Saturday, January 28, 2017

A Birthday

I've heard other women say that their thirties were a really good decade of finally feeling comfortable in their own skin, knowing who they were and what they liked and feeling confident in those things.  I can relate to that, though for me, moving to another country and adapting to a new culture in my early thirties has shaped me in a lot of new ways.  Most of all, I CAN'T BELIEVE I'M IN MY MID-THIRTIES NOW.  

But here I am, and I thought 35 should be something I celebrated instead of dreaded.  The cultural stereotype of women stopping the age count at 29 seems really silly when hopefully, Lord willing, I have 50+ good years left to enjoy.  So here I am 35, and here are some of the things I know I love and got to fill my birthday weekend with.

The Yorkshire Dales

If you could mail-order a perfect winter's day for a birthday outing, you would have been given this one.  

Cross-Cultural Experiences

Of course there are times I miss being where everything feels "normal," (thus my choice of restaurants for my birthday weekend) but without living here, how could I know how weird the English find the American habit of eating sweet and savory things together?  Bacon dipped in maple syrup, sweet potato casserole as a side, congealed salad eaten with a main dish:  These things blow their minds every time.  As an aside, I don't know if I've ever even heard an American use the word savory.

The Comfort of Familiarity

My first year away from home at college, the simple act of putting an Andy Griffith tape into the VCR was like a security blanket in a new world.  A 1950's-style American diner in the middle of the Yorkshire Dales has a similar effect now, as well as the best hamburgers in the world, crushed ice, and free refills at Five Guys.

Sun Flare

I can't stop loving it.

Bookstores, Old and New

Buying Second-Hand Books

It started early buying old copies of Nancy Drew mysteries for 50 cents.

Being with these Three


I especially appreciate quick-thinking friends who strip your child's wet clothes off and give her their extra sweater before my brain has time to even process that my 10-year-old just fell in the river fully-clothed in January.

I took a screenshot of this picture shared by Sally Lloyd Jones on my birthday.  It felt like a good thought at the beginning of a new year of life.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Rehearsal for the Big Day

I'm sure the bride is eager for pictures of the big day, but I did go through pictures of the rehearsal first because sometimes my mind is orderly like that.  Since the rest of my family were part of the wedding party I had a chance to figure out where I needed to be during the ceremony, which was so helpful!  I love my little wedding-party family.  They humored me by letting me break-in my rental lens on them.

Ella has been fulfilling flower girl duties since she was 2 3/4 and is a complete pro.  This was James's first foray into the world of the wedding ceremony.  It's a good thing he really loves the bride.  Reminding him of how much he loved Katie and that we were doing this for her got him over the hurdle of wearing a tie to the rehearsal.

James's love for Katie goes so far it made him very eager to do everything exactly right.  When told he should sit down during a prayer he asked, "How many seconds into the prayer do I sit down?  Ten?"  I think K.J. told him that sure, ten seconds would be just fine.  

My kids are moving blurs, but I loved this shot of them after the first practice run.  There was so much joyous anticipation in the air.

Alyssa was a great stand-in for Lucas.

The rehearsal always makes me think we should just go ahead and do this, except for the part where everyone can't stop laughing at Zach Pratt's spontaneous dance moves.

Having extended family together is such a wonderful part of weddings.

There was a surprise birthday cake for the mother-of-the-bride, in which the groom explained that he was told to buy candles based on the age his new mother-in-law looked.  Well done, groom.