Monday, June 30, 2014

Pictures by the Professionals

Newlyweds Danielle and Jacob
7 June 2014

One fun surprise on Jacob's birthday 4 days ago was receiving a nice big album filled with more than 130 wedding pictures by the professional photographers. They did a wonderful job. 

I love how they fit the entire temple into the background.
I could never get that all into my camera's range.

Being the camera-happy blogger that I am, I already had similar shots of most of the photographers' photos, and I don't think they compare too unfavorably with the professionals' work, even with the limitations of my battered, 7-year-old digital camera. So I'm pretty happy with most of mine.

This is one of my favorites. So creative!

However, I missed one big portion of the photo session on the temple grounds. After all the group photos were done, the photographers took the bride and groom around the grounds for pictures of just the two of them, while the rest of us went on to the chapel to set up the luncheon and decorate for the reception. The professionals captured some beautiful moments on film that I want to share here.

The bride and groom's rings nestled in the flowers.

Now my biggest problem is this: which of these shall I have printed as an 8x10 to hang in the hall with the rest of the family pictures? They're all so gorgeous!

So sweet.

Oops! Jacob accidentally smiled!

Love the lavender flowers in the foreground.

Wish I'd thought of this closeup with the hands!

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Jacob Turns Twenty-three

The cute cake Danielle made for her new hubby!

My older son, my second-born, turned 23 on Thursday. How is it that time roars by so fast? It truly doesn't seem like 23 years have passed since he was the little orange baby I placed in the sunshine to cure his jaundice, the sweet infant who loved to be cuddled and kissed by Mommy, the green-eyed toddler who followed his big sister everywhere, the preschooler who wanted to do everything his daddy did.

And now he's an adult, a returned missionary, a newly married man working hard to support a brand-new family, a social butterfly who is deeply interested in other people, a six-foot young man I have to reach up to hug! Where does the time go?
26 June 2010: Jacob on his 19th birthday

This birthday was particularly special for me, because it had been 4 years since the last time I got to be with Jacob on his birthday. When he turned 19 in 2010, we took him out for dinner at El Rancho, where the waiters plopped a sombrero on his head and sang "Happy Birthday" to him while he ate a free bowl of deep-fried ice cream. The next morning my new husband Ed and I caught a flight from Phoenix to Seattle for our Alaskan honeymoon cruise. My, how times have changed.

For his birthdays in 2011 and 2012, he was serving as a full-time missionary in northern California. For his birthday last year, he had moved back to California, where he lived and worked for about 4 months. Thank goodness he moved back home when he did, or he would never have met Danielle!

Still newlyweds: Jacob and Danielle.

Jacob and Danielle had their first party in their new home on Jacob's birthday. Danielle sent her husband away for a couple of hours while she baked a red velvet cake and decorated the house and blew up dozens of balloons (which Jacob enjoyed stepping on and popping during the party, causing the rest of us to beg him to "Please stop!").

Dylan was there, too.

Unfortunately, Sarah and Chris weren't able to attend due to work schedules. I can't say I'm too impressed with Walmart's scheduling practices. With three of my kids being Walmart employees--Sarah, Jacob, and Danielle--it's almost impossible to get the entire family together at one event. On this particular day, Jacob's birthday, Sarah worked until 5pm and then Danielle reported to work at 6pm. Jacob was pleased that he was accidentally scheduled off on his birthday, but he and Danielle rarely get the same days off. In fact, they were both scheduled to work on their wedding day despite having requested the time off to get married!
Sarah did come over after work, though, to give Jacob his gift and wish him happy birthday.

Jacob's cake and stack of gifts.

Meanwhile, Danielle's family has pressures of their own. They found out they had to move out of their home right at the time they were welcoming home their missionary son Sterling, celebrating the high school graduation of their daughter Jordan, and preparing for Jacob and Danielle's wedding. They were still in the process of completing their packing and cleaning the carpets when it was time for Jacob's birthday party, but they still put everything on hold to make the 30-minute drive from Snowflake to help him celebrate!

Jacob opens his gift from his brother: Twizzlers and a peanut butter Snickers bar!

Once we were all present (haha, "present," get it?), Jacob elected to begin the party by opening his gifts.

I gave him a set of long barbecue tongs and spatula for his grill.

Danielle gave him the watch he'd been wanting.

"Thanks, babe!"
(Notice both Nathan and Sterling react to the kissing!)

Danielle and Jacob work to light the candles.
Then we all agreed it was time for the cake!

All lit up with exactly 23 candles!

The cake was yummy, and we enjoyed two kinds of ice cream: chocolate chip cookie dough and mint chip. We also had great conversations. It's always fun to get both sides of the family together!

Jacob blows them all out in one big breath!

It was a wonderful party and we were sad when it had to end. However, one especially cool thing about the party was that Danielle's parents had gotten Jacob and Danielle's wedding photos from the photographer and brought them along, so we all got to have a look at them. There are several beautiful ones I'd like to share, so stay tuned for my next post...

Happy birthday, my son!

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Sarah in San Diego

The Pacific Ocean at La Jolla Cove, in the northern part of San Diego.

My daughter and son-in-law, Sarah and Chris, took a much needed vacation this month. They traveled to San Diego, California, and enjoyed a fun and relaxing visit there, June 14-18.

Chris with his sister Sara. Yes, Chris has two Sara/h Kinskys in his life:
his wife Sarah (my daughter) and his sister Sara.
Good thing their names are spelled differently or it'd be even more confusing!

Chris's sister Sara lives in San Diego, where Chris spent his childhood and school years. They made a big family trip of it, traveling along with Chris's parents, Brenda and Fred, and his younger sister Lori with her husband Jeremiah and their two daughters, Morgan and Keri.

"But first, let me take a selfie..."

I love family vacations. I loved traveling with my children, both in the days when their dad, Mark, was with us as well as in the years after I became a single mom. I loved traveling with my second husband, Ed. My best memories of him come from our journeys together. I miss those carefree, fun times. All of them.

Chris with his nieces, Morgan and Keri, at La Jolla Cove.

Although I still get to travel with my children occasionally, I know it won't be long before those times become even more rare, as their families grow and their lives become busier. I'm so pleased for them to have these opportunities to bond through their own family trips, the same way we used to when we were a young family.

Like me, Sarah prefers to be behind the camera rather than in front of it.
But here's proof that she was there, wading in the Pacific Ocean!

On the other hand, it can be hard to let go as your children grow up, to acknowledge that they have moved on to their own lives and family, and they no longer need you to be a central figure in their lives. I've gotten pretty good at stepping back, but when they travel I still beg them to take lots of pictures so I can vicariously enjoy their trips with them!

Sarah with Lori and Morgan, who were trying out some snorkeling.

So here are some of the pictures I got to enjoy from Chris and Sarah's San Diego vacation!

There were a lot of seals at La Jolla Cove!

Sarah says this little guy was a real show-off!

Keri, Morgan, Sara, and Chris at the hotel pool.

After spending the day in the ocean, everyone returned to the hotel in the evening and spent more time in the water! Apparently Morgan and Keri are little fish-girls who were very hard to coax out of the pool at bedtime! (And I'm sure Chris was reluctant to get out, too.)

Morgan and Uncle Chris.

Chris shows off his new swim trunks, after he lost his in the ocean.
Yes, you read that right! He went in with them on, and came out without...

The WorldMark San Diego Resort on the other side of the white fence.

While Sarah and I were talking on the phone one night, while she was sitting by the pool and watching the family play in the water, she mentioned that their hotel was right next-door to a WorldMark resort. She said they could see the sign and the back of the resort from the pool. So of course I made her text me a picture of it!

WorldMark is my vacation club, which I love. It's the means of most of our wonderful family vacations. There are three WorldMark resorts in San Diego, but we've never stayed at any of them. During Christmas break 2003-04, we stayed a bit further north, at WorldMark Oceanside, right on the beach. That made it convenient to spend time at both Disneyland in Anaheim and SeaWorld in San Diego.

They spent one day exploring Old Town San Diego,
where this preserved school house, one of the first in San Diego, was located.
I think that's Chris's mom just to his right, with Lori and Keri in front of her.

Chris, Morgan, and Keri in a covered wagon.

Located adjacent to Old Town is the Mormon Battalion Historic Site, operated by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Sarah tells me it's a great, highly-interactive tour, including talking portraits, a la Harry Potter! Most people don't realize the huge role played by the Mormon Battalion in securing the American Southwest as part of the United States, as well as the settling of San Diego itself.

Panning for Gold at Mormon Battalion Historical Site.

All good things must come to an end, and eventually the Arizona part of the family had to head back home. It always seems to me that, no matter how wonderful a vacation may be, it's always so good to return home in the end. And I'm always so thrilled to have my children safely home again!