Thursday, September 1, 2016

wedding weekend

We flew from Maui to Seattle to Portland and were at Erica's house in our rental car by 10 am Friday morning. After a second breakfast, a refresh and a stop at Starbucks, Erica and I were on our way to the wedding venue to see Melissa and help set up for the big day before the rehearsal and dinner that night. (Stephen was able to meet up with a friend from college and he and Ryan drove out to the venue once Ryan got off work). 

I hadn't seen Melissa in over two years... TWO YEARS! It was a reunion that was well past due, but as it goes with true friends, we picked up right where we left off. She is a true, true gem I tell 'ya and it was so, so great to see her beautiful face and squeeze her 'til the tears came! 

We spent the rest of the afternoon helping Will and Melissa's families get things organized and set up. I kept gawking at the venue and the decor we were unloading from the cars - Melissa did an incredible job putting that wedding together! 

The rehearsal went as well as you'd expect working with eight boys ;) and then we all got to enjoy a picnic style food truck dinner. Plus the sangria, you can't forget the sangria! It was delicious and fun and windy and before the night was over, Erica and I got some unexpected time with the bride, just the three of us, and it was easily one of the best parts of the weekend. We 'oohed' and 'awed' and talked and prayed and it felt so nice to be back in their company again. I have been blessed with the greatest, most humble, uplifting, silly friends and I will forever be thankful for their friendship throughout the stages in my life. 

We had a sleepover with Erica and Ryan's at Momma Debbie's house, as theirs is currently under construction, and were feeling extra grateful for a house with air conditioning! 

Erica and I headed back out to the wedding venue with a twelve drink Starbucks order for the bridal party and we spent the rest of the morning setting up and finalizing details. The wedding party each took their turn getting their hair and makeup done, but Erica and I had opted out of that, so we got to stick around and help out for a while longer - it was so clearly going to be a beautiful wedding! 

Hair, check! Makeup, check! Before Melissa had her first look with Will, she had a first look with us girls! I had seen her dress in a picture when she bought it, and had even seen it hanging in the closet that very morning, but it wasn't the same as seeing her in it! It was perfect for Melissa and she looked stunning! I couldn't help myself from tearing up, not just from her obvious beauty and joy, but because I couldn't shake the fact that my best friend was about to get married! ...Married! On the other side now, and having just gotten back from a romantic getaway, I was feeling extra sentimental about the whole thing and was truly just elated for them! 

And then the wedding! And the tears...! I honestly don't know if there was a dry eye in the house. It was such a beautiful and touching ceremony. They chose to write their own vows and did an incredible job. The celebration that followed next was well deserved after what these two have waited through ;) I was feeling so proud, excited and happy for them! Married... Finally! 

Somewhere toward the end of the reception, the groom offered some words of wisdom to Erica and I. And while it took awhile to understand the point, it was a pretty good speech ;) Something about us making a level, like the one you use when you build something, with the bubble in the middle... We're the level and he and Melissa are the bubble... Basically, the three of us couples are keeping each other balanced and, well, level! Oh! We also made plans to go camping together once a year. 

The wedding was beautiful, the bride even more so, the ceremony was amazing, the reception was fun, the saran wrapping the pies was comical and the late night Taco Bell run after the reception was yummy.  We have been so blessed with this community of friends and I am so grateful that we have each other to lean on. You know, to level each other out ;) Stephen confessed that he's really glad my best friends married guys he really likes, and so am I!

We left Sunday morning for a quick 24 hours in Corvallis with the Winder family where we got to relax, eat Steff's delicious food, watch the Olympics, play with the Winder boys and gleam some motivation and lots of Jesus's love from John and Steff. It was well worth the extra few hours in the car and day away from our babes.

Finally, we were off to see our babies! I felt a little guilty that it was so easy to be away from them, but I was just so wrapped up in being a wife and not a mom that it wasn't as hard as I was picturing. It was such a great experience to get away with just Stephen, and then another one to be at a wedding with our friends without kids to feed and watch out for and bed times to work around... We missed them, of course!, and were so excited to get back to them and our home and our own routines, but I am so thankful that it was such a peaceful week away. God really let my heart take a rest from worrying and it was such a gift to be fully present and enjoying my time.

I soaked up every last minute with just Stephen and I and the anxious excitement didn't hit until our plane touched down in California. I was literally itching my skin with anticipation! Sherri had brought the kids to the airport and Stephen and I knew they were waiting for us in baggage claim so we raced through the airport with big goofy smiles on our faces!

Home at last! Nothing beats getting to be mom and dad to these sweet kiddos.

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