The world is your oyster!: 2013        

These are a few of my favorite things:

pina-colada flavored italian ice
dance parties
dressing up
love :)


My name is Heather.

I am 22 years old.

I am an East Coast girl
who also loves Utah.

I love my life. How could I not?

The world is my oyster :)
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Thursday, December 26, 2013

Good Morning, Your Dog Died.

Waking up on Christmas morning is like....well, like waking up on Christmas morning. You wake up suddenly, and the air feels fizzy, and you know that it's the beginning of the best day ever. {Or at least the best day that year...}

Waking up on the day after Christmas is like waking up the day after your dog died. And you wake up kind of slowly and then all day it kind of sinks in that your dog is never coming back, and you keep remembering your dog as you go about your day, and by the end of the day you just feel rumpled and depressed.

Christmas morning this year was just as fizzy as the Christmas mornings of other years. It started at about 8:00, when the little boys woke up.

{I wish I had pictures to share of that, but they are all in Indiana and I am not.}

Luckily, the day after Christmas this year didn't start until 11:30, and when I did wake up, it was to kisses and hugs, and when I got up after that, it was to spend an hour putting on Natalie's fancy makeup and curling my hairs with her fancy curling iron so that we could go and eat lunch at the cutest little fancy historic lunch / brunch / dessert place I have ever seen: L.S. Ayres' Tea Room.

L.S. Ayres used to be really hoppin and iconic of Indianapolis, but then Macey's bought it and shut down the restaurant, which was the L.S. Ayres Tearoom. Stephen's mom went a few times with her mom so it was a really fun memory for her, and the Indiana Museum reopened the tea room just for the month of Diciembre 2013, so all the girls got to go (me, Stephanie, Natalie, Diane, her sister Angie, and their mom, Stephen's grandma).
We had hot chocolate and yummy sammiches and salad and soup, and they checked our coats, and it was just really fun!  

You know what I really like? Whenever we go out, Diane says: "These are all my daughters," or, "Can you get a picture of me and my daughters?" I know I'm not really her daughter, but it is so sweet.
The plan for tonight was ice skating. But when we arrived, there was no ice on one rink, and the only sign of life was a hockey team practicing on the other rink and two very nice black guys walking around with a boombox ish thing and also wondering where the ice rink was.
So instead, we wandered around the square, which was all lit up for Christmas and was home to the biggest fake Christmas tree in the world.
This was their first date years (and years and years and years...jk...) ago!

This is a statue that somebody thought was a good idea, but the rest of the world is just confused by.

This is some guy.

This is either a nutcracker or a steadfast tin soldier.

This is where people used to ice skate, but now it's all dry and people can only dream of skating in such a perfect ambiance.

This is across the street from the real  L.S. Ayres. See that clock? That's how you know!

Not too shabby for the day after Christmas :)

Baby Jesus and a Shimp-Load of Presents

Christmas, at the Shimp home, is not just a one-day celebration. It is not even a two-day holiday.

It is a month-long festival, and when you cram all of that yuletide into the one week that your college kids are home, it becomes a week of dashing through the snow from mall to family party to classy Christmas event and back to the mall, at high speed and dragging along as many brothers and sisters as possible. Also, food.

This is us at the Scottish Rite Cathedral in Indianapolis. We watched the Nutcracker Ballet! Which is basically the music of my childhood, so I was in heaven the whole time. And Stephen liked it too.

We had a Christmas gift exchange for the kids on Christmas Eve. Stephen gave to Michael and Logan, and he told them he had gotten them a Hershey's bar. It was actually a rocket....that he ended up assembling on Christmas. 
Then we got our Christmas jammies!! And Stephen ruined some pictures. And so did Brandon. 

The whole family got Christmas jammies! I love this tradition!

My favorite decoration in the house was this ginormous ball of mistletoe. It is a very popular hangout with the newlywed couple and the engaged couple, and also the married-with-seven-kids couple. 

The girls and their Christmas jammies :) 

We like each other. 
 This is another tradition that they do - every year, someone hides the pickle ornament somewhere on the Christmas tree, while everyone else waits in a different room. Then the person who finds it gets a Christmas book that they read to the whole family, and they are the one who hides the pickle the next year.

...GUESS who found the pickle this year??

Well it was me :) I promise they didn't just let me win, either. I know because there were tears.

Then I read "How the Grinch Stole Christmas" in my best teacher voice and it was on to the next tradition of making gingerbread houses!

 This was not a "let's build our gingerbread houses and whoever has the most fun is the winner" kind of contest. Teams were picked out 2 weeks ago. Barricades were put up between competition sites so other teams couldn't look. And we were given a time limit of 18 minutes.

So it got a little intense and some feelings got a little hurt, but in the end, three works of art sat on the table, ready to be judged.

At some point in the middle of the night (or at 6:45 in them morning), Santa came and filled up the living room with gifts!

So that's how Christmas began up in here. More pictures to come of the rest of our break :) 

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Shimp Home for the Holidays

This year is my first year not going home for Christmas.

.....I KNOW. Hash tag, big girl.

Instead of Baltimore lights twinkling up into my airplane window on Friday, I experienced the lights of Indianapolis for the fist time.

Then I experienced:

-some delicious cheesy bread, sugar cookies, peanut butter fudge, and cold medicine
-getting tackled by little boys who quickly stopped when they realized I was not their sister
-using all of Natalie's makeup since I apparently left all of mine in Utah
-going out Christmas shopping in the middle of Indianapolis flooding

{I'm serious. I got an emergency weather alert txt telling me to stay away from potential flooding areas}

-sleeping with Stephen in the bed his parents assigned to us. Oh, with his brother in the same bed.
-the Christmas program in the Indy 1st ward, which included a fabulous special musical number and donuts after the meeting
-a Christmas dinner at an interior designer grandma's BEAUTIFUL home

-a conversation that went like this:

me: Brandon, are you taller than me now?
We stand up to measure ourselves and find that he is a good 3 inches taller.
Diane: Oh yeah, I can't keep him in the same pair of pants for more than a month! He just grows out of them so fast!

-followed by a riveting game of boys vs. girls Catchphrase

-in which I got "growing pains," and the timer was speeding up, and it was up to me to help my team guess it, and I blurted out: "Okay, this is what....Brandon keeps doing this out of his pants."

-and my team didn't guess it and instead just got really confused.

-so I said, "Diane was just telling me about it!"

-and then people just laughed instead of guessing and I had to try something else.

There's no place like home for the holidays, but there's an H on one of the stockings here, and Natalie drew me in the family picture she put in Eric's room, and I'm surrounded by people I love. Besides which, there's a huge ball of mistletoe that I can stand under whenever I want. So for my first Christmas away from home, it's going to be a pretty nice one :)

Friday, November 29, 2013

Be Grateful

It shouldn't be hard to be grateful when the world is your oyster, but I'm glad for this Thanksgiving season when we all have time to specifically think about our blessings. I love that Thanksgiving comes before Christmas, which can so easily turn into a season of demands.

Here are some of the things I am grateful for right now:

-zucchini squash, which is actually the best vegetable ever.

-Marjorie Pay Hinckley, a very classy lady with whom I would love to have a tea party one day. Minus the tea.

-our crockpot, which I am very obsessed with.

-neutral-colored shirts that I can wear with lots o' things.

-toilet paper rolls that you can use to make wreaths and whatever else you want basically!

-off-track time, when I get so much done and get to sleep in.

-cell phones, I do not know how people survived without them.

-wrapping paper, how much boring-er would Christmas be if you couldn't wrap presents!?

-photo books that I get for freeeee

-Stephen and my similar attitudes on fiscal matters.

-that I went to BYU and now when I'm filling out surveys I can click the "Bachelor's Degree" option instead of "Some college."

-Italian Ice.

-my ring that I don't think I'm ever going to get over.

-leggings, so I can wear whatever skirts I want and not be cold!

-that my eyebrows are blonde so I don't have to pluck them that much because no one really notices if I don't

-Stephen, who I love more and more err day.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

So Romantic

Sometimes, Stephen is very romantic.

Like when he makes up songs for me! Here is a sample: "Oooh, oooh, I love my bay-bay, I love my bay-bay, no I don't, yes I do, no I don't, yes I dooooo!"

He is still working on it.

The other day, it occurred to him that he should maybe change some of his ways. This is a direct quote from that epiphany: "Heather, I'm sorry. I should be more respectful to you. I shouldn't have thrown those dirty socks at you. And put your shoe in my pants. And I'm sorry for zombie-humping you up against the wall." [Not as bad as it sounds....]

It was very sincere. Husbands are the best.

Don't get me wrong, there are times when he actually is romantic! That's just a lot more boring for other people to read about. So you get this blog post instead.

In other news, we share clothes sometimes. Happy Halloween!

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Wife of the Year

You might be the wife of the year if:

1. You don't throw a fit when your birthday doesn't go as imagined. You just move your birthday to a different day, make yourself a sign, and call it good. 

2. You watch a scary movie with your husband. And then, while he sleeps soundly, totally unaffected by the horror you just submitted your minds to, and you lay there terrified and unable to sleep, you remember how much he loves his sleep and you do not wake him up. 
Do NOT watch this movie!
3. Marriage is caring is sharing. If you share the closet as well as I do, you might be the wife of the year. 
This is Stephen's side of our closet. I know, I know. It was really generous of me to give him all that space.
4. You decorate your house and it looks adorable!

......while it lasts. 
Three hours after hanging these up....
5. You definitely don't ever ask him to dress up with you for an event that no one else is dressing up for. And you don't hand him a pair of your own tights to put on in an attempt to find an appropriate costume. (And if you did, you wouldn't spend 5 minutes laughing at how hilarious he looks wearing your tights.)

(.....and even if you hypothetically did do all of that stuff, you wouldn't then ask him to put the tights back on a day later so that you could take a picture of him and put it on your blog for the enjoyment of everybody else.)

If you do / have done any of these things, you can give yourself a hearty pat on the back. You are well on your way to being wife of the year! 

Monday, October 21, 2013

Why You Shouldn't Teach

1. Safety duty. I'm sure if this blog was more popular, I would get at least a few comments from a parent whose child got hit by a car because their teacher wasn't out on safety duty. But this blog is not that popular, so I am going to complain about safety duty. This school is literally psychotic about it. We get our panties all twisted up every single day if someone is missing their safety duty. There has to be at least one teacher on every crosswalk. I'm talking about the crosswalks in the parking lot, not the ones on the busy road that is actually like 5 miles away from my school. WHY!? Guys? Just why. Most kids know to look before they cross the street. Most parents look around before they pull forward, because they're at a freaking elementary school at 3:30pm and they know that there are dozens of kids all around.

I don't really want to make the argument that safety duty is an unimportant job. Mostly I just want to make the argument that I should not be the one who has to do it. I am too busy making copies and erasing my board and uploading grades and rearranging desks and emailing parents and checking books back into the guided reading library and filling out forms, and I'm just not sure why the PTA isn't in charge of safety duty.

2. Other teachers. Mostly, I like other teachers. But there are some teachers who don't understand their job, and instead of just teaching their students, they try to teach the teachers around them, too. To them I would like to say: Shut up. Go back in your classroom and close the door and stop trying to tell me what to do. And teachers that "shhhh" other teachers are the worst.

3. Paperwork. It's just so annoying. I know it is not solely annoying to teachers - there are plenty of jobs where paperwork is a downside. But it is certainly annoying to me.

4. Parents. Can be so awesome, so so awesome. But they can also be the worst thing ever. I guess it's just hard to be a parent, because not many of them can seem to strike the perfect balance between being nice and babying their child, and between being strict and just plain mean. I kind of like my job because kids get assigned to me and then even if the parents don't like it at first, I have all year to convince them that I am in fact awesome, you're welcome. But I kind of don't like it because until I prove myself, some of them just set up camp in my butt. And I want them to leave.

5. Salary. You do not get paid enough. Everyone told me this, but I looked at the numbers and I thought that sounded like plenty of money for me. Listen: the only way you actually get paid "enough" to be a teacher is if you are teaching as a hobby. Not as a job. Not as a career. As a hobby.

But here's why you should teach, if you feel so inclined:

1. You have to do what you love. No job is perfect, and no matter what you do, you can find something in your line of work to complain about. That doesn't mean you shouldn't do it.

2. You get to color, and cut, and glue, and put glitter on things if you want.

3. You get hugs pretty much daily.

4. Sometimes you get shivers because you really are sitting at your own desk, in your own classroom, looking over the names of your very own students, and you're doing exactly what you've always wanted to do, and that is really a nice thing. Not everyone can say they're doing exactly what they've always wanted.

5. Children's books are cute.

6. Kids are really smart, and really nice. Sometimes they're snots. But in general, they are nice, and they don't want to hurt other people.

Final score: 5-6. I guess you should teach, after all. [If you want to.]

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Are you Bleeding?

Every day, I spend one hour in each class teaching guided reading. It's something I sucked at last year, and now all of a sudden, I am rock-awesome at it.

Guided reading is where I read with a small group (4-6 students) on their reading level, while everyone else works on something else. The rule in my class is that you do not talk to the teacher during Guided Reading unless you are bleeding. If you're bleeding, I can help you. Otherwise, you need to solve your problems on your own.

I was teaching Guided Reading the other day when M walked up to the kidney table. "Mrs. Shimp?"

"Oh! Are you bleeding?" My normal response.

He paused, then said, "I just have a question about...."

"But wait, are you bleeding?"

He considered. "I have a zit...." he said, completely serious.

"Okay, go - wait, what?"

He solemnly pointed at his chin. There was a small red mark there.

"Um....M, the reason I ask if you're bleeding is because, if you're not bleeding, then....because it's a problem don't really....okay. It's okay. I think you can answer your question on your own," I said. He walked back to his desk.

I would also just like to say that I taught my kids the BEST game today at inside recess. Two people play. They sit in chairs facing each other, gripping the seat with their hands. One of them runs their feet, sitting in their chair, while the other one cheers them on. When they feel like they've run enough, they tap the other person's knee and it switches. I just did it because they never have anything to do at inside recess, and they need to get out their wiggles, but they can't run around the it was perfect!

You can see there are at least 3 games going on in this picture. My girls A and S are just about to get started. L in the black hoodie is moving his chair to start up a game. And K in the orange shirt is really feeling the burn. 

Monday, October 7, 2013

Pathetically Pinterested

Have you seen the hilarious pictures of Pinterest fails?
Here's one.
 And there are a ton more! The message being that Pinterest is unrealistic. And things that look easy are not always as easy as you might think. Which I learned the hard way this morning.

I'll just start from the beginning, I guess. Once upon a time I was born, and I had really straight hairs. Then I grew up and I still had really straight hairs. Then I got a job as a teacher in West Jordan, even though I still had straight hairs. Then I got an apartment in Provo, which meant that I and my straight hairs had an hour to drive err morning and err night. Which meant that even though I was capable (barely) of curling my hairs, it was never ever going to happen with this commute.

(Some people let themselves go when they get married. Others let themselves go when they realize that they work with 7-yr-olds all day.) 

So anyway, the other day while I was perusing Pinterest I happened across a pin of some beautifully curled hairs. The pin advertised a simple way to get these curls with no heat! I was intrigued!

I did some digging. (Am I the only one who can never just click on the pin and get the directions right there? I always have to google it and find it on someone's blog or something. Sorry if you now think that this blog is written by an 80-year-old woman. I am 22.) I found that the way to get these curls actually was very simple! All I had to do was put a headband across my forehead, hippie style, and loop chunks of hair through it, so that I looked like George Washington. Then I had to sleep on it and take all the hair out when I woke up the next day. Sooo easy, guys. So easy.

But actually Pinterest is a LIAR and it's not sooo easy.

Pros of trying this out:

1. Your husband might think you look hot in your George Washington hairdo.
2. You might get beautiful luscious curls without heat.
3. Your hair might be so grateful that you didn't choose to damage it with a curling iron or hair spray.

Cons of trying this out:

1. Your husband might not think you look hot in your George Washington hairdo. You may never know for a fact that he doesn't think so, but let's be honest, you'll know it for a pretty much fact.
2. You might not have to expose your hair to any heat, but that's not much of a consolation when you find yourself ripping it out in chunks when it gets stuck in gnarly tangles around the headband, and you are running 20 minutes late on a day that you might get observed by your principal, so you find yourself waking up your poor tired husband who knows nothing about hair, but you wake him up anyway because you are panicking and visions of a bald you are running through your head and you are convinced that he must be able to help in some way.....
3. Your hair will not be grateful. It will be lonely. Because you will lose 18% of your hairs in this simple attempt.

In the end, I had to cut the headband and pull it out of my hair. (This was a huge task in and of itself.) Then I had to brush through my hairs until I looked like Hermione Granger and there were at least 7 knots the size of nickels in my trash can. Then I had to get dressed and pack a lunch and breakfast and open the door (which, strangely, was harder than both getting dressed and packing food) and walk down to my car and drive all the way to school. Then I had to go and talk to my teacher friends about it.

THEN I had to realize that my Mac-klemore was still at home. Then I had to check a laptop out from the computer lab. Then my principal did decide to come and observe me. Then I had to cry in my head because my kids were so good while he was there. Then I had to break up a fight over the headphones at the listening center. Then I had to cry in my head again because the principal was not there anymore and so my kids had reverted back to being the spawn of rabid dogs.

Then I had to get the best text ever from the best husband ever, and then I had to decide that this whole thing is a little bit funny, and I had better blog about it.

Happy Monday, everyone. And Happy Pinteresting....if you dare.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Maryland, my Marryland

"Friday, Friday, gotta get down on Friday..." was stuck in my head all. day. on August 9th. And as Friday was the biggest day of my life to date, you can imagine how I felt about the fact that Rebecca Black was such a prominent part of it.

Friday was also probably the most stressful day of my life to date, I have to be honest. I guess that's what happens when you dream of a day your whole life and then it is finally there and you still don't know who is doing your hair or how they are going to do it, and it's supposed to thunderstorm all day, and the maid of honor's flight was delayed so she didn't arrive until 11 hours before the wedding, and you still need to pack to go back to Utah, and the wedding schedules are printing so small that no one is going to be able to read them, and you still haven't made up a folder for the photography like you meant to.....

But those are all little things, in the end. And even with all the stressing over the details, I can honestly say that Friday was also the happiest day of my life. Everyone says you should write down your memories of your wedding day, because it goes by quickly and then you forget, so here goes. 

Friday actually kind of started on Thursday morning, when I went through the temple with my parents, Stephen, my friend Amy, and whoever else was there. After the temple, we had lunch at Panera and then went back home to get ready for the First Look photo shoot. I thought about this shoot a lot and scoured Pinterest for ideas and sometimes even got a little choked up when I was imagining it. (But let's keep in mind that birth control does weird things to your emotions....)

All I'm trying to say is, it was kind of the thing I was most excited for about all the pre-wedding stuff. We decided (aka, I decided and Stephen really nicely agreed to go along with it) to write letters to each other, read our letters, and then take pictures of the first look. In my mind, it would all be very relaxed. And sweet. And smooth sailing.

We wound up at 4:30 on Thursday, a half-hour before we were supposed to meet the photographer at the reception venue, sitting next to each other at my kitchen table with a cardboard box in between us, writing our letters while Stephanie curled my hair and the photographer drove to Maple Lawn (an hour earlier than I had expected her to arrive). And outside, it started to rain.

We drove to Maple Lawn, finishing up our letters in the car ride there. Stephen's family was just getting in from a 10-hour drive, so they were all freshening up in the bathroom. His mom and sisters helped me get ready while I finished up my letter and introduced myself to Jenny, the photographer. The sun reappeared and the storm clouds blew out just in time.

I barely got a chance to read Stephen's letter before it was time to go see him. This part was closer to how I had envisioned it; I walked through the reception center and outside, where Stephen was standing with his back to me. Jenny took pictures of the whole thing as I walked closer and he turned around and we saw each other for the first time in our wedding clothes.

We took a lot of pictures of just us then. Here are my tips for if you want to do a 1st Look Photo Shoot:

1. How long do you think it will take you to get ready? 2 hours? Okay. Start getting ready 4 hours before the shoot.

2. Put someone in charge of setting aside food for you and your man. Otherwise it will be all gone when you are done with pictures, and you will tengo some hambre.

3. Put someone in charge of walking around with you and the photographer. This has to be someone you trust. Someone who can fix your hairs and your dress and tell you if your face looks stupid.

4. Create a Pinterest page of pictures you like. Jenny asked me to do this, and although I am not very Pinterest-savvy, I did it. I'm so glad I did because then we were able to get the poses I wanted!

5. Hire Jenny. Obvi.

Here are some of my favorite pictures from this shoot:

That night I probably should have gone to bed early, but I didn't. And honestly, I feel okay about that. If you are busy the night before your wedding and you don't get to bed by 10 or 11 when you wanted to, you'll survive. I know lots of people who would disagree, but let's be real: you're probably going to be too excited to sleep anyway. So don't worry if you are late getting to bed.

Wedding Prep

On Friday morning, Stephen's sister Stephanie helped my friends Alyssa and Sister Davis and my sister Nicole do my (very uncooperative) hairs. [On Friday evening, it was my sister-in-law Stephanie who perked up my wilting hairs and put them back together for the Maryland reception.]

After getting ready for about 2 1/2 hours, we headed home for some breakfast. The parents, Kelly, Dahl, Eric, Natalie, Stephen and I all rode to the temple together in Coco. As the MOH, Kelly was in charge of remembering my little pill and probably my favorite part of the morning was her climbing into the passenger seat next to Dad (she still had to do her makeup), waving it in the air, and saying, "Okay Heather, I got it! It's right here! Don't worry, I'll hold onto this for you, okay?" and my dad having a fit ["Awwwwhh, GOSH, Kelly! I don't want to....that is my....have a little dec....I'm getting out of here"] and jumping out of the car because he didn't want to hear about anything related to that pill.

Temple Sealing

I didn't wear my dress for the sealing ceremony, so I just wore normal church clothes to the temple and changed into my temple clothes when it was time to get sealed. President Johnson (my stake president from when I was younger) sealed us and it was a really nice ceremony. Not too long, and a lot of people came to support us. I liked it because while President Johnson was talking, Stephen and I just got to hold hands and listen.

At the end, President Johnson had us stand up and look at ourselves in the mirror. And you're supposed to see yourselves going on forever and ever, but I think the mirrors were broken that day or my eyes were because I only saw 3 reflections of the two of us. Which was a little awkward, but it's okay. The promise of forever isn't contingent upon your eyesight, so I think we're good.

Stephen and I stood by the door and thanked everyone for coming, and then I headed straight back to the dressing room to get in my wedding dress. Stephanie was really the biggest help with my hairs, and then Nicole, but neither of them has gone through the temple yet and so I just had my mom, Mama Shimp, Kelly and Alyssa to help me get my dress on and my hair re-curled. I thought that was a little bummer because the changing room they have for the bride is so beautiful and big and it would have been so fun to have my sisters all in there helping me get ready, but we ended up just putting my dress on and then going downstairs so that I could have some help with my hair. We had to use the bathroom off to the side of the recommend desk, but it was fine.

Temple Photo Shoot

We left the temple hand-in-hand


Natalie, Julie, Kelly, me, Nicole, Stephanie, and Sarah were such beautiful bridesmaids! I had thought that Sarah would be the flower girl and wear a different clo than everyone else, but she was gorgeous as a bridesmaid!

It was so nice of so many people to be there when we left! We've both been really blessed to have such amazing friends and family in our lives. And thennnn it was time for photo shoot #2!
Stephen had to lift me up over the flowers and onto the ledge of the fountain while I held my dress...this is not a stunt for the weak of bicep.
 Our parents are very beautiful people, I think.
All the brothers and sisters were the groomsmen and bridesmaids! I loved how the colors turned out!




Note to future brides: Pack a lunch for yourself and your man! We were very happy to have a little break where we got to eat before taking some more pictures. 

I just want everyone to know that I came up with the best name for this: the sister and the mister. Go ahead, Pinterest. It's your's. 

Stephen was seriously perfect for the whole shoot. It was a hot day, but he didn't complain at all or ask when we would be done. One time I turned around and saw him massaging his cheeks :) and that was as close as he came to complaining. He carried my train, and my flowers, and my shoes, and sometimes he carried me, too. 

The Drive Home

"Oh, that sounds boring," some of you readers might be saying now. "I'll just skip this section. The drive home? That will just put me to sleep!"

Well. What you don't know is that we did not drive ourselves home. The MOH did. And if you have never been the passenger when Kelly was driving, allow me to paint a picture for you.

Stephen and I were hot and tired from our long day taking pictures in the sun. And we were also happy and excited to finally be married after our long, drag-a-muffin summer. And we just wanted to get home and change clothes for a few hours and eat a little more and pack our stuff for the reception and honey-weekend.

Unfortunately, I forgot that Kelly hates driving with the fire of a thousand suns. Here are 5 things she would probably rather have done than drive us home after the pictures:

1. box Rocky Balboa
2. get a haircut by Miley Cyrus
3. give Jabba the Hutt a lap dance
4. babysit Nicole after she gets her wisdom teeth out
5. plan and throw 500 other bridal showers for me. I know this one at least is true because she said so while we were driving.

So it was quite a treat being driven home by her. As in, the drive was a harrowing experience, punctuated by car horns, 4-letter words, "I can't"s, and the occasional perfectly smooth 3 minutes of normal driving. Nonetheless, we made it home safely, with everyone in mint condition.

Reception Prep

This was kind of a stressful time because we got home later than expected and didn't have as much time to change, eat, and pack as we had thought we would. I couldn't find anything. Bridesmaids were taking naps. Groomsmen had changed and didn't seem too eager to ever change back into their suspenders and gray pants.  No one believed me when I said I needed to start on my hairs by 4:00. Not surprisingly, we were late getting out the door and late getting to the reception venue.

We got there at about 5:30, and we had told Jenny we wanted to take some more pictures of just Stephen and I at Maple Lawn at 6:00. We had taken a lot already, but my hair had quickly straightened for both shoots, and I really wanted some with my hairs curly. So when she was there, all ready to go, I was still curling my hairs for the 3rd time that day and hadn't even started putting my dress on or eating dinner. Since my dress had a corset back, it took about 15-20 minutes every time I put it on.

It turns out that we told everyone the reception was going to start at 6:30, and then we forgot about that and operated all day under the assumption that it was actually not starting until 7:00. At 6:30 when I was finally ready to take some more pictures with Stephen, someone threw a plate of (really delicious!) Belgian waffles at me and instructed me to eat. So I stood there and ate with my teeth, trying not to smudge my lip gloss, wondering why the freak so many people were there a half hour early and where the freak Stephen had wandered off to.

The Reception

After I got over the initial shock of, everyone is not here early, we just had the times wrong, and I am not going to get any more pictures with just Stephen and I at the reception place, the reception was really a beautiful and kind of perfect event.

The food

Was a Belgian waffle bar, some Greek-ish pasta-ish salad that I apparently invented, fruit, I think some little chicken salad sandwiches....I don't really know. I didn't eat anything besides the plate waffles and the bite of cake later on. All I know is, it was delicious and beautifully displayed.

The Cake

I told my mom that the cake is something I really didn't care about. I never even eat the cake at other people's receptions, so I didn't want to spend a lot of money on it. I didn't want anything too crazy, I just wanted simple and nice. And the cake we got was exactly what I had in mind:

Stephen and I talked a lot about the cake-cutting. As in, we started talking about it before we even got engaged. It was casual then - at a wedding reception, when I mentioned that my mom didn't like when people smashed the cake in each other's faces, and then sneakily gauged his reaction. I was very glad when he responded that he also doesn't like that, and he thinks it's kind of unclassy because it's a formal event. Very good, very good response. Still, that didn't stop me from bringing it up repeatedly in the months of our engagement, just to make sure he still felt the same way.

He did, and when we cut the cake, we both put the bites really nicely in each other's mouths. I didn't even really mind when he had a teeny-tiny lapse of judgment and smeared some frosting on my nose. It was actually perfect.

The decorations

My mom hemmed and hawed and fretted over the decorations pretty much since May 17th, when we got engaged. I can't tell you how many times we were on the phone when she said, "So today, I went to Maple Lawn and set up one of the tables to see what it will look like...." But in the end, that, too, was perfect.

The Bouquet Toss

I didn't throw my own bouquet. Instead, I threw one of the bridesmaids, and I'm not sure whose, so, sorry, whoever went home without one. A Mexican Jew caught it. Shalom and felicitaciones.

The Garter Toss

In keeping with the trend of keeping it in the family, Stephen's brother Michael was the one who caught the garter.

And then this kept happening. I don't know if he knew that came off of my leg. 
The Daddy Daughter Dance

is something that I have both looked forward to and dreaded my whole life, ever since I knew it was a thing. Kelly said that when she had her Daddy-Daughter Dance, Dad was really good at making jokes and talking the whole time, so she didn't cry. I felt very relieved when she told me that and thought that it would be the same way for me.


No. I bawled all through the entire thing. I couldn't even look up for half the dance. My dad started out trying to talk to me, like he had done for Kelly, but then he said "I told Kelly a bunch of jokes, but I can't think of any jokes to tell you right now. So, sorry." He is just the best dad ever and I guess I should have known I would be emotional about it.

PS - our song was "Stealing Cinderella" by Chuck Wicks.

The Mother-Son Dance

was "I Won't Give Up" by Jason Mraz. I wish I had more pictures of it because it was really cute! But for now, this is what I've got.

The First Dance

as Mr. and Mrs. Shimp was another thing I did not expect to be so emotional about....but my gosh. Stephen's lapel got a real nice watering.

Back in June, I was feeling pretty overwhelmed with wedding prep and everything else and I just put Stephen in charge of coming up with the first dance song. So it was a surprise to me, but I loved the song he picked: "Wanted," by Hunter Hayes.


The Getaway

The plan was, after all the dances, cake-cutting, and wedding traditions, everybody would dance for about 30, 45 minutes while Stephen and I got ready to leave. I had a blue bag that I had packed with the clothes I was changing into and a few other things, and I asked a few people to find it. It was a very important stupid blue bag, and when no one could find it, I went outside to look for it myself.

Then, everyone thought that we were leaving, stopped dancing, and followed me outside. Someone started handing out sparklers and someone else started lighting them. Which just made me want to close my head in Sabie's trunk.

At this point it became clear that we were not going to find the infamous blue bag, and I still needed to get changed anyway. So I told everyone sorry for the confusion but I wasn't leaving yet, went back inside, and changed out of my dress by myself. I think all my bridesmaids were looking for the blue bag. I don't even know. I just know that taking off a 10-lb wedding dress with a corset back all by yourself when you are the one wearing it, is very hard.

Someone suggested that we do our sparkler exit, drive away, park somewhere for like 15 minutes, and then come back to the reception center to find the blue bag, so we decided to go ahead with that plan.When everyone had their sparklers lit, we ran down the stairs, jumped in the car, and drove off.

Sparklers are a good idea if
- you set aside 15 minutes or so to take pictures with them. Not that this is mandatory, but I really wanted to do that, and with all the confusion about the blue bag, we didn't get a chance to.
- you give the lighters to 2 or 3 very responsible people and tell them not to light a single sparkler until you personally tell them to. Otherwise the sparklers will be lit early and they'll burn out and you still won't be ready.

- you have a wide stairway or ramp or sidewalk that you are running out on. If you have a small staircase and a skinny sidewalk, you might get burned in the face. And sparks flying might sound romantic, but Taylor Swift never experienced it in such a real way.

- you tell people to hold the sparklers up in the air. Otherwise people will point their sparklers out in front of themselves as far as they can, and you will be terrified.

Stephen and I drove down the road and pulled off somewhere to see if we could find the blue bag anywhere in the car. It was still being very elusive, and I was this close to laying down in the road and ask for Stephen to run me over when Nicole's friend Gina called to tell us that they had found the blue bag! It was at our house. It had never made it to the getaway car. We were elated! We drove home, got the blue bag, and went on our merry way.

The Wedding Night

Wouldn't you like to know ;) Just kidding. I will share that I had to go back to teaching the Monday after we got married, and then I had to teach for one week before my 3-week break. So we only had a weekend of time for just us before it was back to real life for a week before it was off to the Caribbean for our real Honeymoon. We called that weekend our Hweekend.

Hwhat? Hwhy am I saying hwhat hwhat hway?
We spent our Hweekend in B-more, at a hotel called Embassy Suites. Some huge African-American family had chosen the same hotel as the site for their family reunion, and the hotel had given away our room to some of them. Which meant that we got upgraded to the deluxe suite and we didn't even need to play the "we just got married" card!

The hotel was set up really cool. Our room was on the very top floor, and you took a glass elevator to get there. All the rooms were arranged in a circle around this atrium in the picture above. On the ground floor is where they had breakfast every morning.  
Since we got upgraded, this was our room. And we got a living room and a bathroom and a little baby refrigerator too! So spoiled. 
We left all our suitcases and stuff in the car when we got there on Friday night, which meant that we had to go to breakfast in the same clothes we left the reception in....
I was wearing a nice white dress and sparkly silver heels. Stephen was wearing a dress shirt, dress pants, and a coral tie. On the one hand, we looked very swanky. Especially for 8:00 in the morning.

But on the other hand, I literally hadn't brought anything into the hotel. As in, no hairbrush. So my hairs looked about as good as you can expect them to look the day after they got hair sprayed and curled 3 times over, and after I tried to fix them up with just my hands. So Stephen looked swanky, and I looked Ke$ha-swanky.

I thought, maybe no one will notice. Maybe....just maybe....we will be allowed to eat our breakfast in peace and swanky quiet.

Our hotel had literally the most amazing wonderful breakfast buffet you could ever hope for at a hotel. They had everything you have at a normal hotel buffet breakfast - cereal, toast, bagels, and muffins. But then they also had this fantasy omelette station with a guy who yells "GOOD MORNING HOW CAN I HELP YOU??" and you tell him what you want on your omelette and he makes it and yells his greeting to the next person in line. Then, after you get your omelette, a nice lady puts some pancakes and hash browns on your plate, if you want them, and you wander off to get yourself some cranberry juice and honeydew melon. Delicious, okay.

So there we were in line, and I got up to the front. I responded very competently to the "GOOD MORNING HOW CAN I HELP YOU??" and so did Stephen. But then the omelette magician strayed from his script.

"You guys look nice," he said. "Where are you going so early?"

"Ohhhhh...." I said. And then I was incapable of speech.

"We're not going anywhere," Stephen said. All smiley. Happy. Whatever. "We just got married yesterday." :) :) :D

Cover blown.

The egg connoisseur stopped. He smacked his spatula on the grill. "What!!" he shouted. "Y'all....yesterday? You two got married yesterday. Awwwhhh shoooooot!"

I'm not sure which was redder, my face or the tomatoes in my omelette. And I'm not sure which was cheesier, Stephen's omelette or the grin on his face.


Whew, I thought. He's moved on to the next person in line.

"Look at her, look at that pink, whooo! She's blushing!" Nope, he's back to paying attention to us. He smiled hugely.

"Congratulations you two!" bubbled someone in line behind us.

"Thanks," Stephen said, all charismatically.

"GOOD MORNING HOW CAN I HELP YOU?? - Can I give you a present?" the omelette king said to me while the next customer stared at the menu of toppings available. "I won't embarrass you. Would I embarrass you?? Come on, girl!"

"Sure," I said. My face was still 50 shades of pink.

"Okay. GOOD MORNING HOW CAN I HELP YOU?? Don't worry, now. I'll get that for you."

My present actually was very nice; he chopped up some strawberries pretty and put them on the plate next to my omelette. It was a very non-invasive, non-embarrassing present. I was very pleased.

Stephen and I took our fantasy omelettes and found a nice little table. We were sitting there enjoying our meal when our new friend, the Einstein of Omelettes, found us and put his hand congenially on Stephen's shoulder.

"What's your last name?" he asked casually. I wondered if I should slide under the table.

Stephen said, "Shimp."

"LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, MISTA AND MISSES SHIMP, JUST MARRIED YESTADAY!" announced the omelette genius who apparently sidelined as a bugler. Everyone cheered. And then a few people came over to congratulate us and wish us well.

After that, we were pretty famous at that hotel. We would be moving stuff from our car to the hotel, or back to our car, or going out to eat at Chili's, and someone would stop us and say, "Best wishes to the both of you!" or, "You look a lot more casual than yesterday ;)" or just hum the wedding march. It was kind of embarrassing....but also kind of fun :)

In Conclusion

My biggest piece of advice for girls getting married is to make sure that everyone knows their responsibilities. In the end, it is true that the important thing is that you are marrying the right person at the right time and in the right place. But the only way you'll be able to focus on that and how much you love that person is if you don't have to focus on 15,385 other things.

So just assign those things out to whoever you want to take care of it - your sister, your mom, your father-in-law, your YW president, or your best friend. I'm not saying you need to turn into Bridezilla and ask everyone to bend over backwards and lick their toes for you, but it is perfectly fine when people offer to help for you to give them a task.

And make sure that the person you assign to be the groom is your favorite person. Because they stick around after the wedding. Forever. Which is a good thing :)

Also, don't forget the blue bag.