Friday, August 27, 2010

Pre-wedding weekend

Last weekend we celebrated Kirstan's upcoming wedding with a shower and bachelorette party that fit my sister very well.  Anytime you can blend the hip elements of New York city with the down home flavor of Chester County, PA, I would call it a success. 
We topped it all off on Sunday with a beautiful shower that was a sweet ending to a sassy weekend :) 
While planning each adventure I kept in mind Kirstan's personality and her favorite things.  New York was her destination of choice and our hotel was right up her alley.  Brunch on Saturday and crabs later in the evening were some of her favorites.  For the shower, I wanted to make sure it was personal for her, so with a some help, we made all of the decorations keeping with the colors and theme of her wedding. 
These are the favors that I made - a cost effective and cute magnet with a mix of verses, quotes, and their initials:
"The future Mrs. Cazzola" banner was an inspiration from the Ashley Ann Photography blog.  It was a collection of coffee sleeves recycled into something pretty.
Limes are must.  So was the key lime pie for dessert! 
And for a little bit of fun we added some wedding advice from the attendees. 

Kirstan's wedding advice for me at my shower 3 years ago?  "You never know what tomorrow will bring, so always live each day with Charles like it's your last!...And always be nice to your sister!"

I love this idea!  And so I thought that I would use the chalk/quote board that I had purchased for her wedding photobooth to capture not only the advice, but the people that said it.  The board could easily be made with a piece of wood, a saw, and some chalkboard paint.  Here are some of the results:

This is our Gram, she added a little spice to the day :)  This advice is purely Gram.  She is one of a kind! 

There is no bond that compares to having a sister.  Being the "little" sister, she has always been the one I look up to, the first one I call on, and the one who understands me like no one else in the world.  It is interesting to see her enter this phase of her life because it almost seems as though I see her in a whole new light.  I am so incredibly proud of her.  She has picked out someone who balances her quite well.  She's always been a good judge of the people she holds close to her!
Congratulations Kirstan!  You are so loved!

Friday, August 13, 2010

14 months

Miss Julia is 14 months old today. To celebrate, she woke up bright and early, perused the house, and decided that she would like me to blow bubbles.  So at 7:45am, we blew bubbles (in the house) - it was a pre-coffee moment, but very cute.  "Bubble" is her new word along with her continued "blue" ,"baby", "book" and now "boo" when she plays peek-a-boo.  Several months ago when Julia first started babbling, I wrote a post about her fondness of the letter "B" - as you can see, this was not just a phase. 
My favorite part of this stage is just watching her take in and process the world around her.  Julia knows the important people in her life and she now points them out in pictures.  She blows kisses to Mimi and Poppa when they call on the phone and she tries to escape to her friend "Andew" next door.   She gets excited when she hears the rooster in our backyard (no, it is not ours...long story) and she is working on her animal sounds.  She just loves her daddy - "dada" is the first words out of her mouth when she wakes up.  It is the sweetest sound!
Speaking of...the following pictures all took place under the supervision of her daddy
(I just noticed all of these beautiful moments as I looked at the pictures I had uploaded): 
Of all of the drink choices, she prefers a Coors Light. 
He is also responsible for the purchase of a potty (a year prematurely). I believe that it has a little bit to do with the fact that it saved him on shipping from Amazon, but he also believes that our child is exceptionally smart. I think he imagines that he will wake up tomorrow morning and she will be using the potty while reading the Sunday paper.

I love those legs!
Yes, she is a Cirillo!  The following picture is proof:
Somehow daddys always get away with the fun things!
Happy 14 months Julia

Saturday, August 7, 2010

The reGATHERing of me (pitstop perspective)

Most people take a step back at a point in their lives and ask themselves the simple question "How did I get here?" Some people ask it everyday others ask it only at the crossroads of life.  We all have those parts of ourselves that we'd rather forget or we just keep plugging forward in the hopes that some day things will get better.  Stopping to look back can sometimes be a scary thing.  Looking back can also reveal hidden pieces to our character - noticing what has shaped us, how we've grown, how very far we've come in life.  My friend Lori just took this great trip of looking back - I tell her it was an Eat, Pray, Love-ish kind of trip, but she hasn't read the book, she just has this wonderful gift of knowing what she needs and trusting it (it's one of my favorite qualities that she posesses!)  She took some time this summer to travel to some places that were significant throughout her life.  Words can't quite capture where she went and what it meant - that is her story to tell, but I was honored to be one of the stops on her "regathering" tour. 
Lori and I spent a life changing summer together in Arizona seven years ago.  A summer that I look back upon with complete gratitude for the freedom I encountered, but also with the ever-present shame that most of us face when our lives don't look perfect.  Lori and I were in that place together and because of that have an unspoken bond as we fought together.  My time with her made me think of the places in my life that have defined me.  It is easy to acknowledge the good - the nights at Messiah College on the swinging bridge - wrestling with life and faith...Rhodes Grove Camp - watching lives change and being part of those intimate moments in the lives of youth...the woods behind my childhood home in Landenberg - a beautiful escape, full of adventure, Baystate Medical Center on June 13th, 2009 at 12:11pm as Julia arrived into the world...these are the significant moments embraced in sheer joy.  Arizona is among the top places of change in my life - more specifically, the mountains of Wickenburg.  The journey in getting there wasn't pretty and it's easier to forget, but the notion of forgetting gives power to shame and dismisses a huge part of who I am today.  I am so thankful for my time with Lori and the chance to reconnect with the beautiful mess of memories that will continue to keep us united.   
Where are those places in your life?  The places that you think of when you ask, "how did I get here?". The places that are mundane to some people, but profoundly altering to you.  There is a healthy place of reverence in remembering - it keeps us whole. Our lives are shaped in these places - these places that are dotted with people and threaded with refining moments that help us learn and grow. 
It was so wonderful to be with someone who has that same desire to keep moving foward - I was reminded of one of our many quotes from that summer by Anne Lamott, "Hope begins in the dark, the stubborn hope that if you just show up and try to do the right thing, the dawn will come.  You wait and watch and work.  You don't give up." 
Thanks Lor!

"It's no fun living on the wall
I tried it once, but I had to fall
It was rough, but I landed on my feet
Now the whole world knows a little story about me..."
-Maggie Elliott - Sugar and Shoes

Check out Ophelia's Place - a great place that Lori is part of in New York.  It is a gathering place for support.  It is inspiring.