Friday, December 23, 2011

A Different Christmas

Two more days until Christmas, peeps. Can you believe it is here already?

To say that this Christmas is going to be different from all the others is a gross understatement. We have added a new family member (what up, Carr?) and my dad is now indefinitely detained. It is amazing how you can write such huge life changes in just one sentence. The profound impact and meanings are not lost, however, no matter what a few simple words are able to express.

I must admit that I struggle with change. Or maybe I should say that I struggle with change that I don't have control over, that comes out of the blue. For instance, when I am ready for a new hair cut, by all means, give me a new hair cut. I have control over that. But heaven help me if I am ever the victim of my hairdresser's bad day and end up looking like Dorothy Hamill. That's the kind of change that smacks you upside the face (literally).

It's the change that you can't control that is often the hardest. For the past 30 years, my Christmases have been pretty much the same: pajamas, presents, brunch, dancing in the kitchen, watching movies, hanging out with family if they are close by, and spending it with my siblings and parents. I love knowing what to expect and knowing my role in all of it (which means I am usually in charge of all baked-goods).

But this year, it can't help but be different. My mom and I will spend Christmas eve and Christmas morning with my dad and 100 other campers who may or may not have family coming to see them. Sam and Noah will be spending time with Noah's mom and family and Claire will be holding down the fort while Carr is on call at the hospital. Such is the life of a Navy chaplain. On the evening of Christmas day, we should all be back together, minus my dad, where we will open presents and eat steak and cheesecake. Not a bad way to end the day. But definitely not the way I would have planned it.

In an effort to replace the moping I have done these past two months, I have been praying that I will see Jesus working, and if I am open and willing, perhaps I can be a part of his work too. My dad told me a few weeks ago, "Sarah, it is not a mistake I am down here in Alamosa. God is using me here." If he can have that attitude, the one who is being locked-up and limited, the one who has been slandered and persecuted, then I for sure should be able to embrace this holy hiccup in our lives and open my eyes to the bigger picture. I pray that I see the bigger picture.

On Monday, I rediscovered Hebrews 13:3:

"Continue to remember those in prison as if you were together with them in prison, and those who are mistreated as if you yourselves were suffering."

Shoot fire, I am pretty sure He was speaking directly to me.

So, instead of pj's and brunch, I am going to put on my big girl pants (I can't say "panties." I hate that word) and fully embrace the strict rules and regulations of Camp Alamosa and love on my dad as much as possible. And I will chat with the men who have now become my friends and hear about all the wonderful cards you have sent them. And I am going to line my pockets with wax paper in hopes that I can get at least a half a pan of fudge through the doors without being detected.

Whatever you are doing this Christmas, whether it is relishing in old traditions or hesitantly embracing new ones, I pray that you see Jesus working too.

Merry Christmas, my friends.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Therapy 101: Chips and Salsa

I don't know what it is, but chips and salsa have the ability to soothe the soul.

They also have the ability to make you extremely thirsty but that is totally besides the point.

They create a warm, inviting atmosphere...

...for humans and non-humans alike.

And they taste exceptionally good.

They provide a sense of normalcy when everything else in your world is not quite normal anymore.

They make grandpas seem like they are not so far away.


And they are the perfect nutritional supplement for stuffed seals made in China.

I bet you didn't know that.

Monday, December 19, 2011

The Sixth Commandment

This past weekend, I spent almost every waking moment and all of my non-waking moments with Noah. There is nothing like a six year old to make you realize that you are not nearly as cool as you think you are. Reality bites the big one, my friends.

My mom, Noah and I took a weekend trip to Alamosa to hang out with my dad. We had a great time (more on that later) and it was nice to not have to make the entire trip in one day. On Sunday morning, as we were getting ready in our motel room, we decided to have an impromptu church service. Noah was jumping back and forth on both beds, having slept gloriously underneath my right hip while six of his most beloved stuffed animals slept under my left hip.

Restful it was not.

Anyway, we decided to start with the Bible verse that was meaning the most to us this week. My mom and I both chose something from Hebrews (thank you, BSF) and then it was Noah's turn.

Me: "Hey Noah, what is your favorite Bible verse this week?" He memorizes a new verse each week at his school.

Noah: While jumping on the bed, "You shall not murder. The sixth commandment."

Good gravy, kid.

Of all the verses in all the Bible, that was the one that popped out.Well, I'm glad that stuck with him. As we all know, the correctional system is not the coolest place to spend your time. I guess I am just glad he didn't say "Jesus wept."

And then he gave a rousing rendition of Joy to the World.

Impromptu church is the best.

He thinks so too.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Top Ten: Favorite Christmas Movies

Christmas is nine days away, people and I have yet to watch a single Christmas movie this year. That is a crying shame, I tell you, A CRYING SHAME. So in honor of this fast-approaching day of celebration, I have listed my favorite Christmas movies in no particular order:

10. White Christmas. Oh, there are so many things to love about this movie. The dancing, Bing's voice, the General, Danny Kaye, the costumes and again, the dancing. I could watch this all-year round.

9. National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation. Clark Griswold has characteristics of my dad, uncle and brother all rolled into one...which can make family reunions slightly awkward but always entertaining!Everything from the squirrel in the tree to the moose-head egg nog cups to the cat wrapped up as a present to Julia Louis-Dreyfus falling down the stairs make this movie one of the funniest movies ever. And cousin Eddie is in rare form. Rare.

8. The Holiday. Two words: Jude Law.

7. The Nativity Story. This movie makes me cry like a baby. It is so beautifully filmed.

6. Elf. I have always been a Will Farrell fan and this is one of my favorite roles. His interaction with James Caan is fantastic. And who doesn't like the four major food groups of candy, candy canes, candy corn and syrup?

5. Charlie Brown Christmas. I have this soundtrack memorized and it immediately puts me in the Christmas mood. I love the storyline, Snoopy's dog house decorations, the scrawny Christmas tree and their dancing. It is sublime.

4. Love Actually. This is one of those times when an ensemble cast actually works. The story lines are interwoven perfectly and not one character upstages another. And the love-sick kid is fabulous. I only wish other ensemble cast movies (ahem Valentine's Day, New Year's Eve) could be so well done.

3. Meet Me in St. Louis. I love a good musical (well, naturally because of my musical theater days) and this is one of my faves. Judy Garland is stunning and her kid sister is such an amazing actress. She truly steals the show.

2. A Christmas Story. If there is one Christmas movie that represents Christmas to me it would be this movie. I have watched it every year since it came out and I have the entire thing memorized. The narration of this movie is spot on, the characters are flawless and the leg lamp is magnificent.

1. The Muppet Christmas Carol. I am going to be honest with you: I don't like A Christmas Carol. But when you throw some furry muppets with attitude problems into the mix, then count me in!

So, what are yours? Share away!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

The BEST Christmas Story Ever.

I know I already posted a video this week but you guys have to watch this. It is perfect.  And I want to squeeze each one of them...especially the little ram.

And that third wise man, well he just kills me.

And don't get me started on the star.

Oh man. Enjoy.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Recipe Round-Up: Peppermint Bark

Just in time for Christmas...

(I do not know what happened, but my step-by-step pictures disappeared! Thankfully, this recipe is simple and always turns out delicious! I know you can do it.)

Peppermint Bark
1 bag of dark chocolate chips
1 bag of white chocolate chips
3/4 teaspoon peppermint extract
1 tablespoon shortening
crushed peppermints

Line cookie sheet with wax paper. Pour dark chocolate chips into sauce pan and melt on low heat until smooth. Pour dark chocolate onto wax paper and spread. Put cookie sheet in refrigerator until set, about 20 minutes. Melt white chocolate in a sauce pan over low heat. Once melted, add peppermint extract and shortening and stir. Take the the cookie sheet out of the refrigerator and quickly spread melted white chocolate over dark chocolate (offset spatulas work great!). Sprinkle crushed peppermints over melted white chocolate. Put in refrigerator until set, about 30 minutes. Once set, break apart and freeze in air-tight container. Enjoy!!

Merry Christmas, peeps!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Lip Synching Sailors Are Highly Underrated

In honor of my new brother-in-law who is in the Navy...

And in honor of this being flat-out hilarious...

I am sharing this video with you.

I hope this perks up your Monday!

Friday, December 9, 2011

Your Words Matter

I was able to talk to my dad last night. I love when I get to do that. He sounds great, but then again, he always sounds great. He has never once been down or discouraged throughout this trial. Not once. I love his spirit and his faith.

Anyway, I was talking to him and he said "Hey Sarah, my friend Ramon got his card in the mail."

Me:  "Oh dad, that's awesome! Did he say anything?"

Dad:  "He came up to me, with tears in his eyes, and asked if I knew anything about it, if I knew why he had received a card. I didn't say anything but I told him I was glad he got something in the mail. It really meant a lot to him, Sarah."

Me: "I know who sent that card, she is a good friend of mine. This will encourage her because she has been feeling a little sad lately because she lost her mom."

Dad:  Long pause... "Ramon just lost his mom, Sarah. And he is having a hard time. These cards make a difference."

Your words matter, dear friends. They matter more than you know.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Yesterday in Detail

Y'all. I am in the middle of those all-day meetings that happen twice a year at my office. We discuss everything from visas in Egypt to crashing servers and somehow manage to still like each other at the end of the day. It is a minor miracle, my friends. A minor miracle. And because I know you are dying to see what goes on in one of these meetings, I have typed it out for you in excruciating detail.

You're welcome.

6:30:  My alarm goes off and I resist the urge to throw it against the wall.

7:24:  Leave my apartment and try not to freeze to death in the frigid temperatures. Also, my soup leaks in my lunch bag. Major bummer.

7:44:  Arrive at work and take off several layers of clothes. Breathe. Sip some coffee and decide that I shouldn't even check email before the meetings begin because that would just make me cry.

8:00:  The meetings begin with devotions. We discuss 1 Thessalonians. Who knew that was such a great book?

9:15:  Coffee refill.

9:30:  I kick off the presentations of what went well and what didn't go well in my department for 2011. This quickly leads into a discussion of raising funds in a bad economy, in which I curl up in the fetal position and pray for fruitful year-end giving. Immediately following, my colleagues give their updates until lunch time.

12:00:  Eat my least the part that didn't spill into my lunch bag.

1:00:  Continue hearing updates from the regional directors who oversee a total of 13 countries. Some very important information was discussed here. I am almost certain we will have world peace by the end of this week.

2:30: Break. Eat a piece of chocolate cake made by my boss's wife. It was unbelievably delectable and I would like to request one every Tuesday.

2:45: The meeting resumes and this time we talk about our budget. There's nothing like a bunch of charts and numbers to make this liberal arts major want to take a nap. However, it was a very productive discussion.

5:30:  End meeting for the day and pile into a car to drive to dinner.

5:37:  Stuck in rush hour traffic on the highway.

5:42:  Stuck in rush hour traffic on the highway.

6:01:  Pull up to Maggiano's for dinner and gladly accept the free valet parking.

6:02:  Inhale all the wonderful smells of carbohydrates.

8:02:  Waddle out of Maggiano's.

8:43:  Drop by Claire and Carr's apartment to deliver a wedding gift from a friend and to sit on their new couch. It is a great couch. You should go sit on it too.

9:18:  Leave their apartment and try not to biff it in the parking lot.  Mission accomplished.

9:25:  Stop by my parent's house to pick up the list of campers my dad had given me on Sunday in which I left in my mom's car Sunday night. She and I have a cup of tea and we discuss the aforementioned meetings in which I realize that I am so tired I have become light headed. I sit there until it subsides and I realize that my alarm will go off in less than 8 hours.

10:27:  Leave the house and drive to my apartment.

10:37:  Arrive at my apartment and load the dishwasher, make coffee for the morning, pack my lunch, take a shower, check my email, do a crossword puzzle, turn on my heating pad and go to bed.

11:26. Fall asleep and pray that we have a snow day tomorrow.

And there you have it. Please take a nap for me.

Monday, December 5, 2011

FAQ's: The Last Six Weeks

My mom and I made the long trek to Alamosa yesterday. It took us 14 hours because of the snow. But thankfully no minor or major mishaps occurred on the trip. But just in case, I did pack my snow boots, a toothbrush and some double chocolate cookies. It is all about the essentials in a time of crisis, am I right?

It has been six weeks today since that rotten day in the courthouse. And over the last six weeks I have been asked a lot of questions about my dad, Camp Alamosa and other miscellaneous questions that pertain to this rather large bump in our road.

For your reading pleasure and intellectual delight, I have compiled these questions for you. Prepare to be enlightened.

How is your dad doing?
I love this question! Please ask me about my dad every time you see me because I love talking about him. My dad is doing great (as great as you can be with limited freedom). He has seven roommates, gets a new chore to accomplish every week, holds a Bible study every Wednesday evening and has received the moniker "Old School" by most of the other "campers." He also remains positive about the future and knows that God is at work.

How many guys live at Camp Alamosa?
My dad thinks around 100, at least in his section of the camp. He says it's like going to a small high school with cliques and cafeteria food. So, if you ever want to re-live your high school glory days again, be sure to commit a non-violent crime and it can be yours!

Did your dad get my card?
You guys, you should see the stack of cards my dad has received! He brought them out yesterday to show us and we laughed and cried alongside with him. You all are the best! These cards bring him so much encouragement so keep 'em coming!

Is your dad working?
Camp Alamosa is a transitional facility that requires each person to work (remember: they have to pay $450 in rent each month and have a savings account for funds they can use when they are released). After several weeks and countless bureaucratic hoops, my dad is hoping to begin working with his employer this week. This would be a huge answer to prayer.

Can I send your dad food?
Ah man, he would so love it but unfortunately he cannot receive food. It's the whole "nail file in the birthday cake" mentality. Although now it is probably more like a "miniature explosive in the Oreo ball" mentality. My dad can only eat non-cafeteria food when he has a pass to leave the facility. However, it has been rumored that a certain someone smuggled a hamburger in her pocket and gave it to my dad in bites while visiting with him but I am not going to mention any names.

Are the other campers nice to you?
So far, they have been very nice to me. Some of them might glance my way, and a few say hello, but for the most part, they just walk on by. My dad does introduce me to some of his new friends and all of them have been so friendly and polite. And most of them really respect my dad and that makes me like them even more.

Are you ever afraid to visit him?
Afraid? No. Nervous and somewhat awkward? Yes. Like I have mentioned before, the unknown is often scary but every time I visit him I learn more about the system and the facility and that makes me less nervous. The awkwardness part is a different story. I think that is just part of my charm.

How are you doing?
I get this question a lot. And honestly, it changes everyday. Most of the time I am doing okay. My future seems a bit blurry, like I don't know how to plan. There is also a small, nagging fear that the judicial system will do something else to my dad, punishing him more for something he didn't do. But I find that the Lord is quick to reassure me that He has this entire situation under control. I find that I cry daily, which is new for me, and I wish I could sleep a lot more. I am learning to say "no" to things and take delight in quiet time (which is a strange twist for this extrovert!) But I also realize that I have a life to live and that this life can experience joy. So even though this trial has been going on for five years, and could go on for much more, I am learning to find joy in the midst of it day at a time.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Recipes Rounded Up

Hi All.

It's Friday.

And because it's Friday, I have something to share with you.

Look up.

You see that tab that says "Recipes?"  Well, I made that for you. Just in case you are in the mood to spend some time in the kitchen this weekend.

I hope to add to the recipe list very soon. 'Tis the season, you know.

You are the coolest readers ever.

For reals.

The FC

P.S. Here's a preview:

Thursday, December 1, 2011

A List of Things and Other Things

I am making a list today. Apparently I need some organization in my life.

1. I am thrilled to announce that my Aunt Marge commented on my blog (or "blob" as she likes to call it). Everyone should meet my Aunt Marge. Your world and your dating life would never be the same. She is the best.

2.  Thank you to all who signed up for the Camper Card-A-Thon. You guys rock! I am waiting for the list of names from my dad and then I'll email you all the details. If you would still like to sign up, please email anytime.

3. I think it would be a really great idea to put a couch in my office. It would boost office morale and I am sure productivity would sky rocket.

4. You guys, I am almost 32. I don't even know what to think about that.

5. I read all three books in the Hunger Games trilogy recently and I LOVED them. Have you read them? Did you love them as well? Did you find them disturbing yet heart warming at the same time? Are you excited for the movie? Do you wish you could shoot a bow and arrow? These are things that are plaguing my mind right now.

6. I miss my dad a whole heck of a lot.

7. I recently bought my favorite pair of jeans on Ebay for $50.00 less than what I would have paid in the store. I love a good bargain! They are being shipped all the way from Canada. I am really hoping a Mountie shows up at my door. That would be so awesome.

8. Many of you have asked about my blind date last week. I did not go to his birthday party but I did get an email from him yesterday. I have to say that the prospects of him and I being great friends are really good! Or, in other words, no, we will not be dating.

9. It is snowing and very cold outside. All I want to do is lay down and read a book. Yet another reason why I should have a couch in my office.

10. I am not sure what to say here. Any thougths?

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

5th Place

Two weekends ago, when I sat between Claire and Noah on the long drive to Alamosa, I had the following conversation with my darling nephew:

Me: "Noah, aren't I just the most beautiful girl in the whole world?"

SIDE NOTE: I realize I had just set myself up. I know that this conversation could go any direction but I had entertained him for the past two hours and I was feeling pretty hopeful. My mistake.

Noah: "No. Claire is."

Claire: "OH Noah! That is so sweet! Thank you so much." What?! Claire? I am the one who has fed you a beef taco for the last 20 minutes. That has to count for something! And I am pretty sure I have cheese in my hair.

Noah: "You're welcome."

Me: "Okay, who is second?" Fingers crossed...

Noah: "Gram. Gram is second."

My Mom: "Oh, why thank you, sweet boy."

Me: "So...does that make me third?" I realize I sound desperate.

Noah: "Nope, you're fifth. Joseph's wife is third." My stinking brother starts to chuckle.

Me: "As in Mary? Jesus' mother?"

Noah: "Yes. Mary is third." Wow. I didn't even know he knew what she looked like. Shoot, she must have had it going on.

Me: "Okay, that's cool." I mean, how can you compete with that?

Noah: "And my mom is fourth."

Me: "Well that's good. You're mom is pretty. So then I am fifth, huh?"

Noah: "Yes, you are fifth."

Me: Why, thank you Noah! I am happy to be fifth."

Noah: "Why? Why are you happy? Fifth is the worst."

And with that, I gave him another beef taco. And I made a mental note to not base my self-esteem on the opinions of a six year old.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Operation: Camper Card-A-Thon

On Thanksgiving, after an impeccable meal that was full of all forms of carbohydrates, my mom and I drove to Alamosa to see my dad. Thankfully, he was allowed to have visitors and we stayed down there and chatted with him for three hours.

SIDE NOTE: The first time I came to Camp Alamosa I must admit that I was nervous. No one tells you what it is like to visit someone in any type of correctional facility. It's just not a conversation topic that comes up often. Let's face it, it's uncomfortable and awkward and scary and weird. But if you DO want to talk about it, I am your girl. I've got this weirdness covered.

While we were chatting, I met one of dad's new friends named David. David is probably in his late forties and has a mustache and beard and wears glasses. He was shy and had a very kind face. He and my dad had kitchen duty a few weeks ago and they struck up a conversation. And from this conversation, my dad learned that David has been in the system for 22 years. And not once in those 22 years has David had a visitor. Not once.

No one has ever come to see him.

No one has ever come to give him a hug.

No one has ever dropped by to give him an encouraging word.

And this made me so very sad.

How does this happen? How do you forget about someone? He is someone's son, brother, uncle, friend. He is a person made in God's image. He is a person who has made mistakes and is doing his best to pay for those mistakes. But he is someone who also needs to be loved. And the more I visit my dad, the more I see other men just like David.

My dad said that one of the most encouraging things these men can receive (other than you driving all the way to Alamosa to give them a hug. But you know, that may be awkward) is a card in the mail. I have been sending a card to my dad at least three times a week and he said that these cards mean the world to him. Sometimes I even slip in a joke or a picture or a crossword puzzle.

So, here is what I am proposing: A Camper Card-A-Thon! And there is no better time to kick this off than with Christmas just around the corner. Just buy one extra Christmas card and send it to Alamosa!

Here is the plan:
1. Buy a card and stamp
2. Email me at for the name of a camper and the address
3. Write something funny, serious, thoughtful, kind or all of the above
4. Mail the card

That's it! And in return, I'll do my best to get any feedback I can when I visit my dad.

I have already seen how much this can make a difference. I have seen one of these men tear up because someone remembered him, someone who didn't even know him, sent him a card. It is a real, tangible way to show them love. And there is nothing more powerful than love.

You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh ; rather, serve one another humbly in love."       ~ Galatians 5:13

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Daddy's Girl

Don't you wish you knew what he was saying?

Probably something like "Hey, short stuff. I dig your overalls."

Yep, I am sure that is it.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

I Brought My "A" Game

You guys are the best. THE BEST, I tell you. Thank you so much for your dating encouragement. Truly, it gave me the confidence I needed to actually show up last night. was the best blind date I have been on.

It was better than the date when the guy asked me to a movie but didn't pay for my ticket. It was better than the date when the guy asked me 25 intense questions and later admitted that he was testing to see if I was "wife material." (This was also the same date where I was asked if I liked to hunt.) And it was better than the date when the guy took me out for ice cream and then proceeded to only talk about his ex-girlfriend.

The bar was obviously low, my friends.

But as blind dates go, this was a good one. I brought my "A" game, which is saying a lot because I don't know the last time anyone saw my "A" game. I wore a pink flowery shirt, dark jeans and little heels. I was charming and witty and tried not to speak in a southern accent.

SIDE NOTE: When I get nervous, I get really twangy. It's weird, I know.

And he was very nice and we had a lot in common. He has even lived in Kazakhstan. WHO LIVES IN KAZAKHSTAN?? Well, actually I work with several people who do, but still, Kazakhstan is a rather obscure country. And he bought my coffee which is good because that is a deal breaker for me. Don't ask me to coffee and then expect me to pay for it. That is a lame-o move.We both went to the same college AND studied history. For all I know I could have had a class with him! And he is the middle child so he understands my angst.

However, there is one red flag. Can you guess it?

His favorite thing in the world is to go HIKING. Are you flipping kidding?

Dear Jesus, what are you doing to me?

But I told him that I love salsa dancing, and since most guys do not like salsa dancing, that should balance us out.

We ended up chatting for two hours and by the end of the night, he had invited me to his birthday party. I am not sure I can make it but it left the door open...whatever that means.

So there you have it! That was my date. As an experience, it redeemed many of the other less-than-stellar blind dates I have had. And for that, I am extremely grateful.

And on that note, happy, happy Thanksgiving, you turkeys.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Blind Date

Confession: I have a blind date tonight.

That thought almost makes me puke, and not because of this guy who has seemed exceptionally nice via our email conversations, but mainly because I am a dating kindergartner. These things make me nervous and goofy and doubt every piece of clothing I have ever bought. Thankfully it's just coffee, but still. A lot can be said at coffee. A lot that you wish you could take back forever.

I admit that I am not in the best place to date right now. Maybe I am never in a good place to date but this specific time seems particularly hard. However, life is still happening whether I choose to participate in it or not and I admit that a cup of coffee does sound good (of course this could have something to do with me needing a caffeine fix on my lunch break).

So, we will give this a whirl. It can't be too bad, right? I'll make sure to bring my most dazzling personality along with me.

So, Mr. Blind Date,

If you are reading this blog, I apologize in advance if I accidentally spill my coffee on you or talk about my musical theater days. I'm just nervous. But I do have some mad baking skills and frequent flyer miles. And if you are ever in trouble, my dad has a few connections for you.

Awkwardly charming,
The FC

Monday, November 21, 2011

Old School

It is Thanksgiving week, can you believe it? I am not quite sure how we arrived into late November. I feel like October never really existed. But apparently it did because Claire is now living with a man. And blissfully, I might add.

Yesterday, we loaded up the car and headed south to Alamosa to have a Thanksgiving lunch with my dad. He is not allowed to leave the facility on Thursday so we took advantage of a gorgeous Colorado day and celebrated Thanksgiving a few days early. The restaurant of choice: Chili's. Nothing says "count your blessings" quite like chips and salsa. You know you agree with me on this one.

The trip down was fairly uneventful. However, I ended up sitting in the middle between Claire and Noah, with a coffee thermos between my knees and an occasional Star Wars Lego in my lap. There was one point, while I was helping Noah eat yet another beef taco, when something made me laugh. And this laughter turned into hysteria which turned into a complete meltdown of all my abilities to act like an adult. I could not breathe and tears were streaming down my face. When this happens, I end up making these high-pitched squealing sounds that resemble a frightened pig. "Dainty" is not the word I would use in this situation. Noah just stared at me, which made me laugh even harder. I really can't tell you how I got to that point but I will say it felt really, really good. And now he has a charming memory of his demented aunt to tuck away into his memory for all eternity.

Dad is continuing to do well. He has a bit of a cold right now, but what do you expect when you have to share a room with 7 other people? But his resilient spirit has not changed. He seems to be making friends and has earned the moniker "Old School." Apparently he is on the older side of most of the residents and many can tell that he has had extensive schooling. I may have to call him that myself!

Our lunch at Chili's was fabulous and we spent the remainder of our time at Walmart. This has become a routine of sorts. I am thinking I could get all my Christmas shopping done just by visiting my dad regularly. And besides, he has always said "If you can't find it at Walmart, you don't need it." You just can't take the Oklahoma out of this man.

All too quickly we had to drop him off and we decided to snap a few pics in honor of our first Thanksgiving with this forced living arrangement. Sam and Dad look quite stellar:

But then it was my turn. Obviously my father/daughter moment wasn't appreciated by all. Punks.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011


I have been asked often how much it costs to stay in jail for a month. And I am here to tell you that $450 is the going rate.

It's like paying rent only without your own bed and couch and ability to leave.

This seems completely and utterly ridiculous.

I'm thinking it is time to plan a jail break.

Who's with me?

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

We Are All Just One Scissor Kick Away

This past weekend my mom made the solo trip to Alamosa. She said dad is doing well and trying to keep busy. And they even got in another trip to Walmart. I am learning that it is the small things in life, like discount shopping, that really make a difference.

I, on the other hand, was able to catch up on dishes and laundry and take in a modern dance performance in Boulder with Sam, his friend Jon and Noah. Three boys and me. Watching modern dance. In Boulder. I have never put those words together like that before. It takes a moment to sink in, doesn't it?

But let me tell you, it was amazing! Like So You Think You Can Dance amazing. These people can bend their bodies in ways that defy all logic and gravity. And they are able to do super cool scissor kicks. I long to do a scissor kick. It's a dream of mine.

Sam has a good friend named Gwen (what up, Gwen?!) who performed in the show. She was in almost every routine and she is incredible! She is everything I wish I could be, both physically and rhythmically. It's really not fair but I am trying not to be bitter about it.

I have become such a huge fan of modern dance. It almost makes me want to buy a leotard.


And these boys? Well, they were inspired as well.

They are all just one scissor kick away from having their own show.

Bravo, boys.

And bravo, Gwen!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Strangers in Spandex

So do you remember the Fitness Challenge I mentioned way back in August? Well, I didn't. I had pretty much crossed it off of my priority list. I was so amped up to get fit and not eat cookie dough for dinner but then my life exploded and I clung to all forms of carbohydrates for comfort.

Also, Autumn decided to arrive and bring with it pumpkin cookies and salted caramel mochas.

And Claire decided to get married in a ten-day time period that didn't leave room for spinach salads and P90X.

And the judge decided to send my dad to camp and I found that emotional eating does have its rightful place in my life.

And Halloween candy finds its way to my desk and convinces me that it is a perfect meal for lunch.

However, there is a silver lining in this emotionally crazed feeding frenzy: I have begun running again. I have done it for two days in a row so it is practically a habit. And even though I loathe every second of it, I do feel a lot better afterward. It is a great time to get out some built-up aggression towards the court system and think through some strategies on how I can smuggle in a pecan pie to my dad in two weeks. You know, normal things like that.

Exercise does have its benefits, there is no doubt. I am even thinking of joining a pilates class every Wednesday afternoon. But I admit, I am a little nervous about it. As many of you may know, I lack a certain graceful quality in my disposition. And I always feel awkward when I am trying a new exercise in front of people. There aren't many situations in life when you are forced to bend and stretch next to a perfect stranger in spandex.

Does anyone else have this issue? Am I the only one that gets nervous? Would you like to join me some Wednesday and bend and stretch next to me? At least you wouldn't be a perfect stranger. And I am fairly certain I'll dig your spandex.

Thursday, November 10, 2011


Did you know that you have to pay to stay in jail?

It's true. You have to pay for every night you stay there.

You have to pay for your paper-thin mattress and your processed food and your lack of freedom. Men and women, under confinement, are expected to come up with money.

Does anyone else see the irony here?

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

The Teacher

My dad is many things. He is a banker, a business man, an expert at making scrambled eggs, he is a lawyer, a petroleum engineer, a fan of Westerns and double chocolate brownies, a man with impeccable rhythm and dancing skills and a pretty incredible grandpa. He also bought me a horse when I was 12. An actual HORSE. How do you top that, people? And if that weren't enough to make you want to copy his resumé, he is also a teacher. And he is putting this to work at his new digs.

But first, let's get a little back story, shall we?

The oil and gas industry is booming right now. If you don't believe me, just call up anyone in North Dakota and they'll tell you they have a rig in their backyard. I heard a statistic the other day that truck drivers are getting paid $150,000 to drive oil rig trucks right now. $150,000. That's a lot of money. Shoot, I am just a mullet away from becoming one myself!

Hailing from the oil-filled state of Oklahoma, my dad was working in this industry as a petroleum engineer during the oil boom of the late 70's and early 80's. And for the past year and a half, my dad has gone back to this industry, loving the people and the work that is associated with it. And his employer loves him too, enough to put him on extended leave during this time instead of looking for someone to replace him. That blows my mind; yet another testament to how God is working.

My dad is also surrounded by a lot of men who have little to no education, and with a felony record, have little to no hope of finding a job once they are released. Some of these guys are repeat offenders and their prospects of finding a new line of work is slim. This need became evident within the first 24 hours of my dad being at Camp Alamosa. So he decided to do something about it: he began teaching classes on how to work in the oil and gas industry. And he began by opening the book of Genesis and talking about how the world was created.

At his first class, five guys showed up. At his second, this number nearly doubled. I have a feeling by week 4 he may need to ask the warden for his own office. If my dad wasn't cool before, he is wicked cool now. God is using my him to give these men hope. And there is nothing more powerful than hope.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Camp Alamosa

On Sunday, my mom and I went to Alamosa again and this time we brought Sam and Noah with us. There's nothing like a little testosterone to make this week's trip entirely different than last's. And this became painfully obvious when we stopped three separate times for beef tacos. How is it that boys can eat so much and yet I am the one that needs to wear Spanx?

 My world is so unfair.

The trip was beautiful and uneventful and we made it to Camp Alamosa just in time for lunch. We have decided to rename the corrections center "Camp Alamosa" in an effort to help Noah understand where my dad is living. Since it doesn't look like a typical jail and because he is able to walk around and sleep in a bunk bed, "camp" seems like the more appropriate word.

And besides, telling your fellow first-graders that your grandpa is at camp is much cooler than saying he is in the clink.

Dad looks great. He was wearing jeans and sweater and was so happy to see us. He also introduced us to one of his new friends, who was gracious enough to find us some chairs to sit on. They call him "Bama" since he is from Alabama and he looked like any nice, normal guy that you would see in your neighborhood: blond, curly hair, jeans, flannel shirt, nice smile. I think dad said he had a couple of children back home. I will write more about my dad's new friends soon. There is just so much to tell about them.

Dad had gotten permission to leave camp for three hours, which reinforced my absolute confusion over our correctional system. HOW IN THE WORLD can they let my dad go to Walmart (or any other place for that matter) and yet they won't let him come home? It boggles the mind, folks. Boggles.

Regardless, it was great to walk around with him and shop for ink pens and laundry soap. It almost felt like he was going away to college. Afterward, we went out for Mexican food and ordered tacos. Obviously. I also read him many of your blog comments and emails. He was overwhelmed by the support. Your words matter, my friends, so keep them coming.

Before we knew it, the three hours were up.  My dad was patted down, blew in a breathalyzer and waved good-bye. And we promised we would be back next weekend. But next time, hopefully without the tacos.


I'm a little ticked off today.

Okay, make that a lot ticked off.

My dad should be at home.

The judge should be exiled to a remote island full of snakes.

And I would like to sleep through the night.

I do not like this situation at all. I kind of want to scream and kick something. And I have a plethora of very choice words in my head. "Dang it" not being one of them.

Life. It isn't fair. Not one bit.

I think I will just sit in a puddle of mad today and wallow in it for a while.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Socially Awkward

It's confession time.

Apparently, in my attempt to be more transparent and vulnerable, I have also become more socially awkward. And that is exactly what every single, 31 year old girl wants to be.

I am not sure why this awkwardness is becoming more apparent in my life right now, but it is out in full force. I am thinking I could be a Saturday Night Live skit by next weekend.

A few examples:

1. On Tuesday, my sweet friend Jenn brought me dinner. It was an amazing gift and it was so good to see her smiling face and talk for a few minutes. Of course during this time I happened to shed a few tears (I have become a faucet these days) but I wiped them up and continued on with our visit. It wasn't until after she left that I looked in the mirror and I realized I had a little snot on my face.

As in snot. On my face.

What am I, a toddler?

I am really sorry Jenn.

2. Later that evening, my fabulous friend Melissa came over to hang out (it's true, I have incredible friends).  We made cookies and talked about babies and work and hair and justice, you know, the norm. And as she was getting ready to leave she said something funny and I am pretty sure I slapped her on the butt. No, I am serious. I think that happened.

But the question is WHY? WHY did that happen? The world may never know but I am pretty sure Melissa felt violated.

I am really sorry Melissa.

3. And then on Wednesday night I had dinner with my incredible friend Sara. Sara and I went out to a restaurant that had a revolving door. And everyone who knows about revolving door etiquette knows that you should never cram yourself into the same wedge as someone else. I mean, unless you just got engaged or you want to ensure your grandmother comes out on the other side, you should just wait until the next wedge swings around.

But not me. Oh no, I just stepped in right behind Sara and for three whole seconds I felt like I had just violated the code on how to be a proper human.

I am really sorry Sara.

So you see, folks, with every act of authenticity comes an equal but opposite reaction of extreme awkwardness. I apologize in advance if I offend you in any way or make you question your friendship with me. It is definitely not my intent.

It's just my freak flag flying high.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

The New Bachelorette

I was at my mom's house for dinner on Tuesday when my dad called from the pay phone. That's right, there are still pay phones and apparently they are all owned by the Department of Corrections.

I picked it up and it was music to hear my dad's voice. We exchanged the normal stuff, you know, like "how's kitchen duty going?" and things like that and then he said:

"Hey Sarah, a few of the guys here asked about you the other day." He was referring to my visit with him last Saturday.

Me: "What? You mean the other guys who stay there with you?"

Dad: "Yeah. They wanted to know who you were."

Me: "And what did you tell them?"

Dad: "I told them you were my daughter."

Me: "Oooookay."

Dad: "And I am thinking you may have a few dates lined up the next time you come down here."

Me: "Wow, Dad. I am not sure what to say to that."

Apparently I'm a big hit with felons. Awesome.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

His Getaway Car

My mom and I took a trip to Alamosa on Saturday to visit my dad and to take him a box of his things that he is allowed to have with him. It was overwhelming to see him. It had felt like months since that Monday in the courthouse yet in reality it had only been five days.

The facility is located on the outskirts of town and is made up of several buildings. But there is no fencing or barbed wire around it, which makes the thought of this being my dad's new temporary home much more comforting. And a lot less ominous.

I pulled in the parking lot and my mom went inside to check in. I sat in the car, checking emails and Facebook, not wanting to go in but also wanting to see my dad. But then something caught my eye and I looked up. And there stood my dad.

My mouth fell open and I dropped my phone. I thought he was supposed to be locked up in some small room somewhere?! I looked around. Do they know he is out here? I threw open my door, and whispered loudly:

"Quick! Get in, Dad! Let's go. We are almost to New Mexico!"

My dad just stood there and grinned. My mom laughed. Unfortunately, he could not go with me but he was allowed to come out to the car and walk around the facility.

Darn it! I am sure my plan would have worked.

He had on his white shirt that he wore under his suit and his suit slacks. He looked handsome, kinda like an Oklahoma James Bond with a slight twang. We were bringing him new clothes because he gets to wear his own, which is such a bonus because let's face it, a striped jumpsuit really doesn't look good on anyone.

They allowed us to stay an hour, which was an hour more than we thought we could since not all of his paperwork had been completed. However, the guys in the front office were gracious to us since we had driven all the way from Denver and we were allowed to sit in a common room with him and chat. It was pure heaven.

And then I reminded him that my license tag was up for renewal and I asked him if he could make me a new one. He said he would do his best.

He is such a great dad.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Rymer Tron 5000

He has come from the future to eat your candy.

He will also clean your lint trap if you ask him.

Just don't make him sneeze. It won't be pretty, folks.

But he does come in peace.

And will politely knock on your door if you have any leftovers from last night.

No one else in the neighborhood had a costume this cool. Even the nine year olds thought so.

Nice job, Rymer Tron. I hope the future is as awesome as you.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Don't Worry, It's Just Called "Coping"

Hi friends. I am finding myself at a loss for words these days. This last week has been the weirdest and most difficult week of my life. I wish I could say otherwise, but it is true.

However, I have realized that I as I write and talk about this (as awkward as that is sometimes), I must look at this through a lens of humor. I have to, it is just how I operate. And my dad is the same way. He is one funny dude.

So, if I write things about my dad's imprisonment and the trial that my family and I are enduring in a way that seems comical, flippant, or less than sincere, please know that it is not my intent. It is just how I cope.

Because believe me, this is the most serious thing I can imagine right now.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Limbo Land

You bless me with your words. Truly. They are food for my tender soul. And they encourage my family more than you can imagine.

They moved my dad today. He was in the county jail and now he is in Alamosa at a minimum security facility. He called and said he was doing fine and was wearing his suit, the suit he wore to court on Monday. For some reason this makes me smile, I love that mental image. I guarantee he is the best dressed inmate least until they give him a new wardrobe.

Tonight my mom and I watched his favorite show and we are hoping that at some point he will have access to TV. We also have stack of hilarious cards that are ready to be sent. Tomorrow we should have his new address.

My mom told me that this is not going to become her "new normal." Instead, this is just the limbo period until she gets her old normal back. I am thinking I agree with this. I find myself clinging to whatever sounds normal.

The saints continue to amaze us with anonymous gifts and love. Someone brought over the best potato soup ever and I am pretty sure I could eat it everyday for a month. Who knew the potato was so delicious?

Oh that's right, the Irish. Well that makes sense.

And I have discovered that my manicure of two weeks is officially gone. It left yesterday when I realized that transparency was needed on this blog. Being vulnerable on the world wide web is new for me and it makes me nervous and scared. But I admit, it also comes with a lot of freedom. Thanks for hanging in there with me.

87 more days until the appeal.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011


It is time for me to be more authentic with you.

By nature, I am a glass half-full kind of gal so most of my posts are usually lighthearted and fun. But as we all know, life is not always that way. Trials face us from every angle and suffering of some kind is usually around the next corner. I have always wanted this blog to about the fun things in life because I know each of you face trials and suffering of your own. I wanted this blog to be a place of entertainment and escape.

However, a life without suffering and trials is not an authentic one and it is time for me to share my life with you.

On Monday, my dad was sentenced to 10 years in jail for a crime he did not commit.

10 years.

My brain is having a hard time believing this even as the shock has worn off. Or maybe the shock hasn't worn off, I am not sure. And I know this must be a surprise to many of you, especially if you know my dad.

My kind, gentle, hard-working, amazing dad.

This trial has been going on for years. So many times I wanted to write about it, to talk about it and to share my ups and down with you, but this was a confidential case between my dad and one of his clients. A client that accused my dad of stealing more than $200,000. But I had to honor my dad in his wishes to treat this as a business matter. My dad is a great business man and all along he thought this lawsuit would resolve itself.

But after five years, a plea bargain, a month in jail, my dad's law license being revoked, loss of employment, and a judge who did not once decide in his favor, this process had finally led us to a sentencing hearing on Monday.

On Monday, our friends (saints, actually) packed the courthouse. It was a magnificent sight to behold and brought so much encouragement to my dad and the rest of my family. And these same friends, while offering powerful praises and petitions to God, also offered more than $200,000 of financial restitution on behalf of my dad. It was an example of the body of Christ in motion. Unbelievable. Completely humbling. There are no words for this. None. I truly believe this is what the church was meant to look like, just like in Acts.

But at the end of the hearing, after the judge had heard from countless others who defended his integrity, trustworthiness and character, he still ruled against my dad, even with the full financial restitution being offered. The judge, knowing an innocent man was before him, still chose to send him away. The judge chose revenge over restitution. And my family, friends and I watched my dad be taken into custody and led away. This is not something I would wish on anyone. Ever.

I know this is shocking. I apologize for the abruptness of it. And I am sure you have questions. Honestly, the case is so complicated that I will be the first to admit that I do not have all the answers. But I wanted you to know. I needed you to know because I couldn't keep writing without being honest with you. It would have been a lie to let you believe my life is all about cupcakes and trips around the world.

In reality, my life is about believing and trusting in a God whose ways are not our ways, whose thoughts are not our thoughts. Believing and trusting in a God who defends the innocent and weak, only in His perfect timing, not our own. These last few days have been so very difficult yet so very comforting at the same time. But for the grace of God I would be in a padded room right now, I guarantee.

As we look ahead, my dad's attorney is doing everything he can to get this sentence reversed. In 88 days, this appeal can be presented before the court and with the financial restitution in hand, we are praying that his sentence will be greatly reduced or reversed completely.

In the meantime, we are experiencing an outpouring of love like we have never seen before. It is overwhelming, to say the least. My gratitude knows no end. It makes me want to love and serve others in the same exact way: radically, without reservations or hesitation.

And I will keep you posted on my sweet, amazing dad. I spoke with him yesterday and he sounds good, just tired. And I reassured him that his character and integrity speaks for itself, no one has ever doubted his innocence. If he comes to mind, please pray for his safety and peace of mind. Pray that he leans on the Lord for understanding and wisdom. And pray that my family can continue to seek God's face in the midst of this.

I cannot comprehend what it must be like to be imprisoned for something you didn't do, but we know from history that God has used this situation mightily. I look to Joseph, Daniel, Paul and Peter as my constant reminders.

"For do not fear, for I am with you;
do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you;
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand."

Isaiah 41:10

Friday, October 21, 2011

Top Ten: Things I Learned About Planning a Wedding

Okay, so this may be the last of my posts about weddings for a little while. Don't get me wrong, I LOVE weddings, but I am bit on overload, if you know what I mean. I am still dreaming about tulle and place cards. That is just not normal.

But before I depart from this blissful topic, I thought I would share with you some of the crucial things I learned while helping Claire plan her big day. And please keep in mind that I have not planned my own wedding which may make all of these suggestions null and void when that happy day comes.

Are you ready for this? Here we go.

1. Flowers die. Therefore, don't spend a lot of money on flowers. For Rachel's wedding, she ordered hers from Costco and they were stunning. They were also extremely affordable. The day before her wedding we all sat around and made our bouquets. It was perfect.

2. Don't stress over invitations. Since Claire only had 10 days to plan her wedding, she just called people instead of sending an invite. However, if you have longer than 10 days, I would encourage you to not fret over those puppies. They are pieces of paper that will be thrown away and no one will remember if you used crimson instead of burgundy. I promise.

3. Having a restaurant do your reception is the way to go. Maggiano's did an amazing job. Claire and Carr picked their faves from the menu and they were steaming hot when we arrived. And she didn't have to worry about decorating or cleaning up...which meant that I didn't have to worry about decorating or cleaning up.

4.  If a wedding planner is in your budget, I would encourage you to get one. You can control the price by determining how much you want them to do. But they are oh-so helpful when you can't be in two places at once. And they are even more helpful if you have less that two weeks to plan your big day.

5. Favors, although thoughtful and always appreciated, are not essential. Your guests are just happy to be with you and if there is free food, total bonus.

6.  Manicures and pedicures are a must. I am now addicted and I don't even have fingernails.

7. Take time to enjoy the day. Claire was so calm and collected and that made everyone enjoy the process of getting ready. The bridesmaids hung out and chatted, the make-up artist took her time to make us each look fabulous, the moms sat around and talked and everyone came and went, grabbing food on their way. It was totally relaxing and enjoyable.

8. Less is more. Right before Claire went outside to take her first set of pictures, she was covered head to toe in pearls and lace and tulle and sparkles. At the last minute, she took off her pearl necklace and her birdcage veil (she wore it for the ceremony). All of sudden you could see her face! And it was like she wore the dress, not the other way around. De-cluttering made a huge difference.

9. Wear false eyelashes. Trust me on this, you won't be sorry.

10. If possible, don't have a long engagement. When Claire first told me that they had 10 days to plan their wedding, I almost went into cardiac arrest. But throughout those crazy 10 days, I realized that being with the one you love should not wait. Marriage is what is sacred, not the planning. Once you are engaged, run as fast as you can to the altar and don't look back.

So there you go, that's all I have to say about least for today. And someday, if I am ever engaged, and I am suffering from a severe case of bridezilla, please remind of these things so I can focus on what's really important, like the manicures and false eyelashes.

And happy Friday to you!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011


During our photo shoot on Friday with the lovely bride, I left my camera under a nearby tree along with my flip flops and hairspray.

However, once the pictures were over, I turned around to see that my camera was no longer where I left it; instead it was around the neck of my six year-old nephew.

Case in point:

For the next hour, while Claire and Carr were busy posing, Noah followed the photographer around and took every shot he did. In fact, once I was able to retrieve my camera, I saw that Noah had taken over 200 pictures.

Here are a few of him I took on my phone:

Oh my gosh, he kills me. And by the way, doesn't Claire look stunning? I mean seriously.

I began going through the 200 shots he took and I came across some amazing photos. Take a look:

That kid is a genius, I tell you. A genius.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

The Wedding

And I'm back.

I have been lying on the couch for almost two days and I am thinking I could use another two to fully recover. But let me tell you, it was completely worth it. In every way, the day was perfect. And Claire and Carr couldn't be happier.

Friday morning, just as my parents house was beginning to buzz, a sweet friend brought Chick-Fil-A breakfast and lunch for the entire wedding party. It was incredible and a very delicious way to start the day.

Soon after, the bridesmaids, Carr's parents and the groomsmen arrived and the house was packed full of happy, chicken-eating people. In the meantime, Claire was busy packing for her mini-moon and then had her hair appointment. By the time she got home, the make-up artist had finished on all of us and we were ready to help Claire get bride-ified.

Or whatever that word should be.

When we arrived at the DU campus, the boys were dressed and ready to go. Once again I am faced with the reality that boys have it SO EASY! One of the groomsmen said that he was able to get a nap and watch an episode of Friday Night Lights. Meanwhile us girls were gluing fake eyelashes to our eyeballs and trying to make sure we had enough hairspray on our hair to withstand the next twelve hours of pictures. Not. Fair. At. All.

Here are a few well-dressed gents:

I can never resist a six year-old in a tux.

Claire finished getting ready and took a few pictures with us girls. But then came the moment they had waited for: it was time for Claire and Carr to see each other. She stood in a small grassy area partly shaded by trees and had her back to him. He walked up to her, fully dressed in his dressed whites, and tapped her on the shoulder. At that moment the rest of the world melted away. It was really very sweet and beautiful


And then it was time for a billion pictures, which should be ready for viewing in 6-8 weeks. But here is a candid shot of the happy couple, a few attendants and me.

I think I was fluffing. Or maybe one of my eyelashes fell off, I don't remember.

After the pictures came the most serene, meaningful ceremony I have ever seen. My dad walked her down the aisle perfectly, I stood in my spot without falling over and Noah was flawless as the ring boy. And Claire and Carr were calm and happy the entire time.

When the ceremony was over, a 1930 Chrysler Imperial with a chauffeur named Kirk, whisked them away to Maggiano's downtown. Here's a picture of the car, isn't it fabulous?

By the time we arrived at the restaurant, I was more than ready for some serious carbohydrates. The wait staff had prepared a private room with hot appetizers waiting for us. Sweet Noah fell asleep before the salad was ever served while the rest of us made our way through four courses of cheesy goodness. Next came the toasts and I was able to give mine with only tearing up once.

And then we danced like our feet didn't hurt. It was such a wonderful way to not only finish the day, but to finish the marathon we had been on for the last 10 days. Like I said before, it was perfect.

Thank you for all of your well wishes and encouragement these past few days! You have been fantastic! I promise to post more pictures soon but I wanted to give you a glimpse into Claire's special day.

And feel free to congratulate Mr. And Mrs. Lewis when you see them again. They'll be the ones smiling. A lot.