Planning a wedding is my nightmare

Before I get too far into this post, I would like to preface it with a reminder that this is a place of love and respect and I mean no insult to anyone who disagrees with me or chooses differently than me – especially those of you who I may have stood up for at your very own weddings… all 12 were very lovely and beautiful and totally worth it to see you smile and beam in love all day. Yes, you read that right, 12.

That being said, much like having babies, planning a wedding is just not for me.

In fact, it is downright one of my biggest nightmares.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I love Michael VERY much (like a ridiculous, makes you sick to your stomach amount) and DO very much want to be his wife, partner for life and permanent fixture for his babies to rely on. What I do not want is to plan a wedding; a day that costs a BAJILLION dollars and causes a shit ton of anxiety, stress and unnecessary ulcers. And before you get into it, I know, I know, it doesn’t have to be like that.

But it will.

Of all 12 I have officially been a part of, I can clearly remember a moment during or in the planning leading up to the day where I thought, “Holy shit, no way am I going to have a wedding if THIS is what I will have to deal with”.

The THIS being any or all of the following:

  1. The financial strain: Regardless of how much money you’re free to spend, have saved or hope to make at your wedding, it is outright INSANE to spend the amount of a substantial down payment on a house on one day that in all honesty will not matter when you’re standing 25 years deep or become part of the statistical nonsense of those that end in divorce. It’s ONE day and for it to cost any more than I make in a month, is insane.
  2. Unreasonable guests, parents, grandparents, etc. RSVP’ing people who were not addressed on the invitation: PEOPLE, the invite is addressed a certain way for a reason and adding people to your response card is incredibly tacky. If you don’t like that someone wasn’t invited – don’t go! I think it completely reasonable for the couple to be EXTREMELY picky about who shares in their special day and have every right to select who is or is not invited.
  3. Unreasonable guests, parents, grandparents pushing to have certain people invited who you don’t even know or like for that matter: The rule of thumb should be (within reason of course bar the odd relative or oldest friend that lives far, far away so you have not yet met their partner of 3 years, etc.) you should not be meeting anyone for the first time during one of the most important days in your life. And if you can’t see them at the next handful of milestones in your life, I don’t care what blood line they’re attached to, you should not be forced to invite them because you might upset someone.decide-inviting-wedding-ecard-someecards
  4. Unreasonable requests of the guests, parents, grandparents, etc. for food, venue, dress, ANYTHING TO DO WITH YOUR WEDDING:  Is it really so rude to remind people that it is not about them? It is about the couple celebrating their love in a way that is expressive of them. And if what the couple chooses offends you, you should probably check your knickers, remove the large knot causing you to be such an opinionated, uptight, rude being, and check your ego at the door – your opinion is NOT important for this day. You may think very highly of yourself and your importance, however let me be the one to tell you, unless the couple asks for you to weigh in because they also feel you are of equal importance – butt out.
  5. The business of getting married: Explain to me when your wedding day (of what I have experienced in modern, western culture of course) became a business transaction? When did it become a day looked at as an opportunity to make money? I have heard on numerous occasions of couples spending well outside of their means to make a better cut through the gifting process – really?! I would think on your day of love in celebration of your life together and the commitment of FOREVER that the monetary gain from making certain choices should be the farthest thing from your mind.
  6. The show, the spectacle, the bravado: To be honest, the majority of traditional wedding hoopla is a joke to me. It’s a circus during the preparations leading up to the big day, filled with unnecessary stress and emotional upheaval just to get to and through a day. It’s just a day! The pressure to preform and put on a perfect wedding is enough to send a soul like mine running for the hills, refusing to marry and staying engaged forever. In fact this has been the conversation as of late in our household – Mike is pretty sure he’ll never nail me down for a date at this point. Preparations aside, then there is the day of, where participants in the wedding rush around like crazy people, stuff themselves into uncomfortable outfits that pull, push and leave burn marks as we wear them through the day, layer on makeup and hairspray to attempt to not fall out of place as the long day drags out. What happened to the purity of the act of marriage? The simplistic beauty in the vows being said, the romantically intimate moments not dressed up with flowers and veils and sparkles and linens and lighting and candles and, and, and. Where did the fierce protection of the sanctity of the promise you’re making become less important than the way everyone looks, what they say and where they stand?
  7. I loved our day, BUT statements: I need all of my fingers and toes to count the amount of times I have heard that a couple wished they did it smaller, simpler, didn’t focus so much on the details and things, and more on the promises they were making and the love they were sharing – and more importantly that they did it for them and not for their parents, grandparents, guests, etc. I can tell you that number is almost if not equal to the 12 I have been a part of, not counting of course the weddings I have attended and heard the same uttering of wishes. The day should be for you and only you. The fact that you have invited your loved ones to witness it should be the secondary thought to the wedding – not the focus of the day.
  8. You’re getting MARRIED: Now this one is less from the wedding’s I’ve been a part of and more just a general observation, but the flippancy with which some people take on the vow of marriage is probably my number one reason for not wanting to plan a wedding – I am shit scared of becoming the rising statistic of the divorced population. I am one of those people that thinks a marriage vow – one that is used to join you in union for life – should be made for life. Don’t get me wrong, I do understand and am not speaking about the cases where abuse is present and it becomes a matter of life and death to get out. What does make me quiver at the state of our societal views of marriage is that when it’s no longer fun and exciting and new and fresh and you’ve had to get through your share of shit together, people seem to eventually give up. They walk away, they stop fighting for their relationship, they turn their backs and they stop accepting challenges as a team. They stop trying and working on themselves for their partner. If your partner doesn’t challenge you to be a better person and inspire you to take the steps to do so now, please, please, please consider what you are promising before you say your vows. Michael and I have been together long enough now that we participated in many of our friend’s weddings at the begging of our relationship that are now divorced and either engaged or already married a second time – for no other reason then they thought they could either change each other, or that nothing would change and things would be peachy. The whole ’till death do us part portion seems to be lost on those entering into marriage these days. It’s supposed to be for better or worse, not until your partner shows you their worst so you move onto better. It’s not just one day, it’s a lifetime of commitment, of work and of love. I place so much importance on taking this step with Michael that I am totally okay with taking our sweet, sweet time – and thankfully, so is he.71f5c5789c65acd4cc72c48d1a1eb800
  9. The Bridezilla effect: I know now, after round 1 through to 12, that no bride is immune to the bridezilla effect at one point or another (or in some serious cases, all the way through) during their wedding planning/day. And I desperately do not want to become this version of myself if I also do not carry the immunity to it – which let’s be honest, I probably don’t. I have watched the sweetest souls become the worst versions of themselves under the pressure they put themselves under to have “the perfect day”. I get that some women…okay, okay most women, think differently than me and have been planning their wedding day since they were 5 years old and just couldn’t wait for their prince to come along and marry them so they could and NOTHING will ever stand in the way of them getting what they want. I get it. I really do, even if I don’t understand you. However, just because you are getting married and are stressed and have Aunt June breathing down your neck because you didn’t invite her daughter – your cousin, you’re reminded – that you haven’t seen in 8 years and doesn’t know you or your fiance to your wedding, does not mean lashing out on the people that are around you is acceptable or even excusable. What makes me even crazier are the people that use their wedding as an excuse for being giant assholes to their wedding party, friends, family, parents, etc. and expect them to understand like it’s okay because you’re getting married. It’s just so crazy to me to think that the event YOU are putting on for yourself that is causing YOU stress because of the choices YOU are making is a reasonable governance for your behaviour – it’s not and you’re just being a five-year old stuck in a grown woman’s body and I really don’t want to get down to that level.

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I am sure I could conjure up a few more points, but I think you get the picture. I could also peg part of my lack of desire to the fact that I have planned 12 with my ladies and event plan in a professional capacity which can take some of the joy out of it – but I think it’s really just one of those things that I don’t have the natural desire for, like babies. And before you mark me as a commitment-phobe or a heartless wench, please understand that I am very much in love and excited to spend my days making Michael crazy – I just know that for me, the idea of planning and executing a wedding makes me want to go find Elvis in Vegas and runaway with my groom into the Nevada sunset.

~Toni

 

 

 

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So you want to take indoor photos

Indoor photos are very simple, and pretty much similar to the outdoors in terms of rule, but when you are working an event and are taking more candid shots than posed, here are a few rules to guide you through an indoor event. I just photographed Jacqui’s bridal shower, so I am going to use a few of my favorites for examples.

Lighting
I can never stress this enough: make sure you have a decent light source. Flash is 100% acceptable if you like, but the problem there lies in washed out guests, and no one wanst to look like they haven’t seen the sun in over 100 years. Find a good source of light for posed shots, and work with what you have for the rest. I know this is going to go over some people’s head, especially since I am talking photography, and I tend to ramble using ‘photog jargon,’ but I am going to do my best here. If you use a flash, make sure you bounce it! That means either getting a diffuser for your flash, make your own, or learn to bounce your flash off the ceiling/walls so that the light caresses the faces of the people, and doesn’t end up blinding everyone in the process.

Excellent Light use, if I do say so myself!

Excellent light use, if I do say so myself!

Smiles
There are so many people who do not smile for pictures, and can I just say as a photographer it kind of sucks when the only photos you get of people are either closed-lipped smiles (which can really look like a grimace of pain), or no expression at all. It is best not to focus on them, but capture what you can of them when they’re as close to smiling as they’re going to get.

Toni always gives good smile.

Toni always gives good smile.

Posed
As always with posed shots, it can look boring, and people can also look crazy in them. Best thing to do is be comfortable taking the photos and they will be more comfortable getting the photos taken of them.

No cardboard cut outs here! The happy couple!

No cardboard cut outs here! The happy couple!

Candid
People can make amazing faces when you are watching them. Beautiful expressions and happy light-up-their-face smiles may only happen once in a while but catching them is always a blessing. Sometimes you can miss those moments and get the funny faces as well. Best thing to do for that person, who looks like they are trying to eject something from their nose using their mind, is to not have taken it at all. I call it the photographers code. Sort of a “Thou shall not post pictures of people if they look utterly ridiculous.”

At the end of the day, I caught this one of JQ. She is so beautiful!

At the end of the day, I caught this one of Jacqui. She is so beautiful!

Overall, for indoor photography just remember to focus on the light and that flashes can be tricky at times. Just smile, have fun, and watch for the moment.

~ Andreah

Breaking tradition…well, sorta

My family has always said that I ask too many questions, some of which may be comical or the answer may not be what I want to hear, but still I continue to ask them. How else will I learn? Or have pointless knowledge of everything under the sun!?

Have you ever asked where some traditions come from, like for instance why do you blow out candles on your birthday? Or why does every Portuguese household almost always have a rooster in it? Well, I sit here searching through endless pictures of bouquets, hair styles, veils, decor, budget-friendly-anything-at-all to get ideas for the upcoming nuptials, and I find myself asking, why? Why and where did so many of wedding traditions come from?

Why does the bride hold flowers? There are two thoughts on this tradition. The first, according to some, is that brides held flowers in order to cover up their odor (clearly this was B.D. (Before Deodorant)). Every bride wants to look their best on the day, so why not add a little pizzazz with lilac or rose scent? Nothing says “Marry me!” like a freshly flowered bride! The other thought states that brides would hold flowers or bouquets which were made with garlic or other extreme-scented herbs to ward off evil spirits and bad omens. Again, starting off on the right foot with this marriage – smelling good and bad-omen-free. For our nuptials, my decision to hold flowers was neither of these – it should be known that I will shower on the morning of the wedding and that there won’t be garlic or thyme in my bouquet. I will, however, be holding a bouquet on the day because they are beautiful and because that is what you are supposed to do. My sister did it, my mother did it, my grandmother did it and I am going to follow THAT tradition.

Everyone knows that the bride and groom are not supposed to see each other before the ceremony, but why? I’ll let you in on a little secret…I tried to convince Cody to see each other the day of the wedding. That we could sleep in our bed together the night before and then go our separate ways the morning of our nuptials after having a yummy breakfast together. You would have thought I was suggesting to sell our firstborn. The origins of this now tradition came from superstitions when arranged marriages were more common than meet-cute ones. The families of the betrothed were worried that seeing one another before their binding of ties would cause them to make a break for it! For our day, our avoidance is based on surprise. I want to see Cody’s face when he sees me all dressed in white for our day. The groom’s look of love always makes the best pictures.

In all of the planning, I have not yet decided on the old saying of “Something old, something new, something borrowed and something blue.” Not many know why these requirements are in place, but this is a tradition I can get behind. Something old is for the connection and ties to remain with the families of the bride and groom once the couple are married. Something new is for the new union being created and something borrowed is from the bride’s family to show their love for her, and to show they are walking with her as she marries her prince.

We are coming near the four-month mark ’til the big day (122 days to be exact (according to all of the wedding apps, gadgets and gizmos I have)). There are so many things to do and events coming up that my head is swimming with questions, answers and dates I can’t keep straight. I have to-do lists coming out of my wazoo to try and stay organized and on top of everything, with everything swirling around me, I can’t help but think onto this time next year and what that will look like.

This is, after all, just the beginning.

Party on!

Party on!

~ Jacqui

The darnedest questions

When a child asks a question, there is no hidden agenda, no secret motive, they simply are just curious and want to know; however, they are very impressionable. Who their parents choose as their immediate circle have a direct impact on who they are – those people are their entire world.  Everyone looks different, dresses differently, has different personalities, body types, etc., which means new things to little minds bring out the best questions EVER!

Question: Why did you write on yourself?

Grown-up answer: I have two tattoos, so far, which are located on my wrists. When I wear anything that does not have sleeves they are there for the world to see, including you, Little One.  One reads “força” which means strength in Portuguese, representing my dad who has taught me in many ways to be strong; and the other one is “beauté” which is French for beauty for my momma, to whom I attribute my dashing good looks! I wrote on myself to always remind me where I came from. And Lillian when you are 18 and want to get tattoos, I am going to tell you to wait, a year, two years, three years even, and think long and hard like I did, and make it meaningful. And regardless of what others may say, it’s your body. Your mom may have a different response to this.

Actual answer: Because I was silly and wanted to write I myself. It’s something you do when you are older, much much older…like 40.

Question: Where are the rest of your panties?

Grown up answer: I have no idea! No, really. When you grow up, suddenly it becomes the norm to pay more for less fabric. It becomes more uncomfortable to wear something that is more “appealing.” Don’t get me wrong, sometimes less fits better with an outfit, and sometimes it’s nice to wear something scandalous.

Actual answer: My bum ate them.

Question: Why do you have owies on your face?

Grow up answer: Well beautiful, they are called zits because I like chocolate and chips and sometimes fall asleep with makeup on. I also touch my face when I am stressed, which happens very often when you become a “grown up.”

Actual answer: I dunno, Baby Girl, I just don’t know.

Question: Why did you kiss Uncle Cody? Are you getting married?

Grow up answer: I kissed Uncle Cody because I wanted to. Unfortunately you don’t always love people when you kiss them and you aren’t always going to marry them. You may think you love them, but you will find out the hard way that you have to kiss frogs to find your prince. And yes, Baby Girl, we are getting married.

Actual answer: Yes, Baby Girl, I love him and that is the only time you should kiss someone – when you love them and only when you are going to marry them.

Sophie’s response: Ew, gross!

~ Jacqui

Countdown is ON!

This coming Friday is June 6th. Why am I telling you this? Well, other than it being a Friday of the summer months (think of the activities you can do – unless you are like me and work), it will mark the one year countdown to I DO!

When Cody proposed, the most asked question would be, “When is the big day?” At the time it hit me in the stomach as we hadn’t talked about it, we had just gotten engaged! Were we doing it wrong? Am I a horrible bride already? Should I have a date? Do they think that because I don’t have a date I am not excited to get married? Because I am! Would it be a year? Two years? Three years? What would the wedding look like? Can we save enough money? Can we afford to get married? Will our family be able to attend? What food will we serve? What if we can’t find a venue? What about our wedding party and their budgets, as I have three bridesmaids who are also getting married, one with a baby on the way and one who is a single-income family. How will I make this event fun for everyone? So. Many. Questions. With no answers… I had no answers. I didn’t know. I hate not knowing.

Then there came the warnings and disclaimers from those seasoned vets – Do it for you! Don’t make cuts for any one! It’s your day – they would say. The day will be a blur. It doesn’t matter what other people want! Was this supposed to make me feel better? Yes, it is our day, Cody’s and mine, but whatever we plan will be what we want – and we want our family and friends to look back and remember that the day was filled with love… and that they had a really good time.

This past Saturday, my Saturday morning running group (which for this Saturday was myself, my two sisters (Toni and Julia) and our guest blogger Kim) and I climbed a local trail, Webster Falls. On our way back, we were all complaining of hunger, so we stopped by Starbucks. It was pretty early and other than the employees who seemed less than impressed that four women who were high on endorphins were giggling away in their lounge area, it was empty.

As we observed those coming and going, one group stood out among them – a group of young girls. As they ordered and dressed their lattes, they proceeded to line up their white cups with the adorning of green and took pictures, more than likely for Instagram, more memories of their day. Rather than the bistro writing their names they had requested their titles for the day: Bride, Maid Of Honor, Bridesmaid.

Bride, bridesmaids, matron of honor Starbucks style

It all became real, suddenly my mind raced to the date. Soon it would be June. Crunch time. I am so excited! This year is going to fly by, just like the last year did.

~ Jacqui

 

To us!

Eight years ago on this long weekend, something fairly magical happened.

Ben and I got married.

Just babies

Just babies

It was a wedding 30 months in the making.

It was a wedding that almost got cancelled because I was just graduating and Ben had lost his job, leaving us both unemployed and penniless. It didn’t get cancelled.

It was a wedding where we only met one couple that day – we knew everyone else we had invited. Both of us. All of them.

It was a day where we made official what we had already been practicing for our entire dating relationship – the delicate dance that is living each other’s lives with each other for each other.

It was cold and wet and rainy and there was some snow and very little sun.

It was perfect.

In the eight years since, we have held three of our children and said good bye to one.

We have survived our first apartment and bought our first house. We’re still in the first house, and we’re dreaming of the forever house.

We have watched friends get together, fall in love, get married, break up, get divorced, have babies, and go the distance.

We have worked a total of nine different jobs between the two of us. NINE. We have been unemployed a lot. We have worried about money a lot. We have never gone without what we’ve needed. NEVER.

We have worked hard in our church together. We have taken time away from our church apart. We have taken time away from our church together. We are working out what church means to our family right now. We never thought this would be a conversation or a question. Marriage has been surprising.

We have had really good times, where there was little to worry about and a lot to celebrate. We have had dark times, where the hole was deep and the pain was great and the light at the end of the tunnel was incredibly dim. In all the times we have stuck it out together.

We are a team. It’s what makes us strong and makes us work.

We are best friends. Seriously. I love talking to Ben. LOVE IT. It makes it tricky when I’m grumpy with him. That’s why God gave me so many sisters in family and in life. I’m sure of it.

We are in love. Not the shiny, new love of a dating couple, or a freshly engaged couple, or a couple just coming down the aisle, but the in-love of a couple who have endured more than few battles but are standing their ground in the war.

We take time to look up from the chaos around us, from the nuttiness that is having three kids under 6, and really seeing each other to make sure we’re both still okay.

We also forget to take time because of the nuttiness and we pay a price for that. And then we take the time.

We have a lot of stuff figured out. We have nothing figured out.

We are doing our very best with what we have. And it’s not going too horribly so far.

But we know it can all change in a second, an instant, a moment. It will not be the same tomorrow. It might be painfully the same tomorrow.

Eight years ago this weekend, friends and family came to our little town to help us celebrate us. And this weekend we went on a sad, old-married-couple date (dinner, shopping, hanging out with Dianne, Ben’s mom) to celebrate. But the date wasn’t sad. It was lovely. It was quiet, with conversation, hot food, and the best company.

Eight years ago I said yes to the boy beside me, having no idea what the heck I was agreeing to. Eight years later I’d say yes all over again. In a heartbeat. Because it was by far the smartest, best decision I’ve ever made and making it again over and over every day has proven to be the greatest blessing.

Funny faces

Ben – I love you. We’re 8! Here’s to the next 8 and beyond. I’m so glad it’s with you.

~ Julia

Guest post – Blessed

To celebrate our 50th post, we asked our mom to write a guest blog. Thank you so much for reading with us this far! We can’t wait for the next 50. And to our Mommita – we LOVE you!

As I anxiously await each new submission to the blog, I realized something: I crave connection with my babies every day. Even as they live their lives, I still want and need to be a part of their lives. After all, I am a mom and will always be. Oh, I have added a few titles to my repertoire, Grammie being my most favorite of new additions next to girlfriend. Before this blog there were days when I had no connection with them either by phone, chat, email, text or Facebook updates. Those days I felt almost empty; something was missing. You see, my greatest accomplishment and joy are my four babies. Just thinking about them makes me cry with joy and pride. When my girls asked me to write for the blog, I responded, “You know I am going to cry,” to which Julia and Toni immediately responded, “I know,” and, true to form, I did.

I love being their mom and always have. I never doubted that I would be proud of each of them, that I would be there for them, that I would do whatever was needed to help them, guide them or rescue them. As I see what lives in their hearts, I see the girls I know, love and adore. I am blessed!

The ladies, back in the day

The ladies, back in the day (L to R: Toni, Mom, Andreah, Jacqui, Julia)

My girls, each in their own way, were my strength as I ventured to take the most challenging of steps in my life to be me again, a woman, a single woman. They were my cheering section, along with their men and the many friends, Dianne and Paula to just name a few, and family. With each step I took, from renovating the house in preparation to sell, to moving to a new town, they were there. It was hard for me to find the courage I needed. I was scared – let’s face it, I had been a part of a couple for 28 years. I had never done this before, be just me. But I am absolutely sure that it was even harder for my girls to see me venture out, dating (we call it shopping for shoes), harder for them to start a new life without the two parents they loved not be in one place.

Oh, what had I done? How have I failed them? What kind of example am I to end my marriage? This was all I could think as I watched each of them struggle to find the balance in all this. It broke my heart to see the impact on each. When I expressed this to Julia so many moons ago, she said something to me that has stuck: you have shown us that it is okay to say enough, it is okay to say this is not good for me and move on. I hear my OH so wise daughter each time I make a change in my life.

Don’t get me wrong – if I had to do it all over again I would not change a thing about our life as a family. I loved my life, loved being his wife, rallied in the title that will be mine forever- Mommy, Mom, Mommita – joyful in what was “our family” no matter how flawed it was, it was ours. Through all the trials and joys, that is where we grew, where the bond as women began. Without all those experiences we would not be who we are today – strong, independent and dependent, loving, giving and, yes, emotional women.

A wise man once said to me that if you put God in your life and seek His favour first, all things are possible. He was right. Through many prayers, I found an amazing man who I loved and lost. I was lead to an amazing job that I did not apply for but got that I love and still have today. The many of the lessons in my life have shown me that it is okay to be just me, that no matter what society says I should have done, I did my very best. I am not perfect, but that is okay too. Over time and putting God first in my morning prayers and pleadings through the tough moments, I have found a new love that makes me joyful and filled with laughter. With that love comes new joy and even more family to love. I wake up every morning in love with my man, in love with our families, so happy to be me. I am blessed as only God can bless me, with a life that is worth living with no regrets!

~ Christine (a.k.a. Mom)

If you’d like to write a guest post and join in the Weather Vane Sisterhood fun, email us at weathervanesisterhood at gmail dot com. We’d love to have you!

Elsa, we need to talk

No, I don’t want to chat about your movie Frozen that is warming the princess-loving hearts of little girls the world over. And no, I don’t even want to chat about your catchy jingle “Let it Go” that has spawned spoofs all over the Internet.

I need to chat with you about the momentous change you brought about in my house with one flick of your ice-tossing wrist.

I’m talking about Sophie’s crown.

Sophie had been wearing crowns off and on for a while before a purple crown, given to her by Toni, became a permanent fixture on her head.

She would put it on first thing in the morning, much like I put on my glasses or Ben and Lillian put in their hearing aids. She would wear it regardless of occasion or event. It would stay on her head the whole day, even while we were reading bedtime stories. And then it would get taken off at night and put either on the bookshelf beside her bed so it was waiting for her in the morning, or it would get put up somewhere safe in Mommy and Daddy’s room to avoid getting stolen, or worse, broken by her evil roommate, Lillian.

Princess Ready-For-Christmas Sophie

Princess Ready-For-Christmas Sophie

She wore her crown to the first day of school and every day at school, under her winter toque, while she was painting and learning and playing. Her teachers called her princess. The crossing guard asked her about it daily. She was even Princess Sophie during the church Christmas pageant, wearing her crown on top of her sheep costume.

Princess Sheep Sophie

Princess Sheep Sophie

She was Princess Sophie, without a doubt or hesitation, for months.

And then, you came along, Elsa.

You with your chilly magic and demeanor. You with your adorable sister who just wants to build a snowman with you in the actual snow! You with all of the responsibilities and grief and loneliness that goes into being a broken, orphaned, queen-to-be Disney Princess.

You decided to rebel, to embrace your inner ice princess, to throw caution and summer to the wind and build yourself an ice castle in the mountains. And, while you were at it, you transformed yourself into a hot, long-braided, girl for whom the cold doesn’t bother anyway who doesn’t wear a crown.

Oh, Elsa. You just HAD to throw your crown across your newly-fractaled great room. You just had to decide you were going to let it all go.

I knew the day was coming when Sophie would stop wearing her crown. I understood that she would not go to high school with it, or post-secondary, or even senior kindergarten. I realized that the crown-wearing days were numbered from the moment she started making it part of her everyday.

I wondered how it would end, though. I worried over bullies, peer pressure, or some goofy adult who wouldn’t get it and ask her to stop. I hoped it was a gentle break-up, not a traumatic one. I hoped it would fade without her encountering the ass-holey ridicule that everyone faces as a child at some point. Oh, how I hoped. And prayed.

And then one day, like magic, like Disney magic, she just stopped wearing it. She decided she didn’t want a crown. This was also around the time that she wanted to wear a French braid in her hair instead of the heart-crushingly adorable braided pigtails she had been sporting.

The (Forlorn) Crown

The (Forlorn) Crown

I must have asked her a dozen times that morning if she was sure she wanted to leave the crown behind. Each time she confidently told me that she did indeed want to go to school without it.

I couldn’t figure it out. And I was a little worried. Did someone say something? Did something happen? Did she get in trouble with it? Was she okay?

A week after she stopped wearing it I had an epiphany. Elsa. 

It was youElsa. You who changed everything. You who inspired a princess to be a princess without her crown.

Lillian had received Frozen as a birthday gift and it had pretty much been on repeat since then. And Sophie decided she wanted to be you. To be the queen. To let it go.

I’m not mad. I’m just…stunned. The movie that finally talks about the fact you shouldn’t marry someone you just met, the movie that gave us the sneakiest villain in recent memory, the movie whose soundtrack plays on a loop in my brain when I’m trying to sleep at night, convinced my oldest baby she didn’t need to wear a crown.

I guess what we need to chat about is how I want to thank you. Thank you for making it a gentle transition. Thank you for not being a bully or a jerk. Thank you for not being a self-esteem crusher, but rather a self-esteem booster. Thank you for picking your true self, making your sister wait to marry, and for singing a song that talks about empowerment instead of dreaming of a prince. Thank you.

Elsa

Elsa

But next time, could you give me a little warning? Without her crown, she just looks so darn grown up.

My grown-up princess

My grown-up princess

 

Love,

~ Julia

Guest Post – Mrs. Almost-DiCaprio

Julia’s sister-in-law (and the sisterhood’s honorary sister) is guest blogging with us today. Thank you for writing with us, Kim! You can catch Kim baking up some beautiful (and delicious!) treats at her bakery, Y.U.M.

~ ~ ~

I am a loving mother and devoted wife, but last night I dream cheated.

dream cheat [dreem cheet]
verb

1. to experience sexual infidelity or emotional attachments during a subconscious state with someone other than your partner

In my dream I was being pursued by Leonardo DiCaprio.

This Leo:

Not this Leo:

In my dream, Leo was focused on me regardless of the other attractive women present, and was reassuring me of my beauty. I felt self-conscious around him; he is an Oscar-nominated actor who normally dates super models who feast on lettuce and lemon water and I am a mom with stretch marks and yesterday’s mascara smudged into the bags underneath my eyes.

Nothing crazy happened; it was all about the subtle details. He nudged my leg with his knee while we sat at a table with a group of people. He gave me a trinket and it made me feel special. I never actually dream cheat in a scandalous way, my subconscious won’t allow it. Soon Leo was trying to kiss me and corner me in dark rooms and proceed with his busy hands.

Seriously, who wouldn’t want a piece of this?

Kim looking like Cousin It

Sexy Kim

Or this?

Kim as a Spartan

Spartan Kim

It was at that point that I told Mr. DiCaprio that I was married. Enough was enough, he needed to know that although he loved my real-woman physique, I belonged to another and he could never have me. He was upset, but respected me and understood.

If this ever happens in real life, I’ve heard it’s easier to ask for forgiveness than permission.

I love my husband, more than I did yesterday and more than I did the day before. He is my soul mate, my teammate, my best friend and the father of my child. When they say opposites attract, they aren’t kidding. Craig and I are almost polar opposites, but it’s what makes us us. We click together like puzzle pieces and bring out the best in each other. We have been together since 2006. That’s 8 years or 29% of my life and I choose him every day.

Craig and Kim

Craig and Kim

He’s so lucky.

~ Kim

If you’d like to write a guest post and join in the Weather Vane Sisterhood fun, email us at weathervanesisterhood at gmail dot com. We’d love to have you!

Fairy-tale ending

Once upon a time, when I was a little girl, every story ended in a happily ever after. And the happily ever after was always very simple and straightforward – find the prince, get married, the end.

As a teenager, I genuinely thought that’s what was supposed to happen, but maybe with a bit more drama. Be alone, find the boy, find yourself, lose the boy, take a huge chance, win the boy, get married, the end.

During university, I had a hunch that the complication probably extended a bit further, but essentially the end was the same – get married, be happy, the end.

Unless your true love died.

During my second year of university, I met my prince, Ben, and fell in love. And in the summer before my last semesters of school, he proposed and I said yes. My happily ever after was on its way.

Funny faces

My prince and me (a.k.a. Ben and Julia)

There are things about marriage and the happily ever after bit they don’t even mention in movies. Or fairy tales. Or anywhere, really.

Here are some of the surprises that I have encountered in my almost 8 years of marriage:

1. You realize everybody poops. And farts. And burps. And wakes up with morning breath. And has disgusting grooming habits. And isn’t as perfumed and plucked, primped and dressed-up as they appear on the first date, or the fifth date, or even the 1-year-dating-anniversary date. Everybody is gross. And when you’re married (or living with someone), this is a shocking revelation. The only character who I think might not be able to hide these things so easily would be the Beast.

2. Jobs are hard. And sometimes you lose them. And then you have no money and you’re worried and now instead of just wondering how you’re going to pay for nights out or your car, you have to worry about how you’re going to support a family. They don’t talk about that in Cinderella. Or in any other fairy tale. Because someone is ALWAYS royalty with either a ton of cash or a crazy number of really valuable assets. Like castles. And horses. With fancy carriages made of gold.

3. You can’t go home after a fight. You’re usually fighting at home, which means you have to figure out how to sleep in the same bed (or same building, depending on how mad you are) without leaving in a huff and just calling or visiting with flowers in the morning. And when you get married, you’ll be told a dozen times that you should never go to sleep angry. They don’t tell you that that means you’ll be up until 4 a.m. and then a right mess for your day job the next day, which means your job just got harder (see number 2).

4. Your spouse becomes your best friend and then you can’t complain to your best friend about your fight. Or trouble. Or thing that’s driving you bonkers. Because whining about your husband, wife, partner, love-machine to your husband, wife, partner, love-machine is just awful. And awkward. And can lead to more fighting, trouble, and stuff that’s driving you bonkers.

5. Sometimes it’s boring. Like when you’ve run out of dinners you want to make. Or you don’t want to watch TV again tonight because you’ve been doing that for the past 7 weeks. Or you don’t want to go out or do take-out because you’re getting sick of it. Or you don’t know what else to talk about because you’ve both covered your day in five minutes flat and now you have a whole evening stretched out in front of you.

6. Sometimes it’s way too exciting. Or full of too many things to tackle together. Like losing your job, having someone close to you die, watching other married friends go through a divorce or infertility or a family tragedy, having your roof leak, your car break down, or a pet be really sick. Sometimes you crave boring and boring is nowhere to be found.

7. You should still date your spouse. Which sounds ridiculous. Isn’t it the dating ritual’s whole purpose to find you your soul mate so you never have to date again? Or is that another movie lie? All I know is that there’s nothing nicer than getting dressed up (yes, fancier than yoga pants and cotton shorts), picking out an actual restaurant (nothing with a drive-thru), and spending an evening together or a day together, where you’re just a couple. Not two people with busy yet boring lives. Two people with conversations to have and reconnecting to happen and a recharge on things. Inviting Mark Wahlburg wouldn’t hurt. I don’t think.

8. Happily ever after is messy. Especially if you decide to have children. Or dogs. Or iguanas. Or collect vacations. Whatever you do with your married time, happily ever after is not the end. And it’s not the beginning. It’s the middle. The bit between falling in love and saying good-bye. The part where you live the life you’re building together. The part that actually counts. And that was probably the most surprising thing for me – the wedding wasn’t the end. It was the beginning of the very best part there is.

Best picture

~ Julia