10.20.2017

Songs in the Dark

It had been a rough day. Gwen had woken tired and cranky, and as the day went on it had become a fragile brittleness, leaving her prone to spells of anger and tears. She needed sleep, and I had my own reasons to be short. It all culminated in a game becoming a level of competitive that was more angry then fun, and then tears and rage.

As I put her to bed that night, I held her close and sang the song that I used to sing to her every night as a baby. The dam broke and her tears rushed forward, great heaving sobs that shook her body and drenched her face. She cried because she didn't know why she was so angry, because she was sad for the way she acted and the things she said.

As the tears dried up, she asked me to sing the song one more time. I did, rubbing her back. It was then I noticed how big my hand looked on her back in that moment. She is larger then life sometimes, with her hair all the way down her back, her personality for ages, and a smile that lights up the room. She is gaining freedoms each day, proving her responsibility. Its easy to forget how small she still is.

She slept a long time that night, and the next day was a new day, with easier emotions. But we learn the most sometimes not during the anger, in the stillness after the storm. Singing our songs into the dark.

10.18.2017

10.13.2017

11 - 17

17 years (and 1 day) ago, I walked into a fraternity party.


I had absolutely no expectations for that night other then drinking some drinks, meeting some new people, and cutting loose for the night. College until that night had been a mixed bag. I had made a few good friends (some of which are still friends to this day), but overall I felt lonely. I missed my crew from back home, and didn't feel like I'd really found my people yet. That night I stumbled across a boy. We ended up playing on the same team for a drinking game, and hanging out for the rest of the night. As I left to head back to my dorm, way later then I intended, he very forwardly kissed me goodnight and told me to "come back tomorrow." I did, and I basically never left.



I found my people in that fraternity house. Friends that grew to be family, people I still love and cherish to this day. Psi Upsilon was my home for my 4 years at Lehigh. The place that I could always find someone to talk to, full of people who understood me and accepted me. That boy was Travis, we were together, a couple from that very next day on. By 6 months in, I was completely head over heels in love and knew that I would marry him.


The following year he pinned me, a tradition that made me an official part of the Psi U family, allowing me to wear the letters and proclaiming that he intended this relationship to be something permanent. After he graduated, 2 years before me, we started a semi-long distance relationship; him working full-time 1.5 hours away. Weeks were spent apart, talking on the phone at night, but up he would come on weekends, squeezing everything we could into those 48 hours. It wasn't always easy, but we made it work.

After I graduated it felt like our life together really started. We moved in to an apartment with a college friend, and 7 months later he proposed! The following year we bought our house, the one we still own, the one we made into a home. We worked real jobs and adjusted to life away from college. It wasn't easy to replace classes and homework with day jobs and bills, but we made that transition together.


11 years ago today, a year after buying our house, at just 24 and 26 years of age (babies!) we got married. It was a perfect autumn day, cool and crispy, but sunny. I woke up that morning, squeezed between my Babs and my Hoser, feeling nervous and excited and like I couldn't believe the day was here. Six years had passed, which felt like a lifetime at the time. We had no idea what was in store for us!



Eleven years. Three pregnancies, one miscarriage, one surrogacy, one amazing child. Thousands of working hours, endless days of trying to find a healthy balance. Countless trips. Fights and makeups, discussions and quiet expressions beyond words. A cross-country move, career changes. So many changes. Love. Love, love, love. And growth.



Marriage is hard, life is confusing, but Travis has been my constant.


The past two years it feels like everything has changed. But what hasn't changed is how much I love my husband, how grateful I am to have him by my side.

Travis,
I don't know what the future holds, what other changes are in store for us, but I know that I'm grateful you are the one with whom I get to tackle them! Happy Anniversary!


10.11.2017

Wordless Wednesday {Twilight Yoga}

Playing around with a new variation of an old favorite... this was hard!

Such beautiful light this night.

10.09.2017

Yes I'm A Little Obsessed with Matcha {Review and Giveaway}

Disclaimer just to start things off honest: I was provided with a free bag of matcha in exchange for my honest opinion. I received no other compensation, and trust me when I say I really love this stuff! I approached them, so seriously, they are amazing. They are awesomely providing me with two free bags of matcha to host a giveaway, so read all the way to the end to enter! There are also affiliate links included in this post. The cost to you is exactly the same, it just helps me support my family while doing something I love!


So I might have mentioned once or twice my semi-new found love of matcha (1, 2, 3... just to name a few). The thing is, its just so lovely! The taste, the smell, the routine in the making. I tried a few different brands, there was one I really enjoyed at the store, but it wasn't always in stock, it was a smaller container, plus frankly I'm forgetful and I wanted the ease of an automatic delivery. I tried a few kinds on Amazon (Prime plus Subscribe and Save!), and found a few that were just too bitter for my liking. Then I stumble on Jade Leaf Matcha and fell in love.

I've always been a tea drinker, and matcha has so many health benefits, that it was an easy add to my morning routine. My requirements for my matcha powder weren't anything crazy: it needed to be ceremonial grade* (that's what you need to get that dissolving power for your tea!), from Japan, and preferably organic. My biggest requirement though was the taste! I wanted a nicely smooth flavor! (A lot of that is prep too, see below...)

So want to give it a try? Here's two easy ways to start! First lets talk about a Matcha Tea Latte, my most frequent way of drinking matcha. This is just as good as the ones you find at the coffee shops, but without all the crazy amounts of sugars!

Matcha Tea Latte


1. Boil your water (I go just slightly under the amount called for on the powder directions), then - super important! - let it cool for about 5 minutes. Water too hot will turn your matcha bitter!

2. While your water cools, add your matcha powder to the blender.
You can also heat up your almond milk - about the same amount as water - until warm (I just microwave it!).

3. Add water to the blender, then a gentle squeeze of honey, and a spoonful of coconut oil (if you want it to be a little bit more filling). Add almond milk, and then blend until completely combined.

4. Sip and enjoy!!




Some mornings I only have time to drink my breakfast down, so I started playing with Matcha Smoothies! A one shot way to get my matcha fix, and my breakfast, all at the same time. Here's a super quick and easy smoothie, nutritious and satisfying.

Easy, Green Matcha Smoothie




1/2 - 3/4 of a banana, depending on size (even better if frozen!)
1 cup kale, tightly packed
1 scoop vanilla protein powder
1 (slightly heaped) teaspoon matcha powder
1 - 2 sprigs mint
2 cups almond milk (possibly more depending on how thickening your protein powder is)


Add all ingredients to blender, and pulse until smooth.



Now for the best part. Enter below to win your own bag of Jade Leaf Matcha and give them a try for yourself!

If you don't want to wait to see if you won, feel free to head over and grab some of their amazing Matcha now: Jade Leaf Matcha, otherwise enter below!


a Rafflecopter giveaway




* The giveaway is for culinary grade, which is perfect for both of the recipes provided here. If you want traditional tea, prepared with only a bamboo whisk and hot water, go for the ceremonial grade. That's what I buy anyway, so I'm set no matter what.

10.06.2017

2017 Wedding #4 - The Other Side of the Family!

Back when my cousin Jess and Brett got engaged I didn't think I would be able to swing the wedding. After not attending a wedding since my brother's before we moved, this year brought 4! It was just so much. But an expiring travel voucher, and an understanding husband, found me booking my tickets for a 4th trip to Pennsylvania this year!

I headed out Wednesday evening, a time that allowed Trav and Gwen to drop me at the airport. The flight itself was easy, and I actually arrived an hour ahead of schedule, which was great since it was already after 11 at that point. My first night I crashed at my friend Nick's place, a real treat since I hadn't gotten a chance to see Nick since I moved! We stayed up late, talking and watching music videos, having some beers.


The next day was gorgeous. We'd been having wet, rainy weather in the 50s in Colorado, and Pennsylvania had been in the 90s! So I was thrilled that during my visit, those temps settled into the 70s. Perfect Autumn weather. Especially perfect since Thursday was my day to enjoy Philly, I walked almost everywhere I went. First, I headed out to hit up lunch with my favorite, Tally-le!


We not only had lunch, but later ended up getting drinks together at a new Beer Garden in Independence Mall. Lots of catching up to do! After seeing her adorable boys, I headed to meet Ro for dinner. At the end of our dinner we were joined by Apoc, which was perfect since I rode back with him, as I was crashing at his place that night.


Friday was wedding day, so after a slightly lazy morning, I grabbed a Lyft up to Center City; after tromping around there a little bit, surprising a friend with a quick Hi at work, I hopped on the train out to the burbs.


My parents picked me up from the train station and we went to check into the hotel. My brother and his wife joined us there in a bit. They had a bus running over to the wedding site, and we enjoyed an absolutely gorgeous evening wedding!


Everyone looked amazing, and it was so wonderful to see that whole side of my family (my Dad's side). Not only do I love those people, but I truly like them too! We have so much fun together. We ate amazing food, and danced our asses off all night! I actually semi lost my voice this week from all the yell-talking we were doing over the music.

The next morning we all met up for breakfast in the hotel, and I finally got to meet my cousin's new baby!! He's so beautiful.


One expensive Lyft ride later and I found myself back at the airport already (Saturday morning). It was odd this time around. For the first time this year, I was flying out of Pennsylvania with no set plans for when I'd be back. While I'm sure I'll be there next summer, this is the first time this year that no tickets are bought, no driving plans are set.


It was good to get home, to be with my family and return to our schedule. But I miss Pennsylvania and my amazing people there already.

Congratulations Jess and Brett!
Until next time, East Coast!

10.04.2017

Wordless Wednesday {Stills from Dinner With a Friend}

Beautiful flowers to warm the table...

This lasagna turned out amazing! I was pretty proud. 
There's broccoli riced up and mixed in with the sauce. Filling, hearty, and pretty healthy!

10.02.2017

A Place We Want to Come Home To

Almost a month ago now, I had a date for my hairstylist to come over to dye my hair. I looked around a few days before and realize what a mess our place had become. Too much stuff, combined with the craziness of our summer and travels, had gotten things to a point where we were working super hard just to maintain or barely bring down the mess each day, forget cleaning it all up. We took a weekend and we went nuts... an early Mabon cleaning streak! For the first time in months a lifetime(!) our living room was clear, the floors cleaned of toys and other random articles, and everything felt just a little more in control. Now, it is easy to clean and maintain the clean on a daily basis. We still need to par down the amount of stuff in her room, but I'm much less concerned with that.

[Its worth noting: we were NOT living in squalor! We cleaned and vacuumed regularly, but that normally involved shifting huge piles of toys around, and was generally overwhelming. The controlled chaos was, well, not so controlled.]

Our place is now somewhere I'm happy to invite people into, somewhere that I feel good being in.



I always find myself soul searching and evaluating when the anniversary of our move comes at the end of summer. I think the root of it all - the cleaning and sorting, the replacing with fresher items - it all boils down to the desire to make this apartment a place we want to come home to. For years now I've wrestled with this idea of what home is supposed to be, what I WANT my home to be. What I've settled on is its more a feel then a look.


It feels like being wrapped in a warm throw on a pleasantly chilly morning. It feels like that jump in your heart seeing a perfect haul of dahlias. It feels like baking the perfect spice cake, and heating a mug of hot tea on the stove. It feels like wake up naturally, then being able to lounge in bed, warm and content, for those extra minutes.

For some, luxury is feeding the chickens in the morning or brewing a cup of tea or going to the local coffee shop for the perfect cortado. For others, it’s a Birkin Bag and a private yacht. For me, luxury is sleeping late, long slow mornings, having big blocks of time to concentrate on work, being able to travel & support the work of chefs around the world, being able to support and buy the goods of artisans that make clothing & home goods sustainably, and being able to cook most meals at home when I’m home. To each their own. You have to define that for yourself. The same goes for security. You have to define that for yourself. Whatever your definition is, I believe that you can realize your dreams, enjoy both luxury and security, and be rich in time to devote to what really matters to you. So yes, food is the heart of this blog. But the idea of abundance, of finding sustenance of every kind is the soul of this blog as it exists today.

Local Milk

For me, luxury and security are intertwined in the combination of the ability to travel far and wide, then having a place to come home to. A place that FEELS the way I want it to feel. Eclectic, but not overwhelming, lived-in and cozy. Full of light, life, color, and family personality.

I'm not sure that I'll ever be able to get it just right in an apartment. We live here year by year, never really willing to promise more then that, but yet knowing that there is not a reason we can think of to move out. The walls, so colorful in our Pennsylvania house, are so white here. But the idea of painting them, with the time and monetary cost involved, to have to just paint them back again (next year? the following?), is exhausting to consider. I try to reconcile my desire to have less stuff, while seeking out the one thing that will help make a certain space feel more complete comfortable us.

This post has taken a turn and I'm not sure how to wrap it up. Maybe I ask, how did you make your home into a place that you long to come home to? What does luxury and security mean to you?

9.29.2017

Little Things: Our Days

School has been in session for a month and a half, swim lessons for a few weeks. We are finding a rhythm to our days. The schedule adjustment, at first a thing requiring constant thought, is now becoming more easy and normal. I still, of course, feel like I often don't have enough hours in the day, but that was the case last year too. As it is, my girl is enjoying some new found independence this year. After homework, after a quick video to chill, before dinner, Gwen often finds her way outside to scooter with friends in the area behind our buildings. She has a few "neighborhood" friends that are regularly outside during this time and they meet up to run off some energy, and even more important, to get a taste of the independence that so many of us grew up with.

***

Our schedule, for my own future interest and for those who are curious about how others structure things looks generally like this:

Trav wakes with Daisy, sometime around 6am, when he takes her out and feeds her. Often he gets right up, in the shower, and ready for work at this point; though sometimes he climbs back in bed for another half hour or so. I wake at 7am, either to the alarm I had to start setting on my phone (wah!) or to Gwen yelling out, "Moooommmmm," as she wakes for the day. If she's up at 7, then she gets dressed, heads into the bathroom to take care of teeth etc, then sits down for a quick cartoon - we give her breakfast to eat while she watches. If its been a tiring few days, I might have to wake her closer to 7:20, then she just gets ready and eats. We are so lucky she is pretty quick in the morning! Trav leaves sometime after we wake, and Gwen and I leave to walk her to school at 7:40. I walk home after that, and what I do depends on the day.

Most mornings I take the time to make my green tea latte, and something for breakfast. Then I take all that on to the balcony. I relax and breath, preparing myself for the day. This is a huge bit of self-care time and I know I'm so spoiled to have it, but I don't feel badly about it at all! Its so important for my mental health. While I eat, I look at my calendar and see what is coming up that day and the days ahead. I check emails and reply to urgent ones. On certain days, I purposely read and peruse things that will give me inspiration for writing.

After that: Mondays I teach yoga in the mornings, Wednesdays I take yoga class in the morning, Fridays I take yoga class mid-day. Thursdays I switch things around, heading to the gym on my way home, then taking my time on the balcony. During the rest of my day, I run errands, do chores, write classes, have meetings, and occasionally meet friends for coffee or lunch.

I leave the house between 2:30-2:35 to pick up Gwen. We walk to the mail center to check our mailbox, and say hi to our friends at the office, then head home talking about her day. Once home she finishes anything left in her lunchbox as a snack, while working on a bit of homework and reading. Its not normally more then 15-20 minutes of homework and 10-20 minutes of reading. Then she gets to relax and watch a video for a little. After that is when she might run outside to play with her friends, staying where I can yell for her when dinner is ready. If its raining or otherwise not so great out, she might play Legos or Superheros instead.

While she's playing I finish anything I was working on during the day, and start to prep dinner. We eat around 5:45-6pm when Trav gets home. Tuesday nights I teach, so Trav takes care of dinner; some nights he works events, so then Gwen and I are on our own. After dinner, we relax for a bit before Gwen heads in to get herself ready for bed at 7:30pm. After she says goodnight to Trav and Daisy, we read in her bed until 8:15, when I say goodnight and turn off the lights. While I'm reading, Trav takes Daisy for a walk. After Gwen's asleep, we relax and watch some TV. Trav normally heads to bed around 10:30, and at that point I try to put my phone away, turn off all electronics, and read for a bit to prepare myself for sleep. I'm trying to be better about getting into bed by 11-11:30pm, but sometimes its a bit later.

***

And that is the state of things now. As we prepare to enter into my favorite month of the year, I'm feeling good about our schedule and our routine. Much will change in the months ahead, of course, as the days shorten and cool; but we have found a good place.

9.27.2017

Wordless Wednesday {Colorado Outdoors}

Beautiful sunset behind 17 Mile House, a few weeks back.

Trying to identify a local wild flower, 
Daisy was curious what I was up to!

9.25.2017

Mabon

This past Friday was the Autumnal Equinox, and with that came our first celebration of a new tradition. There's been so much change in our family in recent years, and while we still hold and celebrate our old traditions, I found myself longing for a celebration that was all our own, one that could be shaped and molded completely to our choosing without the burden of generations of observance. I found the answer in the solstices and equinoxes.





Mabon is celebrated with the Autumnal Equinox, sometime around September 21. It embraces the harvest, the celebration of the equal length of day and night. It encourages connection to nature. Gwen and I did a nature walk after school to collect items for our table, including pinecones, leaves, and some wildflowers. We do a house cleaning, like in the spring (which we did a week and a half ago), and finish with sage smudging (I did that when everyone else was out at work/school, its a strong smell!).



Of course the star of the show for my family was the food! We did a smattering of harvest relevant foods like corn, bread, apples, nuts, grapes, and wine. We did turkey legs as our main protein. 

We turned off the light and ate by candlelight to embrace the coming darkness. And we discussed the meaning behind the holiday, what we were being thankful for.

For dessert, there was French Apple Cake, a new recipe for me to play with! 


After dinner we took another walk, as the sunset fell. It really turned out so well and we enjoyed it thoroughly!!


Happy Mabon all! I hope it is a beautiful season for you!

9.22.2017

Autumnal Equinox


Oh Autumn! Time of crunchy leaves, crisp air, and that happy place between hottest summer and snowy winter.

I will always celebrate this season, and revel in the unique joys and observances we find this time of year. Indeed, last night/tonight we add a new element to our keeping of this day, and I can't wait to share it with you once I get a real chance to put down my thoughts (Monday!).

But for today I'll just enjoy the balance that comes this time of year, when days and nights have found their equilibrium and before we move into the longer nights of winter.

Enjoy, friends!

9.18.2017

Rambling Rambles

Wedding hair color!
Before the wedding I was more then a little stressed out. There was so much to think about and get done - logistical things like replacing tires for the drive out, booking a dogsitter, making sure I had everything for my outfit, and buying things to help make the centerpieces - I wanted my best girl's wedding to perfect! That was not, of course, my responsibility, but I just wanted to be sure that everything that I was handling was as perfect as possible. Plus, the rest of life didn't stop because I was thinking about a wedding. We have a bunch of big travel coming up throughout the rest of the year, and there were things that needed to be addressed for those as well, not to mention school items and teaching. I was feeling a little overwhelmed.

While all this was happening, I couldn't help thinking about how ridiculous it was of me to complain; because at the very same time, a whole city was/is underwater. Blogs that I read, people that I know, friends and online acquaintances, whole cities of strangers that deserve so much better... they're all underwater. Fighting for their lives in some cases, or for their homes and livelihoods. (Just look at this over at Lag Liv, and this one too.) I feel silly for being overwhelmed by the good things in life, and completely stuck for ways to actually help (these are great references).

But here's the thing about life: it keeps going despite the horrors of the world.

(From Lag Liv:

I was standing in Trader Joe's today and just looking at all the people buying healthy foods for their week ahead and I just wanted to yell "do you know what Houston looks like right now? do you know there are piles of drywall everywhere? and mold is starting to grow and spread? and people don't have flood insurance? or money or power or AC or water and it is all just fucking awful?" But of course they don't. I mean, some may have gone down to Houston like me and seen it, but one of our necessary abilities is being able to move on from other people's tragedies to focus on ourselves. You can't let every disaster devastate you. You help, but you stay in your circle and you live your life. I've done the exact same thing over and over again and you must, but it was just so jarring to have gone from a drywall covered emotionally overwrought hellscape to... Trader Joe's, four hours and several light-years away. )

So I continued to be overwhelmed and anticipatory.

There are just so many things on my To Do list, projects I want to try to tackle, things I want to incorporate into life, new ventures to pursue; but I already feel like I am just maintaining adequacy with what is currently on my plate.

I had a full week last week, with new doula clients, yoga classes, a dozen errands and the normal day-to-day details, but this one should be slightly calmer? I look forward to "working ahead" on what I can. Pounding out details so hopefully our next trips are just a smidge less stressful. We'll see how that actually works, of course.

9.15.2017

2017 Wedding #3 - My Bestest Babs!!!

Where do you even start when its time to write about one of the weddings that has meant most to you in your entire life? How about with some words I already wrote?

Hi, my name is Megan and you might not know me personally, but the most important thing to know about me is that I’m one of the two asses behind the name of Heather's perfume, “Candy Ass" and I’ve been dreaming about this day since Babs – as I call her – and I were babies! We met when we were in preschool, and she’s been my sister from another mister ever since.

From playing with barbies, killing it at Donkey Kong and Mario Kart, and swimming our days away when we were kids, to surviving 90% on phone calls and text messages while managing businesses and kids, life has changed a lot since then. But some things have remained the same: Babs, you are still the same strong-willed, fiercely independent person you were back then. You've always known who you are and what you wanted. When you met Keil I knew things were different. HE was different! I say that you, Babs, were the first love of my life, so I was never going to let you settle for a man that didn’t deserve you; none of these friends sitting here would have! So standing here today makes me so damn happy because Keil and Babs, you bring out the best in each other. Its been beautiful to watch your relationship grow. Keil, you make Babs shine in a way that no other partner has, and for that I thank you.

As I sat writing my Maid of Honor speech a number of weeks ago, I realized just how much I had been looking forward to this wedding since my best friend in the entire world and I were babes. It didn't disappoint!

Last Wednesday I dropped Gwenie off at school, and jumped on the road heading West through the mountains. I could probably write a whole post just about the 15 hour solo drive - the first I've ever made like that, with no little companion in the back seat - but lets see if I can sum it up: It was amazing to drive through these mountains I've grown to love, catching up on podcasts, and just enjoying the journey without worrying about anyone else. There were no snacks to pass or toys to pick up, and no "I'm boreddd" pronouncements to ignore. I stopped when I had to get gas, using the bathroom at those stops, and eating the things I had packed for the journey. Not to say there weren't lonely moments, and I definitely wish I could have switched off with someone to give my eyes a break about 13.5 hours in, but as I drove down a Eastern California highway after darkness had fallen, and watched thunderstorms put on a light show to both the North and South of me... well, I knew there was something pretty magical about the solo journey.

I arrived late, so headed straight to the AirBnB I was sharing with one of the other bridesmaids, and tried to get some sleep. I was up pretty early the next morning. A combination of a different sleep environment, the hour time difference, and excitement for the days ahead! Yvone woke pretty quickly too, and we headed out to pick up some groceries. After that it was finally time to go over and see my girl!!


We got to squeeze, I got to see her new apartment, and we got to chat a bit... but it wasn't just a lazy day. Nope, Yvone and I got to work!


We made all the centerpieces ourselves to help Babs out, and figured out the logistics for everything else that still needed to be done. Then that night it was time for the Bachelorette festivities. There was dinner and a special show. It was late to bed that night too, but we had another busy day to follow!


Friday we picked up the sound system, handled a bunch of last minute details and supply getting, I grabbed Gwen and Trav from LAX, and we hit up the rehearsal and rehearsal dinner. Then it was back to the AirBnB where Babs and I slept next to each other like we did the night before my wedding. It made me wistful, but oh so excited.

Saturday, Wedding Day, dawned early. Yiv and I were up at 5:15am to let the hair and makeup people in, and we all got to work. We did hair and makeup in the AirBnB until about 7:30 when we switched over to the venue to eat breakfast, finish our looks, and put on our clothes.

This was not the final result, but I had to stop here
and enjoy my 80s rocker hair... 👅

Those ladies were geniuses, and I'll admit, I felt pretty damn good!!


Heather was great and pretty damn chill all morning, even as wedding time came... and passed just slightly! Oops.


Still, when it was time to walk down the aisle, the delay didn't matter. She was stunning, literally making her groom pull in a breath and utter, "Wow" - while needing to dab his eyes.


I was more then tearing at that point, and for the rest of the ceremony, so no shame!
It was a beautiful ceremony, with amazing vows, some of the best ring exchange vows I've heard, and this amazing show of new family unity:


(Yes, those are smoke bombs!)

I will share some professional pictures when they come out and I get permission, but please click through here to look at some teasers... they are AMAZING!


When all was done with the ceremony, the guests headed off to the reception venue while the bridal party got pictures done. Then we headed over as well for some really great food with a pretty killer view!



It was a low-key reception in some ways, there was no dancing, not a lot of the traditional stuff (no cake cutting or garter tossing)... but it was full of amazing personality just the same. A personalized playlist, gorgeous cupcakes, and a speech from the groom's sister, and the Maid of Honor... 😘





After seeing Babs tear up just a moment or two in, I bawled through a good portion of it, but I managed to make her laugh, so I'm happy.

Gwen made a friend in her new "cousin" Sai (Heather's new stepdaughter!), and it was amazing to see them play together. 


I've always imagined that we would have babies playing together.  💗


At the last minute, Yvone, KJ, and I snuck out to give Heather's car a little decorating, then it was time to see the couple off!





Everything I'm writing here seems so inadequate to describe all of the emotions running through me over these days. This girl is my sister, and Keil is such an amazing guy, so to say that I was thrilled for them doesn't even cover it. There was so much love, so much color, so much excitement, and such an amazing feeling of relief that the day was finally here and the work was done!

After we got back to the AirBnB, to strip down, clean up and start packing. Trav realized at that point that we didn't get a picture together, so Gwen snapped a quick one for us!


We left early Sunday morning, with me waking everyone at 7am, and being completely packed and out the door before 8am. The ride home was shorter (plotted drive time - 14.5 hours) and longer (sooo many stops to peee!), with us arriving at almost 1am (we lost an hour in the time change). It was amazing to have Travis available to drive the last two hours for me, and fun to have him see this drive that Gwen and I have done multiple times now. Driving the Southern Utah desert area at twilight might be one of the most beautiful drives, and this time did not disappoint. There were cotton candy skies in front of us, a fiery display behind us, and a thunderstorm way in the distance lighting up the darkening clouds in beautiful flashes. It was a pretty magical end to an amazing long weekend.

There’s an anonymous quote that says, “Once in awhile, right in the middle of an ordinary life, love gives us a fairy tale.” Now I don’t know that anything in Babs’s life has been ordinary, and we all know that fairy tales in the traditional sense aren’t real – there are no fairy godmothers making our dreams come true – but love like this is as close to a fairytale as we get in this world, it imbibes life with a little bit of magic. The best marriages are found when a couple is a team, when there is mutual respect, and when there is so much love; plus the willingness to really work on your relationship and put it first. Thankfully you guys have all the ingredients for a beautiful marriage.

This group has traveled from far and wide to make it to this celebration, and you are all here because you mean a great deal to the bride and groom. Please, join me in raising our glasses to the happy couple. To a long, beautiful, colorful life together! Cheers!