Aug 27, 2014

Part 1: Colorado and the wedding

Before you think I dropped off the face of the earth, I had better post!  I was gone for a week. August 13 through 20th and home since about 4 p.m. Wednesday evening.  A week has passed.  Every time I thought I might be able to sit down to update my blog, something else seemed to come up.  In fact, I am still sort of catching up, LOL.  I barely got back and it was off to one of the guild sew-in days on Friday.  Yesterday was Bama Belles.  It is also time for me to be getting out the guild newsletter---did much of that on Saturday because the gals were giving some of the stuff that needed to go in it on Friday, LOL.

BUT every body keeps asking about the wedding and getting to see the baby.  I keep saying I'll post to the blog including pictures.  Guess I better get to it, huh?   This will be long, just saying.

I knew going in that my sister Janet needed some help in the kitchen.  She had arranged my flight to get into Denver in the early afternoon on Wednesday (the 13th) for that very reason.  My brother-in-law Rich picked me up from the airport, about an hour away from their Littleton home.   I  had told her to give me a knife and point me to the kitchen in our messages back and forth.    Little did I know just how much she did need me to help!   In fact, we had to make most of the wedding food, not just feed the house guests and my niece's friends from college for a few nights.   Fajitas and Pizza Pasta was on the menu that I knew of.  Jan mentioned something about the caterers not being available as soon as initially hoped.  A little cryptic perhaps, LOL.  It was on messenger, I didn't press for details.  She was up to her neck in alligators with wedding details, after all.

My sister is very organized and that was a good thing.  The wedding was going to be held in Buena Vista, Colorado on a ranch that Greg's aunt and uncle (Rosie and Gary) own, some 2- 2 1/2 hours away, up in the mountains.  Everything had to be taken up there: all the food, all the decorations, guests, luggage ----everything from wedding central AKA the living room, the stuff for the bachelorette party........practically the kitchen sink!

All the menus were planned.   She knew what we would be having for supper that night and Thursday night (3 kinds of soup)  when Amber's 6 friends from college were driving in from Des Moines, Iowa and points east.  That stuff was already made and just needed heating.   She had meat marinating in the fridge for the fajitas.   Jan and I sat down and figured out what we could do ahead in preparations over the three day span based on the menu.  Because she would be helping to set up the decorations plus be involved in wedding rehearsal on Friday, could I oversee the kitchen details at the borrowed church kitchen with some of Amber's friends?  Sure! I was there to help.   With our lists made and action plan set up, she and I headed off to Sam's while Rich had his list of items to get from the other area supermarkets.  Turns out he was kind of the on call shopper over the next few days!

Wednesday and early Thursday I sliced my way through probably two dozen bell peppers of various colors.  Some were for the fajita meal and most for the veggie trays at the wedding.  I lost count of how many onions I sliced or chopped. Wednesday I chopped and Jan and Rich made up two kinds of salsa, a tomato one and what I would call Texas caviar or something similar.  Jan browned the meats for the pizza pasta and the Greatest Queso that Ever Lived.  We should have owned stock in the ziploc bag company for how many we were packing up.  We had to keep things separated out for what was wedding food to transport over to their nearby church refrigerator and what needed to stay at the house.  That would be important when it came time to load up the coolers----all five of them!!

The wedding menu for 50-60 people was---

  • pulled pork which my sister had already cooked up, shredded and froze up in ziploc bags
  • fruited Chicken salad--not sure whose recipe she used but it called for Worcestershire sauce in it which is a little different that most you see
  • Spinach Salad with a variety of fruit, similar to what is served at Panera Bread
  • those good Sister Schuler yeast rolls to use for the sandwiches
  • deviled eggs
  • veggie trays
  • Watergate salad, the bride's favorite
  • Mexican Pinwheels----one of Greg's favorites; the groom's family made these up but from Melanie's description this is a similar recipe.
  • They had a cake to slice just for the pictures more or less but served red velvet cupcakes from a bakery
  • coffee, iced tea, hot tea, lemonade
Thursday I set to work poaching a bunch of chicken breasts for the chicken salad and cutting it up into cubes---like, 18 cups worth by the time I was done.  We would finish up the dish on Friday at the church.  Later Jan and Rich grilled up the fajita meat, slightly underdone for reheating.  I sliced and bagged up the chicken, while Jan packed up the beef.  Amber's friends arrived for supper and were to spend the night at Greg's mom and step-dad's (Melanie and Glenn) home as they were already up in Buena Vista.  My sister Diane and husband Rick got into the airport around 8 pm and rented a car to drive down to Littleton.  We didn't see much of them before we all headed to bed!

Friday dawned and it was time to load up the cars, the coolers and everything but the kitchen sink!  As I said 5 coolers had to go with just the food, some to the ranch, some to the church for preparation.  Jan and Rich ended taking up both cars and pulling a small trailer.  Amber had her girlfriends and drove Greg's car with all their luggage.  The rental car was loaded up as well.  We were supposed to be to Buena Vista at 10.  Three cars left and Diane and Rick were coming up a little later with the things that needed to go to the rental house.  (We could not check in till 3 pm) 

 It was an outdoor wedding so the photographer needed to know about the light patterns, food preparation needed to done, decorating done, tables set up and any number of details to attend to.
When we got there, the guys were still working on building the stage area with seating left to go.  (Log sections that they would attach two by fours to).  They had expanded the size of the path on the hill we needed to walk down to get to the creek and pasture area building in steps to the bridge that traversed it in previous weekend trips.  Needless to say, the rehearsal didn't apparently get started as soon as they hoped.  Rehearsal luncheon became rehearsal supper.  Diane said that rehearsal took about 3 hours and in the meantime she had polished all the silver teapots, trays, communion goblet etc.  

Meanwhile my helpers Katy and Alicia and I spent about 4 hours at the church.  The caterer's basically were to set up, serve, replenish, make the dish look pretty, bake the rolls and partially slice them, set up the beverages.  They would not arrive till late Friday and there was a funeral at the church on Saturday so they had to move all that stuff back to the ranch bright and early Saturday morning.  SO our job was to ready things for them.  We had fruit to prep for the spinach salad, strawberries to float for garnish in the lemonade.  Watergate salad to mix, veggies to wash, canned fruit to drain, celery to slice for the veggie trays and some to chop for the chicken salad.  Iced tea concentrate to brew.  Alicia had some cooking class experience and good knife skills and Katy was a good helper, doing whatever we asked of her. 

Our biggest task was probably making the deviled eggs.   Jan and I had discussed whether to buy eggs pre-boiled or fix them ahead but vetoed both because of cost or the fact that they might get rubbery and icky.  Surely we could buy a few dozen locally?  They came back with 3-18 egg cartons and we cooked them all.  Their hands were about frozen trying to peel all those eggs.  I worked on the filling and another task while they kept plugging.   Somehow we had enough of them that looked good to fill the trays Melanie had provided.   Alicia piped in the filling, making them look pretty.  At that point I said "okay, bonus salad with the remainders" and Alicia chopped them up for egg salad.  The bowl was about half gone at the reception so that was probably a good thing we did make it up.

Rehearsal supper was brats, burgers and green beans cooked over a camp fire in cast iron pots which gave them an interesting smoky taste.  Some other things as well but that is what sticks in my head.  I know I was pretty hungry by then though we had been dealing with food for hours, that was for the wedding, not for lunch!!  LOL  Other than the taste tests to see if something needed a bit of salt, or more dressing added and a bit of pineapple juice drained off the fruit we had no lunch.

Okay, moving on.  Buena Vista is known for its outdoor activities such as rafting, hiking, fishing and the hotels book up on the weekend.  My sister had arranged for a time share like house that slept 10.   It looked to be a log cabin that they had built a 2nd story on as the lower level had just two twin beds and two fold up cots.  Up stairs there was a  beautiful master suite with king bed, a crib in the walk in closet and a small sitting room off the suite with a twin bed and a pull out.  That is where I slept actually but all that separated me from the bedroom and one "wall" of the bathroom was two curtains on either side. Outside, above what looked like storage building they had also built upward and it housed a double or queen sized bed.  No bathroom or TV but a bed.  Diane and I had to make an executive decision about who was going where for the night as Jan and Rich did not get back from the ranch to about 9:30 or so that night.  Jan and Rich got the master, Diane and Rick the treehouse and the 5 girls who were staying over hashed it out as to who went where.

The girlfriends all came back to the house for the girlie get together.  There was a large living room area with dining table set up with a door that could be closed for privacy.  Then us old heads could hang out in the sitting area off the kitchen or outside by the fire pit, whatever.  That night the girlfriends that were not staying with us went on to Greg's dad house about an hour away.  We didn't have to feed them after all that night.  One meal for the newlywed's freezer, I'm guessing.

Saturday came, the wedding was scheduled for 10 a.m. back at the ranch so most of the group left early.  Diane and I started washing some towels and pulled the sheets off the two twin beds.  Different bunch staying on Saturday night----the sound guy, his wife and two young kids.  I think he was somebody Jan and Rich know from church and he initially wanted two nights in the hotel, meals, his fee, etc etc but apparently at some point it was down to "we will have 4 beds and will feed you supper".  Laundry started, showers and dressed for the wedding so off we went.

A gorgeous, sunny day.  The hospitality tent on the way down to the field was stocked with sunscreen sprays as well as insect wipes and we were encouraged to apply them!  Several people already had gotten a bit reddened the day before, after all.    The rain did hold off except for a few odd sprinkles and you may see some cloudy skies in some of the photos.  A few of these were taken by one of Amber's friends or Greg's sister or the best man's mom.  My sister also took a few to share with my parents who were unable to attend.  I can't find where I put those!  Others are in a drop box folder and they won't let me rotate them to share but I do have some to show.  One that I really love of Greg and Amber I cannot seem to upload right now and I am getting a bit perturbed in my attempts.  Maybe later or next post.  Whatever is running in background presently is making this more difficult than it needs to be.  GRRRRRR

My niece Amber, the bride obviously

My sister Janet, niece Randi who was maid of honor, Amber and brother-in-law Rich.  Rich would lead the song and do the message in the ceremony while Greg's step-dad Glenn performed the vows and other portions of the nuptials.

Greg and his best friend/best man Dane on the left.  Note the gorgeous 14's in the background.

Randi and Dane, maid of honor and best man

Greg escorting his soon to be mother-in-law

Rich doing the message and the happy couple

Greg before the "You may kiss the bride".  He bent her over and there are two really neat pictures but I cannot  upload/download them properly

1st dance---friend Kaela has a great picture close in of this and I hope to upload that one 

The courtyard were the tables were set up for the reception

Lovely personalized ceremony with family and friends.  After the reception, Diane, Rick and I went back to the rental house.  We got the beds re-made for the guests, folded towels etc.  Later Diane and I took care of finishing up the preparations for the queso dip and then I tended to preparing the fajitas when everyone was ready to eat.  Jan will be doing a half marathon in the area next month and wanted to check out the route they would taking.  By the time they returned it was time to eat.  We did not get a whole lot of time to visit before bedtime.  The sound guy parked himself on the couch and left his wife to tend to the kids in the back room interjecting himself into our family time anyway.

By Sunday morning, Diane, Rick and I along with Randi headed back to Denver.  Jan and Rich had some last minute things to tend to back at the ranch.  The sound guy and his family were on to another site.   The photographer Liz and Amber's former college roommate  Becca had stayed back at my sister's home in Littleton while the other girls started back to Iowa and points east. Becca was needing to catch a flight on to Michigan and knew she would have a bit of a wait at the airport but it saved another trip .  By the time we got to the house Liz was on her way to Colorado Springs for a few days by bus.   We boarded our plane back to Bloomington-Normal, IL by mid-afternoon, picked up some Avanti's gondolas (a tradition if you live in the area or attended college at ISU) and since my folks were watching one of Diane and Rick's dogs, they took me up to my folks where I would spend the next couple nights.

I am happy that I got to make the trip.  I was glad to whatever I could to help Janet and ease some of her stress about the wedding.  So many details to think about!  She did say that they hope Randi does not want to marry miles, and miles away from home when it is her turn, LOL.

More in the next post-------you are probably thinking, "Lord, will she ever run out of things to say?" by this point!  The answer might be "maybe" or "temporarily".   LOL  I'll set the other one to go live in a day or two.  Baby pictures.


  1. Wow, I totally envy your ability to provide such detail! Sounds like you had an amazing time. The pictures are absolutely beautiful. Looking forward to your next post!!

  2. worked a lot on this trip.

  3. Beautiful wedding ... beautiful bride ... handsome groom ... best wishes to the happy couple ... <3 Pat


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