Rehearsal Cook-out

Every wedding rehearsal is unique in some way, whether it’s the location or events that spontaneously happen. Looking back 23 years ago, I remember Tom and mine. It was held at the wedding venue, my in-laws back yard. Picture a sprawling rich green lawn leading downhill to a beautiful tranquil pond with cat tails growing here and there. We practiced the wedding party walk and where everyone would stand. People laughed and visited and soon after we ate outside under the white wedding tent.


I’m going to share with you a rehearsal cookout our family had on Friday August 17th, for our son Dylan and our daughter in law Lexy. It took place in our yard under our majestic pine tree. Not far from the set-up stood my majestic uplifting  sunflowers and my garden. We put up two pop up canopies, placed chairs all around, a folding table for the food and our deck table for gathering.



Tom uses a stump to chop wood on and it usually sits on the outskirts of the wood pile. I wanted it to be a part of our cookout and give it some rustic appeal. It was quite heavy so I had to roll it where I wanted it. Next I fashioned a mason jar with baby’s breath and decorated the jar with burlap and lace and a raffia ribbon.


We also had galvanized buckets of ice for the drinks. My son’s girlfriend Jojo fashioned burlap around the outside of each. Thanks to co-worker and friend ( she even was one of my high school teachers as well) Pauline Corzilius for the use of the buckets.



Unfortunately I was so busy setting up I didn’t get a chance to snap photos of the food. We had grilled hotdogs and hamburgers, ( thanks to Tom for all his planning and hard work on the grill) macaroni salad, potato salad a friend made, vegan pasta salad Lexy’s mom made, a deli wrap platter, a large vegetable platter, deviled eggs, pickles, chips, tortillas and salsa and guacamole. My mother in law made beautiful watermelon baskets of fruit for all to enjoy.


What is important to capture to me is the people and connection everyone made…all because of the happy couple’s love. I borrowed some photos from Glenn, Lexy’s stepdad and I thank him for taking these photos for us.

My son and Lexy’s step brother Cole. Cole is starting 7th grade in a new school soon. I wish him well.


Lexy’s brother Regan and his wife Megan. It was great to get to know them during the festivities.


Lexy and her mom Arlene enjoying a moment


Glenn Castro, Arlene’s boyfriend and Megan


The New Jersey crew, Arlene’s cousins and relatives all arrived in a party bus, pulling in towards the end of the evening. Everyone was excited that they arrived and hugs and then introductions ensued.


We mothers of the bride and groom, Arlene and I.

Last but not least I was determined to say a toast in the kids’ honor. I wrote several, not knowing which I could pick. Finally I listened to my heart and went with this toast. Reading from my iPad and trying to keep eye contact with Dylan and Lexy as I said these words( sometimes a bit choked up with emotion but I got through) This was my first attempt at public speaking. I’m proud of myself for doing it and next time it may feel easier.

Rehearsal toast

I would like to make a toast to Dylan and Alexis.

Thank you all for coming to celebrate these two and we are happy to host and meet some of Lexy’s friends and family.

Someone once said when your children find true love, parents find true joy.

This expresses how Tom and I feel and I’m sure I can speak for all of us parents that this marriage is a blessing and a union of two families.

Dylan, I knew this day would come and my only hope was that it would be perfect in every way for you deserve that.

Lexy we are more than happy for you to become part of our family.

Here’s to many blessings in your married life with all my love. To Dylan and Lexy

The cookout was a success as people’s bellies and hearts were full and we all were looking forward to the next day. I was impressed with how many family members and friends helped clean up the food and trash. Big thanks to Christine Hudson, Jojo Anderson and my son Branden, my husband Tom, Jerry and Monica Hite, Glen Castro, Regan Hite and many others.

My next post will cover the beautiful wedding. Has anyone celebrated weddings this summer?

All My Best,

Heart and Soul💕

The Courage to Let it Go


Breathe deeply as you realize there’s freedom of letting it go.

Do you realize that you can’t control everything or everyone?

There’s a sweet freedom of letting nature take its course without you grasping on for dear life. Let go of that staunch grip.

I am learning this as a grown woman. I’m always learning until the day I die.

Soon I will post about my son’s beautiful wedding so be on the look out.

Blessings to you all,

Heart and Soul ❤️

A Short Break

I am going to take a short break from blogging for a few weeks while Tom and I prepare for our son’s wedding and rehearsal cook-out held here. I will miss your posts and will catch up with all of you once things slow down and the wedding is over. I hope you all are enjoying life in whatever season you are in and if you’re not, ask yourself, what can I do to change that? Put a smile on your face rather than a frown.


In just two and a half short weeks my son Dylan will marry Alexis. I’m so happy that she will be my daughter-in-law!

All My Best,

Mary ❤️❤️❤️

A Beautiful Bridal Shower


A couple of Sundays ago,  the bridal shower for my daughter-in-law Lexy and my son Dylan was held. It was a beautiful party with her mom Arlene and stepdad Glenn hosting the event. Here is a little picture collage of the backyard event.

The shower guests, my son Dylan to the far left, his future bride Lexy three people in from the right


Lexy and Dylan were very surprised! Family and friends gathered on a cloudy day with just a hint of rain now and then. Great food and platters fed guests as well as a unique punch of Moscato and lemonade. (I’m going to try Arlene’s recipe soon, 1 bottle Moscato and Country Time Lemonade)

the beautiful future bride


It was cute to see Alexis take her time unwrapping gifts, for she didn’t want  to ruin the decorative paper. That’s how Lexy is, a caring soul with a thoughtful approach to everything she does!

She opened up box after box of handy cooking utensils, a Copper Chef set, bowls and a unique wooden recipe box with her and Dylan’s name engraved on it. Shower guests brought their favorite recipes to add to her collection.  Her sister-in-law’s mother sketched a picture of her and Dylan from one of their best photos. She framed it to complete the package.




A typical bridal shower wouldn’t be the same without the cutesy or flashy lingerie. Here Lexy’s friends treated her to a massage for before or after the wedding and check out the decorated bag it came in! SO clever and cute.




Lexy’s mom, Arlene gifted her a handmade doll made by her grandmother, Estelle Nedelak. The outer layer of the doll’s dress is crocheted while the underlay is made of her grandmother’s wedding dress. This was a sentimental moment from one generation to another with a mother daughter hug. I was happy to witness it and I’m thrilled for Lexy and her mom. Perhaps Alexis will hand down the heirloom to her daughter someday, our grand daughter.



The bridal shower was a lovely success with family and friends sharing in this momentous occasion, the joining of two hearts into a marriage union. The theme was ringing laughter and happiness. Everyone celebrated the bride as we all as the groom, as he attended as well. What a great start to the wedding festivities!

All My Best,

Heart and Soul