July 1, 2013

love and marriage, gold and stripes

Last night I threw my parents an anniversary party with my sisters. It was a lot of fun and a lot of work. I really enjoy throwing parties but especially when it's for people I love. It turned out really beautiful and I'm so glad we did it. The only big downer of the night are these pictures! I'm so disappointed in how they turned out (and these are the best ones!) Just when I think I'm getting OK at picture taking, these happen. Since it was their golden anniversary, I went with black and white with touches of gold.

I printed out one of my favorite quotes on marriage onto cards and put each one in a napkin pocket with a dried billy ball flower. It says, "True love is not so much a matter of romance as it is a matter of anxious concern for the well being of one's companion." - Gordon B. Hinckley
The thing I'm most proud of are these "chalkboard" signs I made. The best part is - they're not chalkboard! Chalkboard signs are really popular these days but they're such a pain to paint, wait to dry and are often expensive and heavy. I considered buying some dry wall backer board to paint and cure and try to hang at the party but wasn't excited about that idea. So there I was at Target a week ago, and I saw some black foam board for $3. I grabbed one and thought "what the heck - it's worth a shot" and took it home. It worked! The size was good so I didn't need to try to trim it at all. I took a piece of chalk and "seasoned" it by rubbing it all over the board and then wiped it off with a paper towel and it looked just like a chalkboard! Then I used my chalkboard pen (warning: since this is not chalkboard, it doesn't come off!) and some regular chalk to write out some of the words to my parents' song: Moon River.
And also a menu board for the food. All my sisters pitched in and brought something. My sister, Diane, smoked the pork roast and it was the most delicious thing ever.
My awesome cousin, Melissa, made the cake and it turned out beautiful and delicious. The flower is made out of gum paste! Isn't she amazing? The big bottom tier was chocolate cake with peanut butter buttercream and the top tier was lemon cake with lemon buttercream.

My Mom and Dad were foster parents to my Navajo sister, Susie. She lived with us (before I was born) for most of her childhood until she was an adult and got married. We don't get to see her very often since she lives in Northern Arizona on the Navajo Nation Reservation with her husband and children (most of whom are grown, gone to college and are married). She and her husband and youngest son drove 5 hours to come to the party and unfortunately got stuck in horrible traffic (probably due to the terribly sad dust storms and wildfires that took the lives of these brave firefighters). They arrived near the end but it was a surprise to my parents and they were all emotional when she walked in the door. It meant a lot to my parents that she came and I know that my parents have blessed her life immeasurably as well.

Susie also gave my parents a beautiful hand carved sandstone that one of her Navajo friends made. Their town is just south of Monument Valley which has the beautiful red sandstone buttes, which is what the carving depicts. It's so beautiful and I know my parents really love it and were thrilled that she came.
Our gift from their children was a book I made of all our pictures from Europe. It was a huge project that took me several hours but I am so pleased with the way it turned out.

I loved seeing their faces when they opened it. Ever since we got back from Europe, both have them have said on several occasions, "I wish we could compile all our pictures in some way!" and I just kept shrugging it off. I know they are happy to have this memento.
And then I caught my good husband in the kitchen washing all the plates without being asked. He's kind of the best.
When I told my mom that we wanted to throw this party for them, she was reluctant. She said, "We already celebrated our 50th by going to Europe - I don't want you to go to all this trouble." She felt guilty letting us do all the work when she's usually the one throwing the celebrations, cooking, cleaning and washing. I hope she enjoyed it. We missed our out of town siblings but they were all there in spirit!


  1. Tears! I love that we share this love language. I can literally FEEL the love you have for your parents in every perfect detail. All your hard work paid off because it all turned out beautiful! I love the book idea-I wanna see it! The cake, the table settings, the menu, the crafty chalk boards. YOU'RE kind of the best! Congrats to your parents too :)

    ...David must love doing the dishes. He's always the first guy to hop up and start washing away at my house too. Maybe I'll send him some dish towels for his next birthday :)

  2. This is so beautiful of you! How sweet... Happy happy happy anniversary to your parents!! They're lucky to have you.

  3. They are lucky to have such wonderful, giving, loving children. Looks like you all had a blast! Something they will always remember and cherish. :)

  4. Someone posted a picture of your Mom and Dad on Facebook last week and I couldn't believe how much you look like Mary and Christian looks like your Dad. This party is pretty phenomenal. And I am not at all surprised. It gives me inspiration for my parent's upcoming 50th.

    PS-Ashley said you're back in Arizona. When do we get to hang out? I want to enjoy your fantastique in person.

  5. Oh, how I wish we could have been there! Your parents are amazing and have blessed our lives tremendously! Words cannot express the love we have for your family! Thank you so much for your kind words regarding my mother! Love Bj Gilmore

  6. Your kind of the best! This is all amazing! You are such a talent at this. Between the colors, menu, gifts, it all looks perfect! I think your family was so sweet to do this for your parents. A whole lotta love went into this.

  7. do you think part of the reason their song is Moon River is because it has both their initials in it? M+R? huh? huh?

  8. You did a FANTASTIC job! I'm sure your mom loved it all! From what I can tell, she is such a classy lady and this party looks classy to the max!

  9. I don't know you (I follow for the recipes), but these pics are great! I wouldn't be too disappointed -- you captured the emotion in your mum's face while looking at Susie -- so precious.


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