27 September 2007

Finally fall

It is has been a slow recovery here from this last surgery. A cumbersome cast means few posts, but also means we get helpers visiting us and making life much better. My sistah, Lil, came up with her kiddos one day. Sistah, Roo, was here on her birthday to help and let me sleep most of the morning. Grandpa Bob is here right now and Great-grandpa Kaywin just went home this afternoon. But before he went home, we had a little fun outside in the fall weather.

Annalivia had a great time performing for Gramps.

She especially enjoyed playing house with Arnold and sending him down the slide.

Daniel had a pretty good time on the swingset.

His particular enjoyment was this delicious belt buckle.
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Annalivia likes to push her brother in the swing.

Daniel likes it much more when she pushes him from the front.

My 84 year old grandfather needs no help at all.
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22 September 2007

Conditional grace

Yesterday, after her bath, Annalivia got out the hymnal and began singing at the top of her lungs. Apparently "The Itsy Bitsy Spider" made it into The Chalice Hymnal. O.I."Cricket" Harrison would be so proud.
My favorite song, though, appeared at the end of the concert.

It went like this,



20 September 2007

Honor and respect

This morning, I got this little article in my inbox. It is from the authors of Say Goodbye to Whining, Complaining, and Bad Attitudes, In You and Your Kids. I really liked this book's focus on honor, because some folks teach this really well and naturally in their parenting. Others of us... um... not so much, and this book is helpful. But it occurred to me many times while reading that the authors were placing too much emphasis on the distinction between honor and respect.
So read this and tell me what do you think?
Disclaimer: Let me state for the record that I realize it is spectacularly unfair to analyze just a few paragraphs of a book as representative of the entire book. Also, the authors pretty clearly advocate teaching children respect, also, so no accusations of chucking out the baby with the bath ,ok?

Do We Teach Honor or Respect?

When families think about honor, they often restrict their thinking to respectful behavior, being polite, courteous, and having good manners. This is a rather narrow understanding and is only a small portion of what honor actually is. Respectful behavior, although a subset of honor, is incomplete in and of itself. Susie learned manners at an early age. "What a nice girl," people would say. Susie learned acceptable behavior but as she grew older she rebelled against the rules, finding them empty and overly restrictive. Teaching respect is not enough.

Honor comes when you recognize a person's worth or value. Respect focuses on behavior, doing the appropriate thing, whereas honor comes from the heart. Respect acknowledges a person's position, while honor attaches worth to that person. Respect teaches manners and proper behavior in the presence of others. Honor teaches something deeper, an appreciation of that person. Respect can become an outward technique to make a family look good to others, but honor builds the hidden bonds that provide great strength and long-lasting unity. It's one thing to obey the crossing guard out of respect for his position. It's yet another to show honor to him because you know him as a friend.

Although we're making a contrast between respect and honor, don't assume that honor is good and respect is bad. Both have their place. When children are young, they learn respectful behavior, but as they grow older, they can develop a heart response of honor as well. It's good to teach respectful behavior but it's important that you not stop there. Honor adds a deeper dimension to relationships.

Honor deals with meanness in relationships. Honor does a job thoroughly and with a good attitude. Honor looks for what needs to be done before being asked. All children (and adults) need to learn honor. Teaching it makes a big difference in family life.

So what do you think? Splitting hairs? Or different enough to merit careful distinction?

18 September 2007

In the meantime... vol. 5

Another cool project and tutorial for those with little girls and old shirts can be found here.
P.S. I added some cool crafty links in my sidebar (amongst the others.) Have fun!

17 September 2007

In the meantime...vol. 4

For Lillia, my supah sewing sistah, and any other crafty folks, there is a very, very sweet baby shoe tutorial here.

And a bunch of other hip tutorials here.

Feel free to send me samples of your handiness.

16 September 2007

Our weekend

We've had a very nice weekend here. The weather has been beautiful, food has been plentiful, and family has been delightful. I am getting around better. And Dennis gets to go back to work tomorrow and take a break from 24/7 caregiving.

In the time he's been home, however, the kids have had a real treat. Annalivia and her babies were treated to a pretty cool house.

And Daniel and Annalivia and Arnold got to go on a chilly morning walk with Daddy. Apparently Daddy's concern for proper outerwear only extends to his own children. Poor Arnold.
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Today Annalivia went to church with Dennis' mom. I picked out her cherry outfit and she decided to wear the matching hat herself. She was pretty willing to let us take some pictures.

She looked pretty cute.

Her socks matched, too.
And Grandma apparently had to convince her to take the hat off in church.
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Daddy took Daniel out to get some pics tonight, too. He moves so fast, it's hard to get a good shot.

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14 September 2007

In the meantime... vol. 3

Yesterday Dennis and Annalivia made the best brownies I've ever had in my whole entire life using this recipe from the Hillbilly Housewife (made with butter and 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour because that's what we had). Fudgy, delicious, chewy perfection.
I've had Nigella's.
They don't hold a candle to Miss Maggie's.
The. Best. Brownies.

In the meantime... vol. 2

I'm highly drugged and unable to complete coherent sentences. So, in the meantime, here's some info I'd like to disseminate....
Lo about two years ago, I put down my self-imposed ignorance and isolation and introduced myself to the theological world beyond my comfort zone. Previous to that, I had convinced myself that most conservatives and evangelicals were uneducated and uninformed. Turned out that I was the one who was uneducated and uninformed. I was enjoying living in a little cardboard box that really only had room for me. I didn't even realize that poor Jesus couldn't fit.
Anyway, choosing to willingly expose myself to theology that stretches and challenges me has been a great instructor. I have greatly enjoyed the practice of holding seemingly incongruous thoughts in my head at the same time. I have learned so much from the Spirit just by approaching Christianity as something I don't recognize or have all figured out!
I've noticed that lots of Christian bloggers like to be stretched. But some of the time, exploration of difference in the blogosphere or anywhere on the internet, actually, becomes dogmatic debate. Chrisitians of any ilk have a tendency to lob theology bombs in these conversations and if we can be clever or sarcastic in doing so, well... more points for our side.
And while I'm all for a good arm-pumping, "BOOYAH!!" every once in a while, I want to point out something unique I came across yesterday. An excellent example of gracious conversation can be seen here and here. I can't really add anything to the discussion, because I think it is just one of those that doesn't resolve, but I am SO IMPRESSED by the respect shown in these women's views. And most of the commenters follow suit, I think. Well done, Makeesha and Angela. Thanks for challenging the box with such wisdom. Very, very cool.

13 September 2007

But in the meantime... (part 1)

I'm home and having slept approx. 3/4 7/8 of the last 72 hours am doing well. Thank you for prayers, good wishes, etc. Someday I'll be able to type again, but in the meantime, I'm posting some wise, provocative and fun stuff I've found out and about on the web. Here is some particularly good and challenging stuff from Tonya's blog that resonates with this momma, at least.

I was talking with Catrina on the phone today about life and why some people find it easier to roll with the punches and come up smiling than other people do. We decided it has a lot to do with temperament and a lot to do with your understanding of God and a lot to do with your world view. And in Catrina's case, it has a lot to do with finding humor in everything:):):).

Generally speaking, I find it easy to deal with the boring, mundane and frustrating -I'm one of those people with an easy temperament type and I was raised well- so people who read my blog may look at me and think that my life is hunky-dory pretty much all the time. Well. It probably isn't. I just think it is.

I was telling Catrina that I look at my day sort of like this.

I see the children coloring nicely at the table for 5 seconds and I think "Ah. My life is perfect. Look at those beautiful children. They are so kind and good. I am the most blessed woman in the world. God is so good to me." That thought gets stuck in my mind so that the next minute, when Lyra writes on Solomon's page and he whacks her and she starts screaming, I just think "oops! we need to deal with this little problem so that these beautiful children can get back to their delightful day." Then I deal with the problem and go back to living the perfect life for the next 5 seconds until something else comes up that I need to deal with. LOL!

I guess you would call that optimism or ostrich-ism. Whatever you like.

My life isn't perfect by any stretch of the imagination. It's not exciting. It's just a day to day walk of doing pretty much the same thing. I enjoy it because I have vision for what I am doing. I believe from the bottom of my heart that God put me in the place where He put me because He knew that I could not only get the job done, but that I could do it beautifully. I believe that it is my personal job to see that my home is a thriving, delightful, happy place for my family to live. I believe that it is my job to teach and train my children in love, love, love so that they have every opportunity to live without regret if they continue to follow God. When I set them down and let them go, I want to set them down at the highest point I can reach. I want them to have the very best of starts! I want my husband to find delight in his home. I want him to enjoy his children. I want to make his life easier and more beautiful in every way. I want him to be richer because I am in his life. I want to honor God by dying to my own selfish desires and living in obedience to Him. I want to become more and more Christlike every day.

This focus gives me unbelievable joy. It helps me to look past the circumstances of the moment, to see the goal and to go for it. I really believe that I have been given everything I need to do what I am doing really, really well!!! I want my home to be a reflection of the love of God, so that is what I aim for - when I'm in my right mind.

When I'm in my *wrong* mind, I start focusing on circumstances and I get ROBBED!!!! I mean really robbed of all joy. I can barely make it through 5 minutes without feeling like I am going to loose it at least once. Everything drives me nuts, even ridiculous things. My expectations rise and I start finding fault with the children instead of enjoying them (they leave their things everywhere, they are noisy, they are lazy, they are whiney, they are arguing...) oh, and their behavior is SOOO much worse when I'm off balance. (I can't even tell you how much further a smiling, playing, singing mother can get with her children than an annoyed, distracted, naggy one.) I get annoyed with Landon (why does he work so much, why does he not come to dinner when I call him...blah, blah, blah). I get annoyed with myself and I feel like I am ruining my entire family (I'm not consistent, I'm too busy, I'm not busy enough, I need to clean out the fridge and I hate cleaning out the fridge...). Do you see my point? When mama ain't happy, ain't nobody happy. I am absolutely the mood setter in my home.

Now, fortunately for me, I like being happy. I like feeling like I am getting ready to bubble over. I like having a song constantly on my lips. It's addicting. So I avoid focusing on my circumstances as huge obstacles and only think of them as opportunities to honor God. That makes them exciting. I start smiling and singing and taking every thought captive. I start doing my own job and leaving everyone else to do theirs (without putting high expectations on them), and in a very short time, I am out of my funk and back to my "perfect life".

When my focus is on God, my creator, my Lord, the one who died for me, the reason I am alive today both physically and spiritually, the one who has given me everything good thing that I have, I stop thinking about me and my own irritations or problems and I think of Him and how good He is. I think of how He has always come through for me with a change of heart when I am obedient and I think of how merciful He is to put up with all the times I forget to live in an attitude of thankfulness, even though I know better. Then I *want* to live to honor and obey Him so everything I do when I'm in my "right mind" is out of a heart of love for God, not out of obligation or even out of a heart of love for my family (although I certainly do love them!) It makes the biggest difference for me! I feel calm, I feel peaceful, I feel content and I feel effervescent. I laugh with my children instead of getting annoyed. I train calmly with a clear mind and with understanding, not in the heat of the moment. I am happy to see Landon at the end of the day and not just so he can take the kids off of my hands.

How did I learn this? I don't know. By the grace of God, for sure, but I don't know how or when I actually got ahold of this concept for real. It started growing in my quite a while back - at least 4 or 5 years ago, and it keeps growing. My problem is that since I know it - experientially - I am responsible for it. The days I go downhill by not keeping my focus right, I am responsible for that too. I can't bury this or try to play down my joy in order to keep stressed out moms who haven't found this truth to be self-evident yet:) from feeling bad about their daily troubles when my life "looks" so good. I have to try to share the wealth!!! I want everyone to be so joyful!!! It's available for every Christian. My temperament makes it easy for me. Other people will struggle more. You could name a plethora of reasons for this but I won't go into those here.

Okay, well I like to throw out the ole' "don't judge a person's life by the tiny slice of it you see on their blog" post every now and again. It's easy to read people and feel like everything runs perfectly at their house. Not the case in mine. Just so you know. I deal in the imperfect all day, but I'm happy anyway:):):).

10 September 2007

Under the knife again

Tomorrow at 4 a.m., Dennis and I will leave for Rockford Memorial Hospital where I will undergo the, hopefully, last procedure on my wrist from the accident that occurred almost a year ago.
The procedure will be an iliac crest bone graft. The surgeons will take a 2x3 inch piece of my iliac crest ("hip bone" for we lay persons), will remove the antibiotic beads currently hanging out in my wrist and will reconstruct the 17 breaks with pins, titanium plates and pieces of the harvested bone.
After that, I'll be in a splint for 10 days and then a long-arm cast to prevent rotation for 6 weeks. But, hopefully, (please, please, please, PLEASE, God) I will be on the road to recovery. Because the next option would be a bone replacement with a steel rod. And I don't even get a hook if I have to do that.
So. I won't be blogging for a while, though I might invite a guest in occasionally. Or a peon to transcribe for me as I dictate.
And, of course, prayers for my poor wrist and my longsuffering husband and children would be thankfully received.

Mother Theresa's Crisis Practice of Faith

I don't know if others have already blogged about this, but I recently read this article in our Time magazine about a new book that will reveal letters written by Mother Teresa over a 66-year period. Teresa requested that these letters be destroyed, but the Vatican decided against her wishes and published them in book form.

Apparently, in these letters, she writes to several confessors/ spiritual directors about her inability to sense the presence of God, or hear God's voice. She is able to see God's work, but feels as though God is removed and far from her. At some points she even voices her terrifying doubt that God is there, though she quickly apologizes for her "unbelief."

Despite the fact that Teresa's wishes were ignored, which is somewhat troubling, I think, I'm glad that these letters are published. Mother Teresa is arguably the most well-known servant of Christ in the world. To find that she was someone who struggled in ways familiar to most of us, yet still did extraordinary things will be helpful to many, I think.

Of course, as the article mentions and recent letters to Time following the publication of the article demonstrate, those who wish to disprove the existence of God quickly latch on to Mother Teresa's seeking and distress. They find it hypocritical that she would profess the joy of Christ even while not feeling it herself.

But, for Christians, if we are honest, I think most of us will confess times in our lives when the well has run dry. And most of us have not done anything near as spiritually challenging as serving the poorest of the poor in Calcutta. But I think it is a near-universal experience among the faithful to have had times when we have felt removed from God, or had a "crisis of faith" (the term the magazine used to describe as the article described Mother Teresa's long sojourn in the spiritual desert).

What comes to light in these excerpts from Teresa is the difference between those who turn from God and those who continue to move forward towards the hope of a resurrection of faith and that is -- even while we are distressed by our circumstances and challenged by our fears and doubt, we also believe that this is part of the very essence of faith. We believe the words Paul writes in Hebrews, "Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things unseen." And we realize that belief is not real until it is lived out. Put into our lives. Practiced.

I can't imagine what life was like for Teresa. I can't imagine doing what she did without daily assurance that she was being accompanied by the Spirit of God. But despite the apparent fact that she did not feel the Spirit moving, she moved. And she moved in God's name, doing everything to God's glory.
I hope that in examining these letters published against her wishes, her demonstrated faith is what, once again, emerges as Teresa's legacy. She may indeed have had a "crisis" of faith for 66 years. But it was the extraordinary practice of those 66 years in light of her very human struggle that truly instructs.

09 September 2007

Our "cat"

Something my sister wrote reminded me that I have never written down the story of our "cat" which should be preserved for all time. Or, at least, as long as the internet, or Blogger, exists.
The story begins with the fact that neither Dennis nor I like animals. And when I say we don't like them, I mean that we would rather not touch them. Or smell them. Or see them, really. And we certainly do not want to live with them. I don't know when this developed in my life, but somewhere along the line, I became an non-human animal-disliker. And luckily, I married one of those, too.
When I became pregnant with Annalivia and began reading all of those magazines that prepare those who have not given birth to become mothers by presenting the worst-case scenarios alongside cheerful advice on what cocoa butter to rub on stretchmarks, I saw a TON of articles on the necessity of preparing one's cat or dog or, if you are my sister, ferret, to receive the new addition to the family. These articles always involved helpful suggestions like, "Bring an article of clothing worn by the baby home from the hospital and introduce it to your pet so that the pet gets accustomed to the smell of the baby, thus reducing the likelihood that your pet will attack your newborn child." Like I said, very helpful tips in these publications.
Dennis and I were grateful that we didn't have this problem because since we have been married, we've only had one pet, an imaginary black cat named "Sassy" which is a shortened version of her full name, Sweet Sassy Molassey. She is not only quiet and maintenance free, but also very useful as a scapegoat/scapecat for household accidents and misplaced objects. There's a pile knocked over? Must have been Sassy. Keys gone missing? That darn Sassy. Puddle of something on the floor? Saaaaasssyyyyy! (Or Annalivia).
Sassy is a pretty carefree pet. In fact, most of the time we forget she's there. Because, um... she isn't.

08 September 2007

Some sweet things

I just need to record some of these for future remembrances.
I love how Annalivia will come into a room and see something and say, "Wow! That's really, really cool, Mommy!" Only she pronounces it like "Dat's rilly, rilly kooh-il"
Sometimes she'll open up the curtains and will say, "Wow! It's so beautiful out!"
When Daniel coughs or sneezes, she always asks, "Ok, Daniel?" She will also instruct him at other times, "Daniel, stop fussin'!"
Occasionally, she will see my painted toenails and say, "Yo' toes are pink?" And I'll say yes. Then she'll ask if she can kiss them. And she does.
When one says, "thank you" to her, she almost always answers, "You're welcome" which sounds like "Yakelcome."
She has taken to getting out of the bath and, while wrapped in her towel, has begun running around yelling, "Run away! Run away!"
And if she wants something -- milk, apples, pizza, sushi, and one says in a deciphering tone, "You want some sushi?" she will generally say, "ok" or "Yeah, of course." Like it's just the most natural thing in the world to be asking for sushi or whatever it is she is requesting.
Sometimes she pretends to sleep and will pull up whatever it is she is using as a cover -- a towel, a blanket, my clothing -- and will give these big sighing yawns and fake stretches. Then she'll lie down and pretend to sleep, then pretend to wake up and do it all over again.
She has taken to jumping off of the couch to the floor. If she lands badly she usually says, "Whoops! Sorreee!"
Whenever we are in the car for any length of time, we have to sing every song she knows. She always asks for them by their full names. The alphabet song is requested by asking, "ABCDEFG?"

07 September 2007

Saying "sorry" like we mean it

I had a conversation with Sublime Aunt this morning in which we discussed an apology she had recently received from an offender. The apology was one of those, "I'm- sorry- if- I've- done- anything- to- offend- you" sort of apologies. The apology that was actually called for in the situation would have been an "I'm- sorry- that- I- was- a- complete- and- total- disrespectful- idiot- and- allowed- my- offspring- to- be- the- same. - Period" sort of apologies. But that's not what she got.
Recently, on several blogs, I have seen Christians behaving badly and making assumptions and declarations about other commenters. When their behavior is pointed out to them, they have given explanations rather than apologies. And it happens in the church all the time!
I feel so bothered and annoyed when I see this sort of thing. Explanations and excuses are not apologies, nor is an apology pretending that the other party is responsible. I know that saying, "I'm sorry. I was wrong," and then ceasing to say anything else is a very difficult thing for humans, but it is absolutely essential. I've been on both the giving and receiving end of a half-apology. Neither spots are fun and the wrong's hurt still remains.
So. Friends, bloggers, idiots-who-live-near-my-aunt, etc... let's just say we're "sorry." Ok? Like we mean it this time.

06 September 2007

How to make a dish towel bib

Today I realized, while feeding Daniel at lunch, that the little terry cloth bibs we have for him are not doing diddley-squat in terms of keeping prunes off of his clothing. When we got to this point with Annalivia, I turned to an idea I had found long before I had children in a Martha Stewart Kids magazine and made a couple of bibs out of dish clothes. They are great because they cover so much more of the child and are not only absorbent, but also very washable. All of those that we already have, however, are pink and in use by his proprietary sister, so during the kids' nap/ rest time, I made a couple of these bibs for Daniel.

I had not planned to make them, so I just used a couple of towels I had around. My favorite towels are the 100% cotton flour sack kind, but these will work, also. I saw that K-Mart has some cool bandana-print towels by Martha Stewart Living and I think I'll go and get those to make some more for Daniel. Last year, pre-accident, I had even bought a couple of printed seasonal dishtowels to make a Thanksgiving bib and a Christmas bib. That didn't happen, but maybe I'll do it this year.

I benefit so much from reading about other bloggers' creative projects. And maybe everyone out there who would do these already know about them, but in case somebody else will benefit from this idea, here is the tutorial.

First, fold the towel horizontally about 1/3 of the length. Then fold it in half lengthwise.

Next, cut a quarter-circle out of the folded corner for the neck. Cut smaller first. You can lengthen or widen if necessary.

Open up the towel lengthwise and cut up to neck opening. You should have a lollipop-shaped opening now.

Hem the sides of the bib by turning them under twice. Alternatively, you can use bias tape rather than hemming, but this way is more thrifty.

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Sew bias tape around the neckline leaving ends that are long enough to fasten the bib. I sew it to the wrong side of the towel first, then fold it over and sew it on the right side. It makes it look nicer on the right side. Be sure to sew the extra length of bias tape shut so that it doesn't unravel in the wash.

And there it is! This can go super-fast, or you can take a little longer and make it look really nice. This would probably even be a nice gift for somebody if you are actually capable of sewing a straight line, unlike myself.

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04 September 2007

Poor Arnold

So Annalivia has this little baby doll whose name is Arnold. Its name started out being Jesus because I bought it after Annalivia was born to use at church on Christmas eve. Annalivia immediately loved it and tried to eat its head. They've had a close relationship since then.
For a long time Jesus, as Arnold was known back then, stayed at church in my office where he was played with occasionally. Then Annalivia became fascinated with babies and the baby could not be left at church and was then the car doll. Eventually he worked his way into the garage where he hung out for a long time in a little dolly stroller that Annalivia would push whenever Daniel and I went out for walks. (See exhibit A). Around this time, Annalivia changed his name to Arnold and moved him inside.
Exhibit A

While Arnold has not been granted co-sleeping priveleges yet, he is the go-to doll for acrobatic routines, baths and swimming pool sessions. (See exhibit B).
Exhibit B
Today Arnold and Annalivia were doing a stunt wherein Annalivia would stand about 4 feet from Daniel's swing and throw Arnold into it. If she "made the basket," so to speak, she would yell, "Yay!! I did it!!" If Arnold happened to miss the swing, she would pick him and kiss him and say in her most sympathetic, pampering voice, "Ooooohhhhh, poor Arnold." Then she'd toss him at the swing again.
Poor Arnold, indeed. My guess is that Arnold liked his life as Jesus much better.

03 September 2007

Seriously the best family EVER

Apologies to those of you who also have great families, but right now I am fairly convinced that mine is the best ever. Of all time. Anywhere. In the whole world.

We have spent a great couple of days with the fam in Keokuk, Iowa where my sistah, Marissa, married my new bro-in-law, Geoff, and oh my goodness, are we all tired!! It was non-stop from Friday evening to Sunday brunch and every minute of it was just wonderful. My FreeSpirit Uncle, Dad's brother, and Sassy Aunt and Mason-Dixon cousin who live in Arkansas were there. My dad's sister, Sublime Aunt, and her family -- uncle and three cousins and cousin #1's girlfriend came down from Chicago. Roo's childhood best friend came from Minnesota. My grandparents, sistahs, brother in law, the nieces and nephew, the dogs... all were there. We were missing my great-aunt and her daughter. But we all had a great time. We traipsed around the hotel, mostly on one floor we all shared. We laughed. We danced. We talked. We laughed. We ate. We sang. We laughed. We swam. We ate again. We laughed some more.

One of the coolest things about the weekend, aside from the word-for-word recitation of Ice, Ice Baby by my new brother-in-law at the reception, and aside from the family spending all of our time just together, was that my grandparents' 61st wedding anniversary was the day before Geoff and Roo's wedding. That was a neat juxtaposition in my mind. New love. Enduring love. Because of the way Grammy and Pa have endured, the new is possible and welcomed in the most wonderful ways. Lovely.

Ok, family. Not very good pics follow. Apologies for the red eye. Right click on the picture and choose save if you want a copy. Love you!

The happy couple.

The. Best. Family. In. The. World.

The bride and her attendants sistahs (please note entirely coincidental matching earrings).
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Mom and Dad

The Bride, Mom and Dad, and us.
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Grammy and Gramps, Dad, Sublime Aunt, and Freespirit Uncle

Freespirit Uncle, Sassy Aunt and Mason-Dixon cousin.

Sublime Aunt, Jetsetter Uncle, Pink Cousin, Romanesque Cousin and Katana Cousin.

Romanesque and his godsend-of-a-girlfriend who was WONDERFUL with our children.
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The women of the family.

The men who are divinely blessed to either marry us or be birthed by us.

Two of the ways I'm divinely blessed. (Yes, Daniel is wearing a baby tux. Courtesy of the Sublime Aunt.)
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These are the terrible reception pics as the camera battery died.

Gramps gets to dance with his youngest granddaughter.

Careful observers will see that it is only McClures dancing.

This could be why.

Our children were worn out and FRIED by the time we got home.
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