November Wedding Pictures

This post is incredibly long, but I've been wanting to share some photos from the wedding last weekend!  It went very well and I was really happy with how everything turned out.  It was a huge wedding, and it required TONS of work, but it was well worth it and I've gotten a lot of great feedback.  I'm hoping to generate some more business from it too, as my next wedding is in May.  But doing this wedding just confirmed to me again, that this is exactly what I should be pursuing and this is definitely how God has gifted me.  In the middle of all the stress and work, I found myself totally happy and enjoying every minute!  I LOVE working with flowers, I LOVE weddings, and I like creating "something out of nothing."  I'll walk you through the details and let you see what has been consuming me for months!  Enjoy :) 
Some of the flowers I picked up on Thursday.  We went with a fall palette and the flowers came in so beautifully.  I LOVE those mango and cranberry mini calla lilies.  Aren't they gorgeous?

Some of the flowers and greens we used for the sanctuary, personal flowers, and reception.  I had very detailed notes about where I wanted to use every single stem!

I worked all weekend in Trav's junior high room.  It came in handy to be married to a Pastor and have access to the building when I needed it!  These are some of the eiffel tower centerpieces for the reception.  This is a shot of the first stage when I started adding greens.  

The bridal bouquet.  I LOVED this.  It turned out better than I hoped.  Christa wanted mostly white with a touch of color like we used for the rest of the bridal party.  This was one of my favorite bouquets I've ever done, mostly because I love the fall color scheme!

Kind of a blurry shot of the bridesmaids bouquets.  We kept their bouquets very colorful and centered around those gorgeous mango calla lilies.  

A shot of all the bouquets together.  6 bridesmaids' bouquets and the bridal bouquet.  

The way the centerpieces looked the night before when I was finished greening them.  I could almost have kept them that way!  I love a mixture of greens.  They were much prettier the next day with flowers however :) 

On Wednesday, we worked on the sanctuary of our church.  We have a huge, huge worship center and it's very hard to pull off a wedding in there.  It's just so mammoth that it took some vision to try and bring this together.  I thought using the pillars at the back of the aisle would help "close off" the back of the church and bring everything forward.  Here is a preliminary shot of what it looked like from the bride's view before she walked down the aisle.

We used my cylinders and floating candles all over the worship center. I wrapped them all with the striped ribbon that we used for the wedding party and the reception.

4 different sizes here, 30", 20", 14" and 12".  They were gorgeous when they were lit and glowing!

A Pastor's view from the front of the aisle looking back at the worship center.  You can get an idea of the scope of size we were working with.  Not easy to do.  We swagged the aisle with white organza and bows.  I don't work with tulle.  I don't like it.  

We also used tons of cylinders and candles on the stage to try and soften the size and make it more intimate.  

The candleabras and columns and of course the very red curtain.  Perfect with a fall color scheme but something to think about for the rest of the year.  

The trinity candleabra in the background and unity candle table in the foreground.  We kept it very simple with just greens and some sparkly branches I found at my wholesaler.

Close up of the greens, glitter branches and bow.  I loved how they turned out. 

                                                            Trinity Candles 

Unity Candle

More cylinders and candles and some flowers honoring Grandparents who have passed away and couldn't be there. 

A view of the completed stage with the austrian curtain dropped.  That curtain really helped bring the whole thing together and make the stage look smaller. 

 Blurry, but you get the idea.  It was very pretty in there with the lights dimmed and candles lit.

 All different kinds of corsages and bouts. for the wedding party and family.  Fall palette again.

                                                  Final Bridesmaid's Bouquet.  

                                                  Final Bride's Bouquet.

The toss bouquet for the reception.  It's usually laying next to the cake on the cake table :) 

The urn centerpieces we used for the parent's tables.  Roses, hypericum, and greens.

The finished eiffel tower centerpieces.  53 tables total and we had these on 12 of the tables. 

A close up of what I put in them.  Roses, orchids, hypericum, daisies, mums, and mini carns.  

The commons area of our church where the reception was held.  It snowed that day and the view out the windows that night was GORGEOUS!!  Picture this with low lights and candlelight...Very pretty!

After we lit the candles and before the wedding started.  Such a pretty glow in the room.

The tables that didn't have flowers had 3 of my cylinders with more floating candles.  They were just as pretty with the glow of the ribbon :)  Seeing that salad makes me hungry again!

The girls in the bridal party.  They wore black dresses and that was a perfect backdrop for their flowers!  I was a happy girl when I saw everyone together :) 

A bridesmaid and groomsman.  You can see both of their flowers well in this picture.  

The groom, Justin, and one of his groomsmen.  I especially loved Justin's bout.  I made sure to match it with Christa's bouquet.  

The bride's parents.  Dave is our mission's pastor and his wife Wendy is a good friend of mine.  She and I spent lots and lots of time together over the last few months!  What a sweet encouragement she is to me.  She looked stunning in her dress.  She is the Mom of 5 kids and you'd never know it!  

The groom's parents and also friends of ours.  Daniel is our former Senior Pastor and Rosie was one of my scrapbooking friends :)  We miss them but they are now missionaries that our church supports and Daniel travels all over the country speaking and encouraging other Pastor's and leading church leadership teams in prayer.  Rosie was also gorgeous that night and had such an amazing dress.  These 2 Moms were looking great!!  

Christa and her bridesmaids.  Such a gorgeous picture of each of them and not too bad of their flowers either :)  

The happy couple, two Pastor's kids :) Congratulations Justin and Christa!  They were darling and so sweet.  They got to spend Thanksgiving in Mexico...Sounds good to me!!  


A Lone Star Thanksgiving

Travis and I are officially on vacation!!  YAY for the break!  We fly out this afternoon for Texas, to spend the week with Trav's family, eating, resting, and catching up.  Sounds heavenly to me!  We are in desperate need of this break, we have been so busy for the last few weeks.  I am trying to get bills paid, laundry done and the house cleaned.  Sadly we can't take Ryley with us on the plane, so he will be staying home with his favorite babysitter, Jackie :)  He'll be sad when we leave without him but I know he'll be thrilled when Jackie comes tonight!  Here is a funny picture I took of him yesterday morning before Church:

My parents stopped in Friday night before they flew to North Carolina Saturday morning.  When I got up Sunday morning,  Ryley was curled up in their bed, with his head resting on my Dad's pillow!  Isn't that funny?  He looked like a person in that bed!  Although it was cute, that meant I had to wash the sheets for their stay on the way hair is not fun to sleep in!!  

I haven't forgotten pictures of the wedding, I'm just waiting for some good ones to share with you.  It went so well and turned out beautifully.  I was very happy with everything.  It was exhausting though, I worked 4, 12 hour days before it was all said and done.  I asked the photographer for some pictures, so hopefully he'll share some with me.  I took some on my camera, but his will be better!  

I need to run because my to-do list is not finished and the clock is ticking!  We're hoping for a smooth flight and I'm hoping for no back pain, although I'm sure that won't happen.  It's been really bad lately.  Good thing I'm head over heels for Ava though, I'll take it all to get her!!  Should be fun to see how she likes the airplane.  I'm just hoping she doesn't make me sick...that would be no fun!  Have a wonderful, blessed week!  Thank you for all your sweet comments and emails about little Ava and our pictures. We are so touched by you and very, very grateful for your prayers.  We have so much to be thankful for this year, none greater than our Saviour though.  He is giver of all good gifts and we are praising Him for His graciousness to us!  

Happy Thanksgiving from the Armstrongs, 
Travis, Stephanie, Ava and Ryley :) 


What's in a Name?

Almost immediately after our ultrasound on Friday, Travis and I had to quickly decide if were going to share our "girl" name or not.  We knew after we shared the news that we were having a girl, the next obvious question would be, "so what's her name?"  We talked about it for a little bit and then made the decision to share :)  We LOVE her name and we have loved it for awhile.  I'm very happy to tell you that in April we will be welcoming our sweet little daughter, 

Ava Page Armstrong.

Ava is a name that I have liked for a long time and when I mentioned it to Travis awhile ago, he loved it too.  It means "like a bird" which has no incredible spiritual meaning to it, but as Ava's Mom, I do picture her as a little baby bird, whom we get to love and raise until she's ready to spread her wings and fly someday :)  Page is a family name on my side of the family.  It was my Grandma Ferguson's maiden name and it is also my Dad's middle name.  Several of my cousins have used Page as a middle name and I love carrying on the tradition.  It isn't spelled with an "i" like Paige, but without an "i" like Page.  If my Grandma were still alive, she would love that we chose it.  It's already been fun for us to talk so specifically about her and to be able to start praying for her by name.  The Lord has blessed us immensely and we are thrilled at the gift of little Ava.  

When we went in for our ultrasound on Friday, I was so ready and prepared for something to be wrong.  I got such little sleep the night before and I was very anxious for a good outcome.  The Lord gave us the sweetest ultrasound tech, Laurie, who was obviously a believer.  She was able to get so many great views of Ava and she showed us all the things she was looking for.  All of her little organs were exactly where they were supposed to be and her measurements were all perfect.  When we first saw her, she was laying on her side with her little hands resting under her head.  Our hearts were immediately melted, it was so sweet!  We got to see her move around, putting her hands in front of her face and covering her eyes.  Then she did the best thing and she yawned!  Oh it was adorable.  Laurie even got a picture of it for us!  It was at that point that she went looking, trying to determine if we had a son or daughter.  When she showed us the "evidence" she was very convinced that we had a little girl, not a little boy!  Obviously we would be just as thrilled with news that we were having a boy, but it was incredibly special to hear that we were looking at our little girl!  I just layed there and watched Travis fall in love with his daughter with tears in my eyes and an overwhelming sense of gratitude.  Our God is so good and we all agreed it seems impossible not to believe in Him as creator when you see those tiny hands and feet and those perfect organs.  Her spine was like a work of art and we got to see all four chambers of her heart beating and pumping.  I can't even express the deep love that I have for her already and all I've seen is a grainy image.  I can't wait for the day we meet in person and I'm holding her in my arms.  Being a mother has taken such a sharp turn of reality now that I've been able to see my daughter and watch and feel her move around inside me.  I'm so thankful for the healthy report we received and for the weight of worry off my shoulders.  Ava is fearfully and wonderfully made by her creator and already I'm learning to release her days and her future to Him.  I amazes me to be a part of this miracle and to witness it firsthand.  The Lord is good indeed to all those who call Him by name!  

We're Halfway There!

I can hardly believe that today we have reached the half-way mark in our wait for Baby Armstrong!  I am 20 weeks now and our sweet little girl is 10 inches long, the size of a banana!  That sounds about right because in this last week, I swear every piece of maternity clothing that I've been wearing, is suddenly a little more snug!  Apparently she is growing and growing in there and I am too!!

I'm a little horrified by this picture...I'd like to blame this on an unflattering angle and my sweater needing to be adjusted, but I don't know if that will work anymore!  I really am starting to look very pregnant :)  But seriously, not as huge as I look here!

In honor of our baby girl news, we wore pink and purple to Church today!  We are both so excited about having a girl.  I can hardly sleep at night thinking about her and of course I keep telling Travis that his heart is going to melt when that little girl is looking in his eyes with nothing but adoration and trust :)  She is going to be one cherished little girl!

I thought you would like this comparison.  I nearly fell over re-living it! Here I am at almost 14 weeks. I WAS SO SKINNY!!!  That tiny little bump felt so big to me then, but in reality, it wasn't!

Now, here I am 6 weeks later at 20 weeks...look how we've both grown!!  My hair is shorter and darker too, funny how that works.  That is the same shirt and same pair of pants, but both are a little tighter now and almost unwearable!  I can't wear that turtleneck now unless it's under a sweater.  It doesn't stay over my belly!   Check out Ryley trying to tell his new baby sister hi :)  He's so cute I can't stand it!


So What Are We Having???

                                   WE ARE HAVING A BABY GIRL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I will share lots of details on Sunday, when I'm not up to my ears in flowers for this wedding!  But, we had our ultrasound today and everything was perfect.  We were THRILLED to discover God has blessed us with a little girl and we are so excited about her we can hardly stand it!  We are so grateful for this little one and we are praising the Lord for her healthy little body.  What a wonderful day today was.  I am so busy trying to get everything done for the wedding, so I haven't had a chance to respond to texts or emails, but I promise I will get to that on Sunday!  Everything is going great with the wedding, I'm very happy with the flowers, but I'll be even happier when it's all over!!  I'm about to hop in bed for an early wake-up call tomorrow, so this is all I'll share tonight, but thank you for praying for our appointment and for my involvement in this wedding.  We are beyond grateful and so excited to be thinking "pink!"  Have a great weekend!!


Thursday Thoughts

I just have a minute to blog before I get to a long list of things to do this morning!  Here's a snapshot of why I can't sleep well...

1.  Today is flower day!!  I'll go pick up all the flowers this morning and get them processed (cut, in water, soaking in preservative).  This is my favorite part of a wedding.  Seeing all the flowers together in buckets, before I start rifling through is a beautiful sight and it smells heavenly too!  I always panic a little before I pick them up though, trying to think through my options in case they ordered the wrong thing or not enough of something.  It happens, not often, but it's always good to be prepared....

2.  Tomorrow morning at this time I will be almost done with my appointment and hopefully will have seen my little boy or girl!!  We are going crazy waiting!  How on earth will I sleep tonight??  We've been bouncing names back and forth, telling Ryley all about it :)  We're a little nuts, but for some reason it feels like our first introduction to him/her.  I love the thought of finally being able to pray very specifically about my son or daughter, and even by name.  It just makes everything about being pregnant feel more real.  God was good to put this appointment in the midst of a busy week, it's flying by and I don't have too much time to dwell on it! 

3.  My parents come here tomorrow night, just for one night, on their way to North Carolina to see Stacie and Jesse.  I love when they come, even for a short time, but my house is not even remotely clean, nor do I have time to do much about it :)  That's ok though, they don't care.  My Mom is coming to help me Saturday morning before they fly out and Ryley will get some good play time with my Dad.  I know Stacie and Jesse must be excited to see them too!  

4.  Speaking of flying, we are also leaving town on Monday night to go to Texas for Thanksgiving!  I can't even begin to think about getting ready for that until this wedding is over, but we are both really excited about going.  We'll be gone Monday night until Friday night.  We can't wait for the break and for an escape from reality :)  Plus we'll get to see lots of Trav's family, which will be great.  Ryley will be staying here with our sweet friend Jackie.  She has stayed with him before and he loves her!  I know he'll be just fine while we're gone, which always makes me feel better.  Remind me sometime to tell you why we have never kenneled him.  You'll appreciate the laugh :)  

5.  Did I mention we're out of clean laundry?? I will wrap up this list because I need to get at least 2 loads done this morning before my day begins.  Oh the joy.  Travis just casually mentioned that we should get a maid this morning...for a second I thought he might be serious, but then I realized I was just in fantasy land!  Wouldn't you love that though??  If only she could be here more often and stay on top of things....So far the current maid is slacking...She and I are going to have to have a long talk this morning :)  

Happy Thursday!!


A Cozy Night

It's cold here tonight and I left work today, motivated to warm our hearts with a good, hearty meal.  So I made a roast.  Only I didn't make it in the crockpot because I decided to do this at 3:45pm and didn't have time for an all-day cooking schedule.  I made it in the oven instead in 2.5 hours and we just finished eating some of it...It was yummy!  And hot.  Perfect on a cold night.  It's been in the 20's this week, with some windy days.  No snow yet, even sunshine during the day, but still cold.  I'm adjusting, although realizing that several of my favorite coats no longer fit!  Fortunately I have a little extra "padding" to insulate me, but I'm going to have to do something about my lack of a winter coat as it only gets colder and colder.  Wouldn't you know it that my warmest coat of all is actually my smallest??

I am busily preparing for wedding day #1 tomorrow, making pew bows and getting myself organized.  Tomorrow I am meeting the mother of the bride and the bride to get the sanctuary decorated.  It looks like a warehouse in my living room, so tonight I am trying to figure out what needs to go with me and what can wait until Thursday.  Thank you for all of your encouragement as I head into this weekend.  I accepted this wedding before I was pregnant and have spent months now hoping and praying that I would have the energy to endure the work involved!  Fortunately, I am feeling good.  I am trying to get as much a sleep as I can and trying to do all that I can ahead of time.  Still, I don't have the energy or endurance that I normally do, so I will be relying on the Lord and some great helpers to get me through!  

Travis and I are loving the poll results about whether you think the baby is a boy or girl!  We are so excited we can't even stand it!  Please vote if you haven't already.  We love seeing what you think!!  We do have names picked out that we're 90% sold on, so we've been trying to decide about whether we'll share them or not!  I just keep trying to think about how we'll feel when we hear and see this sweet baby's gender for ourselves.  I imagine some tears will be shed.  I am also trying to prepare myself, should we hear news that isn't great.  I know that sounds morbid, but I just want to be prepared either way.  I remember after my miscarriage feeling so shocked because I never, ever considered that we could lose the baby.  That was hard to process and I felt like an idiot for not letting it even cross my mind.  I'm trusting that all will be great with this baby, but you never know what might happen.  I just know that no matter what we find out, our God will be the same before and after the results!   

I have lots more to do tonight, so I need to keep this short, but before I get back into wedding stuff, I think I might have to grab some more potatoes!!  So proud of myself for cooking a real meal tonight :)  I love when I do that!!


Armstrong Design

For awhile now, I have been keeping you in the dark about the latest adventure I am on :)  Not for any particular reason, just mainly to protect my "vision" until I could spell it out exactly.  I am happy to say that I have decided to return to the field that I love and adore, but not as an employee, rather as a small business owner.  Before I elaborate on that, I should clarify that when I say "small" business owner I mean "tiny"- like just me, out of my house :)  Nothing too fancy at this point, but just what I can manage.  I have sensed the Lord urging me to step out and try this for a little while, but all my fear and self-doubt has kept me from being very public about it.  

But, I've decided to lay that fear down and get back into the world of floral/event design.  It is my passion and favorite thing when it comes to an occupation or hobby and I LOVE dabbling in it again.  I was a florist for 8 years, working in small shops and big franchises and freelancing here and there.  In that world, I am very, very comfortable.  God has opened some big doors for me over the years and I've had the privilege of working with and for some incredibly talented people.  I can no longer work the retail and holiday hours required of a shop, now that I'm a Pastor's wife and on a youth ministry schedule, but in this way I think I get the best of both worlds!  I will only be taking on what I want to do or what I feel I can do, but I'm excited about the prospect of doing this on the side, especially once the baby is born.  I hope to have lots of weddings and events in the future!  

I officially have my first wedding this weekend and it's a big one.  400 people, 50 tables, 6 attendants...I'm going to have my hands full!  I'm very excited about it though and I have been working on it for months now.  Finally we've come down to "wedding week" and now my wheels are spinning!  Both families are friends of ours and current and former Pastors at our church.  Their kids are getting married and I have the privilege of doing the flowers.  I have spent hours and hours with the mother of the bride, dreaming and scheming about what we want to do in the church and at the reception.  I am excited about it and very ready to be done with it!  It's such a large wedding that it's going to be very busy and stressful for me on Friday and Saturday, so I'm almost as ready for them to get married as they are.  But, for weeks it's consumed much if not all of my free time, so that's one of the reasons I've been so busy lately.  I will share some pictures with you as the week progresses, but once Thursday comes, it will probably be impossible for me to spend a minute blogging until Saturday night or Sunday.  But, I am looking forward to being a florist again and did I mention how much I LOVE weddings?!?!  It should be a great weekend!  


19 Weeks

I almost can't believe we're here, but today I am 19 weeks!!  The baby is now 8.5 ounces and 6 inches long, about the size of a large heirloom tomato!  That is crazy to me.  It sure feels like I must be carrying something bigger than a tomato in there!!  

Here is the latest "belly shot" of me, in my jammies tonight.  I have had the busiest few days, hence the lack of blogging.  We have had a whirlwind of activity lately and I have been on my feet for almost three straight 12 hour days.  I AM TIRED.  It kills me that I am already at 19 weeks, where has the time gone??  I can't believe how quickly this pregnancy is going.  Part of me can't wait for it to march along but the rest of me wants it to slow down before it's over!  I think after 19 weeks of this, I can now say that I really do love being pregnant!  

Sure there are days when I want to cry every time I try on clothes or think I can still "fit into" something, but there are so many other days when I just get overwhelmed with the miracle this is.  God has been so good to me.  It is such a privilege to be the one who gets to carry this baby.  It is the most amazing thing I have ever gone through.  I feel for Travis because no matter how I try to explain how it feels or how much he sees the evidence of my body growing, he just can't know what this is like.  He thinks that's probably a good thing, he knows what I'm in for :), but for every minute of discomfort or anxiety, I have ten times the amount of joy and gratitude for this baby God is creating.  I LOVE to feel those little flutters of life in me and I even love to see how my body is constantly changing.  Isn't our God incredible?  

As we hang on every detail of what's happening developmentally during this week, I can't help but give the Lord praise for His handiwork.  Down to the cells and fingernails and hairs of this baby, He has ordained every day and every detail.  I have to remind myself that what he is creating in me isn't meant to be mine.  We have the great responsibility of raising and caring for this little one, but ultimately we will be giving what He has created, back to Him.  As much as my heart is overflowing with love for this baby, so is His.  I love that thought.  And I need to reflect on it more to keep me from fear that can plague me.  He loves our baby even more than we ever could and  He is in control of all his/her days.  I take great comfort in that many mights when my mind wants to race with anxiety and worry.  I'm seeing how God is already calling me to lay down the "fears of motherhood" before I even get to meet my baby!  I've been telling people, it's a good thing the Lord gives us 9 months to be pregnant!  There are so many things I'm learning in the wait, it's a blessing to have some time to prepare and think about what this adventure really means for me.  It's certainly unlike any other I've ever been through.  

We are thrilled this week to be only days away from our ultrasound and to find out what the sex of this baby is!!  I seriously don't know how I'm going to sleep, except that I have an incredibly full and busy week ahead of me.  We are going to be thrilled no matter what we find out, but so far I've been thinking "girl" and Travis has been thinking "boy!"  We do have some names that we seem to be in agreement over, but we'll see how that unfolds.  I'm just anxious to direct my thoughts one way or the other and I'm more than ready to start SHOPPING!!  I've somehow been holding out, waiting to buy pink or blue, but my will is wearing thin and I'm going to cave if I don't make some purchases soon!!  We will be announcing our big news on the blog, but I'm going to warn you now, it won't be until later Friday night or early Saturday morning.  I've got a big weekend ahead that I'll tell you all about tomorrow, but it's going to keep me extremely busy and tied up for awhile.  I am so thrilled however, because my parents will be coming up Friday night to stay with us before they fly out to my sister's house, so we'll get to tell them in person when they get here!  YAY!!  But, I promise I won't leave you hanging too long, I'll get it up on here as soon as I can!!  

I'm sorry I haven't posted much lately, again, I'll explain what's keeping me so busy tomorrow!  Right now I am in such desperate need of sleep and maybe a back-rub if I can pull Travis away from the Cowboys' game.  We pulled off a huge, new student ministry event this past weekend and now I am paying the price for all my work!  It was a great turnout though and one I hope to round up some pictures of to share with you, it was so much fun for us and the students!  But Travis and I are like walking zombies at this point, so we need to be good and get our rest!  I hope you've had a blessed Sunday and I wish you a great start to your week!