Sunday, May 28, 2017

Back to Life....Back to Reality....

I'm going to be honest.  Getting back into life post-wedding was not the easiest.  But this face helped a lot. :-)  End of summer shenanigans...

1. Bike ride around the monuments at sunset. Hence, the helmet.  But that World War II Memorial is pretty impressive, I have to say.


2. Philadelphia, PA temple open house, where we met up with my dear friend Kristi Barney Christensen.  The temple was stunning, and it was so fun to see her!  

Oddly, my sunglasses look good on him.




3. I ate my first Philly cheese steak.  It was huge. Philadelphia success. 
4. We also went to a fascinating art exhibit in Philadelphia, made entirely of mosaics and various knickknacks.



Photobomb by me.  You're welcome, Kristi.

5. My First Nationals baseball game. Great date night. 

6. Danny and I being really mature at Williams Sonoma.  

That pretty much sums it up, folks.  Really exciting around here as the summer winds down.  But- it's life with my Favorite! 

The Honeymoon happened

We had the best honeymoon- for Part One, we spent a few days on the Oregon Coast, staying in Astoria and visiting Cannon Beach.  It was so lovely and peaceful!  





Our hotel was right on the Columbia River, but far enough inland that it wasn't too cold, and we could just look out and see large ships anchored in the river at any given time.  The town of Astoria was charming, and we discovered an old, historic cannery on the docks where we had the best mint brownies EVER at the coffee shop there.  

Danny adding a tribute to the wildlife of Oregon.


Cannon Beach was cloudy, of course, being on the coast, but we had a great time renting bikes and hiking.  It was a glorious few days of coming down from the wedding.  We slept A LOT. 


This awesome woman brought me great joy...




Part Two was in Danny's hometown of Basin City, Washington, as we were having a reception there as well.   We stopped at Multnomah Falls  on the way, and took a gorgeous hike up to the top. 



Ooh, I like him.


When we got to Tri-Cities, we checked into our hotel and found a strange/awesome welcome in the form of towels shaped into kissing swans.  


You know, that's cool. The reception in Basin City, about 45 minutes outside Tri-Cities, was delightful.  It was so fun to meet Danny's community of people who have known him his whole life.  I was regaled with claims of, "How did you tame him!" And, "Our condolences!" Ha!  I got to say Danny tamed himself long before we met, so I couldn't take any credit, but it made me laugh. Throughout the evening, it was very clear that Danny has been well-loved.



I was so grateful to my new MIL, Ann, who arranged the whole reception, and the help of other family and long-time friends of the Stokers.  I think it meant a lot to Danny to celebrate there, and it meant a lot to me to be in his world. 


And huge bonus- my old friend/roommate Erin Sacks (Martin) came!  She lives close by with her family, and we had not seen each other in years.  I was so happy she came, partly to have one familiar face!  It was a wonderful night. 

We came home to a new apartment that Danny did a great job of getting us moved into, not ready to be back in reality, but ready to be together forever.  Married life begins!

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Wedding, Wedding, WEDDING!!!

Well, folks.  It was a good run, 2010- 2016 of my life, being single.  I learned so much about myself, my relationship with God, life and other people. I took my life back after my divorce, and that is something to be really proud of, always.  I have been genuinely happy.  But I always knew I wanted to get married again, and I knew I would. Not for a second did I want to get married to be completed, or to be whole.  I know my worth does not come from having a husband.  I am enough, just me.  But I wanted to get married- I wanted a partner again, a best friend.  Someone who has my back, always, who supports me, and whom I can support and take care of in return. I want to be a mother more than anything.  And I am very ready for this next chapter to start.   I am not "starting my life."  My life has been going for 38 years, and it is awesome.  But I am turning a page, starting a new chapter, and with someone that I find to be amazing. I never dreamed someone could love me so well.  Super cheesy, I know.  And I know that life isn't perfect- he isn't, I'm not, and we both will make mistakes.  We have already made many, 8 months in.  But we love and love again.  And July 23, 2016 was the official beginning of that.  And I'm so grateful.  I thank God for Danny every day.

Here's a few pictures.  Not all of them; I will create a separate book for that.  But here's a few that I love, mostly credited to Becca and my amazing friend Katie Hill, my girl.

My dear friend Courtney Little did my hair, and I loved it.  She's been a friend for a long time, and I'm so grateful!

Payson Temple.  It was perfect.

We were so excited!


All these kids.... love them.

Oh, my girls.  Beth, Katie and Nellie all made huge efforts to be there.  Katie was my photographer, and was amazing, and local.  But Beth and Nellie were both drive-bys, on family trips already, and came for the sealing.  I was so happy they could be there.  Childhood/high school friends are some of the most enduring friendships I can imagine.

These crazies are some of my dearest friends, the ones I reach out to every time I come home to Utah.  They are the best.  Chad, and Courtney Little, Courtney and Rob Moffat, Shaun Little, Deb and Brendan Hahn, Amanda Crabb, Carolyn Hartvigsen, and LaRene Tinney (just missing Dave).  I have laughed so hard with every single one of these lovely people.  And eaten so much great food, and had so many amazing chats and experiences.  Ah, friends.

So, so happy that Danny's best friend from childhood, Caleb Haws could make the trip from Texas.  Relationships are so important to Danny; that's one of the reasons I fell in love with him.  His friendship with Caleb is, to this day, one of his most important, I would say.  So I was very happy to meet him at last.


Kelly and Emily, two of my favorites, who also happen to be my cousins. 

Becca made my bouquet.  And I LOVED it.

Lover-boy James, already breaking in Uncle Danny.

The whole gang.  And what a gorgeous day!

My new family, the Stokers!

When my first marriage ended, I believe that angels were with me as I left our apartment for the last time, because I walked out with a strength I knew I didn't have.  I have decided those angels were my grandparents, or family members who were watching out for me.  As Becca created my bouquet, she also added two tiny pictures of my grandmothers, Lucille Meservy Milner and Kathleen Riding (for whom I am named).  This was to help me remember my angels were with me on my new wedding day as well.  I wept.

The Riding clan.  Danny has no idea what he's getting into, that lucky boy. :-)

Pensive.  So pensive and thoughtful. Very serious.

So, SO handsome.  I'm a lucky girl!

We are both pretty much winning at life in this picture.

Annddd evidence of my dumb sunburn from the lake.

Danny and I sure did get our good looks from these handsome folks!

I can't say enough about my parents.  I just can't.  I love them with all my heart.

3 of the 4 girls I regularly did girls night with in NYC, and they all came!  I was so happy!  Deb, Carolyn and Abby, one of my most favorite roommates ever.  I was so sad I couldn't spend more time talking to them.  Just missing Mel.

These are my Las Vegas ladies, who came all the way for my big day.  Kim Meeks, (a friend that I didn't know, but was welcome!), Tate Hulet, Shalisse Jenkins, and Rochelle Hendricks.  That meant a lot to me to have them there. Just missing Erin Dudley and Kata Dean!

Mom has had a rough year, and her health continues to be a huge challenge.  I was so grateful to have her help, despite everything going on with her.  A beautiful, unselfish, amazing woman.  If

I'm half the woman/mother/wife she is, I will die happy.

Don't worry that my family did a surprise flash mob.  And this is me figuring it out.  One of my favorite moments of the day.  Oh man, it was awesome.  They even got Danny's family in on it too.  It was so fun to watch them all! I was dying of joy the whole time.

Even Danny went completely and totally out of his comfort zone to dance as well.  That's love!

Jim, Danny's dad, always has the biggest smile.  So happy to have a father-in-law like him.

I love these pictures so much because Mom is absolutely swaggering!  Just reveling in the attention and end of the night.  It makes me laugh so hard.  See where I get it??

I think Danny and I had a pretty good swagger too.  The day turned out perfectly, and we were so happy.  Also happy to be done and on our way!

The final goodbyes, and driving off amidst fireworks that the teenage boys were gleefully setting off.  A perfect button to a perfect day.  The one sadness we had was that we didn't get to spend quality time with anyone, and just sit and talk to people we loved and were so happy to have at our reception.  But I guess that's the way it goes, and I'm hopeful Danny and I will have more chances to get to know the people we individually hold dear in each other's worlds.  We are so grateful for the love we felt and all the people who came to be with us on such an amazing day.  We hope we can repay the kindness.