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John & Lynn

IMG_1898 I am so lucky to have these two in my life.  We call them Speed Racer's adopted Grandparents.  They're not Grandparents by blood but they have been an integral part of his life since he was born.  I have loved getting to know these two and being accepted as one of the family.


John and Lynn are proof that if you work at a marriage, love can last a life time.  They clearly still adore each other and had so much fun having their pictures taken.


They have traveled all over together, raised three beautiful women, and a complete gaggle of grandkids.  They cherish family as much as they cherish each other.





Thank you John and Lynn for not only making me part of your family but for showing me that youth is a mindset, not an age, and that love is eternal.  Your love is inspiring.



Jaime and Brock's Wedding

blog08 I don't know about you but I LOVE surprises!  Seriously, I think they are the best.  Well, as long as they are good surprises.  The trick about surprises (especially when there are multiple surprises) is pulling them all off without letting the cat out of the bag as they say.  Jaime and Brock's wedding was absolutely full of wonderful surprises.  And I must say, they pulled it off like pros.


Jaime and Brock got married on January 18th at Little River Heartland Wedding Chapel in Townsend, TN.   The couple had originally decided to just get married in the court house.  They just wanted something quiet and small.  However, then Jaime found out that her Dad, Mike, was thinking about renewing his vows with her Mom, Joanna, as a gift for their 46th wedding anniversary.  Enter surprise numero uno.


So they all decided to make the vow renewal a surprise for Joanna.  They would go to the chapel for Jaime and Brock's wedding and then Mike would step up to renew their vows.  How cool is that?


However as I said before, there is a second surprise!  Everyone thought that Jaime was wearing a small cocktail dress when she had in fact picked out a wedding dress the day before.  Exactly in her size!  The only people who knew were Mike and her Best friend.  Now, I'd like to point out that together, Jaime and Brock have five children, so hiding a dress from that many interested parties is no easy feat.  But she pulled it off beautifully and everyone, I think especially Brock, were very surprised.







Congratulations Brock and Jaime!  You had a lovely wedding day and you have an absolutely beautiful family.  It was a pleasure to be a part of all of the surprises and fun!  Also, congratulations to Mike and Joanna for 46 years!  I'm sure it has been a ride and I loved watching you renew your vows.  It was truly beautiful.


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Anniversary Party

Last Tuesday before I got the Plague, I was invited to take pictures of my Aunt and Uncle's Anniversary Party.  It was a great time and we had several opportunities to take some much needed family pictures. 

It was one of those classic summer parties, there was seafood, laughter, kids, kisses, hugs, big kids eating baby food (do not try that at home), lightening bugs, prayers, Eskimo kisses, and lots of Red Light Green Light.  But most importantly we were able to celebrate what a wonderful couple my Aunt and Uncle are, and the great example they have set for all of us.

Thank you both for letting me take photos of you (thanks to your sneaky daughter) and more importantly thank you for being a wonderful Aunt and Uncle to me.  Aunt Carol thank you for encouraging my love of art and photography, for being willing to make mud pies with me at the cabin, for nursing me when I inevitably would fall down your basement stairs, and for being my name's sake.  Uncle Walt, thank you for teaching me how to fish and your patience when I caught fish and you didn't, thank you for teaching me your love of nature and letting me quietly enjoy it with you, and thank you for always sharing your stories with me and being willing to listen to mine in return.  I love you both and I hope you enjoy the photos!

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32 going on Forever

(Photo by Barbara Heckman) Today is my parents 32nd Wedding Anniversary!  After just celebrating my 1st anniversary, I find it hard to imagine celebrating 32 but I also now understand how quickly it can fly by.

When I was little, I was very sensitive to people fighting in our house (overly sensitive).  Any time someone was having an argument, even if it wasn't that heated, I would go to my room and hide in the closet and cry. Even if it didn't involve me.  I still hate to argue at all.  I remember one evening my parents had an argument, and I proceeded to my closet in the usual fashion.  I have no idea what it was about.  But as I sat there crying, the door to my closet creeped open and both my parents faces were silhouetted by the light from my room.  They both pulled me out into their arms and comforted me.  "What's wrong sweetie?" My Mother asked.  I swallowed down the hot tears as I got the courage to ask a question I was deeply afraid of.  "Are you going to get a divorce?"  Both their faces were shocked.  I had obviously learned that word at school because it was never said in our house.  I explained that I had heard at school that other kid's parents had fought and then they had gotten a divorce.  They both held me tighter.  My Dad said, "No sweetie, your Mother and I love each other very much.  Even when we fight.  We're going to be together for a very very long time."  The seriousness and meaning behind that statement reassured me, and I have never forgotten it.

I'm not going to get into whether divorce is wrong or right.  I think at times divorce can be a necessary procedure, and can end up being the best things for families.  But divorce was never an option for my parents from the start.  Their marriage I'm sure has not always been easy, they have had wonderful days and very hard days, but they put their hearts and their hard work into their marriage, every day.  My Father was the minister at Speed Racer and I's wedding, and I remember him saying,"Some people say that once you get married the work is done, but that's not so.  It's like saying you're done building once you've gotten a building permit.  Building a marriage is only as good as what you put into it...when you have bad days, remember this day, and the love you share at this moment."

My Grandmother also used to say, "Never get so busy making a living that you forget to make a life."

It seems that my parents treated each day as their wedding day and honeymoon, each day was special.  And they have never forgotten to make a life together.  Their 32 years together is a testament to their devotion, and something we can all strive for.

Happy Anniversary Mom and Dad, thank you for setting such a great example of marriage these past 32 years, I hope you have many more happy years together.




"I hear that style is all the rage in Greece right now," Speed Racer said with a smile twitching across his lips.  I let out a wail of exasperation and the smile on his lips ripped open into a huge laugh.  I turned back to my reflection in the mirror.  I looked like a mummy.  I had gauze wrapped around various parts of my body, with tiny pieces of tape trying to keep them together.  I frowned, and that just sent Speed Racer over the edge. Pretty soon he was going to be on his hands and knees laughing too hard to breathe.  "It's not funny," I said, trying to keep a genuine pout on my face, but I couldn't help but laugh too.  I was covered, head to toe, in poison oak...on our anniversary. On Friday when I was thinking about this post, I thought I would make it another of our "How Did I get Here" series, and it would be a romantic post about Speed Racer and I's anniversary and undying love for each other.  And while that post still may appear later in the week...right now I am itching so bad and laughing that I just can't bring myself to do it.

The problem started last Saturday when I decided that our front flower beds needed to be cleaned out.  Speed Racer was out claiming car parts, and I thought what a great wifey it would make me look like if I tackled it and got it done by the time he got back.  It went just fine until I got to our maple tree.

I hit that thing like a hurricane from hell...pulling weeds this way and that...until I realized what I held was poison oak.  I had gloves on, thank God, but it was too late the damage was done.  At that moment I had a choice, and I'm going to admit folks, I chose wrong.  I got this trait from my Mom that once I start working on a project, I have to finish it, even if I should stop.  So instead of stopping and cleaning up, I tried to just power through until I had it done and could then go clean up.

Once I had finished I rushed into our downstairs laundry room and tore off my clothes, dumping them in the washing machine with some very hot water.  I raced up stairs to the bathroom and doused myself in rubbing alcohol.  I took a hot shower scrubbing every part of me with soap several times.  By the end of the day, I had no bumps...I had come in victorious, or so I thought until Friday.

Friday rolled around and little bumps started to pop up on my skin.  At first I thought I had just gotten some bug bites while I was outside the night before.  Then those bumps, turned into blisters, weeping, burning, itching, wish you could cut off that appendage blisters.  I tried to play it cool, it was just one spot after all, right? Right?  Wrong.  Pretty soon I had clusters of these on my legs, then on my abdomen, then on my side,  then on my chest, then on my elbow spreading up to my wrist.  It would be ok, I told myself.  It would go away soon, I covered it up with band aids.  But that just made it worse.  The adhesive on the band aids just angered the sensitive skin in the area, so now I had blisters and raw angry skin.

I finally gave in and showed Speed Racer.  He looked at me like I had the plague, like I was an infected Zombie.  He began to avoid all physical contact for fear of becoming infected.  Perfect, just what I wanted on our anniversary.

Saturday, I woke up mummified, but feeling ok.  Speed Racer was not in the bed next to me, and as I started to get up the door opened and he came in with a breakfast tray.  French toast, cherries, strawberries, syrup, and home-made whip cream...the man knows how to do breakfast right.  We decided we hit the road and try to find something fun and relaxing to do.  I could go into this part of our anniversary but really it involves several main aspects for you to get the gist of the afternoon: it was hot, there were lots of people, a semi purposefully tried to hit us, wherever we went we were in traffic for hours.  We tried to make it fun, but no matter where we went, we were fun blocked.  It wasn't our fault.  The best part of the day was the breakfast in bed, and then a cute little lunch place we found that had a screened in porch overlooking the smokies.  So we decided we needed a do over...Sunday would be our do over.

Sunday turned out great, Speed Racer got a few things done around the house.  We went down to the Crown and Goose, our favorite brunch spot.  Came back, took a fun ride in the Triumph Spitfire and got a slushy.  Then had some friends over for grilling out.  It was a pretty perfect day.  As the night was winding down, Speed Racer surprised me by sneaking out to get one of my favorite deserts, fantastic Carrot Cake, from a local restaurant.  We did the dishes while we listened to the playlist from our wedding, dancing and singing along the whole time.

The night ended perfectly as we lay in bed, and Speed Racer leaned over, trying not to touch my poison oak infested body, and kissed me gently, telling me how much he loved me, even if I looked horribly grotesque with blisters all over my body.  Ah, Amore.  It really can't get any better than that.


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Marriage, that dream within a dream.

This weekend is our anniversary weekend!  It has officially been a year since Speed Racer and I tied the knot.  I was feeling particularly excited about it yesterday.  I was working on our wedding album, we were listening to our wedding mix, and then Speed Racer (to show how much he loved me and how excited he was for our anniversary) sent me this photo: (Photo by C.P.Storm and can be found on flickr HERE)

Isn't he sweet?  In all seriousness though, it's pictures like these that make me love him more and more because laughter is such a huge part of our marriage.  We've got big plans to kick back and relax, so stay tuned for more anniversary updates on Monday.  Have a fabulous weekend.

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