happy birthday pop!

Today is my dad’s birthday!  Yahoo!

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If you know my family, you know a few things about my dad: he’s funny, he’s quiet, and he has amazing eyes.  You might know other things too, but those are the first three things that came to my mind (that other people might think of too).  However, today I’m going to touch on some of the not-so-commonly known facts.

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My dad is a very hard worker.  He is industrious and always looking for something he can fix or repair or improve.  He keeps the house clean, the cars in tip-top shape, and the yard looking pretty.  I so respect the way he takes initiative and does things, both big and little, without being asked.  Clearing the table, cleaning the bathrooms, putting out the trash…and those are just the tiniest tip of the iceberg. If you get a chance to spend a few days at my parents’ house, you’ll understand.  And you’ll wish your husband/dad/brother/uncle/significant male in your life was as hard of a worker as he is.

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^^ Walking up the aisle after our wedding.  I’m not sure who this intense game face was for (maybe Danny?), but I hope they got a kick out of it! ^^

I know I mentioned it earlier, but my dad is seriously hilarious.  I just talked to him on the phone, and he told me that the hotel they’re staying at tonight (my parents + Mysteridge are on their way to spend a week in Branson, or Las Vegas for families, as my mom calls it, and are somewhere in Kansas along I-70) is pretty sketchy and someone will probably get jumped soon.  He’s a funny guy, even when he’s telling the truth.  I am always laughing when I am around my dad, and I love it.

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My dad cares for me deeply.  We may not talk on the phone often or email back and forth throughout the day (both things my mom and I do) or send each other text messages (did you really think he has a cell phone?!), but I know that he loves me very much.  He tells me that he is proud of me and that he loves me, and that means a lot to me.  Many people grow up never hearing their parents say either one of those things, but I have been blessed to hear those things often.  Another way I know he loves me a lot: he cried almost as much as me on our (and by our I mean Danny and me) wedding day.

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My dad is married to my mom, and has been for 25, almost 26 years.  WHAT?!  If I knew my mom (and you can read about her here), but not my dad (and wasn’t their daughter), I would assume that he was amazing.  Because my mom is, and anyone married to her must be pretty great.  And I’m right.  I know that’s crazy weird logic, but it makes sense in my head.  Ask me if you need me to verbally explain it to you ;)

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My dad is faithful.  He is dedicated to his family, both immediate and extended, he is (very, very) good at his job, and he is involved in his church.  He stewards what he has been given well.  He has so many admirable characteristics, and I want to be like him.  Whenever I am sluggish about washing the towels or the dishes or the sheets, I think about my dad.  Because he taught me to take initiative and just do it, whatever it is, and do it well.  I greatly respect him and who is and who he is becoming.

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I am sad that I cannot be with my family at the sketchy hotel in Kansas tonight.  Sad that I didn’t get to eat the, in my dad’s own words, “miserable” food at Spangles and sing “Happy Birthday” to him in person.  Sad that I didn’t get to give him his birthday card (that instead is waiting for him at the post office) or his gift today.  However, I am loving him and praying for him from afar, and I am glad that he is with two people he loves very much.  And I am glad that Mysteridge is there to ward off scary fellas that may try to jump them.

*** All photos courtesy of Caroline Leigh Photography.  Check her out – she rocks.

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a (birthday) weekend in greeley

Two weekends ago, for many reasons, we spent some time in Greeley.  I had an orthodontist appointment on Friday afternoon, and we had a wedding to go to on Saturday evening, and my birthday was Sunday.  I love an excuse to go to Greeley, as it means so much more than just ‘business’ since we have so many friends and family members in the area.

On Friday evening we went to James and Ali’s new apartment for dinner (James is Danny’s twin brother, in case you can’t tell from the photo).  They put together a taco salad with some tasty Doritos.  We don’t really eat chips, except for an occasional bag to dip in salsa, but these chips were good.  I can’t remember what variety it was, but I embarrassed myself (by the amount of chips I ate).  Aside from the chips, it was nice to see their place and hear about how their wedding plans are coming along.

DSC06279^^ Good looking group, am I right? ^^

On Saturday, my parents and Danny and I went to the annual UNC garage sale.  It’s always the weekend after graduation (in the spring), and features tons of things that students left behind – clothes, books, furniture, small appliances, and more.  We walked away with a horde of picture frames for a quarter a piece, a new polo for D, a new sweater for me, and some games, to name a few.

I had the opportunity to see some of my nearest and dearest for the rest of the day.  Andrea and I met early for coffee and muffins, and then Kristen and I met to walk on the Poudre River Trail (the same place D and I took our engagement photos!) and accidentally encountered a couple of snakes.  Ask Kristen about it if you want a good story.  Afterwards, I stopped by Kaci’s family’s garage sale and soaked up some time with her!  She also gifted me big time with close to a dozen vegan cookbooks, many beautiful old books, a lamp for our living room, and much more.  I love getting time with these ladies.

By the time all the visiting wrapped up, it was high time to get ready for the Big Event!  Our friends, Austin and Carlie, were getting married!  The ceremony was lovely (I think, as we couldn’t hear the majority of it due to the wind), the location was peaceful and pretty, and the bride was stunning.  I especially loved all the flowers and the prettiest bridesmaid of all, whose name also happens to be Shannon…

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They had a buffet of Greek food under a big white tent and a dance floor that was hopping all night.  We very thoroughly enjoyed ourselves and may have looked a bit foolish at times, but we had so. much. fun.

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^^ With my handsome date.  Also, ignore how atrocious my hair looks in all these photos.  It was really windy.   And please pardon my weird baggy sweater.  It was pretty chilly out too. ^^

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^^ I. Love. This. Girl.  Is she gorgeous or what?! ^^

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^^ Oh yes.  Not only was he my date, but he’s also my hubs.  Luckiest girl on the dance floor.  ^^

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^^ A fancy move for the twins. ^^

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^^ There were no cups to be found at this point in the evening.  Promise. ^^

I regret not having any photos of the guests of honor (Austin and Carlie).  After all, they were the reason for the party.  We took one of them cutting the cool cake and one of their first dance, but they are ridiculously terrible, and not worth sharing with anyone.  Their photographer was Kira Shupe from Kira Ellen Photography and I have no doubt that their photos from her will be amazing.  She’s already posted a few on her Facebook page and, boy oh boy, do Austin and Carlie have lots to look forward to!

Sunday was my 22nd birthday!  My mom made our favorite cinnamon rolls, accompanied by lots of fresh, delicious fruit.

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^^ My man decorated the dining room like crazy before I woke up.  Look at the lei I’m wearing, just after waking up, not the mention the beach backdrop!  ^^

Danny and my mom spent the entire morning slaving away on the exorbitant cake I requested.  They are so very kind and thoughtful.

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It was a treat to be back at our beloved Christ Community for church and be able to worship to songs we actually know…we miss that place bunches.  Afterwards we met my parents at Noodles & Company for lunch.  Next up: PARTY.

Danny invited some of the sweetest ladies ever to take pictures in front of the backdrop and sing the birthday song and stuff themselves with his tasty cake.

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^^ The ladies. ^^

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^^ Shannon and I went for a romantic pose. ^^

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^^ Dog and I definitely love the Asian poses. ^^

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^^ Kaci (spunky and sweet and so very loving) going for the best post known to man (and woman).  ^^

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^^ So super blessed to have this man by my side for my birthday (and every day).  ^^

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^^ Mysteridge and I going crazy on the beach. ^^

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^^ Okay, are my parents super into the theme or what?!  They are amazing and so very kind and generous.  If I did hashtags, I would write “#blessed” and “#thankful” and “#mydadsshirtisthebest.”

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^^ And the glorious cake!  It was almost as good as our wedding cake (the top layer that D and I ate, that is), which is a pretty huge deal.  Lemon cake with raspberry filling between the two layers, with lemon frosting…heavenly.  The recipe is here.  ^^

I was given some pretty great gifts, too.  My parents gave me this adorable (and also practical) picnic basket and clock, both of which are sitting pretty in our guest room right now.  Mysteridge gave me a glasses case and mirror.  I have been needing a glasses case for years now, as the inside of mine has fallen apart, and the mirror is now holding our keys and allowing Danny to admire himself before he goes to work in the mornings (I’m always in too much of a hurry to stop and look).  Danny gave me a J.Crew gift card, which I went crazy about in my post yesterday.  Kristen found an incredible “Oriental box,” as the sticker on the bottom says, and I’m pretty sure it’s genuine and straight from Asia (seriously).  It’s sitting right behind me on our pretty little shelf in the dining room.  Kaci blessed me with even more old books, every one of which has been strategically placed around our house (thanks to my sweet, sweet Emily) to maximize their beauty, as well as an old camera!!  Eek!

And finally, in honor of my 22nd birthday, and because this is what we listened to close to 22 times on my birthday, I present Taylor to you:

a few wishes – j.crew style

For my birthday last week, Danny gave me a J.Crew gift card.  I guess he read my blog and found out that I feel pretty strongly about that place.  It was so sweet, and perfect for a gal who hasn’t bought clothes in ages (this is a true statement).  I’ve been browsing the J.Crew site ever since to decide exactly what I’ll spend my precious dollars on.  It’s tough, because right now almost everything looks tempting.  Especially swimwear and cover ups, since we have a beautiful pool just steps away from our apartment.

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1)  Isn’t this pretty?  I love the buttons of this tunic and how loose and comfy it looks.  A perfect poolside cover up, I think.

2) This bag would be so great for toting magazines and books and sunscreen to the pool, or even hauling a few things home from the grocery store.

3) In my opinion, these are the best kind of flip-flops for the pool/beach.  They won’t be damaged by water, and they won’t get stained from sweaty feet (does this only happen to me?).  Plus gold will go with most any swimsuit or dress.

4) This suit is amazing looking.  I am seriously very tempted to buy it, especially since J.Crew has free shipping (and returns, too!) for swimwear.  Bonus: I think the strap can be removed.

5) I am confused as to why this dress is in the cover up section of J.Crew’s site, since it looks perfect for summer barbeques and afternoons at the zoo.  I think I would use this for whatever I wanted and not just covering up to and from the pool (although I think it would do a good job of that too).  

6) Ooh!  This suit is fantastic.  So simple yet so classic and cute.  Also at the top of my seriously-considering-buying list.  

Other favorites from good ol’ J.Crew…

I’ve also been eyeing dresses, since it’s summer and I want to wear them all day, every day, everywhere, all the time.  It would be a real shame to overlook J.Crew Factory, which has very similar styles to those found on the J.Crew website, but at much lower prices.  Sales are often much more common here as well.  I am absolutely loving the dresses they have right now, as well as some great tops and cardigans.

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1) I don’t know if I could realistically pull this dress off, but the colors are great and so very summery.

2) Classy 4th of July outfit anyone?  I’ll be in Alaska on the big day, where this dress may not be suitable for the weather.  It’s worth a try though.

3) This is my favorite dress on J.Crew Factory’s site right now.  The design, the colors, the cut.  So great.

4) We’re going to San Diego in just a few weeks, and this dress just screams “BEACH!  OCEAN!  BOARDWALK!” to me.  Call me crazy, but I think this dress is calling my name.

5) Yellow.  Dress.  Where were you last fall (when I needed bridesmaid dresses)?!  But since it’s here now, can someone invite me to a fancy party of some sort so I can justify buying this dress right now?

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6) If you really know me well, you know that I am afraid of birds.  Like seriously scared of them.  However, there’s just something about this shirt that just keeps catching my eye and singing, “Look at me!  Look at me!  You know you love me…you know you love me…you know you love me…”

7) Doesn’t this cardigan look perfect for cool summer evenings…and fall and spring, too, so it would get a lot of use.  Right?  After all, it’s called the “always cardigan” on the website.

8) Under sweaters, over a swimsuit, by itself…this shirt would be well-loved  Plus it would go with black shorts, brown shorts, white shorts, khaki shorts, jean shorts…yep, pretty much everything.

9) Look at how bright and fun this cardigan is!  I love the way it cascades down the front.  Oh and the stripes too.  Also perfect for many seasons, as well as being spotted from far away.

10) This picture doesn’t do this tank justice, but it is amazing.  I saw it in the store recently, and fell in love.

11) I have another J.Crew Factory shirt with bikes on it, and this one is great also.  I like how large and striking the bike is.  Plus the color is so…wow!

our wedding: bridal party

{I’m going to the write the first part of this post, then Danny’s going to jump in and write about his guys, and then I’m come back for a bit.}

I have awesome friends.  Being surrounded by them on the day of our wedding was like a dream come true.  My favorite ladies, all within a few feet from me for an entire day…it just doesn’t get any better than that.

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These ladies are stunning, inside and out.  One of the most beautiful parts of the whole process of being engaged, our wedding day, and now, being married, has been seeing these friends of mine, who barely knew each other, learn to love on each other.  They did each other’s hair on the big day, they worked together to decorate and clean up and who knows what else, and now, some of them are still in touch.  Some of them have contemplated living together, others have been hiking together, and still others post ridiculous things for each other on Facebook.

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I don’t want to forget to mention how much they sacrificed for me as bridesmaids.  They threw a bridal shower, a bachelorette party, and bought dresses they will probably never wear again.  They also took a bunch of photos outside of the church on our wedding day…even though the temperatures were surely below freezing.  They put me first throughout my engagement and on my wedding day, which was truly humbling.  They put my interests above their own, and they lived out Philippians 2.  For reals.

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Something else that touched my heart was the way many of them cried.  Ha.  I know, I know.  I cried at least every 15 minutes, but hey, what do you expect?  I was about to pledge to live with a male for the rest of my life.  But they were simply spectators and supporters to the whole thing, yet when they teared up during the ceremony or as we all met to sign the marriage license when it was all official or just at random times throughout the day…it got me.  These ladies love me, that’s for sure.  (Or else they knew that from that day forth I wouldn’t sleep through the night for the foreseeable future, and were really sad for me.)Everett-0250I was blessed in numerous ways by numerous people on my wedding day, but I felt the love from these ladies so thickly.  They prayed for me, they encouraged me, they looked at me with great love in their eyes (I am not joking).  They are gems, and bless my life so immensely.

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And the guys?  Well, I saw them very little, until we took some group photos beforehand and then again on the dance floor.  I asked Danny if he wanted to write about them and he said no, but I should write that they were “A+.”  But then when it actually came down to it, he changed his mind!  Woohoo!  So here you go…the groomsmen from the groom’s perspective.

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My time in college changed my life forever.  It was a time that God used to bring me closer to him than ever before, and one of God’s main methods to do this was through an incredible fellowship of men.  As I look back to those days, not so long ago despite how they seem in my mind, I realize how blessed I was to have these guys in my life.  Now, out of college and in “the real world,” I realize how rare a community like that is, and how I will probably never have something quite like it again.  The five guys that I chose to have by my side on our wedding day are an awesome picture of that community as a whole: men wholly devoted to their Lord, Master, Creator, Father, and Savior.

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We look pretty good don’t we?  One of the interesting parts about my half of the bridal party was picking out what the guys were going to wear.  Most of the guys didn’t really have a lot of money at their disposal, so I had to be pretty creative.  The most controversial piece of clothing had to be the slim fit pants.  Both Mysteridge’s and Brandon’s thighs are built like oak trees, so they were a little worried at first.  Suffice to say, both tried to keep extraneous movement to a minimum, so as to reduce the risk of splitting their seams with their mighty thunder thighs!  For Nick, the pants fit exceedingly well and from what I can tell, he has worn them everyday ever since. Trying to find slim fit pants for him is like trying to find slim fit pants for a flamingo; they’re always going to be a bit baggy.  And of course, I’d be remiss without pointing out that the pants looked great on James and Tom, my two most stylish guys.  Something cool worth noting about the ensembles: each retailed at less than $100 which is less than most rentals!  Plus they got to keep all the stuff.

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One of the coolest parts of having the guys that I did by my side was that I know we are all like-minded.  They are serious about marriage, and serious about the Lord.  They know that life isn’t about partying and then later settling down and getting married.  The real adventure starts with marriage (if that’s what the Lord has for you).  They know that marriage is a lifetime commitment, which as everybody knows, is a dying idea in our day, both in the church and outside of it.  I wanna give a shout out at this point also to Sage Buckner.  He is married to Whitney Buckner (one of Shannon’s bridesmaids).  He was behind the scenes with us all day, and he is such an awesome guy.  We used to joke around and say he was a robot because he is so “perfect”.  He is a great husband and it was wonderful having his calming presence around backstage.

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My wedding day was one of the most fun days of my life.  The primary reason for this (besides marrying the woman of my dreams), was the guys that I was surrounded by.  These guys know how to have fun!  Thanks to Nick, James, Brandon, Mysteridge, and Tom!  And of course James Guerra, Michael Laskowsky, Sage Buckner, Tim McGuire, and Austin Lake (not pictured but also amazing guys).

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And now (it’s me again), all of us together, after our first look.

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Talking about our bridal party wouldn’t be a complete without mentioning our beautiful flower girls and handsome ring bearer!  My youngest female cousins, Michaela and Katie, are professional flower girls.  Seriously.  They know their stuff, and I didn’t worry for a second that they wouldn’t be the best flower girls ever.

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^^ Can you tell it was a little bit chilly outside? ^^

Paul, coming all the way from Vancouver (with his family) for the wedding, was our dashing ring bearer (and is also my youngest male cousin).  Against much advice to the contrary, we tied the actual rings to the Bible he was to carry down to aisle.  I totally trusted him, and he lived up to our expectations.  His mom and my grandma put together his outfit from afar, and I think it turned out great.

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Look at that group!  So many lovely, smiling faces.

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Thank you, each and every one of you, and all of you who helped us be surrounded by so many loved ones on our wedding day.  We were blessed to share so many precious moments with so many sweet friends and family members on our most special day, and love each of you dearly.

You can view the first posts in the series here (registering and gifts), here (preparations), here (getting ready), and here (our first look).

the fam comes to visit

A couple of weekends ago, my parents and Mysteridge came to visit Danny and me in Colorado Springs!  It was the first time they’d come since we got married in January, aside from the time my parents brought a carload of boxes I’d left at their house one day (also in January).

Danny and I met my parents for a picnic and a hike at Castlewood Canyon State Park, which is about 35 minutes from our house.  My family had been there before, but it was about ten years ago.

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 I love how the trail winds along the creek, and how peaceful it is.  There are bunches of big rocks all around the creek, which are good for climbing and jumping and, of course, taking pictures.  We’d love to come back when it’s a bit warmer and wade in the water – at least where it’s shallow!

DSC06180^^Look at my cute parents!  And matching too!  ^^

We were on a trail to “the falls,” which we struggled to find as it was a little bit hidden…and maybe a little bit small too.

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The Castlewood Canyon Dam, which burst in 1933, is located along the trail, and is really something.  My pictures don’t do it justice, but looking at it up close and imagining building it with only manual labor makes it even more amazing.  When it burst, it sent a 15-foot wave all the way to downtown Denver.  Can you believe that?!

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Some of my favorite family memories involve camping and hiking together.  I despised being outdoors during some of my teen years, but now I long to relive some of those moments and hope that just because I’m married those trips are not a thing of years past.

DSC06192  After our time at Castlewood Canyon, we drove to our apartment.  Shortly afterwards, Mysteridge arrived from his baseball game (he’s a coach for his old high school team now.  Pretty cool, huh?), just in time to help us make dinner ;)  (Just kidding.  My mom and I took care of that.)

We enjoyed a walk on the path beside our house that Danny and I just adore.  I can hardly believe that just steps from our apartment is a peaceful, quiet, and undisturbed area, full of ponds, trees, and marshland.  We even saw a beaver there once!  I couldn’t wait to introduce the area to my family, since we (already) have so many fond memories (and pictures taken) of it.

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We wrapped up the evening with a couple of games of Awkward Family Photos.  I honestly didn’t think it would be a hit with my family, since it’s kind of a strange game.  However, I was so wrong.  These were the best (and most comical) rounds of the game I’ve ever played!  Seriously, these people are funny!  Now I know where I get it  ;)

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Sunday morning I made 18 of our favorite (vegan) doughnuts while Danny and Mysteridge made oars for the afternoon rafting adventure they had planned.

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We made it to church on time, shockingly (my parents are a very good influence), and endured a rather strange Mother’s Day sermon…that’s enough on that for now.  A nice lunch at Red Robin followed (by the way, if you haven’t tried their Gardenburger, you should.  D and I both had it, and it’s excellent.  I should add that I am not 100% sure it is vegan, though).

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My parents left shortly after lunch to meet my grandparents’ for some Mother’s Day ice cream on their way home.  Mysteridge stayed, though, much to our delight.  First on the agenda after my parents left: raft trip.  For their maiden voyage, Danny and Mysteridge chose the pond closest to our house on the nature path.

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DSC06222 ^ See that carnation on the front of the raft?  My mom received it at church in honor of Mother’s Day, and we (and by we I mean Mysteridge and Danny) taped it on the front and christened the ship the SS Nancy (my mom’s name) in commemoration of the day. ^

 That evening we ate leftovers, played a couple of games of Bananagrams, and watched “The Blind Side.”

Monday morning I had normal life to attend to (volunteering at Compassion and a massage appointment – rough life, right?).  Mysteridge and I met D for lunch on the beautiful (no joke) patio at his place of employment before we took off for the zoo.  The Cheyenne Mountain Zoo, that is.  I have been to a lot of zoos (probably 25+), thanks to my awesome parents, but y’all, this zoo is at the top of my list.  It rocks.  And guess who gave me a MEMBERSHIP TO THE ZOO for my birthday?!  That’s right.  My in-laws.  Keith and Susie, you know me so very well.  Talk about a gift that keeps on giving.

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  ^ Yep.  You totally get to feed the giraffes at this zoo (If you cough up $2 for three crackers).^

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^ Look at that elephant!  They just got a whole new enclosure (inside and out) and they even do ‘demos,’ according to some signs.  Umm…what?  My personal thoughts are that this could include elephant rides and/or jumping through hoops.  Emily + Hendon, get ready for some sweet times at the zoo.

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^ Coolest bro at the zoo.  Especially since he didn’t act embarrassed that I was wearing bright purple pants. ^

DSC06259 ^ Aren’t the views stellar?!  We couldn’t find anyone without a stroller full of kids to take a photo of us, so we resorted to the outstretched arm method.  Good thing Mysteridge has the arm span of a wandering albatross. ^

Other highlights from the zoo that I do not have quality photos of: the bear brawl, the mountain lion feeding, the moose encounter, the rhino demo, and the one-handed monkeys.

Mysteridge and I picked up sauce and salad for dinner (to add to the noodles I already had, just so you don’t think I fed Mysteridge and Danny spaghetti sauce on a bed of spinach).  It was lazy, but good.

If you’ve already seen the nature path, you can’t leave our house without a visit to Fox Run Regional Park.  So naturally that’s where we went next.  There was some sort of massive bash going on at the park so we meandered through the forest and along the ponds to the sounds of Carly Rae Jepsen, One Direction, and other popular pop acts.

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^ See, I told you I was wearing purple pants.  ^

Tuesday morning I left to surprise my sweet friend Amanda, who had just jetted in the night before from spending the semester in London, while Mysteridge mentally prepared for his impending doom.

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 ^ Yep, Mysteridge had surgery.  His fifth in two years, in fact.  This is when he was still ‘with it’ and looking lively.  I’m reserving the rest for ammo in the future.  (JK.)  ^

Despite the fact that our adventures ended with some time under the knife, we had a stellar time with my family.  I am so thankful that they came to visit and got to experience a bit our life.  They were able to see our church, meet some of our friends, walk through the library where I volunteer, and look at our hot tub (we would’ve soaked in it, but thanks to some rowdy folks holding a small bash in it, we thought it in our best interest to stay away and go to sleep instead).   So, Mom, Dad, and Mysteridge, I charge you: please come visit again soon!  You are fun and cool and my favorite people ever (along with Danny, of course).

our wedding: first look

{I am going to be really honest in this post, just so you know}

I had never wanted to do a ‘first look’ before our wedding…I wanted to see Danny for the first time when I walked down the aisle.  However, we can’t always get what we want.  Or something like that.  Our decision was based on time and what would be the most efficient way to manage it on our wedding day.  We didn’t want to take many pictures after our wedding, since we weren’t having appetizers or a cocktail hour at our reception, so we took all of our pictures (aside from extended family shots) beforehand.  Thus requiring a first look.

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Although doing a first look wasn’t my first choice, some amazing photos came out of it.  I will always be thankful for the beauty that Caroline captured during our first look.  Libby stayed with Danny while Caroline drove me from the church to a beautiful little tunnel/walkway in downtown Greeley, just a block or two from the church.

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Everett-0372Can I tell you something I longed for in our first look?  I wanted it to be an intensely emotional moment – in other words, I just wanted Danny to cry when he saw me for the first time.

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Everett-0385Well, he didn’t cry.  And so I cried and felt sad.  In my head, I decided that I wasn’t beautiful enough, and that’s why he didn’t cry.  True story.  My face in this picture is proof…

Everett-0389Once I got over myself and decided to enjoy the moment for what it was, we were able to really enjoy the moment.

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Everett-0437This blue wall…to die for.  Caroline is a genius.

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Everett-0466Isn’t St. Pat’s (the church where we got married) absolutely beautiful?!

Everett-0475So there you have it.  The highlights (and low points) of our first look.  Regardless of my (unmet) expectations, Danny and I were able to share some very special moments together, and Caroline was able to capture our time together beautifully.  Looking back, I am thankful for our first look, and for the time we had just the two of us, in the midst of an otherwise very busy and people-filled day.  I don’t recommend a first look for everyone, but I do think it can be a great and memorable part of a wedding day.  This is the blog post I read about first looks that convinced me that it could be an okay thing (also I think the pictures in the post explain why I was anticipating our first look to be full of drama and emotions).  I highly, highly recommend the article (written by a wedding photographer) if you are contemplating doing a first look and something more traditional (like seeing each other at the altar for the first time).

You can view the first three posts in the series about our wedding here (gifts and registering), here (preparations), and here (getting ready).

***All photographs courtesy of Caroline Leigh Photography.

concert + cinco de mayo

Prepare yourself…this post is going to be outrageous.

First off, I like to think that I am good at taking pictures, and I oftentimes fool myself into believing it is true, but then something like going to a concert happens, and removes all certainty that I have skill.  Therefore, I will be posting very few pictures of our time at the Chris Tomlin + Kari Jobe concert we went to at Red Rocks on May 4th.

We were so blessed to get last-minute tickets to the concert, thanks to the Robel and Shupe families.  We didn’t have much planned for that Saturday, so we lazed around the house until we knew the tickets were secure and it was high time we leave for Red Rocks.  I had been many times before to enjoy the nice rocks and fantastic views with my family, but had never had the pleasure of seeing a concert at Red Rocks.  I don’t know if Danny had ever even heard of Red Rocks before.  Anyways, we got in the doors right after Kari Jobe finished her most well-known song, and enjoyed a few songs like “Revelation” and “Hosanna” from her before Chris Tomlin took the stage.

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We thoroughly enjoyed worshiping at the concert.  The scenery was stunning, the crowd was sold out and energetic, the weather much chillier than we were prepared for, and the music was just as we had hoped.  Some of my very favorite songs (“Our God,” “Whom Shall I Fear”) happen to be sung by Chris Tomlin, so it was amazing to sing them in such a setting.  I’m used to belting them out in the car or singing along at church, so being joined by a chorus of 9,000 was really something.

I hear that back in the day, people would wave lighters at concerts.  I have never actually seen this happen, however, I have seen the newfangled way of doing things: cell phone screens/lights (seriously, some phones have tiny little lights on them that seem to be brighter than car headlights).  It looked especially neat in this setting.  I mean, just look at that!

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We wanted to stay till the bitter end, but at the same time, we didn’t want to battle the masses to get to our car and then wait for ages to get on the highway and back home again.  Thus, we left our seats a bit early and took in a few songs from a lower level and left for good as the encore began.  It turned out to be a very good choice on our part, as we were able to get out fairly easily.  We arrived home right around midnight, tired but thankful.

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Sunday was May 5th, in other words, Cinco de Mayo.  On our way home from church, we somehow decided that we should celebrate the holiday with some Mexican food, and perhaps a visit to the Dollar Tree as well.  After a trip to Sprouts for some fixin’s, we did indeed stop at the Dollar Tree to look for maracas and sombreros.  The maracas were junk and the sombreros were not to be found, so we headed home.  I got some veggies, guacamole, beans, rice, and salsa ready for our burritos, while D created a sign.

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Danny also found some stellar tunes to regale us during the festivities.  I believe the Pandora station is called “Mariachi.”

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After we ate, it became clear that Danny should wear something more fitting for the occasion.   Jeans and a sweatshirt, while comfy, was just not going to cut it.  I cleaned up lunch, and before I knew it, this strapping young fellow was before me…

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And, like all good Cinco de Mayo celebrations, a pinata was in order.  Because we don’t have an outdoor space beyond our third floor patio, we used a stuffed animal Danny won for me in a claw machine last year.  Tied up with a shoe string in our hallway, Sugar Loaf was ready to be beaten by the closest thing we have to a baseball bat: a sword.  Later we realized how perfect an extension of our vacuum was for the job so we switched the sword out for a less menacing tube.

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To say that the afternoon was exciting and full of laughter is an understatement.  Danny spearheaded the entire event, and was the mastermind behind all of the activities.  {I would also like to note that nothing about the day included the true meaning of Cinco de Mayo, nor is it representative in any way of traditional Cinco de Mayo celebrations.}

I decided that I wanted to contribute an (even less related) idea and so we made a fort.  (The Alamo?)

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Complete with every pillow and blanket we own, as well as some cardboard we haven’t been able to figure out what to do with, we assembled a nice lil’ fort.  Unfortunately, it only lasted a day since we couldn’t sit up in it, but we did feel rather accomplished and as if we hadn’t completely lost our ability to be kids.

So there you go.  A couple of days full of unexpected gifts and fun and me being further convinced that marriage can indeed be fun.  Thanks for reading!

P.S. We’re already thinking about amping up our Cinco de Mayo celebration and actually inviting people over next year…so if you’re game for being silly and ridiculous and fun…come on over.

P.P.S. One of the (totally unexpected) highlights of the concert was meeting Lindsay Leigh Bentley, whose blog I adore.  Turns out she’s related to the Robels!  Anyways, I’m so glad that she was so gracious and un-freaked out (at least on the outside) about me randomly approaching her.  She wrote about coming to Colorado for the concert, which was fun to read.  Check her out – she’s the sweetest.