Thursday, May 29, 2014

In Search of the Perfect Invitation Photo

8 Mar 2014: Danielle and Jacob at Woodland Park

Now that the wedding invitations have been sent out, I can share these pictures I took of Jacob and Danielle at Woodland Park one day, hoping that a few would come out well enough to be used on their wedding invitation. In the end, they selected three of them (they're the three in the bottom right corner of the invitation).
The rest of the photos on the invitation were taken by Danielle's father a week or two later. He did a nice job. I especially like the one where he captured Jacob with a big grin. My handsome son rarely shows his teeth in pictures, so I particularly love that shot!

And so, here are a dozen more pictures of the cute couple in the creative poses we dreamed up along the way. Enjoy!

Jacob's silly kissy-face makes Danielle crack up!

I said, "Jacob, kiss the tip of her nose."
Jacob said, "Her nose? Ewwww!"

They are just so dang adorable together!

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Dylan's Final Concerts

May 13, 2014: Dylan and his bass were center stage this time.

Last night we attended Dylan's final performance with the Blue Ridge High School Orchestra. Today his counselor and I completed his 2014-15 schedule for his junior year, and orchestra simply won't fit. Besides that, Dylan has been telling me for months that he's ready to try something new. So he signed up for Band, which Ms. D will be teaching 7th period, after the regular 6-period school day.
He hasn't decided which instrument to tackle yet. So far he's been able to pick up any instrument with ease, including violin, viola, cello, bass, flute, and drums. He'd go far if he had the self-discipline needed to put in the practice time required for greatness. He's quite talented but restless musically. For a time he even thought about being a music teacher. Now it's video game designer.
It was a wonderful concert. Kudos to all the performers!
March 11, 2014: Dylan tries out his sister's blingy flip-flops
before his spring concert begins.

Which reminds me that I never posted the pictures from his spring concert, so here they are. The spring concert was formal, whereas last night's was informal: jeans and tennis shoes.

Dylan on bass (at right) during the spring concert performance.

March 11, 2014: Mary, Dylan, Sarah, and Chris
In a rare, favorable alignment of the stars and planets, our schedules actually allowed our whole family to attend the March concert. Afterward, we decided to take advantage of this family time and go out to dinner at the newly reopened Chuckwagon restaurant. It was delicious, and we had a great time together.

Jacob, Mary, Dylan, and Sarah

We love these opportunities to celebrate together with family, food, and music!

A beautiful spring sky on an evening in the White Mountains.
March 10, 2014

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Danielle's Bridal Shower

10 May 2014: Danielle opens Sarah's gift of pink bathroom accessories.

On Saturday afternoon, Sarah and I drove to Snowflake to be a part of Danielle's bridal shower, hosted by a friend from their ward at church, Wanda. It was all done up in Danielle and Jacob's favorite colors of pink and blue, with delicious refreshments also in that color scheme. We met a lot of nice ladies from Danielle's ward and had a wonderful time visiting.

We began, of course, with the opening of gifts. 

Danielle reacts to my gift of lingerie.

The ladies of my family know it's my tradition to give sexy lingerie as a bridal shower gift. I'd warned Danielle a couple of weeks ago, so it was with great trepidation that she opened my gift bag. When she pulled out the soft pink nightie top and shorty sleep shorts (on the arm of the chair in the picture above), she was relieved and said, "That's not so bad."
Then I told her, "You haven't seen the part Jacob picked out yet." Uh-oh. She dug into the bottom of the bag and pulled out the hot pink-and-black lace push-up bra and panties that had caught Jacob's eye as we walked through the store. "Mom, get her this!" he exclaimed. So I did.
"I'm gonna kick Jake's butt!" Danielle vowed, laughing.

Here are a bunch of shots of Danielle opening her gifts. I'm including them all because my future daughter-in-law is just so darn adorable!

Our hostess, Wanda, made this gorgeous necklace with her own hands!

This is a collection of recipes from the sisters in their ward.
And behind Danielle is our hostess, Wanda,
busily jotting down a list of the gifts and the givers.

Guests at the shower. Doesn't Sarah (far left) look great?
She's lost over 22 lbs and it shows! I'm so proud of my daughter!
She didn't even cheat at the party! (Wish I could say the same...)

More guests at the party. Danielle's mom, Julie, is in yellow at far left.
Danielle's lovely sister Jordan is in the blue shirt.

The refreshments were yummy! I brought some home for Jacob.

Danielle and her brother Sterling in front of their house,
a mere 10 minutes before the bridal shower.

Today was extra-special for Danielle for another reason, as well. Her older brother Sterling returned from his 2-year, full-time mission in Indiana this week, flying back to Utah on Tuesday. On this afternoon, Danielle was finally reunited with her big brother.

Danielle's parents and her siblings, Nathan and Jordan, drove to Salt Lake City to pick up Sterling and drive him home after spending a few days visiting relatives in Utah, where Danielle's family is originally from. However, poor Danielle was stuck here, having to work--especially since she'll be taking a week off to get married and go on a honeymoon soon. Jacob says his heart broke when he saw tears rolling down his fiance's face at work on the day her family was meeting Sterling's plane.

When Sarah and I arrived at Danielle's house so we could follow her to the location of the shower, her family had just arrived home from Utah. They hadn't even gotten out of the car yet. Talk about timing! So we were there to see Danielle come flying out of the house and leap into Sterling's arms. It was so sweet. Now he's home in time for both of his sisters' big events: Jordan's high school graduation and Danielle's wedding.

Welcome home, Sterling!

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Home Hunters

Jacob and Danielle in the kitchen of their prospective first home.
10 May 2014

This morning I got to join in the fun of checking out a small, older-model mobile home with Jacob and Danielle. Despite its cozy size and age, they really liked it for a starter home. It is well maintained, has tons of storage space, and is located on its own fenced property here in town, so they'll be close to work. And the price is right for a couple just starting out.

This big sun room runs the entire length of the house.

If they can raise the necessary funds over the next 6 months, Jacob and Danielle may be moving to Idaho in December for Danielle to finish college, so they may not live here for more than 6 months anyway.

It's a cute little place, with a Christmas tree in the front yard!
Gotta love the barbed wire on top of the fence.
We really do live in a safe little rural town, I promise!
So they filled out the application and turned it in already. We'll know within a week if they were approved (no reason they wouldn't be since Jacob has built up some good credit), and then they can start moving in around June 1st. The wedding is on June 7th, exactly 4 weeks from today! The reality is truly beginning to set in!

The next big item on today's agenda is Danielle's bridal shower in Snowflake this afternoon. Looking forward to it!

I went shopping for her gift last night and met up with Jacob, who had definite input into my selection. I won't divulge what the gift is, except to say it involves the color pink. As you can see, the card and packaging are pink. Or am I referring to the gift itself? Or will it be the color Danielle turns when she opens the gift? Or will it be all three? Stay tuned to find out!

Monday, May 5, 2014

Moving Day

3 May 2014: Ryan stresses a little when the mattress won't fit in the van!

After 5 months as guests (as family, actually) in my home, Ryan and Shera were finally able to move into their own place on Saturday. It was a very exciting, but busy, day!

This didn't work either, so a friend from Ryan's work came over
with his truck to move the mattresses.

Since Ryan and Shera came here last August from Missouri with little more than a broken-down van and some clothes in bags, they didn't have much in worldly goods to move. Two trips in the van covered it. But I hope they left here with a million wonderful memories and the assurance that they are forever in our hearts and an important part of our family.

Shera bags some of their stuff in the game room that became their temporary bedroom.
Can you tell she's thrilled to be moving into her own house?

During the time they've been with us, they got married; they got their van up and running; they found good jobs with great futures; and now they are in their own home! The future is bright!

One thing they have plenty of is clothing! I spent 2 days
washing all their clothes and bedding and getting it prepared
to be moved to their new place.
I admit, the house feels a little empty since they've gone. They're only 3 miles away, for goodness sake, a 5-minute drive, but I miss them already. Still, I'm so pleased that they've worked so hard and grown so much over the past 9 months. Now they have the means to follow their dreams and build their own life together.

So sorry for the bad photo of their new home. I'll get another one next time I'm at their house, when the sun isn't RIGHT THERE. I couldn't even tell if I got the house in the picture until after I got out of the sun! Hopefully it will at least give you an idea of how the house looks. It's really adorable, with a big, fenced backyard and forested land behind.

Shera and Ryan in the living room. No furniture yet, but the shelf is cute.
Shera loves owls. Ryan and I thought these owls were kind of creepy,
but he got them for her anyway. And they look good on the shelf!

The owners of the house left this table and 5 chairs for them.
They say we're coming to their house next weekend for Sunday dinner!
The rug was a gift to them from Steve and Barbara Badger.

I love the little arrangement Shera put on the table.
Ryan identifies with the small painting. He says the young man looks like him.
The big jar is filled with Shera's small, colorful socks. Think she has enough?
Oh, the socks aren't part of the table decor. The jar went on the dresser in their bedroom.

Dylan enjoyed exploring their house.
He even picked out his bedroom for when he stays over!
In the background, you can see their kitchen.

Ryan and Shera in the master bedroom. Shera loves the green walls.
Ryan plans to decorate it in camouflage. Shera says okay,
but she gets to decorate the bathroom!
The "Love is spoken here" decal was a gift from Kim and Jona Webb.

No bed frame yet, but it's home.

After Sarah, Dylan, and I visited their house on Sunday evening (Jacob and Chris had to work), Ryan and Shera came over for our traditional, weekly Sunday dinner: Chicken Parmesan and salad this time. We had a lovely time together, but at the end they drove back to their very own home. And that's as it should be.