My first attempt to write an AAR for Europa Universalise III sees me playing the Grand Duchy of Moscow using the Death and Taxes mod and starting at The Golden Bull of 1354. Despite putting in over 200 hours in the game, I’ll freely admit I’m not expert and I’ll also admit I’m not the best writer. Since I didn’t take any screenshots of the first sixty or so years, this’ll mostly be presented as a history book AAR chronicling the ups, downs, and boredoms of my proto-Russian, and then eventually Russian, empire. I’m also playing under a little bit of house rules in the beginning to keep myself from growing out of check in power: I can only take cores or geographically Russian provinces in peace deals. Once I form Russia and have fully explored out to the Pacific, I’ll consider reviewing that rule. So, without further ado, we shall start.
The Rule of Ivan II
In the year of our Lord 1354, great changes had begun sweeping through Europe: the disparate states of the Holy Roman Empire had agreed upon rules governing how to and who would choose their new Emperor; the great Byzantine Empire still held substantial amounts of Greece against the upstart Ottomans; and Tsar Ivan II Rurikovich of Muscowy had just had vision from God. Large and imposing, Ivan was not a very religious man, so his claims of vision were met with the concerns from the royal court that he may be suffering from a temporary bout of insanity. In a fragment of an undated note to an unknown recipient, Ivan goes into detail about his vision
“… I saw the world, as if I was soaring above it as the eagle, and I could see the land of all the others surrounding us, but I could tell it no longer belong to them. When I thought of the land, in this dream, I saw Saint George, perched upon his horse, but, wings outstretched behind him, was a two headed eagle. It was then that I realized that this land was meant to be our land. We should not be a handful of fragmented nations, but one and only one nation has the power to create that future and it is Muscowy.”
Ivan had gathered up his war council and had begun his plans to see his vision become a reality, but was repeatedly told that he did not possess the capacity to accomplish his foolish notions. After numerous back and forth arguments, he acted unilaterally and sent a declaration of war to the neighboring nation of Yaroslavl. With the war council’s hand now forced, Muscowy prepared for war, but what Ivan had not been was Yaroslavl’s alliance with Smolensk. Neither Yaroslavl nor Smolensk posed much of a threat to Muscowy, but while the addition of Yaroslavl’s one ally into the war did not faze Ivan, it was the two nations that Smolensk brought in that brought a pause to the aspiring ruler.
The geopolitical region around Muscowy was home to a few major players. In the southeast are the western remnants of Genghis Khan’s Mongol horde styling themselves as the Golden Horde, the major threat they posed to Muscowy was easy to stymie with the offer money, they were of no concern at this time to Ivan. In the south was the nation of Ryazan, ruled by a distant cousin of Ivan and on fairly good terms with Muscowy. To the north lay the merchant republic of Novgorod, not particularly strong in military men, but able to fund a sizeable army with their surplus coin. Yaroslavl and Tver were situated in between Muscowy and Novgorod and were both minor powers of little concern. Smolensk was far to the west, but had grown to good terms with both Novgorod and Ryazan and when the king of Smolensk was called to war against Muscowy, he sent letters to his allies, calling them to arms to aid in defense of weak Yaroslavl.
Ivan’s march and subsequent annexation of Yaroslavl had taken mere months, easily bringing the land and the people into the fold of Muscowy’s protection. Scholars at the time had begun to call it the glorious Six Month War, but those plans were put on hold when troops from Ryazan in the south and Novgorod in the north began spilling over to Muscowy’s borders. The royal coffers had begun to run dry, so two small loans were procured to continue the funding of the war effort. With the extra money, Ivan maneuvered his troops and was able to give crushing defeats to Ryazan, but Novgorod was left unchecked to occupy much of northern Muscowy and as the war dragged on, Ivan began to get desperate.
A group of powerful nobles came to Ivan and offered him the service of their guards and conscripted peasants in exchange for more local autonomy. The war with Novgorod was not going as planned and troops were beginning to become scarce, while the rationing among the peasants was leading to greater fears of revolts. The offer of a sudden influx of men was too much for Ivan to ignore and he agreed to their demands, but privately wondered if he had made a decision that would one day return to haunt him. But it was with these new men that Ivan was able to turn the tide of the war against Novgorod, freeing cities that had once been occupied and even launching a counter invasion.
What had started as the Six Month War had instead lasted for three years when, in 1358, both Novgorod and Muscowy came to a peace agreement, Muscowy would be able to keep Yaroslavl and the two nations would not go to war for at least five years. This suited Ivan as he had much work to do to restore order and repay the two loans he had taken during the war. The infrastructure of various different provinces was improved during this time and the nation began to heal the wounds caused by the war. Remembering his vision of a powerful state, Ivan began turning his gaze to the south.
The nation of Ryazan had been hit harder than Muscowy and was almost in tatters. The king’s three sons had all marched to war against Muscowy and each of those three had perished during the war, leaving the question of who would succeed when the king were to die. Ivan’s elder son, Dmitri was unwed and in the prime of his life, so he schemed that a royal marriage with the daughter of Ryazan’s king, Vladimir III, would lead to a personal union lead by his son. Vladimir, wary of Ivan’s plot, had little choice but to go along with it; he wanted a Rurikovich to succeed to the throne of Ryazan, yet did not trust Ivan. Vladimir waited for two years before eventually relenting and agreeing that his daughter would be wed to a son of Ivan’s.
Much to Vladimir’s chagrin, Ivan promptly used this new opportunity in the beginning of 1361 to claim that Muscowy had claim to the throne of Ryazan. The brazenness of Ivan’s claim enraged Vladimir and it is claimed, in retaliation, he arranged to have Dmitri wounded in a hunting accident. Much of this time is unclear, as many records of the time have been destroyed in order to protect integrity of the court, but what is known is that what should have been a minor accident instead cost Dmitri his life. The shock of the incident affected the two kings differently, Vladimir feared that his life was in danger and that at any moment Ivan could launch a justified invasion of Ryazan to remove him from the throne, but Ivan, whether he knew of the plot or not, became withdrawn and spoke little to his court. Fortunately for his succession, he was graced with a younger son, conveniently, named Dmitriy who was then wed to Vladimir’s daughter.
Much of Muscowy’s history at this point is rather rote as Ivan continues to delegate the day to day responsibilities to various court advisers and appears to have lost some of the vigor that drove him to declare war upon Yaroslavl. During the year of 1365, both loans taken to finance the war in Yaroslavl are repaid and the treasury of Muscowy continues to grow along with the improved infrastructure. Various members of the royal family were married off to different states in order to improve the legitimacy after the Ryazan incident. But it would be another four years before Ivan is brought back from his lethargic state when a large revolt strikes. The peasantry, with a little suggestion from the nobles, had been concerned that their king had become decadent and uncaring of the plights of his people and so decided to demand his attention with armed revolt. Sensing that there was more behind this revolt than his advisors had led him to believe, Ivan began showing a greater involvement in the affairs of the state, beginning with crushing the rebellion.
When he returned to his cabinet to look at the affairs of the state, Ivan was surprised to discover that the Rurikovich line had somehow manage to become the chief lineage of the Byzantine Empire and, perplexingly, he had inherited the throne of Naxos. A number of debates were had over what to do about this new addition to Muscowy, but it was eventually decided that they would create a puppet state out of Naxos, leaving it to its own devices. It was at this time that a messenger from the Baltic reached the capital, Moskva, with an intriguing proposal for Ivan. To the west at the mouth of the Baltic, the Teutonic Order, a group of knights serving as part of the Catholic faith, requested an alliance with Muscowy as they both shared the threat of Novgorod. Seeing the opportunity that the aid of a western power could bring, Ivan was quick to agree to the alliance.
All was not well however, in Ryazan, Vladimir had heard the news that Ivan was once again fully in control of Muscowy and he feared that it would lead to reprisal for his role in Dmitri’s death and in Muscowy the nobles, who had been able to do what they wanted while Ivan was uninvolved now feared for their autonomy. These two forces, one from within and one from without, conspired together and on 17 July, 1371 organized a large scale revolt sweeping the country. When news reached Ivan of what had happened, he ignored the protests of his council and took control of Muscowy’s armies in order to personally put down the rebellion. Reports say that he fought with a fervor that was unseen even during the war for Yaroslavl and, despite their superior numbers, the rebellions were crushed one and all.
Whispers of Vladimir’s involvement in the rebellion had reached Ivan’s ears and he soon took a regiment of his most trusted men to go pay a visit to Ryazan’s capital. Vladimir, to his credit, did not run, but instead sat on his throne awaiting the arrival of Ivan in an attempt to explain away the rumors. Unfortunately for both men, the confrontation was never to be, for when Vladimir was informed that Ivan had arrived to the capital, he suffered a massive convulsion and was pronounced dead by his medics before he was moved from the throne. A few nobles whispered that it was dark magic used by Ivan to kill Vladimir, but most agree that Ivan would not have denied himself the right to make Vladimir pay for his actions. After Vladimir’s death, Ivan stayed in Ryazan for a few months to oversee the integration of a cabinet that would answer to him and, eventually, his son Dmitriy. During his time there, he wrote many letters to his son about his visions of the future, but of all the letters, only the beginning of one remains:
I have secured the throne of Ryazan for our family, though it will be in my name, you will be the first to truly sit upon it. This nation will be the key to our goal of a united Rus, but we must first earn their trust, which is why we have taken this not through force, but through diplomacy and marriage. There is no one way to solve a problem, where force may fail, speech may succeed, know this and your reign shall be more glorious than mine.”
During the next ten years of his rule, Ivan spent his time reforming Muscowy’s army and further consolidating the state’s powers under control of the king. Most of the Rus kingdoms operated in under a federalized government with local nobles handling most of the administrative duties; while this may work well for a smaller nation, what Ivan had in mind would require all levels of government answering to one single office. This strategy of stripping the nobles of their powers did not exactly please those who had lost their power and on 6 May, 1382, Sergei Golitzen, a minor noble from Kostroma rallied his guards and serfs and proclaimed himself the true king of Muscowy. This was the first armed conflict in the ten years since the defeat of Ryazan and Muscowy’s army had become eager to test the new reforms that Ivan had enacted.
What he had hoped to be an army that would shake Moskva’s very walls and usher in the reign of the house of Golitzen instead turned into a vicious rout. Before his army could leave Kostroma, Muscowy’s had already mobilized a force to intercept Sergei and chase him out of his stronghold of Kostroma. The next four months that followed was a game of cat and mouse as the pretender’s army was pushed out of each new province it attempted to hide in until on 8 September, 1382 Sergei Golitzen was brought before Ivan and executed for crimes against the state. The performance of his army had filled Ivan with pride and a sense of security that the people of Muscowy would possess the training and skill stand up to the armies of any nation. In but a year’s time, those same beliefs would be tested.
In the west, the Catholic Teutons had been eyeing expansion east into the territories of the Rus and, with confident with an ally in the form of Muscowy, sent their first of many declarations of war on one of the smaller states, Pskov. The nation of Pskov is a small, but friendly nation that had royal marriages with many of the smaller satellite nations in addition to Muscowy. When faced with the decision of honoring the call to arms from their ally the Teutonic Order or dishonoring it in favor of relations, Ivan hatched a cunning plan: Shortly after the call to arms came, Ivan sent a messenger to break off the royal marriage with Pskov, the news upset the local population, causing great unrest, but also damaging the relations between Muscowy and Pskov. With the relations already in tatters and a forgetful populace, the people of Muscowy were not upset that they soon found themselves at war with Pskov. A small nation like Pskov would be unable to pose much of a threat against the might of the Knights of the Teutonic Order and the grand armies of Muscowy, but, as with all diplomatic situations, it was complicated.
Pskov had formed alliances with both Novgorod and Tver, the latter being only a minor threat, but the former, having once been at war with Muscowy, still held its southern neighbor in contempt. To a surprise to most of the major players, the fact that Tver and not Novgorod had taken the leadership in the war against the Teutons and Muscowy made it seem like the war would prove to be a short affair. What was not counted on was that two days later Tver would bring in their unexpected ally. Sweden, one of the major powers of the Baltic, had somehow deigned that small Tver would be included in their inner circle, perhaps to keep an eye on the east. Whatever the reason, what was initially a small conflict among the Rus and an outside Catholic nation soon involved half the Baltic as Sweden brought Denmark and the Hansa to bear against the Teutons and Muscowy.
The beginning of the war went quite well for Muscowy with Tver being the initial target, its army was completely wiped out by 20 August, 1383 just ten days after The Hansa had joined the war and its two provinces were soon brought under Muscovite control. With the news of its ally in the east suffering such a grand defeat, the king of Sweden, Karl IX Birger, made it his personal quest to bring retribution to Muscowy. Karl made preparations and began marching his army down through Novgorod, on reports that Ivan himself was out there.
Against his court’s protests about his health and age, Ivan took control of the bulk of Muscowy’s army and personally led them into the battles against Tver’s army. With the successful campaign against Tver, Ivan turned his sights north toward Novgorod and began fighting various skirmishes throughout the north. It was during this trek that officers began reporting that Ivan had developed a cough that would haunt him the rest of the campaign. Muscovite and Novogorodian forces fought numerous battles, resulting in approximately even casualties, but clear Muscovite victories until the decisive Battle of Archangelsk in which Novgorod’s battered and broken army suffered a defeat in which half of their remaining forces were wiped out at the cost of only a handful of Muscovite lives. Shortly thereafter the Teutons annexed Pskov and the people and rulers of Novgorod no longer felt like continuing a war that had been so costly to the people and the countryside.
It was during the regrouping and redeployment from Novgorod to Muscowy to push back the Swedes that cough that had plagued Ivan became more severe. Scholars may argue exactly where Ivan had been when he began his final fit of coughing, but the soldiers present, and the people of Muscowy to this day, say that it was after his army had crossed victoriously across the Novgorodian border and Ivan II Rurikovich, king of all Muscovites was found dead in his tent on 9 September, 1384.
“Slender” is a free to play indie game in the genre of horror. You move about a classic-looking 3d world as an out of shape person looking for 8 pages. In the game, Slenderman is the opponent. If you are caught by him, he gives you a hug and makes your screen act like the rabbit ears just fell of your tube TV.
Slenderman is a meme character resulting from the photoshopping of photos to include a tall figure with white skin, blank face, long arms and/or tentacles, and is clad in a black suit. Often the edited photos feature children and suggest a malicious intent.
In truth, he just wants $20.
… and he is also kind of hot but has *NOTHING* on Pyramid Head. I’d only give Slenderman $19.95 but P.H. would get my WHOLE $20; crisp new bill and everything! ♥ ♥ ♥
In an effort to change the weighting of the site’s blog posts from Birdy and Nicky to just regular sized Birdy and Nicky, I shall now recount how I learned to stop worrying and accept my country in Europa Universalis falling apart. But first, a brief bit of information on EU3: Europa Universalis 3 is what’s referred to as a Grand Strategy game by Swedish developer Paradox Interactive and there’s no predefined goal in the game aside from what you set for yourself. The open ended nature of the game, allowing you to play from 1399 to 1821, or anywhere in between, is what really appealed to me after I got through the spartan interface and inadequate tutorial. Before I really got into it, I’d played a couple of games with LE and, truth be told, was pretty terrible at it, surviving mostly because we’d picked strong initial countries, France, Castille, Austria, or Bohemia.
After that, I’d put the game on hold and started looking up information about how to actually go about playing it well.
For anyone who has had a beloved pet, I think you’ll get where I am coming from.
Loving a pet is quite different from loving a human. They depend on you for so much and yet they are quite independent. They are our babies always but they spend so little time in true youth. They are a responsibility, yes but they are also such an amazing joy that it makes the necessary things seem trivial.
And yet, there is a great pain that comes with loving a pet. More than likely, nearly every pet one owns will die before their owner. This means, that these children, so furry and sweet with their loving eyes and unique personalities, will be out-lived by their parents.
To quote my mother, “No parent should have to out-live their children.”
With pets it is different. We take them in for so many reason. Sometimes, we just want the companionship. We see them and feel pity or we just cannot resist their charms. Whatever the reason, we end up living with them and then we end up loving them so very whole-heartedly in fact that it defies logic. Why love another species so damn much?
I like to think that empathy is a characteristic of sentient life on Earth. You see it all the time in humans but it is also quite blatant in so many other creatures. So perhaps it is not only because we desire to love our animal companions but also because they desire to love us as well. The greatest thing you’ll ever learn is just to love and be loved in return.
Yes, I know. I am quite sappy. I hope I never change. Heart, please stay as soft clay for all of my days. Gentle and maleable yet sturdy and solid. Never grow brittle or hard, please!
A few days ago, I learned of a young woman struggling through some difficulties with her pet. Courtney Bell has a website called A New Life For Lexie in which she chronicles her experiences with her doberman. Recently, Lexie needed to have a complex surgery that was quite expensive. Courtney managed to cover the initial costs but when a complication arose that promised to increase the bill drastically, she turned to the internet community for help.
I consider myself quite blessed to have been shown her story. I also am quite blessed to be able to provide a little assistance.
After this experience, I was reminded of my friend, Meap who left me several years ago. Her passing still tears at my heart. Nothing could replace her and while I still feel pain, I find myself… loving. Loving Rushuna, Laharl, Caim, and Meebo. I am happy to be able to love them. I dread the day I will lose them, but I do not let that claim me. I love them every day and I will do so until I die.
At times like these, when I think on Meap and her sister Friskey, I cry easily. I remember our days together and the steadfast friendship they provided me. They never judged or criticized, they only loved and played. They were always happy to see me and I could literally do whatever I wanted and they were overjoyed to oblige. When Meap passed, I can’t help but feel she was comforted by my presence. She looked to me and calmed. I miss you so much, Meap.
Just this side of heave is a place called Rainbow Bridge.
When an animal dies that has been especially close to someone here, that pet goes to Rainbow Bridge.
There are meadows and hills for all of our special friends so they can run and play together.
There is plenty of food, water and sunshine, and our friends are warm and comfortable.
All the animals who had been ill and old are restored to health and vigor; those who were hurt or maimed are made whole and strong again, just as we remember them in our dreams of days and times gone by.
The animals are happy and content, except for one small thing; they each miss someone very special to them, who had to be left behind.
They all run and play together, but the day comes when one suddenly stops and looks into the distance. His bright eyes are intent; His eager body quivers. Suddenly he begins to run from the group, flying over the green grass, his legs carrying him faster and faster.
You have been spotted, and when you and your special friend finally meet, you cling together in joyous reunion, never to be parted again. The happy kisses rain upon your face; your hands again caress the beloved head, and you look once more into the trusting eyes of your pet, so long gone from your life but never absent from your heart.
Tonight, despite the hot weather, I had a craving for spaghetti! But I didn’t want the bottled sauce. I wanted something special. Something saucier. Something made by me!
So the adventure began. I knew the basics of a good tomato sauce: tomatoes (of course), onion, garlic, oregano, salt, sugar… But after that I didn’t have much else to go on other than instinct. So I grabbed a green pepper, some fresh herbs from the garden, and a can of V8. I’ve found that V8 is something I don’t really like by itself but adore cooked into other things. It adds healthy, savory to any type of sauce or gravy.
First, I chopped my fresh goods. Onion, parsley, garlic, and green pepper. I then sautéed the garlic, onion, and green pepper in some olive oil with seasonings – pepper, oregano, and rosemary. I used canned oregano and basil Hunt’s tomatoes because I figured that if I ever got the chance, I
would can my own like that.
The tomatoes went into the large Ninja first, to add a cool liquid base to protect my beloved device. I let my sautéed goods sit for a few minutes and then added the can of V8. This was to keep anything too hot from going into the Ninja. I can the mixture a few pulses, just enough to mix things together and to cut up the larger chunks.
Everything went back into the wok (did I mention I cook EVERYTHING in a wok?) and let it heat to boiling. I added a dash of white wine and let it simmer while I finished browning the beef, got the pasta cooking, and did a bit of cleaning up.
Once the sauce had gently boiled for a bit, I added the seasoned and browned ground beef. A few stirs later and I was able to take my first test. It called for a dash of pepper and a couple of pinches of salt but nothing more!
I had made pasta sauce!
Since it was super heavy on the veggies, I served it with just the rosemary Parmesan bread that I was posting about a few days ago but the post never made it because the WordPress app is craaaazy.
Nick, Michelle, and I cleaned our plates. There was a lot left over so I reckon this is what I am going to have for dinner tomorrow! There was half the loaf of bread, too.
All in all, I declare my first try at homemade pasta sauce a success! Will cook again. Perhaps there will be a recipe soonish.
It is AMAZING! It is wonderful beyond all I could have hoped for! I am a WIFE!
And not just any wife but the wife of an amazing man. I couldn’t be more thrilled or pleased. I feel like I am now whole. Like I can take on the world and all of my dreams are possible. All that I have wanted is within my reach. The most amazing thing is the realization that there are unknown dreams waiting to be had. Unrealized wishes waiting to be granted.
I am a wife. Nick is my husband. I am filled with a love that threatens to explode my heart. I can’t seem to stop smiling.
The day before my wedding was a mixture of stress and anticipation. The day began with a meeting with the lovely Becca in the park to get my henna done. The morning threatened rain with ominous storm clouds rolling north from Saginaw. Becca worked fast but I relished my time with her. She was as amazed with me as I was with her. I can’t help but feel that a deep friendship could take root with her if it is given a bit of time.
The storm crested just as my left arm was finished (photo will be present soon) and Nick arrived just in time to get me into the car.
The rain that seemed so threatening in the park wasn’t even a concern at the rehearsal. The sun was bright and happy and the southern wind kept us comfortable. It went a lot faster than expected and I was grateful. Reverend Tuttle was everything we could have dreamt of. Nick and I needed very little practice. I seemed that every bit of our being was ready for the marriage. For myself, I knew that all I needed was his hand to hold and things would go perfectly.
We drove to our meeting with Joe Fila in regards to the music. It went lovely and my worries about the music ceased to exist.
Afterwards, my henna resumed and the lovey Becca did her artistic magic on my right arm (again, photo will be here soon!).
Then it was time for the rehearsal luncheon! Since the rehearsal itself happened at 11 am our gathering afterwards was in the form of a summertime picnic lunch complete with sandwiches from my favorite deli: Intermission Deli!!
Amy, my beloved Other Mother provided the entire party. I… I honestly cannot properly express my thanks for her and Dave. I cannot believe how loved Nick and I are. The party was perfectly relaxing and really allowed for some much-needed chilling.
Then came the running. From the house to the bed and breakfast to the bay to the airport to the bay to the house to the hotel to the bed and breakfast.
In the end, our sanctuary was reached and we relaxed, breaking an old tradition by spending the night together the evening before our wedding. Honestly, if I had been away from Nick while in that fragile, frantic state I would have surely lost my mind the very next day during the actual wedding.
Needless to say I was thankful for his smile, quiet wit, and the peace of our private room.
During our next installment…
The day of itself! Complete will a full account of the stresses of a bride and the joys of a brand-new wife.
… Oh, there it is again… The glee of being a wife!
Dear un-married darlings out there, I am sure everyone will tell you that a wedding is a stressful thing. The planning and details and money that go into it really test the patience of the bride and all of the others involved. My day hasn’t come yet so I cannot tell you if it is worth it…
That being said, here’s a checklist for my own sanity:
finish bridal bouquets
make garter belt
finish bridesmaids’ purses
finish bridesmaids’ jewelry – all pendants finished!
finish groomsmens’ gifts
hair cuts (for Nick and I)
table decor finalized
rehearsal luncheon planned – thanks Amy!
music finalized – left message for Joe today
That sure does look like a lot to get done in 17 days!
But I’m confident I can get everything done. The jewelry is about 1 night’s leisurely work, the purses take about 2 hours each without any help and I only have 3 more to make if I don’t make myself one. The bouquets Nick and I will be working on through the end of this week. Shelly, Sue, and I have a decor date on Friday. The programs and signature book are… optional. Literally. I don’t have to have them. If they don’t get done, it won’t break the wedding. The groomsmens’ gifts already came in cute little black velvet bags, I just wanted to stick a nice thank you tag on them or something. The garter belt is perhaps an hour of work after I go buy myself some blue leopard print ribbon. :3 Dance lessons continue until the day of the wedding. And the music… well, I just need my DJ to call me back!
So that is it. I’ll be trying to up date regularly if only to check things off of the list. Wish me luck! I’m going to go fold an ass-ton of laundry now and clean my room.
That’s right, folks. In four weeks, there will be a big ass shindig that will go down in history (mine at least!) as fabulous, spectacular, and amazing.
And I cannot hardly wait!
I swear, one day I will just explode at work. All that will be left will be bits of Birdy clinging to things and maybe some grotesque smears on the drive through window.
However, that hasn’t happened yet so I’ll talk about what has happened.
We have updated the eRSVP page so that you can include any additional guests. We kind of derped out in regards to that and we are sorry!! But it’s better now. If you have already RSVP’d, do not worry about it. We’ll work it out for you.
Invites went out (albeit a little bit late), dresses ordered, purses and jewelry in the works, tuxes chosen and mostly fitted – dad even got his fitted!! Mom is working on her lovely dress. The cake is paid for and we have an amazing officiant.
Let me talk about this cake for a moment. It will be three tiers not including the “anniversary” tier which we are getting but not having on the official cake. The tiers are the bottom three of a normal wedding cake and thus are very fat and big. The cake will feed nearly 200 people so they will be big rounds of cake! It is being made by Mary’s Creative Cakery of Saginaw. The samples we had were DIVINE!
We chose strawberry (bottom left), white (middle left), and chocolate (middle right).
The top tiers (the anniversary and the official “top” tier) will be strawberry cake, the middle will be classic wedding white cake, and the bottom will be the rich chocolate cake. The entire thing will be frosted in Mary’s amazing butter cream which is sculptable like fondant but tastes way better. Between the layers will be cherry amaretto frosting for a bit more sweet. It will be decorated white on white with a scrolly pattern similar to the lanterns and a pearlescent sheen. Silk flowers in my colors will be used as accents and there will be grosgrain ribbons at the bottom of each layer. Soooo pretty…
This is an example cake from Mary’s that is very similar to mine in style.
Another thing to mention that hasn’t been posted here are the amazing floral arrangements made by my mother and I. She did most of the work honestly and I am so pleased with the way they turned out! They are simply gorgeous and I can’t get over them. This is my bouquet though it isn’t quite finished in the photo. We added a white satin wrap around the stems and then wrapped sheer ribbon around that for a lovely effect.
My mother is a genius.
Another really big thing is our officiant – Reverend Brian Tuttle. This man has thus far been amazing and we haven’t even had the ceremony yet! He is so very thoughtful, kind, and charming. If you are getting married in the mid-Michigan area, I strongly suggest you look him up!
Lastly, if you are coming the wedding I cannot thank you enough and I look forward to seeing you! If you are not, do not fret! I know that your well-wishes will be with us and we very much look forward to when we next see you. To all of our friends and family, everywhere, we send out a huge LOVE YOU!
OH! YES! This is a big P.S. -
I GOT ALL A’S!! This means for the last year, I have maintained a high standard of academic excellence. My research paper on human fallacies (not human phalluses!) went over beautifully. All of my professors were amazing and I learned so much! Like last semester, I truly loved every second of my classes and felt like my mind was a dry sponge soaking up every word. I could not get enough and I have a feeling I will be yearning for more as soon as this wedding is off of my mind.
My path is clear before me and I will pursue it with all of my strength. I look forward to the journey as much as the destination.
I vow never to lose my wonder of the world again. I vow to always follow my dreams. Some years ago my mother gave me a book; “I Hope You Dance.” Well, mom. It took me some time but I am no longer afraid. I am not shy. I’m going to dance now and I will continue to do so for the rest of my days.
Whenever I feel the urge to do something, I will do it. And this goes beyond carnal desires into those more simple things – such as helping a stranger or feeling free to laugh when happy or amused. Simple things like literally stopping to smell the roses or finding sheer joy in being alive.
In fact, I find myself grateful for my life so very often. I find myself constantly trapped in reverie with the knowledge that I am alive. But I should save a deeper investigation of this bliss for its own post – it certainly deserves it!
Listen. You may know what the other person is going through so much better and have it so much worse, but just stop and listen to them. You never know… they may be experiencing something you haven’t!
Meet them half-way. What do you do when you like olives but not pineapple on your pizza but your friend likes pineapple but not olives? You get it made half and half. So work your life the same way: meet your loved ones half way. He loves gaming and I love hiking, so in the morning we go out for a hike and in the evening, we play games together.
Praise. Meaningful, heartfelt praise is something so few people get today. In our fast-paced world of quarterly performance reviews, final exams, and speeding tickets, not too many people stop to tell others how good they are doing. Stop, look your loved one in the eye and tell them they are great. Just how much do you imagine you lit up their world just now?
Share yourself. You’re not going it alone, you’ve got a loved one right next to you that wants to be a part of your life. Ask for help and enjoy their presence. As much as you want to care for them, they want to care for you so make it mutual: let yourself be loved.
Don’t fight; discuss! If a disagreement occurs, don’t demonize your loved one. Instead, stop. Take a breath. Think about it. Smile and apologize. Then discuss. Keep your mind and your heart open and they will [hopefully] inspired to do the same.