The Lucky One

A few days ago, Hannah stumbled upon a photo of the Husband and I from our wee early days as a married couple. Incredulous, she blurted out, "Wow. You MARRIED that guy?"

I laughed, maybe a little too hard, and then pointed out the error of her ways.

You see, it's not supremely surprising that I married the skinny, quiet, smart gymnast that was the Husband so long ago. After all, he was handsome, thoughtful, and hopelessly in love with me.

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What's more amazing is that HE married this:

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God bless the poor ignorant fool.  He had no idea what he was getting himself into.

And I'm off...

I am heading out the door in just under an hour and my stomach is a nervous ball of butterflies. Last night, I had a meltdown of epic proportions. So much to do, so little time. Panic about leaving my babies for 10 days. Worry that I wouldn't get it all cleaned in time for the mother-in-law to come. Anxiety over all the things that could possibly go wrong.

There was crying. All of it ugly.

Today, with suitcases packed and passport in hand, I can hardly believe I'm really doing this. I stare in awe, and wonder whose fabulous life it is I'm really living.

How many men are there that not only say yes, but encourage the taking of trips to faraway lands? Who gladly work, sacrifice, and move heaven and earth to make dreams a reality? I am beyond blessed to have found one who does. He, who knows the toll this past year has taken on me, and encourages me to leave it all behind. He, who knows the healing power of gifts beyond measure.

He had my heart when all he had to give was his love. He gives me his as he makes my dreams come true.

I love him.

I am forever indebted to him for my every happiness.

Thank you, baby, for the trip of a lifetime. Au revoir!

Calling all Europhiles

Holy flip.

(Those are the closest things to swear words I'm allowed to say since I've been let in the Resistance. Did I tell you she finally let me in? Greatest day of my life. Tragically, I'll probably get a ticket for writing them here though. Totally worth it.)

I did not realize it has been almost two weeks since I posted here, with the exception of my complaints last Friday against the morons at Photobucket.

Sheesh. How is that possible? I was thinking maybe three days, five at most. I had no idea it has been almost FOURTEEN.

This should give you a little insight into my present state of mind right now. I am swimming. I have never been so busy in my entire life. My little business is booming, and it's something that makes me so very happy. Family sessions, newborns, senior portraits, and a wedding this week. But it leaves me very little free time for blog reading or blog writing. Or nap taking, for that matter.

I've got to remedy this. Somehow.

The other major time-suck right now is a little trip I'm getting ready to go on. Excuse me while I scream in excitement yet again.


There. All better. I'm getting ready in about five days to board a plane with one of my favorite people and take a little hop across the pond to London and Paris. Where we will indulge my fantasy of a night with Alfie Boe singing his heart out in this, and possibly convince Prince Harry to fall madly in love with me. Which will be tragic, as I will have to break his heart since I am married to a man wonderful enough to send me on this fantasy vacation in the first place. But I'll probably wait to break the news to Harry until after he's showered me with a few of the crown jewels. As he will be wont to do, I am sure.

But the point, dear internets, is that I am up to my elbows in cleaning, shopping, editing, mothering, and cleaning all in preparation for the trip of a lifetime. I've got a mother-in-law coming to stay, and ain't no way is she getting a peek at my cupboards in their current state.

So, indulge me while I'm scouring sinks and drawers and tell me your favorite things to do in London and Paris. Must-eats, must-sees, and everything in between. I've never been and need to know all the best spots. What would you recommend?

And in the meantime, I'll try and carve out a little time and share some of the less-exciting, but still worthwhile, things that have been happening around here.

I'll never say no to you, whatever you say or do...

Internets, I married a good man.

A man who doesn't hesitate to say yes. A man who supports me in whatever I do. A man who selflessly gives time and time again.

And recently, when I mentioned my desire to [someday] get this, he smiled, shrugged his shoulders, and told me I should get it.

I don't have to be told twice.

And now, as a result, my basement currently looks like this:


Not everyone is as excited as me. Clearly.


And some of us are a little TOO excited for my taste:


While others of us will use any excuse to throw their brother into a wickedly awesome headlock:


Though ultimately, with promises of chocolate chip cookies, I eventually get something closer to what I'm looking for:


And even though I have some idea no clue what I am doing, I think it's going to be a whole lot of fun figuring it out.

P.S. Anyone know the name of the movie that the title comes from? Hint: It's a musical. And a good one at that.



Mother's Day for me was one of the best. With church at nine a.m., I woke early to breakfast in bed and four smiling faces. The presents they gave me were much more than I deserved and proved definitively that diamonds really are a girl's best friend.

Leaving for church, I glanced behind me with a smile at the spotless kitchen that I had nothing to do with cleaning.

Lunch and dinner were made while I sat on the couch in my bare feet with the iPad. Diet cokes were topped off and treat samples brought to me for tasting.

I tried not to laugh too hard at the sight of the Husband decorating the coconut cupcakes. Somehow a pastry bag does not look very much at home in his big hands. But they were as delicious as they were beautiful.

I was pampered and loved, and felt utterly appreciated.

These four fantastic people in my life are a miracle. I love them with the whole of my heart.

And no, I won't share her. She's all mine.

It was obvious to me when I first met my in-laws that I would be marrying into a fantastic family.

That fact has been confirmed to me many times over the 16 years of my marriage, but none more so than at the tea party Oma threw for the little girl cousins while we were in Utah. (Which, mind you, she throws monthly for the in-staters).

I have heard the tales of the famous tea parties, but scarcely could have imagined the complete and utter genius that is the Oma.

First on the agenda at the tea party, is decorating a large banner. Crayons, markers, and colored pencils await the creative minds and hands of little girls. There are no lines that need to be stayed in. There are no rules. The more colorful and garish, the better. Little scribbles are at home next to neat, detailed words.


And what could possibly be better than hanging your masterpiece with tape onto the mantle?

After all, a tea party must be properly decorated.


Next, the girls are divided into teams of two, with big girls happily partnering with little girls. Every pair is handed their very own scotch tape and several rolls of crepe paper. Decorating of furniture is highly encouraged.


Next, the girls are whisked off to the beauty station. Each girl competes for space at the full-length mirror where hair do's are coiffed and created using the ribbons, bows, and curlers from Oma's stash. Pink foam curlers provide the ultimate in ladies hair fashion and magically are "ready" in about eight seconds.


After the proper time has been spent in the beauty salon, it is time for the fitting of the gowns. Stylish traveling trunks have been brought for the occasion and somehow eight girls manage to find just the right outfit without any fighting or tears. There are shoes, accessories, hats, and gowns enough for all.

This Oma knows what she's doing.


Once all the divas are properly attired, it is time for the fashion show, complete with runway walk and color commentary by our hostess.

Twirling is highly encouraged.
No tea party would be complete without an excited interruption by the big brother, just returning from his antique store shopping with the Opa. World War II weapons and artillery are the souvenir du jour in the 10-year-old boy crowd.

Sadly, I am not sure any of the girls even noticed.


The brief interruption over, and it is time for tea. Every girl receives her own pitcher of cream, a tea cup, and saucer. Tiny treats and bite-sized fruit delight even the pickiest of palates.

And one must always remember to raise her pinkie when drinking at a ladies tea.


Tea-time entertainment is provided in story form by the seemingly tireless Oma. Quite fitting, naturally, that all the stories are tea party related.


Once the food and drink have been devoured, it is time for the clean up. Eight little heads bob happily into the kitchen for dish washing. That task is completed, and they return with disposable wipes for the tables.

Cleaning has never seemed so fun.


The grand finale is a game of artistic freeze dance, after which everyone is declared a winner and receives a bracelet and some lipstick.


Is it wrong that we're considering moving here, JUST for the tea parties?

These are the memories that generations are made of.

Bless you, Oma.