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Matthew and Ashley's Wedding.

Today is Fito’s birthday and I got up early and made crepes and bacon. I already have the table set with the china and will make shrimp and rice for supper. Tomorrow is our 30 Wedding Anniversary. Wow. I do not even know how to respond to that. On one hand it seems like an eternity and on the other hand, it feels as though it all went by in a flash.

Matthew and Ashley were married last Saturday on the 18 of January. It was a lovely wedding and an incredibly fun reception. Everyone was there.

It has been more than a year when we were last together and the last family picture did not have Ashley, nor Greyson (Maria’s baby). We took plenty of pics after the wedding, so hopefully one will be presentable (with no one being goofy, yawning, picking their nose….). believe me, after taking family pics all these years with nine children… and now adding 3 in-laws, and four grandchildren. It just gets tougher every time to get a good pic.

Of course, we all are better looking each year and act more mature, so hummm, it does get easier in some aspects. At least now I don’t have a pouty one all mad over taking pictures, although, I am sure, eventually, a grandchild will do just that.

The day before the wedding, we drove to Edmond to the chapel where we were to have the reception. I had my Ford Flex full of wedding stuff, and had our small enclosed trailer behind it, also full of stuff.

Some family friends had come followed me in their car. We walked into the gym and there were about seven, 3 feet by 17 feet or so rolls of carpet lying there. There were also buckets of glue, workers, tools, and so forth. It was obvious that there was no possible way we were going to have the reception in that building.

It turns out that the wrong carpet had arrived and that mix-up had put the workers behind schedule. No problem, we thought. Matthew had reserved another one of the church buildings months ago and had never called them back to cancel.

My friends and I headed that way. Then Matthew called again. That church was being used for a conference for the youth. He then started calling people to try to find a location for the reception. We finally pulled the cars over and I sent my friends home. We then spent several hours looking for a place.

I don’t know if Ashley or Matthew cried during this time, but one tear slipped down my face, and I had to breathe deeply and keep telling myself that everything would work out. It wasn’t until after 3:00 pm that we found a building and someone to come unlock it for us. It was over in Midwest City which is a suburb east of OKC.

I drove over there and started unloading everything. There were two missionaries there that helped me and the gentleman that came to unlock the building, actually stayed the whole time I was there and helped me even after everyone else had gone on.

Matthew and several of his friends showed up and started putting up wire and stringing up clear Christmas lights. Several of my other sons and friends showed up to help. Tables and chairs had to be set up. Table cloths, chair covers, ribbons, bows, table coverings, table decorations, kitchen stuff, etc. All had to be unloaded, set up, and turn a gym into a crystal wonderland.  

We did it, and in less time than I thought. I missed the wedding rehearsal as I had to stay and finish and everyone else left. I also had to return to the building 2 more times after I left it as I remembered items that needed to be at the wedding which was at a different church. Also, I did not have a key, so I had to find someone to unlock the building each time.

I didn’t arrive home until after 9:00 pm and I still had to leave to do two more errands. By now, we had family at the house from Canada, Texas, Kansas, and Missouri. 21 people spent the night at our house with more at Maria’s, and some at Felipe’s apartment.

I still had the cake to decorate. I had purchased a simple two-tiered cake from Wal-mart. I had picked it up earlier that day (and also bought bread for bolios, cilantro, sour cream, cream cheese, and heavy whipping cream with which to make Spanish Cream, and ice for the reception.)

Earlier in the week, Rebeca and I had been a Hobby Lobby and they had all the Wedding stuff for 50% off. I had already bought a floral spray paint to paint real flowers a different color, previously, but did not like the color. It was turquoise, not teal. I needed to find a different way to decorate the cake.

Vickie owns peacocks and brought us some white and teal Peacock feathers. I had already bought a Teal vase and made an arrangement for the wedding.

Becca saw a small peacock that had real feathers in the tail. We bought that for the cake topper. We also bought some white and silver flowers, and teal ribbon. We used a combination of things to decorate the cake and it came out really pretty.

Fito had fed our company food which was for the reception, but that was fine as I had realized about a week earlier that not only was I cooking for the wedding, but that with that many out-of-town guests that we would need even more food prepared.

Two weeks before the wedding, I made 3 Spanish Turkeys on 2 different days. I then de-boned them the next day, put all the meat into one large roaster pan and stuck it in the freezer.

By-the-way, when I make a Turkey, even though, it is for another event, I always let my family eat off it. Sometimes we make Bolios (a sandwich) or other times we eat it with Mashed Potatoes or Guatemalan Potatoes. Sometimes Rice or beans…just whatever I have and feel like cooking and/or eating.

I was then going to make Taco meat, as well, but my friend Vickie brought me two large pieces of wild pig meat. I decided to make Carne Guisada instead. I washed the meat really well, then got my largest stainless steel pan from the pantry.

This is a huge 40 quart pan that I use when canning, making salsa, etc. I put the meat and about 6 inches of water in the pan. I added dehydrated onion, garlic, salt, pepper, and lots of cumin. I then cooked the meat for two days until it fell completely off the bones.

When you have wild meat, a cheaper cut of meat, or an older animal that you slaughtered, you simply have to understand that it will need to be cooked for a longer period of time. It is the same with older beans; they will need more cooking time.

Any meat will eventually become soft and delectable if you cook it long enough. And if you cook it in water with seasonings, it will be juicy and have a great flavor.

After I de-boned it and cut it into small pieces, I cooked it another day, and added Ragu Traditional, a can of diced tomatoes with chilies, more cumin, some Goya Sazon flavorings, until I had juicy, soft, well flavored Carne Guisada.

Also, three days before the wedding, I made a roaster pan of beans. I did 8 pounds which filled the pan. I added a ham bone that I had saved from Thanksgiving. I bought bags of mixed beans. There are about 16 types of beans in this bag. They are really yummy.

Then two days before the wedding, I made 22 loaves of Poppy Seed Bread, and 19 loaves of Apple-Coconut bread.

When I do this much bread, I pull two large mixing bowls out onto the counter. I then put both recipes in front of their respective bowl. I then get out the flour, sugar, etc. and measure into each bowl. I use a large 4 cup glass measuring cup so I can go quicker.

I also use a baking spray that has flour and oil in it. I spray the bread pans, use them, take the bread out, spray it again (without washing them), and then use it a second time. I do not have double ovens, therefore it takes a while to bake it all.

The Saturday before the wedding, Maria and I spent the whole day doing errands. She had bought her bridesmaid dress online and the sleeves were too tight. We had to take it to get it altered. We also  picked up Ashley’s wedding dress, drove to a friend’s house and picked up the table cloths and chair covers that she was lending us, plus many more wedding errands.

The chair covers had a light blue and silver bow already sewed into them. I spent the next two nights with a seam ripper taking the bows out. I then spent Monday afternoon re-sewing the seams shut. We used silver sheer bows on the back of the chairs.

Normally, I would not have gone through so much work to re-sew something that does not belong to me. However, this friend will let me borrow them again, I have six more weddings to do, and now the covers are plain white and can be used with any other color.

I had not sewed for years, as I do not enjoy sewing, but was amazed at how quickly I do sew and actually might start sewing again. Strange, how our preferences change through the years.

I could go on and on about the two weeks before the wedding. The trips to Sam’s and other stores to buy paper goods, food, borrowing items from others, making lists to make sure I did not forget something…

Thinking you are completely ready and prepared and having the venue changed at the last moment and finding yourself at Staples on the morning of the wedding to have flyers printed out telling people how to get to the “new” reception hall. Frustration taken to a whole new level…

But as always, it all came together. My dearest friends helping me when I needed it most. One family not even attending the wedding to stay and make rice and get the food ready for the reception. Others staying to clean up. Others lending us items, and others coming to eat, dance, and enjoy the day with us; while others who could not come sent notes or gifts, thoughts, or prayers.

All are forms of friendship and service, and we thank each one of you for your love and service to our family.

Weddings, just like marriage and children are a lot of work. But as the event occurs and the day is spent with loved ones and filled with so much fun, joy, love, and fellowship…the joy is definitely worth the effort.

And just think…I still have six more children to marry…how lucky is that!

Celeste was a flower girl, and so was Rebeca and another of Ashley's friends. Ashley was so gracious to allow these girls' dreams to come true.

Xander just walked down the aisle just cause he is so cute...

Getting each other with cake. The Poppy Seed and Apple-Coconut Bread is cut in front. What do you think of the Peacocks....?

Such a beautiful couple. Such a fun night! We danced and danced and danced! The DJ was excellent and everyone who came were party people! Oh my, did we dance! and have fun.

Good food, good friends, loving family...what a day!

The church where the wedding was performed is very beautiful. we decorated very simply by tying these sheer sliver bows at the ends of the pews.

Here is Isabella. I bought hers and Celeste's matching dresses at Christmas.

What a joy to have all our children and grandchildren together.

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