Sleeping in beds with boys

It was early 2002-ish and Lee and I, along with Lee’s brother Eric and his wife Becke’, attended a conference.  It was held…somewhere.  The details are really fuzzy.  Wherever the conference was held required us to get a hotel room.  Because we were young and poor, we decided to share a room and to secure it on Priceline.

It seemed like a really good idea when we got a hotel room just around the corner from the conference for only $50 a night.  Score!  Until…

We got to our room and found that it had only one bed.  What to do?  We couldn’t change the reservation without incurring much higher charges.  So we did what any respectable couples would do in such a situation.

We all piled into bed together.

Eric slept on one end, then Becke’ next to him.  I slept next to Becke’ and Lee laid on the other end.  So as not to make the situation any more weird and awkward than it already was, we all slept fully clothed.  Four people, fully clothed in one bed makes for a hot night’s sleep.  Sometime during the night, Becke’ slipped out of bed, unbeknownst to the rest of us, and attempted to get more sleep on the floor.  The rest of us were not aware of this transition.

When the early morning sunlight mercifully streamed into the room, I slowly opened my eyes.  I looked to my left at Lee and smiled.  He was on his back, straight as a board, arms stiff by his side, snoring.  He looked wildly uncomfortable in his jeans.  Then I looked to my right, expecting to find Becke’.

And there was Eric, sound a sleep.  For a brief moment I was horrified as I laid all snuggled up to my brother in law.  But after a few moments of wondering how on earth I ended up sandwiched between both Stuart men, I started to laugh at the absurdity of the situation.  I sat up and looked down at Becke’ who was curled up on the floor.  She looked up at me and we both laughed.

That’s the only time I have ever slept with my brother in law.

This weekend we went to Arkansas to be with Lee’s parents and brothers and friends.  So much fun.

Except for the sleeping part.  I’ve already told you my kids are systematically trying to ensure I never experience a full night’s sleep again.  They were in full form this weekend.  It all came to a head on Saturday night.  Landon wet the bed (we had run out of pull ups and wouldn’t you know every night before Saturday he woke up dry) around 1:30.  He bolted up and cried, “Mommy, I spilled!  I need a towel!”  I got him cleaned up and back down in time for Sloan to crawl in bed with us.  I woke up around 3:30 to see Tia in bed with us as well.  Around 4:00 Landon crawled into our bed.  I didn’t have the heart to fight him on it so I put him on the end next to me.

And for the second time in my life I found myself sandwiched between two Stuart men boys.  Sloan, being a fitful sleeper, kicked me in the kidneys all night long.  Landon had his face right in mine and breathed on me for a solid two hours.  It solidified my need to do a better job brushing his teeth at night.

Despite the lack of sleep, we had a great time eating, laughing, shopping and being together.  It was, indeed, a Happy Thanksgiving. 

The Stuart clan

The Stuart clan

Photo courtesy of Lulu Photography

Girl and Boy Become Man and Wife


It is time to tell you the rest of the story.  Grab a steaming cup of hot tea, will you.  Sit back, kick up your heels and prepare to swoon.  Get your lungs ready because you’re going to heave a sigh of utter contentment in a few moments…

Okay, this story isn’t that great.  I might be exaggerating slightly.  My wedding was hardly a fairy tale.  There were no fluffy white bunnies who tied bows in my hair.  Tiny sparrows did not flit about my head whistling in perfect harmony.  Clothes-wearing mice did not sew my glistening white wedding gown and my groom did not break out in song when I walked down the isle (just the thought of that makes me laugh).

All of that would have been cool (except the mice part; clothes or no clothes, I don’t like those furry little creatures), but that is not what the day held for me.  It was, however, in the immortal words of Mary Poppins herself, “Practically perfect in every way.”  I was ready to marry the boy.  For eight months I had been his fiancee.  I wanted to be his wife.  I was ready to be a Mrs.  I wanted to walk down the isle on my dad’s arm and say “I do.”

And I did.

I am blessed cursed with plenty of neuroses.  But one thing I am not is a girly girl or a perfectionist.  This makes planning a wedding very, very easy.  I bought the first dress I tried on, because I loved it.  I tried on a few more, but I knew right away that the first one was it.  It was me.  It was simple, elegant and comfortable.  I also knew from past experience that I wanted to look natural.  I’m not a heavy make up person, because I’m well aware of the fact that too much make up makes me look like a child who played in her mama’s bathroom cabinets.  If I attempt the smokey eye I don’t look elegant so much as I strongly resemble a two cent hooker. 

And I’d had enough up-do’s in my school dance days to know that my hair in a French Twist makes me look like an ’80’s era creature from Alienation.

I like Daisy’s and Lilies, and I like photographs…and lots of them.  So the photographer and the florist were easy decisions to nail down.  I didn’t want anything elaborate.  I just wanted comfort and familiarity because as much as I wanted to marry the boy and as excited as I was to become his wife, I also wanted to be surrounded by the comforts of simplicty.  It made the idea of marriage seem less daunting.

So I stuck with my simple hair, my simple make up and my simple dress.  My simple flowers, my lots of pictures, my simple hors de veurs and wedding cake (none of that nasty raspberry filling stuff – nope, white cake, white icing…the way the angels like it).  But I felt anything but simple and ordinary.  I felt as if I had been adorned by woodland creatures and singing cherubs.  I felt…like a Princess.

To be honest, I remember few details about the day of my wedding.  I know I was up early all jittery and happy.  I know I had my hair done and my bridesmaids (all nine of them) had breakfast with me.  I don’t know what time we headed to the church or where everyone got dressed.  I do remember my grandmother making me laugh out loud at some point.

“Kelli,” she said, “I heard that you and all of your bridesmaids are wearing thongs today.”

“Uh…Mimi!  What?!  I…maybe.  I haven’t asked them…”

She stared back at me completely confused.  And my mom burst out laughing.  “They don’t call them thongs anymore, Mom,” she said.  “And yes, all the girls are wearing flip flops.”

Sweet Mimi.

I was a bit of a traditionalist when it came to my wedding.  I didn’t want to see the boy before the ceremony, I wanted the Wedding March played when I walked in and I wanted hymns sung during the ceremony.  Somehow that just seemed right to me.  And it all went off without a hitch.

Well…except for the tears.  I’ve told you about my penchant toward crying.  I don’t get the cute little single tear drop that streams down the cheek like you see in the movies.  Oh no…I cry like an ugly gopher.  And if I try to hold the tears in I end up bursting like the Hoover Dam.

So mid-way through the minister asking who would give this woman to marry this man, I broke.  And I was mic’ed.  Then I tried to laugh to cover it up, which only made me sound a bit like a machine gun filled with snot balls.  A blushing bride, I was not.

But sobby sobberson’s aside, the ceremony itself was beautiful.  My uncle and my high school youth minister, two of the most unorthodox, craziest men in ministry I’ve ever known, led the service and they injected the right amount of humor and sweetness to balance out my crazy.  The music was sweet, the boy was sweet (and terribly, terribly handsome in his tux with tails. Oy!)  And it ended with me becoming Mrs. Lee Stuart.  A name I was happy to take on and I am even more proud to bear today, nearly ten years later.


After what seemed forever in photographs (We had a wedding party of eighteen!  We’re not good at narrowing down…) we hopped in our limo and headed off to the reception where we had one heck of a party and a huge surprise waiting for us.


To be continued…

Read the rest of the story here.