What’s in a name?

That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.

I’m not so sure I’ve always felt this way…

Today I got a wedding present at work…New business cards bearing my new name.

It’s not official yet. It takes a few weeks in Virginia to even be able to request a copy of your marriage license. But it might take me two weeks to get used to the new name.

As you can tell by what I named my blog, I’m pretty partial to my maiden name. I love my Mc. It’s hard to imagine not having a last name with two capital letters.

There plenty of feminist debate out there surrounding why a woman shouldn’t change her name. But I’ve never cared about all that.

I just simply love the name my parents gave me. It has a certain ring to it. It speaks to my culture – both religion and heritage. And it just plain sounds nice!

I tried to convince Charles to add the Mc to his last name…he didn’t really go for it.

But I’ve figured out how to keep it for myself.

Luckily (based on what I’ve read so far) in Virginia, a person can have two middle names if they so wish. Why wouldn’t I just drop my middle name and take my maiden as my middle? Like so many Catholic girls, my name growing up was not just Mary. So many close family called me Mary Frances, and although I hated it as a child, I grew to really love it. I can’t get rid of my Frances

But I also feel the need to keep my Mc.

So instead of changing my identity at all, I’ll simply be tacking Charles’ last name on to the end of my full given name. That’s the way relationships are anyway, right? I didn’t change or give up any part of myself to be with him or marry him, but instead, he’s become a part of me.

So when asked for a middle initial, it will be Mc.

Like many things in life, I’ve gotten my way in the end. Once I can finally change it legally, I’ll have succeeded in becoming Mary Mc Lastname. Now to re-learn how to make a cursive H so I can sign it…



June 5, 2012 2 comments

In planning my wedding, I like to think I was somewhat not the “normal” bride.

There were no bridezilla moments.

I didn’t cry over trying to find the exact shade of green for my bridesmaids to wear.

Even when we ended up having to redo our invitations to make the announcements, I think I handled it rather calmly.

But a few details I did pay close attention to were my “somethings.”

Something old – Since I was going with a vintage feel for the wedding, several things fit that bill. What I finally decided to do was to tie to my bouquet the pocket watch Mom gave to Dad when they were dating. In it, Mom had inscribed “For those who love, time is not,” from Henry van Dyke’s “Time is” poem.

Time is
Too Slow for those who Wait,
Too Swift for those who Fear,
Too Long for those who Grieve,
Too Short for those who Rejoice;
But for those who Love,
Time is not.

Something new – My dress of course! Even the dress shopping experience was unconventional. No one cried. There was no screaming “This is the one!!” I actually had to go back with a bridesmaid because I doubted my decision the same night I tried the dress on.

No doubts anymore though. I can’t wait to get to wear the dress a second time. And I think I love it even more after I added sleeves to it.

If you look closely, you can also see the pocket watch.

Something Borrowed – Honestly, I can’t remember if Megan offered first or if I asked her if I could borrow it, but my “borrowed” something was my sister in law’s veil.

My mom wore her sister’s veil when she got married, so she didn’t have one for me to use. I remembered Megan’s veil being simple and ivory, so we kept that in mind as we went dress shopping.

What I hadn’t remembered was how beautiful the Irish lace on the veil was or how intricate tiny pearls were sewn into the lace. It only added to the excitement that the veil was packed away because of home renovations. Megan didn’t dig it out until the week before the wedding. I didn’t get to try it on until the very last minute. But it was perfect!

And in keeping with Irish tradition, Megan (a happily married woman) was there to put the veil on me on Monday morning.

Something blue – Originally, I thought of using a Silverado blue rosary that belonged to my father in my bouquet. But after reading the pocket watch inscription, I was sure I preferred to carry that. I also wanted to use it because I remember the care my father took when he wore the watch on special occasions. I knew if he had walked me down the aisle, the watch would have been with him. I needed it with me too.

Anyway, all this thought given to my father walking down the aisle, and I knew I’d need a hanky. But I didn’t want just any old hanky, I wanted my father’s hanky.

Sure enough, Mom had saved just a few of Dad’s handkerchiefs. I asked her if I could take one when I was home a few months ago because I wanted to embroider my wedding date on it in blue so that it could be my something blue.

She said no. She wanted to do it for me.

Some of the only tears I shed in the hours leading up to my wedding were when she gave me the box holding the hanky. It was as if Dad was talking directly to me when I lifted the lid and read “Angel Face.” It was perfect. And so much more special to me than the date alone would have been.

From that very moment on through the next day when I carried the hanky in my pocket, I knew he was with me.

My biggest fear leading up to my wedding was that I would miss my father so much that the emotion of that would overshadow the rest of the day. …That I’d burst into tears walking down the aisle with my brother because he wasn’t my father. …That I’d be sad at the reception because there was no father/daughter dance.

But amazingly, the complete opposite happened. Instead of being upset that he wasn’t there, it was as if I was overcome with how much he WAS there, and how proud he was on that day, and how happy he would want me to be.

Miss Mary is a Mrs!

June 4, 2012 4 comments

Yes folks. Part of the reason for my absenteeism over the last couple of months has been that I just couldn’t bare to blog without sharing the exciting news that Charles and I decided to get married early.

We found out earlier this year that Charles would have to move out of his house earlier than we planned. It didn’t make any sense for him to rent another place for the summer, but at the same time, we’d planned all along to get married before he moved into my (now our!) house.

I asked him what he thought of getting married early, and he gave the perfect response.

“Whatever will make you happy.”

In February, we finished meeting with the priest to complete the church-related marriage prep. As we wrapped up and the priest checked his notes, he commented on how long our engagement seemed and to let him know if we wanted to get married any earlier.

Little did he know we’d take him up on this offer!

So with about 30 of our very closest friends and family in the pews, we married on Memorial day at my local church with the priest who did our marriage prep.

In many ways, it was a relief!

I didn’t have to worry about being the center of 500 people’s attention during the ceremony.

We didn’t have to worry about vendors showing up for the huge party afterward.

We made it to our honeymoon suite by 5 p.m. and weren’t nearly as tired as we’d have been had we had a giant party afterward. We were able to enjoy a quiet dinner together and reflect on our day instead of just passing out from exhaustion.

We were able to talk to and thank each and every one of the 30ish guests who shared in that day with us.

And perhaps most of all, instead of feeling a little disappointed that the fun is all over, we still have a huge party in September to look forward to! And I get to wear my dress twice!

I will never know how people manage to elope without telling anyone. It was SO hard not to mention my wedding on Facebook or blog about my feelings in those last few days leading up to it.

But I couldn’t be more sure that the early wedding was the right decision for both of us.

Charles apologized to me on Friday. He said if he’d known marriage would make him this happy, we’d have done it years ago!

Categories: Wedding Tags: , ,

The year of the quilt…

May 15, 2012 2 comments

1. For a girl who loves yellow.

It all started in January when I decided to make ONE quilt.

Then people started having all kinds of babies, and I decided to make my nieces quilts, and I decided my wedding guest book should be a quilt…

And now I’m deep in the throes of the year of the quilt. To this point, I’ve averaged almost one per month. I’ve completely finished three and have finished all but the binding on one of them (it’s machine stitched on, I just have to do the hand sewing to the other side), and I’ve finished cutting the fabric for number 5 and have four completed squares.

For someone who usually starts and stops projects a dozen times before completing them, I’m doing pretty good. I also made 8 or 9 quilted rag bags while I was at it (that led to a week of bruised thumbs from all the cutting!). And a funky looking patchwork monster.

I just hope by the end of the year I haven’t totally burned myself out on quilting. It’s so exciting to see how patterns and colors meld together as I get closer to finishing things, but it’s easy to lose sight of that when working on something annoying (like cutting fabric, or hand stitching binding).

Thankfully, I think I only have two more quilts in the plans for this year, and one is baby-sized. But the other one is a queen. If I think I’ve been overwhelmed by the giant lap quilts…I’m a little scared of how intimidating a queen size quilt will be!

Funky monster. (I guess I didn’t take a picture of quilt 2. I didn’t love it and haven’t figured out what I’ll do with it.)

3. For a special little baby. This is one of my favorites quilts so far. The flannel was cozy and I loved the mix of fabrics.

4. My second large lap quilt. Still need to finish the binding.

5. The start of another lap-size one. I trimmed the pattern down a little since the squares were a lot more work than I expected! I’ve finished four squares. 24 to go!

Categories: DIY Tags: , , , , ,

10 Years ago…

ImageTen years ago…I wasn’t just preparing for “commencement” (as I am today)…I was preparing for MY commencement.

I had no idea what the future held.

I didn’t have a career…I didn’t even know what I wanted that career to be.

At graduation, I met my family and my two small nephews. Who knew that 10 years later I’d be an aunt to 10.

Who knew that 10 years later I’d be back in exactly the same place.

Each year I find commencement bittersweet. Bitter, because it’s so much work! But I see the excitement on the faces of the graduates and remember the excitement I had myself.

I might not have realized at the time how lucky I was to be graduating on the East Steps of the biggest church in the western hemisphere, but I have no idea where I’d be today had anything been different.

Categories: Life Lessons Tags:


May 10, 2012 5 comments

Since I haven’t written in a while, and I’m not sure when I will find time to fill you in on all that’s going on lately, I figured the least I could do was share Gretchen’s blog from the HERALD today that mentions the Race for Hope team.

In our fourth year, we raised nearly $10,000. Not too shabby! (If you want to help us get to $10K, it’s not too late!) Our team was once again in the top 50 in terms of fundraising.

I expected that each year it would get easier to do the race. Not physically, but emotionally. But for the fourth time, I was shocked when at random moments I was overwhelmed and on the verge of tears. …for many reasons.

For one, the race has grown SO much since the first year we started. We used to be the only team in sight at our meeting place. Now we share those steps with at least 6 or 7 other teams. Sure it’s great that so many more people are working to raise awareness and funds to fight brain cancer, but it’s also a sad sign that so many more people are being affected by it.

At the beginning of the race, survivors (dressed in yellow) release yellow balloons into the air. It’s certainly a sight to see. …but at the same time, it pisses me off that I don’t know any survivors. And I know too many that are gone.

It was a little shocking this year to walk behind a team carrying a sign “In memory of Mary Frances.” It reminded me of the time we went to a family cemetery and I saw a gravestone with my name on it. It shocks you. I nearly stopped right in the middle of the giant crowd of walkers.

But as I told Gretchen in the blog above, as emotional as the beginning of the race is for me, what I look forward to most is the end. I always watch for the first yellow shirt (survivor) to finish – usually a good 40 minutes ahead of me. I look forward to getting three miles into the race and seeing people in yellow shirts – sometimes struggling, but always excited – SO happy to finish the race with their family and friends.

I look forward to the day when our fundraising will make a difference. And I hope that some day, I might know someone in a yellow shirt.

Are we done yet?

April 6, 2012 Leave a comment

Yes. Finally we are! Now to address them all. Darn that Emily Post saying they must be done by hand!


Categories: Wedding