mis.jpg My cousin is getting married. Ben and his fiancee, Melissa, were engaged last year. They made a point to come out to our wedding in August and we hope we can return the favor and share their joy and their own big day this October! Melissa also participated in the shower my aunts and grandmother threw for me in Illinois last summer. She's a terrific gal, so much fun!
All who know me are unsurprised to see me hurl myself into the midst of all the excitement and act crazy in order to have fun and entertain. I don't even hesitate to do so in front of my relatives. Few others, though, outside the Pancoast clan can work up the wherewithal to do the same when they're with us. After all, we're pretty intimidating. Mis is an exception. She fearlessly allowed herself to be dragged into being a model in our "Toilet Paper Bride" game. Oh! And I have pictures. Ben is a lucky guy.

Of course, I'm a big fan of Ben. He and I kept touch over the years by way of email and instant messaging. In high school I depended on him for encouragement and friendship even though he lived thousands of miles away. So Melissa is lucky, too, and that's the way it should be with true love. Everybody wins.

Today I got the chance to do some shopping for them. Unfortunately I have to miss Melissa's bridal shower, thrown at my Aunt Mary's home in Illinois (the same place we had mine). It happens to fall on the same weekend Jon and I had booked reservations in Las Vegas. But I'll be there in spirit, cheering her on as the toilet paper is wound around the unsuspecting guests, silly games are played and yummy food is eaten.

queen_grandma.jpg My shower was such fun! I couldn't believe how excited everyone was to be there sharing my experience with me. My aunts made sure they covered every detail. Perfectly lovely. Cousins and aunts from both sides of my family joined to celebrate. I hammed it up, of course, singing into the egg beaters (microphones) I was given, wearing my bouquet of bows as a hat. But I also tried hard to express my appreciation. Two of my mom's closest friends were able to attend. Her Ya-Yas. And of course her big sister, Aunt Kris. Oh everyone was there! Mostly I think I'm using this entry as an exuse to put up this picture. Hail to Grandma Dot, the Queen of Bathroom Tissue!

mixer.jpg Searching through their registry at Crate & Barrel brought back some wonderful memories. Jon and I had such a fantastic time registering for gifts. And, thanks to the generosity of our friends and relatives, we received almost everything on our list. So much stuff! My kitchen is red. The brightest room in the house by far. I was overjoyed to see that Melissa had wisely chosen to register for the same bright red Kitchen Aid mixer that is now our kitchen's centerpiece. Honestly I've probably used it less than twenty times. But even that is a lot for me. Pumpkin bread, biscuits, the occasional angel food cake... easy stuff. Someday I'll get around to pushing the mixer to its full potential. Or will it be the other way around? Either way it was one of my favorite gifts from the wedding. That and the matching red toaster and mixing bowls. I'm getting excited (and hungry) just thinking about them all!

redheart_small.jpg A note to all who ever plan to get married: don't underestimate the fun of the registering process. Naturally it's not the most important part of getting married... or even the wedding... or the wedding preparation. Okay, so it's a teensy part of the big picture. But sometimes it's easy to forget to have fun as you stress over the gown, the music, the food, the pastor, the venue, the flowers, the bridal party, the photographer... see what I mean. Take time to register. Dream big and perfect! Enjoy it together. And don't forget to add your own big, red mixer.

Congratulations Ben and Melissa!