing what I have and reflecting the things in which I am grateful. Will you join me each night on twitter using #favepartofday & #contentmentredefined ?

This Girl

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Yes, every little face (attitude and all) this little girl makes! Each day this week she got better and better and became more the happy, feisty, and more of the loving 15-month old I love and adore. Yes, my patience was still tested, but I didn’t get as frustrated every time she threw a piece of food on the ground for the dog to eat instead of herself… because at least she is here to do that.

A Stay-cation

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We were originally supposed to be skiing this week , but with Saturday’s incidents, we had to stay at home… and have actually loved it! We are always on the go (hence the goal of just being more content) and have really embraced this stay-cation. Some people do things in their own cities they have never done before during stay-cations- not us. We have done nothing… we are just “being”. We have had all-day fires, worked out, read a lot of books, built with blocks, and have enjoyed each other’s company. It has been a great week! In fact, it has been so great that Josh and I have decided this would become an annual ritual.   

And that’s a wrap for the week, friends- thank you for reading! Enjoy your weekend!

 

December 28th, 2013

Life: it can change at any given moment, cherish each moment.

5 days ago, yes, 5 days ago we learned this the hard way.  We praise Our Lord that our outcome is positive, and we pray for those people who don’t have the same happy ending we did.

Saturday morning, December 28th, 2013: a day I will never forget and hope to never relive.  We were packing for a ski trip with my family to Boyne Mountain in Michigan, a tradition we were so excited to bring back.  Originally, I had wanted to leave at around 10am, but Josh wanted to get some things done at the other house so I agreed to wait until later in the day.  Looking back, this wasn’t my plan, it was God’s way of working.  I was getting into our hallway closet packing Claire’s bathroom items for the week.  She was being her normal self all morning: playing, laughing, talking and at the time crawling all over me.  For a second I didn’t feel her or hear her so I looked to my left and there was my sweet Claire with her head agains our wall, body stiff and eyes rolled back.  I panicked!  I picked her up and ran her to Josh screaming, “there is something wrong with her, help there is something wrong with her!”  (The tears are building as I recant this memory.)  I ran to our bedroom, grabbed my phone and told Josh to call 911 while I started CPR- it was my first instinct.  I remembered my recent CPR training and transferred Claire from the bed to our floor and continued the compressions.  As Josh was on the phone with the dispatcher she opened her eyes and lifted her head back and took a breath, but her head went back again and her body stiffened once again.  The dispatcher told me to stop CPR.  I remember feeling like it was helping and didn’t want to stop it.  I also remember Josh yelling, “Our daughter is dying, someone needs to get here fast, we are losing her!”

What a scary moment, a moment I never wish upon any parent, any person.

We finally, after what seemed like an eternity heard the ambulance coming down our street.  As soon as we heard it we ran outside. I was carrying Claire.  She still wasn’t awake.  I gave her to the EMTs and yelled something to the extent of don’t let her go, help my baby.  I was hysterical.  They took her into the ambulance and worked on her.  Shortly they came out and said she was stable.  They let Josh go in there and listen to her heart.  I was still hysterical so they did not let me.  My dear neighbor came out and just held me as I cried and prayed for my sweet girl.

I am not sure how long it was, but they came out and said she was stable and that I could come in and see her and listen to her heart.  Saying I was relieved was an understatement, but still so fearful of what was wrong with our sweet girl.  They asked many questions, but we were unsure of what had happened.  They thought maybe it was a seizure, but they didn’t see it and we had told them she was not convulsing: it was more of a stiffening of her body and jerking her head back.  We decided Riley was the best place for us to go, so off we went in an ambulance.

It was the longest ride of my life to downtown Indianapolis.  Claire slept the whole ride down, all I could do was pray: I prayed we she would be okay, we would be able to bring her back to our home, and that God wasn’t taking her.  I was so fearful!  Claire immediately woke up when the ambulance hit a pot hole and then started to pull off her oxygen mask and fought the EMT when he put it back on her.

We were admitted to the Emergency Department where there were more questions and more checking of Claire.  She started to act more like herself: wanted to walk, trying to pull off all the cords and wanted to feed her baby doll.  They ran a test and it came back clear and they were ready to just transfer us to be monitored through the night…. until… they came into check her ears (she had just had tubes), stuck the triangular device in her right ear and she immediately seized again.  This time it looked like a seizure and she convulsed a little more.  It was a little shorter than the first time.  They then loaded her with some anti seizure medicine and let her recover until they began to run more tests and transfer us to the ICU at Riley Children’s Hospital.

It was a long day & night to say the least.
With each test came more fear.
We cried… a lot, we prayed… even more, and fear overwhelmed my heart.  

The outpouring love from family & friends was the only thing that kept us going.  The number of voicemails, text messages, and Facebook posts and messages we got were incredible!  There were people all over this country praying for Claire!  Our family… our friends…. Friends of family… family members of friends… friends of friends… fraternity brothers…. friends from the Y… co-workers… my grad school family… friends from high school I haven’t talked to in years… friends from our church… friends from the church Josh grew up in… the list goes on.  I even got a message from a girl we met on a cruise we took 2.5 years ago who worked at Riley and wanted to visit and say hi when she was at work the next day and that she would be praying for our sweet girl.  I met this girl on a cruise, we became “Facebook friends”, but we never kept in touch or hung out and she was kind enough to reach out to me, send me a personal message, offer her prayers, and come to our room to say hello.  My heart was just overwhelmed with her kindness… the kindness of everyone, really!

Luckily we never got to see the girl because she worked the night shift on Sunday and after a long day on Saturday, a sleepless night and many rounds with doctors on Sunday morning we were released to go home!  The cause for Claire’s two seizures are still unknown, but we do know it is not anything major or what the neurologist called “scary”: no bleeding of the brain, no tumor, no swelling, etc.  The doctors say because it was 48 hours after her ear tubes it couldn’t be related to them, but our parental instincts are making us feel differently.

In the meantime, Claire is on anti-seizure medicine and will have an MRI on January 13th.  Each day without a seizure my fear decreases… a little.  I am hypersensitive to any move that even resembles the beginning of one of her seizures.  Each day I cry a little less and Praise Our Lord more, giving him thanks that our sweet girl is in our home laughing, crying and being the little girl we love and adore.

The image of her laying lifeless on our floor, giving her CPR and running her to the ambulance still taunts our minds.  We so bad want it to go away, but at the same time we never want to forget how we felt so we can continue to be grateful for each day we have and remember what a blessing it is to be together in this Earthly life- it is short.

The care we were given at Riley was amazing!  In just 30 hours we were given a new appreciation for the doctors, nurses and staff at a hospital that is in our own city- we will forever be supportive.  We were humbled by the other families at Riley.  There were children on our floor who had been there for what seemed to be weeks and we know there are children in that hospital that will never leave. On that day, 5 days ago, we had a glimpse  of a world we never want to see again… a world we don’t wish upon anyone… a world that will forever be in our hearts, in our minds and in our prayers.

Sometimes we don’t understand God’s plan… we just have to trust it is His plan….

Through this plan he taught us to trust in Him: He is faithful.  He taught us to take more time to pray not just for our family and loved ones, but for people we do not even know.  He taught us to be grateful for each moment we have together as it is a true gift.

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
– Philippians 4: 6-7

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Contentment Redefined

It is a New Year.  As I log onto social media of all forms I am immediately blinded by the resolutions of many family and friends.

Don’t get me wrong, as Josh and I celebrated NYE in the comfort of our own home, we got out our family notebook and jotted down the highlights of the year, the not-so-great items and our goals for next year.  Although this year, our list seemed different, our focus and ambitions have changed.

Often times we find our ambition can be overpowering.  The desire to climb the ladder in a career, start a small business or non-for-profit, run more miles, do more pull-ups, serve more people, read more books, write more articles and blog entries… the list goes on and we often find ourselves always trying to do and be more instead of being just content with our current state.

So as we enter this New Year our word of the year is: CONTENMENT

Really, contentment redefined.  What does it mean to be content in our own present life?  This does not mean we don’t have goals or ambitions for this New Year.  For us it is finding that peace and contentment in life’s current state: slowing down, cherishing each giggle, appreciating each cry, and being perfectly happy with our current life.

I will…
Pray more,
Live simpler,
Want less,
And be my best….
Because I know some people are not as blessed.

 I will…
worry less,
laugh more,
not beat myself up over a missed workout,
or a chocolate chip cookie (or two)…
Because I know some people are not as blessed. 

I will…
Cherish each laugh of my little girl,
Embrace her messes,
Appreciate even her loudest cries,
And remember a missed nap is more time with her…
Because I know some people are not as blessed.

 I will…
Hug my husband tighter,
Be more intentional as I listen,
Be more grateful of his work,
And not be annoyed by his kisses as I cook…
Because I know some people are not as blessed.

I will be…
CONTENT,
With the life I have…
Because what other way is there to live? 

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