Friday, March 30, 2012

Mega Millions

$540,000,000

Five hundred and forty million dollars

540 million

Half a billion dollars

No matter how you phrase it, that's a whole lot of cash.  A mind boggling amount of money.  A payday that would make me wealthier beyond my wildest dreams and expectations.

Craig and I played the "what if" game this morning while we were getting ready for school.  What would we do with that kind of money?

Here's the quick list that we came up with:

1. Establish Natalie's college fund.  This one was a no-brainer and the first thing that came out of my mouth.  Maybe $150,000 dollars or so?  And if on the slim chance that she received a college scholarship to play ball then we'd put that money in a trust so that when she graduated college she would have the money for a down payment on a home.

2. Buy land and build a house.  We wouldn't move far from where we live now because we do like the general area in which we live, but if you drive about 15 minutes west of our home there is a ton of open land and big lots available to purchase.  We would probably build a nice compound complete with a home (max of 5,000 sq. ft.), a swimming pool, and some sort of volleyball/basketball rec area.  The home itself would have a big chef's kitchen, a proper mancave, a big office for Craig's basketball tournament business and a spa-type bathroom in the master bedroom.

3. Purchase each of our dream cars.  For me, I would keep the Acadia that I drive now but I would buy myself a beautiful Ford Mustang.  Craig would upgrade his basic Tahoe to the top of the line one and buy a sporty little Audi A6.

My own personal list would also include:

4. College funds for each of my nephews.
5. A trip to Italy with my WHOLE family since neither of my brothers have ever been there (and I've gone twice!).
6. Obviously most of it would be put into some sort of savings that will collect major interest for Craig and I to live off of for the rest of our lives.
7. I would probably go on a pretty intense shopping trip.

And the real question is.........would we quit our teaching jobs?

I asked Craig this very question in the bathroom and he didn't have an immediate response.  And neither do I.  The fact of the matter is - we enjoy our careers.  We love working with kids and we both have pretty sweet gigs as PE teachers - no tests to worry about and we get ample amount of time outdoors to enjoy the beautiful weather during the spring and fall.  Sure the coaching time commitment is difficult at times but we both enjoy competition and watching our athletes be successful on the court or field.  And quite frankly, we enjoy being busy and on the go - by the end of the summer vacation we are both ready to get back into a routine and have something to fill up our days.  So I guess the answer would probably be.....at this point in our lives, NO - we wouldn't quit our jobs.  BUT we probably WOULD retire just a little bit earlier than most of our teaching friends!

What would YOU do if you won the Mega Millions jackpot?

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Article

I found this article today on Mommyish........sounds vaguely familiar.  Like somebody that I know.......

I'll let you guys decide.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Daybooking


Here's a weekly insight into my life and a chance for me to debrief my own brain and sort out my thoughts.

This is where you can find other daybookers.

Outside my window...it is warm (bordering on HOT) and there is not a cloud in the sky.  We were blessed to have this weather over the weekend as well.


I am thinking...that you can always tell when it's starting to get warmer outside because all of the coaching staff gets tanner and browner as the days and weeks pass during the spring.



I am thankful...for the gorgeous weather on Saturday morning while Craig and I were working the high school track meet - in years past it has ranged from bitterly cold to spitting rain and humid.

In the kitchen...I cooked both Friday and Saturday night.  Friday was a basic penne pasta bake with sauce, meat, ricotta and cream cheese.  On Saturday I made crock pot chicken cordon bleu.  And now we are enjoying yummy leftovers!


I am wearing...a fantastic shorts, t-shirt and sock tan.

I am creating...all sorts of fun plans for the summer - a GymKids class with Natalie, lots of hours at the pool with friends, getting together a reading list and Bible Study.

I am going...to reread all the Hunger Games books but this time slow down and really enjoy every twist and turn in the plot.


I am wondering...what this summer is going to be like if it's already consistently in the 80s in March.  Yikes.



I am reading...The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest.  I've picked back up on my television watching during the week and therefore the house is a bit messier and my reading has fallen to the wayside.  I think this I might just make it a plan of mine to NOT watch television during the week so that I can stay on top of things around the house and enjoy all the wonderful books that are sitting in my "to read" pile next to my bed.

I am hoping...that all my kids get their game faces back on for the track meet this week.  We had rough weather last week and our kids just didn't perform very well at the track meet AT ALL.  Hopefully that was just a fluke and they'll be ready to compete this week at the prelims for the district meet.

I am looking forward to...going to church with my friend Kate on Saturday.  She is a dear friend of mine (and Natalie's godmother) and she is going through a rough patch with a recent diagnosis in her daughter.  I hope that a little bit of prayer and meditation together will help her have more hope and encouragement.

I am learning...how to lead through example.

Around the house...things are a bit more organized in that I've boxed up clothes that Natalie has outgrown and we put away all her baby toys but now we just have to find a place to put the storage bins!  I really struggle with mess, clutter and disorganization and I pray daily for patience (not to erupt) and wisdom (to see that it doesn't really matter).

A favorite quote for today..."thanks bestie."  My friend (and co-worker) Shemika wrote that on Facebook in response to a comment that I made on her picture.  It's taken her a long time to realize that I'm pretty fun to be around, despite her first (negative) impressions of me.
One of my favorite things...Natalie's new Frankenstein walk with her arms stretched out in front of her.

A few plans for the rest of the week: Bible Study, basketball practice and a track meet.

A picture to share:
video
It's obviously not a picture, but it's something much better - video of Natalie walking.  Notice how when I say "come here" she immediately turns and heads towards something more entertaining than her mother.  Oh dear.


Sunday, March 25, 2012

Catching Up

I've been MIA on the blog lately.....but the good news is that I've been fully present in real life.  Nothing special or exciting happening, no major pitfalls or waves of PPD.  I've just been living my life as a coach, a wife, a friend and a momma.  The sunshine is no longer painful and I don't rely on the fog to protect me.  

I never thought I would get to this point.  I suppose I've finally adjusted to our "new normal."  

Better late than never, right?

So if I haven't been brooding, moody and blogging about it then what have I been doing?

Well, Craig and I have been watching Natalie do ridiculously adorable things lately.  Last night she grabbed my Bible while I was working on Bible Study homework and she said "Jesus."  It's okay if you don't believe me - Craig didn't either........until she did it two more times.  Maybe she knows something we don't.  I had a dream last night that she was walking.  It hasn't happened in real life yet but she is getting close - she is pushing up and standing on her own a whole lot more so I would venture to guess that by the end of the month, we will have a walker.  And then a runner and a skipper and a hopper and oh dear.  Lord help us.  For her birthday, my parents gave Natalie an outdoor water table and yesterday afternoon around 4:30 after pulling her away from splashing in the dog's bowl for the fiftieth time, I had a brilliant idea.  I put her in a swim diaper and hauled that water table to the back patio.  Craig filled it with water and pulled over two Adirondack deck chairs.  I ran back inside for the essential outdoor play items - a camera, a towel, a Heineken and a glass of wine.  And that's what we did for the next thirty minutes.  We drank, relaxed, talked and laughed at her antics in the water. It was lovely.

Saturday morning Craig and I were required to work the high school track meet.  It wasn't as bad as it might sound.  Craig was running the long jump pit while I hung out at high jump and chatted with the high school volleyball coach.  It was a long, hot morning and I have the sock tan lines to prove it, but it was fun to see former athletes compete.  High school in our area of the world is tough.  Not only do we live in an area of our district that is incredibly high income (but NOT our little neighborhood - we're firmly in the middle class income bracket) but the high school that our middle schools feed into has roughly 3,000 students attending on a daily basis.  Oh.  My.  Goodness.  I always worry about my middle school girls when they go off to high school - it's such an easy place for a student to get lost in.  That's why I loved seeing one of my former students running the 800m and in the 4x400 relay - she was always a quiet kid that walked on the line between the troubled kids and the athletes.  I was happy to see that she was staying involved in something at school because that usually helps to keep kids out of trouble and instead surrounded by good influences.

Today while Craig was doing some yard work, I took Natalie to Target because we've been having a bunch of stuff pile up that desperately needs to be put into storage.  While she took a nap, Craig and I packed up all her 12 month clothes, her pack 'n play that has been in our bedroom for over a year, a bunch of her baby toys AND I finally took down all the St. Patrick's Day decorations.  I love a good Rubbermaid storage bin.  As Craig and I were putting away her clothes, he asked an interesting question: "does putting this stuff away make you want to have another baby?"  Whoa turbo.  Let's back the train up.  Then we played the "why are you asking - do YOU want another baby?" and "I'm not answering - I asked you first" and "but you wouldn't have asked if you weren't thinking about it yourself" back and forth little game.  Eventually my answer was.........no, the big girl clothes don't make me want another baby but I have a feeling if we were to get out her newborn stuff it would.  Like I told Craig, I just want another chance to do it all over again and to actually enjoy it and be present for every little thing.  Obviously, no major life decisions were made during this chat but at least neither of us were closing the door, but we did decide that now is not the time.


Okay, see all that stuff up there about Natalie not walking yet?  Well, I wrote all that early this afternoon.  My how things change in the blink of an eye!  After posting this draft and proof reading it on my blog I realized I had to make one MAJOR edit:

And the biggest news from today.....................Natalie is walking.  I knew we were getting close since all she has been doing while walking is holding onto the teeniest, tiniest tip of my finger.  It was all a matter of time before she gained confidence and took off on her own.  I'm so glad that she is walking but there's just a hint of bittersweet.  Walking is one step closer to running and hopping and skipping and all those other things that little girls do.  She was so proud of herself and I wish that I could record every moment of this process. From the Frankenstein walk with her arms extended out towards me to the furrowed eyebrows and pouty lips when she falls.  I guess this is what it's like for other people in the very beginning - the feeling of wanting to soak up their baby in it's entirety and not forget a single moment or breath from their life.  Okay.  That sounded a bit creepy and obsessive.  But I am mesmerized by her - I love sitting back and watching her play and think.  To see what she'll do next or how she will react to a new activity, toy or person.  I feel like she's a little onion and each day I'm peeling back a layer and finding something new underneath; more and more of her personality is revealing itself and it's fun to pick out what is like Craig, like me......or just unique to her.

Finally, on an ENTIRELY separate note - I saw Hunger Games tonight.  There were a few moments of slight cheesiness but overall it was pretty good.  They handled the death scenes very honorably and I loved how they gave Seneca Crane a little bit of humanity as well as a peek behind the curtain of who/what creates the games.  And of course who couldn't help but love Woody Harrelson as Haymitch Abernathy and all of the outrageous clothes in the Capitol!  I can't wait for Catching Fire to come out.......but I'm a little worried about Mockingjay because it's pretty violent and brutal.  

I guess I was a little overdue for an update because I ended up having a lot more to talk about than I thought I did when I started this post!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Stormy Weather

Storm season in north Texas is upon us.  This is what rolled into our little corner of the world yesterday evening and it lasted throughout the night.  I used to really love thunderstorms - I had this great little third floor balcony at my apartment that faced west towards Ft. Worth and I would sit outside and drink a beer while watching the storms roll in towards me.  But now with Natalie I get terrified and freaked out because I can't protect my daughter from the power of a raging tornado.  As we were winding down last night I walked to the front window with her and showed her the storm clouds that threatened from above and we prayed together.  Okay.  Maybe I prayed and she played with the blinds.  But whatever the case, I prayed for the safety of all our loved ones and that the winds would not do too much damage in our neighborhood and across the Metroplex.  And then I looked around my house and thought about some of the scripture I've been studying - all the STUFF that we own, the pictures and memories hanging on the walls, the clothes up in our closets, the warm and cozy beds that we sleep in.......it's all just STUFF.  I can't become anxious about losing all that STUFF because at the end of the day, all I need are my people and my pups.  A house we can rebuild.  New furniture can be bought.  I can't worry about losing family mementos or replacing windows.  It's hard to place that kind of trust in God when as a human my earthly possessions have so much sentimental value to me.  Besides - I'm sure those people in Tennessee earlier this year also had much trust in the Lord and their towns were flattened.  But He is good and He is perfect.  He has a plan and even through my fear while hiding under the stairs I have to trust in Him.

Every Texan worth their salt knows when a dangerous storm is coming.  The skies turn green and the humid, sticky air gets still.  No birds chirp and the dogs pace.  Probably like being in the eye of the hurricane.  Things are too eerily peaceful.  Luckily, last night was not one of those nights.  The skies stayed gray - sure there was lightning and thunder and copious amounts of much needed rain, but there were no tornadoes.  

But just in case, when I came home........Craig had already cleaned out the closet under the stairs.







- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Monday, March 19, 2012

Looking forward

I've written so many beginnings of blogs lately and each and every one seem so............forced and uninspiring.

Which is probably why they all have beginnings but no endings.

I guess it's just an average case of writer's block.  Or maybe it's just that life right now is pretty uninspiring. Not in a bad way..........but we're just existing - happily - but still.........just floating along.

Glennon Melton of Momastery reposted a blog awhile back about what depression is like and how she could always feel the fog creeping back in - and how she didn't always want to fight that fog because it helped her to become a better writer.  Aren't the best writers always the tortured ones?

I guess that's where I'm at right now.  No fog.  Just sunshine.  On the brightside there isn't anything gnawing at my soul making me feel the need to spill my guts on this little blog, but on the other hand, I'm not really producing anything of real substance.

But that's the theme for this year.

Just exist.

In the past three years Craig and I have bought a house, gotten engaged, married, become pregnant, had a baby and struggled through PPD.  Whew.

This year we're just going to enjoy watching Natalie grow, play with the pups and be a family.  No major life changes.  Just live.

I feel like my mood has turned a corner since Natalie hit her first birthday.  I feel free of the "baby" stage in her life.  She eats real food, is sleeping through the night and plays contentedly on her own.  There is less dependence on me to sustain her life and now more dependence on me to teach and guide her through her life.  That is what I'm good at - setting boundaries, playing games, redirecting, taking advantage of teachable moments......all stuff that I do as a teacher, I suppose.

I read an article today on Huffington Post giving parents hope about reaching the end of their child's first year of life.  About how the sleepless nights and the constant laundry will slowly fade.  The first year is tough - but not for the child.  It's not a milestone for the baby - it's an accomplishment for the parents.  Hurray!  You kept a human being alive for an entire year and for the most part - you're still standing.

Now, Craig and I weren't standing at her birthday party completely the same people that had welcomed a beautiful baby girl into our arms the year before.  No.  Things have changed.  Life has changed.  WE.  Have.  Changed.  Six months ago I never thought that I would find the girl that I used to be.  I never thought I would dance around the house to Jay-Z and Kanye again.  I never thought I would want to indulge in that second (or third) glass of wine when out to dinner with the hubs.  I never though that I would give a rat's ass about the cute clothes in my closet and the make-up in my drawers.  In short, I felt like I had to live such a controlled life in order to be the perfect mother that I thought that the girl my husband fell in love with (wild, crazy, passionate, determined, ambitious, goofy) was gone forever.

I mourned her death and hated the woman that took her place.

But that girl is like a weed - she has found a way to grow through in the most unlikely of places and she is slowly spreading across the desert like wildfire.  More and more everyday I feel HER presence.  I feel more at ease in my skin.  I can take deeper breaths.  Those deeper breaths lead to bigger laughs.  And then there's the dancing.  And a glass of wine............and then another glass if it's a special dinner.

So here I am standing at the beginning of the next year in Natalie's life.  I am determined to do the best job at being her mother that I can and that doesn't involve listening to anyone else's expectations on what I need to be.  Natalie doesn't worry about the global ramifications of the way that I parent her.  She doesn't worry that I'm doing it all wrong and she's going to suffer.  All she needs is hugs and kisses, cuddles and playtime, love and compassion, boundaries and expectations.  All she needs is everything that I already am.

Daybooking


Alright - we're in the home stretch of the school year.  Time to buckle down and get serious about the state testing and reining these kids in until the end of May.

This is where you can find other daybookers.

Outside my window...it is blustery and cloudy.  We're expecting three to six inches of rain over the next few days.........this might put a kink in the track practices and meets for the week.


I am thinking...that I shouldn't get so excited about summer vacation because even though we only have 52 days of school left, those days are going to pass ever so slowly as we get closer and closer to the last day of school.


I am thankful...that we figured out Natalie has some major allergies and since she started on Singulair last Thursday we have already seen a huge improvement in her breathing, sneezing and coughing.

In the kitchen...I made one of Craig and Natalie's favorite meals last night - just plain and simple spaghetti.  Yum.


I am wearing...my work clothes - running shoes, athletic shorts and a school basketball t-shirt.

I am creating...lots of plans for the summer, one being a personal Bible Study that was created by my friend Jen for a group of women last fall (I think).  I wasn't able to attend because of volleyball and other commitments but since all the material is available online, I think I might just do it this summer.  Yesterday I was feeling particularly anxious (it was the grocery store's fault - I hate grocery shopping without a list) and so I went upstairs and worked on my Bible Study homework for the week and ever so slowly I felt the tension release and a sense of calm settled over me.  

I am going...to have another couple of busy weeks - at least until track season is over.  Between my volleyball league starting back up, track meets, Bible Study and Craig's select basketball practices we are going to be a busy family.

I am wondering...why Natalie is all of a sudden wetting through her nighttime diaper the past few nights.  When we pick her up out of bed in the morning her pants are damp and her diaper is soaked.  I casually mentioned maybe laying off the night-night bottle of milk but Craig quickly shot that idea down.  Hmm.  Any suggestions?

I am reading...I finished Mockingjay from The Hunger Games trilogy and now I'm working my way through The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest.

I am hoping...I'm conflicted about what I'm hoping for this week.  There is a little piece of me that would love for it to rain and storm on Wednesday so the track meet gets cancelled and I have an extra night at home with Natalie and Craig.  But on the other hand, it's our last chance to get our kids into a meet before the district qualifying meet and I really want to give some of the kids another opportunity to work on hand-offs and other skills so that they're better prepared.  Conundrum.......

I am looking forward to...Bible Study tomorrow night.  I wasn't able to attend the past two weeks due to the stomach virus and then Open House.  Even though I completed the homework and listened to the lecture on my own it just doesn't have the same satisfaction as sitting with other women and discussing different aspects of the text.

I am learning...how to just listen and be compassionate.  It's not my job to fix everyone else's problems even though I want to desperately.

Around the house...I need to get some big storage bins for Natalie's clothes that she has outgrown as well as for all the new St. Patrick's Day decor that we have recently acquired.

A favorite quote for today...I don't know the quote off the top of my head but I am trying to wrap my brain around the section of 1Peter that discusses submission to authority - even when that authority isn't just or good.  God knows the truth of what is in my hear and the hearts of other people and I have to trust that He will judge justly.
One of my favorite things...Natalie's hugs.  She'll just be roaming around the living room playing and having a good time and then cruise over to me and lay her head on my tummy for a few moments before continuing on.  And sometimes she'll pull up my shirt and poke me in the belly button and giggle!

A few plans for the rest of the week: Bible Study, basketball practice and a track meet.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Reception and Anniversary

Natalie has been in major teething mode since Saturday and in response to her gums hurting she has boycotted naps this week - because THAT'S going to make her feel better.  Ugh.  Needless to say, we were very excited to drop her off at my mother-in-laws house yesterday afternoon so we could properly celebrate our anniversary.  On the suggestion of one of my foodie co-workers we headed out to Southlake Town Center and ate a delicious steak and seafood dinner at Truluck's.  Not only was the restaurant lovely and the food amazing but the service was phenomenal.  We had a delightful server who was perky and upbeat without being annoying and she brought us a sweet treat at the end of our meal as a surprise celebrating our anniversary.  The manager stopped by our table for a few minutes and chatted with us about our anniversary, our little girl and other stuff like that.  He also surprised us by bringing us two big take home boxes of chocolate and carrot cake!  We are set with sweets for the week!  Of course, we were absolutely stuffed by the end of dinner and we were ready to go home and get in bed by 9:00.  Isn't that sad?!  And what's sadder is that I was up and awake by 7:30 this morning.  But really, I love this time in the morning - just relaxing in bed with my pups and my coffee, catching up on blogging and Jon Stewart.  

Okay.......onto the rest of my walk down memory lane.  I must admit - looking through these pictures......it feels like it's been TEN years since this wedding instead of two.
I love the mixture of the fresh springtime grass mixed with the bare trees leftover from winter.  This was taken out on the golf course after the ceremony.

Our toasting glasses.  Ha!  I had champagne while Craig had rum and coke.

Love this picture - it's hanging on our picture wall in black and white.

Gorgeous shot.

All my bridesmaids brought their own Converse to match the boys at the reception - much more comfortable I suppose.

Funny story - there was a bulldog convention going on at the same time as our wedding.  Seriously.  But the dogs were beautiful and so incredibly well behaved and Craig and I are dog people so we really didn't mind.  As a "thank you" for sharing our day with the bull dogs they gave us these bride and groom dogs.  They might just be one of my favorite tokens from our wedding.

The cake in all it's glory.

Our entire coaching staff was involved in our wedding - Craig and I got married while Beri and Doug were in our wedding party; Beri's husband was even the one who married us.  In true coaching fashion, they high fived as they were announced coming into the reception.

Aww....my little people.  The whole bridal party high fived them too as they ran across the dance floor.

Craig is a Texas Longhorn fan.  My family is all Aggies.  Craig wanted his grooms cake to be the Royal Memorial football stadium but I just couldn't allow that to happen without some sort of intervention.  I asked my friend Kyle who was a reader at our wedding and who, at the time, lived in College Station and was working on his master's degree at A&M to bring some sort of Aggie football figurine to place on the cake.  Kyle came through and did a great job sabotaging Craig's Longhorn cake.

The cakes were made by a longtime family friend and I was a little nervous about how the football stadium would turn out - but they did a great job!  All the people are tiny sprinkles!  How fun!

Another shot of my cake.  It's all buttercream frosting because I hate fondant.

Longhorn and Aggie.
And by the way, my thumb is weirdly flexible, right?!

Our first dance - one of my favorite pictures.

Check out the look on his face - it's almost like he really loves me!

I love his curly hair.  I always get upset when he gets a haircut.  And I love those curls even more now that I see them sprouting out of Natalie's head.

Oh my mother - she was so exhausted but in the best way possible.  I think she was so happy to have all her friends and loved ones at the wedding but also so happy that it was almost over.  

The end of my dance with my daddy.

My parents have been married for 40+ years and they are still so in love with each other.

My mother reads my blog (hi Mom!) and she's going to kill me for posting this picture but I can't help it!  I love it because it's her dancing with her brother, my Uncle Lawrence.  They were moving and grooving together and it was so cute.

Getting down with some of my bridesmaids and work buddies.

My maid of honor Amy and I have been friends since we were in sixth grade.  She was telling the story about how we used to spoon during sleepovers.  Yes.  She told the entire reception.  In our own defense - we are more like sisters than just friends.

Ron giving the best man speech - he was so nervous and repeated himself so many times but it was a very sweet speech.  

It was getting close to the end of the night..........

Our favors!  I loved, loved, LOVED these volleyball and basketball cookies!

Craig dancing with some of our work friends - we are a crazy group of teachers, but they always made everyday at work VERY fun.
  
"Leaving" the hotel at the end of the reception.  I say "leaving" because we got into a golf cart and drove around the property of the hotel for a few minutes and then came right back and hung out with our friends some more in the hotel bar.

The cart took off a little quicker than I expected.

Done.  Ready to go upstairs and to bed.

So that's that.  Our wedding.  We were chatting about it last night at dinner and how Craig would now just go to the Justice of the Peace and get it over and done with instead of having the big shindig.  I agreed to a certain degree, but at the same time it certainly is nice to have these pictures to look back on and something for Natalie to look through when she is older.  I loved looking through my mother and father's wedding album when I was younger because it was so strange to imagine my parents.........without kids.  

Well, now it's a little after 9:00 and after Craig gets out of the shower we are headed out for breakfast at another restaurant suggested by my coworkers (I work with two guy coaches that have voracious appetites) that serves supposedly the "best cinnamon rolls ever."  Actual statement.  


Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Wedding and Anniversary

Today is our anniversary - we got married on a gorgeous Saturday in March at the beginning of Spring Break.  Exactly one week later, while we were in Antigua on our honeymoon - it snowed in north Texas.  Go figure.  I could get really mushy about how much I love Craig but I think I've done that recently - so I'm just going to show you some of my favorite pictures from the wedding.

My wedding dress, a bridesmaid dress, the flower girl's dress and my turquoise wedding shoes.

My maid of honor Amy and her little girl Emma who was my flower girl.

Craig gave me my Tiffany's charm bracelet engraved with the date of our wedding and his mother gave me the puzzle piece symbolizing that I was the missing piece in Craig's life.

The site of our wedding.  I wasn't real particular on where we got married but as soon as Craig saw the trees, the grass and the golf course he was sold.

I love my mother's face in this picture.  I don't know if she's just really happy about her corsage or the fact that I was finally getting married.  Regardless, I love her joyfulness.

As part of our photography package we received a credit towards a canvas picture of our choosing.  I left the choice up to Craig and told him he could choose any bridal portrait that he wanted.  This is the picture that he chose and it is hanging in our entryway.

Craig's good friend and coaching buddy Doug putting the final touches on Craig's outfit.  Notice the Converse tennis shoes.

My two brothers who also served as ushers.  I love how they are walking exactly in step with one another.

My friend Beri's husband is an ordained minister and he offered to officiate our wedding.  He was also super psyched when we told him he could also wear Converse - he got a new black pair just for the wedding.

Craig waiting for me to walk down the aisle.

My mother being escorted by my two brothers Mike (left) and Stephen (right).

Alexander and Ford were my ring bearers and they did an excellent job of walking down the aisle except for when they forgot exactly where they were supposed to go - this is Andrew directing them to go sit with my brother and sister-in-law.

All the boys' shoes.

Oh man.  This was a tough moment.  I was seriously freaked out at all the people staring at me.

Standing at the altar - it might look as if I'm lovingly clutching Craig's hands but in reality, I'm holding on for dear life.  I hate being the center of attention like that.

I don't know if you can really see it in this picture but there were tons of guests from the hotel staring out the window at our wedding.

Again.  The clutching.  The "don't let go of me because I might faint."

I really like this picture because I actually did my own make-up for the wedding and I like the fact that it turned out alright.  Also because...........you know...........I look really in love with my husband as well.

Mwah!  The big kiss.  This was also a strange moment because there were a lot of our coworkers at our wedding who had prior to this kiss NEVER seen any sort of physical interaction between the two of us.  First of all, we're not that into PDA but we also kept it VERY professional when at work or even when hanging out in public because we didn't want the whole school to know that we were dating.

Hurray!  It's over!  Time to go get a much needed glass of champagne!

I have this picture framed in our bedroom - it might be my most favorite photo from the whole day.

Ron, Craig and Ricky (who is hiding) all embracing and congratulating.  Ron and Ricky run basketball tournaments and (Ron especially) have been there for Craig through lots of traumatic life altering events.  Ron was (and still is) truly happy for all the joy and good things that have happened in Craig's life.

Hugging my brother Mike who had flown all the way down from Maine for the wedding.  My wedding was monumental for him because I think it made him realize how much he missed living close to our family.

Oh.......the children.  It was nearing the end of a long day for these three and they were all ready for some food and cake.

We couldn't really get a serious picture out of them and you know what?  

I think I like it that way - I can definitely see all their sweet and sassy personalities.

So that's part one.........I'll post the reception and formal couple photos later.  But for now, I think I might hop into the shower so I can get ready for our big date tonight!