Wednesday, February 10, 2010


On Saturday, February 6th, in the 900 block of Cheyenne Trail in Hewitt, Texas an intense standoff ensued for more than 6 1/2 hours. Tempers were high and negotiations were heated, but there were no news crews, photographers, or public witnesses to the scene...because it took place between me & my 4 1/2 year old.

Keely has an extremely sweet spirit. Her preschool teacher often refers to her as "a ray of sunshine". She has an infectious personality and can easily bring a smile to just about anyone she crosses paths with. She's smart, funny, obedient...she's almost the perfect child.

ALMOST...I love Keely with all of my heart, but there is one characteristic of hers that challenges me to the core as a parent. Here it is...Keely will not take medicine. Notice that I say "will not", not "should not", or "could not" (now I can turn this into a Dr. Seuss paragraph...she will not take it in a house, or on a mouse, or in her bed, or on her head.) At some point in Keely's short life she became ill and was prescribed to take some sort of chalky tasting or foul smelling medicine from a syringe and at that point her young mind said "No, I will not swallow this" and ever since then it has been the one battle that Blair and I have to put our best parenting armor on for.

Granted, this battle is especially difficult because not only are you engaging against a strong willed, stubborn preschooler, but to top it all off...she's sick. All of you parents know how awful it is to have a child that is sick. It's a time for extreme compassion, cuddling on the couch, and special sick food like Popsicles and sprite...let's just say that it's hard to be compassionate when your child refuses the one thing will make them better. Just to give you an idea of how much Keely hates medicine, she willingly chooses to have a Tylenol suppository over taking the oral equivalent. No joke.

So, that's the background. Last Thursday evening, Keely began running a fever. I took her to the pediatrician on Friday morning where she was diagnosed with bronchitis. Immediately upon hearing the diagnosis, my heart started racing and the wheels in my brain were already turning trying to brainstorm all of the ways that I could bribe Keely to take the medicine she was about to be prescribed. Knowing the problem that we were facing, my trusty pediatrician prescribed an antibiotic that only needed to be taken once a day for 3 days. That seemed doable!

We got home, I put 1 tsp of the menacing liquid into a syringe and she swallowed it (it only took 30 minutes, 60 cents in her piggy bank, an early valentine present, and a can of Diet Coke, but hey I considered it a success!). One down...2 doses to go.

Saturday's dosage did not turn out quite so successful. My sweet husband Blair made the first attempt that ended with Keely gagging and spitting it up and then through tears she asked for a shot instead. Enter me. I was determined that she would take the remaining amount of liquid in the syringe...the details are a little hazy, but let's just say that we both ended up very sticky and I'm pretty sure that not a single drop was actually ingested.

I had had enough. For the past 3 years I have fought this battle and I was done. So I gave her this speech "Keely, this is your choice. You are choosing not to take your medicine. I know you don't feel well, and that makes me really sad, but until you are ready to take your medicine I want you to stay in your bed. I love you very much and I really want to help take care of you while you are sick, but until you are ready to choose to take your medicine, then you can not come out."

And so the standoff began. That was at 11:45 am. Every hour I would go check on her to see how she was. She ate lunch in her bed, she talked to her dolls, she played with flashcards, and she colored about a zillion pictures. Around 3:00 when I went into her room, she told me that her head hurt. I replied that if she would choose to take her medicine that her head wouldn't hurt anymore. At 4:00 when I asked her how she was she responded "Good. Mommy, I really love it when my head hurts."

The first few hours, I questioned myself. Is this a battle worth fighting, especially when she doesn't feel well?? But as the afternoon wore on, I became more and more confident that this was a situation where I needed to stand my ground. How stubborn is my sweet natured, yet strong willed little girl?? It was 6:30 pm before she willingly chose to take some Tylenol and hence got to leave the confines of her room for the first time in almost 7 hours.

There is even more to the story...I feel like I haven't even touched on half of the details(Like the fact that at 6:25 pm, Keely claimed that she took the Tylenol which I immediately found hidden under her bed or the struggles that commenced on Sunday morning when it was time for dosage #3 that resulted in tears, bribing, the actual swallowing of the medicine, and then a very hearty rendition of "Rise & Shine" Keely of course). But for the sake of time, I'll stop the story here.

Why do I share this story with you? Well, first off, I want to document it. This is the kind of childhood story that is worthy of retelling at a rehearsal dinner "When Keely was 4 1/2 years old, she was so stubborn that...." Secondly, it's always nice to share these stories and then hear from other parents who have similar know so that I don't feel like I have the only stubborn child in the world. But most importantly, it's for me to verbalize how grateful I am...even for parenting moments like this.

These are teaching moments, molding me into who God created me to be...making me into a better parent for Keely & Boone, a better wife to Blair, a better friend to all of you. I am truly blessed to have healthy children that are simply battling treatable illnesses every once in a blue moon, and I am thankful for every aspect of my children's personalities...even the stubborn side!

Oh...and here is the real kicker: after a return trip to the Doctor on Monday, it turns out Keely didn't have bronchitis, she had the flu and didn't actually need that antibiotic after all:)

Sunday, January 31, 2010

3 Weddings & a Birthday Party...

That's been my last 3 weekends. Since the second weekend in January, I have coordinated 2 weddings, thrown a birthday party for my 2 year old, and set up and manned my booth at the infamous Waco wedding show (The title sounded better as 3 weddings & a bithday party rather than 2 weddings, a birthday party, & a wedding show).

I prefer not to coordinate more than one wedding a month (much less two back to back immediately after Christmas), but then again I'm not one to turn business away:) Needless to say, the month of January has been a blur and a few things around the Browning house have been a bit neglected (let's just say that I would not invite any of you to use the Master bathroom in my house since I honestly can not recollect the last time it has seen any cleaning products).

Over the coming months, I hope to go into more detail of each of my weddings (especially once I get some good pics from the photographers that I've worked with), but in the meantime, I will touch on the highlights of this fast and furious month:

*January 9th: The wedding of Alison & Patrick. This was a very fun wedding to work on. I actually had the pleasure of coordinating Alison's sister's wedding in November (yes...this past November. For any of you out there with 2 or more daughters, just imagine if two of them get married 7 weeks apart). Two things stand out to me when I remember Alison's wedding. #1 Peacock feathers. Alison had a fondness for peacock feathers and used them throughout the decor of her wedding & reception. Everything from the groomsmen's boutonniere's to the centerpieces to the staircase leading up to the reception had touches of the vibrant, shimmering feathers. It was stunning, yet not overdone. The wedding programs also each had a feather attached to the front and had the following info printed on the back:

#2 Second line parade. Alison & Patrick currently live in New Orleans so they wanted to tie in a few of the Southern traditions. When the bride, groom & wedding party arrived to the reception the band greeted them at the door and led them in a "second line parade." I'll never be able to do justice to the festivities in words, but let's just say it involved some jazz music, a twirling parasol, and hundreds of guests waving white handkerchiefs in the air. It definitely made an impression on everyone there.

January 16th: The wedding of Staci & AW. I had really good luck with brides this month as Staci was another that I truly enjoyed working with. It was a Greek Orthodox ceremony which was a first for me. I commonly referred to this as "My Big Fat Greek Wedding" only because that movie was my only frame of reference for what a Greek Orthodox wedding should look like. Let me just say, it turned out nothing like that movie! Staci has impeccable taste and it showed in every aspect of her special day. Her dress was gorgeous and since Greek Orthodox tradition forbids woman to have bare shoulders, she wore the most beautifully ornate beaded jacket with it. The reception was a beautiful juxtaposition of simple elegance. The flowers were vibrant with a lot of tropicals thrown in and the centerpieces were magazine worthy. And I would be remiss if I didn't mention the ring...oh, the ring! Never in my life have I seen such a piece of jewelry!! I was given the task of driving the ring to the church and giving it to the priest prior to the ceremony so I snapped the following pic of it on my hand.

Let's just say, I drove fast because I did not want to be responsible for that ring any longer than I had to. Just picture a dress, flowers, food, and cake to compliment that was incredible to say the least!

January 23rd: Boone's 2nd bday. Boone actually turned two on January 16th, but since I had a wedding that day, we planned his party for the following Saturday. I have a lot of fun planning birthday parties. I still get to use my creativity and event planning skills, without all the pressure! If you've ever met Boone, you probably have heard him say the word "football." It's his passion (or possibly obsession). For that reason, we had a football themed party. I found some great invitations online that I printed myself (I can't take credit for the wording, but I also can't remember where I saw it)

As a result of my profession, I pick a theme and stick with it. Thus, every aspect of Boone's party was related to football.
*Snacks (chex mix, mixed fruit, and popcorn) were served in football shaped trays.
*Drinks were displayed on a tray depicting all the NFL football teams (this was a Christmas gift from my inlaws and just happened to be timely)
*Cupcake cake from HEB complete with football decor and dairy free icing (have I mentioned that Boone is lactose intolerant?)
*Football helmet pinata
*Jersey shaped plates with football napkins
*Nerf football/basketball favors for the boys, pom poms for the girls (all purchased from the dollar store...more exciting, practical, and easier to keep up with than your typical preschool party favors)

We had it at a wonderful park located within Cameron Park and the weather could not have been better (especially considering that it was mid-January). One of our friends from UBC, who is a senior film & digital media major at Baylor graciously came and took pictures of the party so that I could focus on being the host as opposed to running ragged with a camera. I mentioned in my initial post that Waco is one of greatest places on earth to of the many reasons is that you have access to hundreds of students with budding talent. Here are just a few of my faves:

The party was a huge success! The weather was perfect, no one was at the park besides us, we were surrounded by great friends and family, and Boone had the time of his life.

There it month in a nutshell. Let me just point out that it has taken me no less than 8 hours to actually get this post published. The interuptions during this lazy Sunday afternoon/evening have ranged from wiping snot from Boone's nose to putting together a soccer goal for Keely to practice with while wearing a head to toe Cinderella costume. Needless to say, I make no promises as to when the next post might be.

Here's hoping that February is a bit less eventful, but equally as fun...

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Allow me to introduce myself...

My name is Jordan. I currently reside in Waco, Texas...although I was born and raised in Dallas. I am a graduate of Baylor University with a BBA in marketing. Immediately after graduation, I married my knight in shining armor, Blair Browning. Blair received a teaching position at Baylor so we started our lives together right in the heart of central Texas...and now, almost 10 years later, we are still here!

Waco has some unfortunate stereotypes. Thanks to the Branch Davidians, a basketball murder, the proximity to Crawford, not too mention a few others...Waco is often associated with fanatic ideals and thus earned the nickname "Wacko." If you happen to move to the heart of Texas, though, it doesn't take long to learn that these stereotypes are far from true and that Waco might possibly be one of the greatest places on earth to live & raise a family.

The past 10 years have been quite the ride for Blair & I. We have bought a house, started a wedding business, had 2 children, started and finished a Ph.D (that was Blair), experienced some sorrows, experienced even more joy, and have had the privilege of living life with the greatest community of people we could ever ask for.

The purpose of this blog is two-fold: #1 I am a mom. Blair and I are parents to Keely James Browning (the most talented, beautiful, and hilarious 4 1/2 year old on the planet) and Boone Wilson Browning (the most rambunctious, destructive, and simultaneously cutest 2 year old in the world). There is never a dull moment, no two days are ever alike, and not a day goes by that I don't realize that I have the best kids in the world. #2 I am a wedding coordinator. The number one question that people ask me once they find out this is my profession is "What's the craziest bride you have ever worked with?" To my past clients who might be reading this, my answer is always "I've never worked with a crazy bride." :) BUT I do have some stories not to mention plenty of tips & advice...I hope to share them with you over the coming days, weeks, months, & years.

Needless to say, my life is far from boring. It's a balancing act...when I'm not cleaning marker off the couch, I'm wording wedding invitations, contacting vendors, or bringing some realism to a bride's budget. It's a little bit difficult, a little bit crazy, and a whole lot of fun...I look forward to sharing it all with you!

Happy Planning,