Monday, July 7, 2014

The Weekend of Independence

....because I can't remember when I've had so much kid-free time. :)

What a great weekend! We were able to enjoy a mini-vacation of sorts over the Fourth of July as Eric had three straight days of no working whatsoever - not even at the radio station on Saturday. For most people that's called a "long weekend," but for us that's a very rare and real treat.

Our Fourth of July was very relaxed and fun. We decided to start a new little tradition by going out for breakfast as a family. I'm not gonna lie...I was pulled in the by the commercials and the allure of something my tastebuds said that I had to have. Fourth of July pancakes. Blueberry pancakes topped with strawberries and whipped cream and a cream cheese drizzle. Every time I saw those delicious pancakes pop up on my computer in an advertisement I just about lost my cool. So we took ourselves to Denny's and stuffed ourselves real good with some patriotic flapjacks. :)

Also lots of orange juice. 

We literally had to drag ourselves out of there, and we couldn't even think about food for the rest of the day. That is of course until that afternoon when we went to my parent's house for a delicious bbq. My mom put out the usual scrumptious spread! It was a Fourth feast fit for a king!

Now I want a hamburger....

Honestly, neither Eric nor I had the energy to try to go anywhere for fireworks that evening. No one was that torn up about it - we're definitely not pyromaniacs here (or so I thought), and we can enjoy them on TV just as well. But none of that mattered anyway, because of course we had neighbors all around putting on quite the show. We were able to see some awesome displays right from our own back patio. Gracie just about LOST HER MIND over the fireworks. She loved them. Loved. Them. "I love fireworks! Dis is my favorite holiday!"

Reagan had an equally passionate response in the opposite direction. He high-tailed it in the house when they went off faster than a speeding bullet! Haha. Evelyn thought they were neat, and Eric was just glad he didn't have to pay for any of it. :)

We intentionally took it easy on this day, because we knew the next would be long and busy. Eric was the best man in his friend AJ's wedding on Saturday. My mom took the kids, and Eric and I set off for a day full of wedding fun.

Our first mission as best man and best man's wife was to track down a videotape for the video camera, which sent us on a mad-dash around the St. Louis area. We finally found the very last tape in what was probably within a thousand mile radius on a lonely shelf at Radio Shack. Haha. Hallelujah - thank you, Radio Shack. Now AJ and Rachel will forever have their memories to cherish. :)

But soon we were at Larimore Plantation.

You guys. This was a beautiful, fairytale, will-probably-never-happen-again,  dream of a wedding. Rachel and AJ were so BLESSED with the most perfect weather for an outdoor event. It was the 5th of July, and it felt like we were in an air-conditioned church or something. It was bizarre, but awesome. There are a lot of things you can plan for a wedding, but there are always a few variables that you just don't have any control over. We expected to be melting during the ceremony, but it was absolutely dreamy. I know I'm gushing, but I just...I can't...I can't even believe how wonderfully it turned out. :)

Much of the day had been cool and overcast, but literally just before the ceremony the clouds parted and the entire property was cast in the most beautiful golden light. It was picture perfect.

Soon Rachel began her walk down the aisle. :)

Which started the beginning of the most meaningful, AMAZING, (I can't think of a good enough adjective to use here) ceremony that I have ever heard.

Another of Eric's jobs as best man was to secure an officiant for the wedding, and he painstakingly poured over this particular job. AJ is a very unique fellow. :) And Eric knew it would take a very special pastor to match wits and be a good fit for this couple. Since AJ and Rachel don't actually live in the St. Louis area anymore, it would be hard for them to really take the time to do this job. Eric was glad to do it. 

Seems like he hit it right on the head! After several months of pre-marriage counseling via Skype, I'm told that Rachel and AJ loved the pastor. And the message he spoke almost had me weeping like a little baby. GoodNESS, it was SO GOOD.

Eric was also asked to choose and read a passage of scripture in the ceremony....

...which coincidently tied in perfectly with the rest of the service. :)

Then they sealed their vows with the cutest kiss I ever did see.

You would think this was my own wedding the way I talk about it. 

After some refreshments on the patio it was time to party it up at the reception. I didn't take a ton of pictures here, but the food was awesome, the speeches were phenomenal, the music was great (good job on the music selection, guys, haha.) AJ, if you are reading this, I sincerely hope you know what a great wedding you had. Ha!

After Eric gave his best man speech, we were free to relax and enjoy the rest of the evening!

The one and only (bad) picture we took together at the reception. :)

We had such a good time, but eventually the clock struck midnight (or maybe it was like 9:30) and we had to get home to our babies. :) I'm honestly not sure that I've spent that many consecutive hours away from all of my kids since Reagan has been born. It was a lovely day!

I guess we partied a little too hard the night before, because we totally slept in on Sunday and missed Sunday School. We did manage to make it to church though, and after a lunch with Eric's parents (who just returned home from vacation) Eric and I had another totally kid-free afternoon to run errands. What is this world I was living in??

We wrapped up the weekend by celebrating my brother Justin's 17th birthday with a pizza party!

And since I don't believe I cooked a single meal the entire weekend, I would say that this was one successful Fourth of July holiday for yours truly! I am sad to see it end. Now it's back to Monday. Eric is back to work. And I am wiped out.

Here's another "Happy Birthday!" to my friends Heather and Helen and all of the others that celebrated this weekend. What a fun time of the year to be born! 

As always, we are so thankful and proud to be Americans and live in a country where we are free to be, free to worship, free to work, free to run our households...just free. And if anyone ever needs a reminder of how special that really is, I invite you to watch "Revolution" on Netflix. Haha. Aside from making you really paranoid about the power going out, it definitely makes you understand the importance of democracy...and the NRA. ;)

Alright, that's all the time we've got for today. Peace out!


Heather said...

Thanks :)

Saw you and your family walking in to Wal-Mart this weekend as I was driving past the door. You all looked so cute and festive. Love those babies!

Adrien said...

You must have caught us after we went out to breakfast! :) Can't escape Waterloo without a trip to Wal-Mart, haha.


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