Trees of Transition

Comfort for people going through life transitions by sharing thoughts, photos, cards, and recipes.

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One Year into Marriage 

Ten days ago Stephen and I celebrated one year of marriage on June 18th, and we honored that milestone by fulfilling a dream that both of us have had of eating at the Signature Room on the 95th floor the John Hancock Building in Chicago. We both have enjoyed drinks and desserts in the Signature Lounge, one floor up (which has an amazing view from the ladies bathroom); however, we had always looked down on the Signature Room with a bit of desire to try that expensive restaurant.

Since we have a baby on the way, we decided that this should be the year that we take the plunge and try the Signature Room. After driving downtown Chicago, parking, and getting our bearings, we walked over to the Original Cupcake bakery, Sprinkles Cupcakes, and both picked out our favorite cake. We hadn’t saved the top of our wedding cake (we ate it our first month! Check out this blog post: Why You Should Eat the Top of Your Wedding Cake the Month After Your Wedding ), so we tried their pineapple upside down cake and their chocolate marshmallow cupcakes!


Then it was time to head up to the Signature Room with the “rocket” elevator that takes you 95 floors in about a minute. We were seated by the northern view of Chicago:

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Why You Should Eat the Top of Your Wedding Cake the Month After Your Wedding

Should you keep the top of your wedding cake until your first wedding anniversary? My opinion is a resounding, “No!” Do you want to enjoy the cake or have it taste like cardboard? The cake tastes great if you start eating it piece by piece after you get back from the honeymoon.


The top of our wedding cake stood grand at our wedding, and then the reception hall boxed it up, and we put it in my apartment freezer, so that when we came back from Hawaii and I had to pack up my apartment, we started eating the cake to sweeten the deal.

It took us a month to eat the cake–and we finished it just as I had to be out of the apartment. Eating the cake early made us feel sneaky, and it was FUN! Just do it.


~Mary Hope

Copyright 2017

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My Wedding Bouquet 

My wedding flowers mixed country wildflowers with sophisticated peonies and spray roses in an explosion of joy that lasted a whole month! My friend Bri works at Andrew’s Garden, and she created a beautiful bouquet for me.

M&S (3 of 30) Bouquet

The above photo is by Ryn Manby Photography. And here are some photos that I took:

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Hobbit Cloaks—Wedding Style! Elvish Cloaks Worn by Our Five Ring Bearers…Here’s How I Made Them

mary-stephen-%ef%80%a7-married-250-of-1005Have a lot of nephews? Here’s one way to include them in your wedding! The Fellowship of the Rings…

Last year when Stephen and I began wedding planning, we decided to include all five of our nephews (ages 5 and under) in our wedding party. This decision evolved partly because I didn’t want to play favorites, and partly because I had an idea that I wanted to create a fun scene…

I have loved the Lord of the Rings books and movies for years, and so we decided to add a hint of that genre to our wedding by having our five nephews come down the aisle as the “Fellowship of the Rings.” They all received flowy elvish cloaks and ring bearer pillows.

This is how I did it:

First I researched cloth that flowed like the capes in the Lord of the Rings movies; I decided on a rich green color of crushed velvet that would go well with the bridesmaids’ blue dresses. I found the cloth in the costume cloth section in Joanne Fabrics. I had to research about what to do for the elvish leaf pin that holds the cloak together at the throat, and Etsy was the place to find a kid-friendly option.


On Etsy, at an embroidery shop, I found patches that I could sew on to the cloaks and so that were would not be any sharp pins to deal with. (Check out the Etsy shop here: Elvish Leaf Patches).

I drew some sketches based off looking at cloak pictures on Etsy, and I figured out to have a full cape, I would cut the cloth into a big circle, cut one side in and cut the head hole out of the middle. I made long hoods, and that took some adjustments, but I just had to make them large and floppy.



A month or two before the wedding (so that I would know the kids’ approximate heights) I cut the cloth, sewed up a demo, and had my nephews try them out, with the help of their moms. I adjusted the neck sizes, and then started production of five capes! I used ties and Velcro to close them, with the Elvish leaf sewed on top.




The boys did not wear the cloaks for very long, but having them wear them made me so happy! My sister-in-law had to bribe my nephew to keep it on, but he did. The one-year-olds were fine wearing them.

So on my wedding day, my brother was about to walk me down the aisle, Stephen’s brother walked his three little elves down aisle, and then my sister followed my two nephews down—and they both took off sprinting down the aisle! My nerves were calm, and seeing those little boys tearing down the aisle in their green capes made any last traces of nervousness leave. Then I floated down the aisle and married my best friend.




Our photographer, Ryn Manby (these images are from Ryn Manby Photography) caught some wonderful images our Fellowship of the Rings!


Seeing these photos just makes me smile. Enjoy!

~Mary Hope



Captured Joy: A Few of Our Wedding Photos from Ryn Manby Photography

Two whole months have passed since Stephen and I said, “I do,” to each other, and it seems like the wedding was just a few weeks ago! We are still waiting for the whole batch of our wedding photos, but Ryn, our creative photographer sent us a sneak peak that have just whet our appetites. Here’s some more images of our wonderful wedding day:

M&S (1 of 30) Dress

M&S (2 of 30) M getting ready

M&S (3 of 30) Bouquet

The colors of this photo just make me want to laugh!

M&S (4 of 30) Prayer

I appreciate everyone who prayed for us–those prayers sure worked.

M&S (5 of 30) Getting ready with Mom

I’m so thankful my Mom could be there to help me into my dress.

M&S (6 of 30) M Getting ready

M&S (7 of 30) Bridal portrait at Kathys

This photo feels like it just came from a bridal magazine!

M&S (8 of 30) Bridesmaids!

I’m so thankful for all my beautiful ladies. 🙂

M&S (9 of 30) Groomsmen

And my handsome Man.

M&S (10 of 30) M & Dad

And that my Dad made it to the ceremony, and that I could have a special moment with him.

M&S (11 of 30)M looking out window

M&S (12 of 30) A & M walking down aisle

My brother escorted me down the aisle, and I felt so blessed to have him AND my Dad helping me.

M&S (13 of 30) S watching M come down aisle

M&S (14 of 30) Wedding in church

M&S (15 of 30) Married and walking downt the aisle!

We are so thankful to be married to each other!

M&S (16 of 30) Big family photo

And for all the support from our wonderful family.

M&S (17 of 30)

And friends.

M&S (18 of 30)

M&S (19 of 30) Laughing

M&S (20 of 30) Black and White laughing

M&S (21 of 30) By fountain

M&S (22 of 30) Walking together 1

M&S (23 of 30) Walking together 2

M&S (24 of 30) kissing forhead

M&S (26 of 30) Blue door heart

M&S (27 of 30) S leadning

M&S (28 of 30) Cutting cake

M&S (29 of 30) Toasting

M&S (30 of 30) Dancing


These photos by Ryn Manby (see more of her wonderful work at Ryn Manby Photography) just make me smile!! Stephen and I are SO HAPPY that we picked Ryn to capture our day, that we married each other, and we are so thankful for all the brilliant people that have been part of our lives.

Now, on to the next adventure!

~Mary Hope

P.S. We enjoyed using this as one of our registries:
Shop Handmade – The Wedding Store



A Month Into Marriage — Our Wedding Story

Stephen and I have been married for one month! If I had to describe our wedding in one word, it would be the word “joy.” Stephen and I waited 36 and 34 years for each other, so there was an explosion of joy in our hearts and in our family and friends when we finally got to vow our faithfulness and love to each other on June 18th, 2016.

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Our Getaway Car!

After the wedding, you need a getaway car, right? Well, our friends Robyn and Andrew created personal and hilarious decorations for our getaway car! Yes, I got into a little Prius with a big dress, but it was what we had…so here’s what they did:

Getaway car-back

Yes, my new last name is Schuh–and it is German, pronounced like “shoe,” so our friends played a lot with that theme: Continue reading