Tuesday, June 13, 2016
To an onlooker, we would have looked like a strange family “raising the roof” around a table in our country club’s restaurant. We were really laughing as my father mimed “pushing up daisies” while talking about his wishes surrounding his death. This was probably 15 years ago, but my father has always been very clear about the end of his life. Daddy practiced orthopedics for almost 42 years and only just retired a few weeks ago, so our discussions about death were always very clinical. We know what interventions he does and does not want, we know he wants to be cremated, we know that we’re not supposed to take any extraordinary measures. We talked about it so frequently that it became part of our family narrative – but it seemed so far away.
A few years ago, Daddy called a family meeting when I was in town visiting to talk about an upcoming back surgery that he had to have. He brought up the topic again – “just let nature take his course,” he said, and although we knew and respected his wishes, this strong, football player, orthopedic surgeon, father to six children still seemed invincible to us.
Now, the topic has come up again – and there are cracks of light seeping through his invincibility. He’s been battling with an unidentified neuropathy and pretty rapid decline for a few years, and now we’re starting to have to make those decisions about interventions. What we joked about 15 years ago doesn’t seem very funny anymore. It seems sad and hard and impossible. So, like my mom writes about in her blog, we are shifting our balance. We’re all coming to terms with changes this means for my father and our family. And through it all, we’re learning that sometimes the hardest decision to make is to respect someone else’s decisions.
Wednesday, June 8, 2016
I was lucky enough to have two bridal showers – one hosted in Chicago by my future sisters-in-law and the other hosted in Dayton (my hometown) by my best friend and her mom. Both of the showers were so beautiful and perfectly suited to my personality – I knew how much work the hostesses were putting into planning and orchestrating these showers, so I wanted to show them some appreciation! As I talked about with our favors though, I prefer to give meaningful, consumable gifts (probably because that’s also what I prefer to receive!).
Enter: homemade limoncello and vanilla extract.
Homemade vanilla extract and chocolate chip oatmeal quick bread.
I decided to make homemade limoncello for my sisters in law (George and I drank limoncello on our first date, so it’s meaningful to us) and it was super easy! We just zested a bunch of lemons, let them sit in some everclear for a few weeks, and then strained the zest, added a simple syrup and put it into pretty bottles.
The vanilla extract was even easier! We split a vanilla bean, put it into vodka, and then let it sit for a few weeks. Add pretty bottles and some ribbon – done! I paired the vanilla extract with a chocolate oat quick bread in a jar.
These gifts were so easy to make and they were only a small way to show how much I appreciated all the time and effort my hostesses put into the showers. Being surrounded by my loved ones on those two days gave me a glimpse of the overwhelming amount of love George and I will feel on our wedding day! We’re less than a month away now!
Mismatched tea cups for my tea party themed shower in Chicago.
“Bride to be” banner, hand painted by one of my talented sisters in law!
The crew at the Chicago shower.
Cupcakes at the Dayton shower
Colorful flowers and fun decorations
Childhood and college friends at the Dayton shower.