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I find myself studying the five-day weather forecast with an intensity matched only by that of ten years ago, as I nervously planned my outdoor wedding.  That day turned out to be way beyond what I would have happily accepted, with sunny skies and a high of 78, followed by a glorious sunset and an evening just chilly enough for women to have to wear the suit jackets of their dates as we danced under the stars.  As of this particular moment, the forecast for this Saturday’s big celebration looks very similar: a high of 79 (a relief in this oppressively hot summer), dipping to the 60s as the night goes on.  No jackets required this time though.

Oh, and speaking of attire (because I know from experience that this is an inevitable last minute issue for at least half of you), I am wearing a dress. Because it’s my party and I can wear what I want to.  I do not care in the least what any of you wear, but we do intend to be outside for the vast majority of the evening.

If you haven’t RSVPed, it’s not too late. Well, it’s almost too late because the food and drink orders have been placed, but I’ll be kind and still let you come. I know Mark always likes to know what to expect in terms of food when we go to these things because he is not as easily satiated by finger foods as I am, but that’s what we’re having — don’t come hungry for a full meal, it’ll be more in the “heavy hors d’ouvres” category.

My boys will be most pleased when this event is over and done with because Mark and I have been heavily engaged in house cleaning and yard prep. I always feel guilty when I read those little sayings on people’s Facebook pages like, “Please pardon the mess, my kids are making memories” or “My children won’t remember the dust and clutter; they’ll remember the laughter and playtime.” Well, my kids will remember the clean house and the hard work it took to get there!

But we’re close to done and mostly just excited.  And for those of you who are unable to come and said you’d drink a toast to us, we’ll be sure to drink one to you too, but it’ll have to be one collective toast to all of you at once or I’ll never make it through the night!

I know it’s redundant to ask people to “please RSVP” since si vous plait is right there in the request, but please RSVP.  We’re making the final call on how much food and drink to order by this weekend so I need the most accurate count I can get. So far, we have 127 confirmed guests plus another 30 or so who are “stopping by.” And that’s with at least another hundred who are regrettably out of town, at weddings or with visiting guests. So, needless to say, it should be quite a shindig.

I’ve said this before but it bears repeating, this is a grown-up party.  My kids and a few others will be here until about 9 or 9:30 and then are walking over to their friend’s house to crash.  I know some people are planning to bring their kids, at least early, which is fine if that’s the only way you can come but just make sure they know that the evening is not designed with them in mind.  I so don’t mean to be rude or exclusive or anything (I like kids, I promise!) but just don’t want anyone to be surprised or disappointed if their kids end up bored with all the grown-up talk and grown-up food. Just fair warning! Babes in arms are always welcome.

And, no you don’t need to bring anything.  This is in large part a Thank You for all the love and support and food and gifts we’ve received in the five years since Austin’s first diagnosis. So, thank you, but we’ve got you covered!

We’ve been busily preparing the house and yard (although I cannot bear to weed my sunny — and absurdly overgrown — garden in this disgusting heat), so it’s mostly indoor tasks I’m completing. We are very excited and I wouldn’t have said that I was at all nervous except that I had a bizarre dream the other night where 1) All sorts of random guests showed up an hour early and I hadn’t yet gone out to get the food (why I thought I could wait until 6:30 the night of the party to get food is beyond me) and 2) I lost one of my front teeth right before the party started (a la Braedan) and was worried about all the toothless pictures of me that were going to appear on Facebook, so was trying not to smile!  Ha. Maybe I am a bit nervous!

But if you RSVP, it’ll make me feel much better …

An addendum: If you’ve already let me know that you’re coming (or not) via email, text, Facebook or in person, consider yourself RSVPed and skip the Paperless Post site.  I’m keeping a separate master list.

OK, perhaps I didn’t make myself clear. I am not sending out individual invitations unless I know that you don’t read the blog (yes, there are still a few people in our lives who don’t). So, if you’re reading these words right now, then you’re not getting an invitation. For one thing, it would take too long. Plus I’d be afraid that I might miss someone. And the Paperless Post site I’m using isn’t free, unlike Evite. It’s only a few cents per emailed invitation, but still, I’d rather put that money into indulging you at the party itself.

But you are actually invited. If you’ve ever commented on a post or “liked” a status update, if you’ve delivered us a meal or hosted Braedan during a hospital stay. If your child shaved his head or if you donated on the heads of my children, if you walked beside us at the CureSearch Walk (which, no we didn’t miss this year; it’s been moved to September) . . . then you are invited. Even if you’ve done none of those things, but have followed along quietly and consistently over the years (or months), then you also are invited.  I know some of you are sitting there reading and saying, “Oh, well, she couldn’t mean me,” but I do!

I can see that several hundred of you read Tuesday’s post and that more than 100 of you clicked through to view the invitation so the fact that only eight of you have responded is going to hurt my feelings.  And we don’t want that . . . So, come on and celebrate with us!  It’s been brought to my attention that there’s no Decline option on the Paperless Post site (but do please check out my carefully chosen postmark on the envelope). Sort of strange, I know, but you can probably just use the Comments section for that. I want you all to come, but I don’t really want ALL of you to come. Our yard isn’t that big.

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