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the green wedding

The last weekend in September, Sam and I flew to Minnesota to celebrate my good friend Mikka’s wedding to her love, Adam.  This was the first trip that Sam and I took without Evelyn.   Sam’s mom, who Evelyn will know as Neena, watched her and our pup for the weekend which gave them some much needed bonding time without us hovering over every move Evy makes.  It gave Sam and I some much needed bonding and reconnecting time as well.  It was pure magic, for all involved.

Our first trip away!

Our first trip away!

The weekend consisted of ugly crying (all by me).  It started when we were dropped off at the airport.  Ugly crying all the way to the check in desk… and then to the TSA security guard who told me to suck it up and enjoy time away from the baby because it will be a long time til the next time we get the chance. Great advice – followed by the lady in front of us who was also near ugly crying about leaving her chuahaha for the weekend as well.  That helped me get over it as did the bloody mary’s we enjoyed pre-flight.  This also stepped in as a night cap for the flight.

When we landed in MSP, we had one stop before our five hour drive north to Grand Marais, MN (yes, it was truly right next to Canada).  Our stop was to pick up the wedding cake (!) & the grooms cake (holy pressure batman!)  The baker assured me that the beautiful three tiered wedding cake would be fine as long as we didn’t slam on the breaks and kept the air conditioning on.

The view from Devil Track Resort

The view from Devil Track Resort

The drive was beautiful.  The radio was choppy so Sam and I sang/rapped to each other (will smith was the fave), chatted about anything and everything and snapped lots of blurry side of the road scenery photos trying to catch the fall colors.  When we finally arrived to the resort around 9:30 p.m. – Mikka was there to tackle me with a huge bear hug & happy tears.  She went to the back to take out the cake and IT HAD TOPPLED OVER!  We never slammed on the breaks & we froze our tushes off the entire way FOR THAT CAKE!  Mikka’s response? ‘No biggie – Adam didn’t even know we were having a wedding cake’ – BEST BRIDE EVER!  The groom’s cake was in perfect condition which was her real concern.  The cake came back to our cabin with us (ya know, to hide it from the groom).

Friday, Sam and I headed into town to have breakfast, see the town and enjoy each other.  It all sounds so cheesy but it was so necessary.  We noted that it felt weird not to have Evelyn with us, but it was easy to go back to how it was when it was just us.  {{We’ve still got it.}}  We were even able to get a bit of a hike in before the rehearsal.  Picture perfect day on the beautiful north shore.  Friday night concluded with memorable quotes from Sam including when I tried to tell him there’d be no more wine, he chanted “WINE NOT? WINE NOT?” & “BABY FREE WEEKEND! WINE NOT!?”  He’s adorable.

Superior Hiking Trail

Superior Hiking Trail

superior hiking trail

Saturday was the wedding day & the grey clouds inched their way closer and closer from 9 a.m. – 12.  An outdoor wedding was the goal for the bride & groom and I have to give them credit, the clouds did not falter their determination in any way.  Another goal was to not see one another before the wedding, so when decorations outside began to blow over and the rain turned into what we so enduringly named, Hurricane Green, communications on the game plan were tunneled through a chain of messengers running back and forth with the same message, “whatever Adam wants….” Or “ whatever Mikka wants..”   Adorable.

Hurricane Green

Hurricane Green

The beautiful bride

The beautiful bride

A compromise was made for having the wedding in the reception tent.  I mean it when I say, THIS WEDDING WAS THE MOST BEAUTIFUL WEDDING I’VE EVER WITNESSED.  The love in this tent.  While there were tables blowing over and rolling towards the tent, Mikka & Adam recited their vows to one another in perfect fashion.  Mikka referenced Adam’s love of cars and Adam promised to stand by her no matter what.  Here is where I began to ugly cry:  Mikka’s niece, Louise, had vows to exchange as well.  Mikka & Adam have taken on parental responsibilities of this little angel who adores them.  Mikka vowed, Adam vowed and then Louise recited hers which were filled with requests such as, “all I ask is that you continually encourage me and that we do awesome things together…”  ALL THE UGLY CRYING HAPPENED OVER HERE.  One hand holding the wall of the tent and the other hand wishing I had thought to grab tissue as I blotted my eyes with my shawl.  BEAUTIFUL.

The bride with Jes & I

The bride with Jes & I

Everything from start to finish was so well thought out:

  • Welcome baskets in each cabin filled with snacks, games, activity books, scavenger hunt, sports drinks
  • Pre-wedding appetizers of pickled herring, cheese, crackers & spiked hot cocoa
  • After wedding green drinks (thin mint)
  • The bridesmaids each had a different color which just so happened to be each of our favorite color (mine was teal) – black dresses that we could style multiple ways, paired with shawls, jewelry, ankle ties, make up and nail polish of our color
  • A caricature artist
  • Bloody Mary bar
  • Late night snacks of nachos & wings
  • Candy bar with a chocolate fondue fountain
bridesmaid cup

bridesmaid cup

It was just all so perfect.  Mikka & I need to go into the wedding planning business (right, mikka?) Sam and I had a great weekend and were so happy we could be there to witness such a magical marriage take place.  AND MY PARENTS EVEN DROVE 2 HOURS TO GIVE US A HUG ON SUNDAY (because we needed it). Oh, & Evelyn had a great weekend with her Neena as well (big thanks to Neena – maybe we’ll do this more often?). Such sweet family & friends.

mr. & mrs. green

mr. & mrs. green

Cheers to the newlyweds on the beginning of something truly beautiful.

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4 is the magic number

Swimming with Dolphins in Kaikura, NZ

Private dolphin swim in NZ

…. Four years together and magic is just one of many words to describe all that encompassed them.  I know it’s typically faux pa to acknowledge years together outside of marriage but we’ve earned it and I’m going to celebrate it (*gosh darn it*)!  So my tribute to my loving hubby – happy four years of learning, loving, growing, cheering, cheers-ing, parenting, traveling, adventuring, exploring, trusting and honoring one another.

Four years ago, my best friend Emily and I debated over a beach trip or to visit our friend from high school in Seattle.  It was a toss up, and I’m so happy we decided on Seattle.  Who would’ve ever thought my first words to my husband would be, “nice garden”… Everything from those first moments of meeting you are so fitting to who we are together as a couple; from our first fight over who wore the flower behind their ear first, to me jumping into your jacket with you after the sun escaped, to stubbornly waiting on you to text – four years later and nothing’s changed,…. except everything – and all for the better.

Visited 26 states, 3 countries (soon to be 4), 2 cross country road trips, 6 moves, 8 jobs, 1 dog & 1 baby.

We’ve been through so much during each one of those four years that it’s safe to say, we can roll with just about any scenario life throws at us and there’s no one on God’s green earth that I’d rather tackle the challenges and enjoy the sweet triumphs with.  You’re my best friend and I love you to the moon and back.

Engagement Fun

engagement party fun

the photo that follows us everywhere

the photo that follows us everywhere #hoeppnerwedding

Evelyn's Baby Shower

baby showerin’

Pirate Party in Sydney

arrrrg in OZ

Maternity love

created & packaged with love

xo,

Cortney

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rainy friday

As I drove onto base this morning, the greeting from the friendly guard caught my attention.  The usual greeting is to pull the car up, roll the window down, hand over my CAC ID card where the guard will inspect both sides and mayyyybe say, good morning or thanks – today as I handed my card over, the guard didn’t take it from me to inspect it – he opened his arms wide, glanced at my id and said, “welcome to paradise.”

I loved this.

Not only is today a very gloomy, wet, humid day but it’s also 7:30 a.m., friday and what’s known to be the slowest work day still lies ahead. This guy made my day.

The simple phrase of welcome to paradise has other meaning for me as well because lately, I’ve been extremely homesick for Portland.  There have been many times where I find myself re-convincing me that we made the right move with our decision to move to Maryland, but my goodness – we left a lot behind.

To all my friends back in Pdx, I will always love daydreaming over your constant streams of goodness from the PAC NW.  Recently, two of my jet setting friends headed north to the Olympic peninsula and posted photos from the lodge and beach where Sam proposed.  They had no idea that was where he had done it and likewise, they fell in love with the landscape and scenery as well.  That’s the thing about the PAC NW, there are so many places that make you feel like you discovered it – or that you are capturing some of the most awe-inspiring, breathtaking sites – that no one could ever take that moment or feeling away from you – but so many others share in the exact same feeling just at a different moment in time.  When I see these photos, they take me back to my moment and thus, am thankful for my time there but makes me miss it terribly.  Those moments take you out of whatever reality you may be living in if only just for a moment.  Those moments kept me thriving in Portland. I could walk away from a stressful work week – be on the beach staring out at Haystack rock or driftwood on Ruby Beach – and in those moments all the little issues were insignificant.  The PAC NW, for the better part of 4 years, has been our paradise.

Our thing has always been weekend escapes or short day trips to wine country, to hikes, to camping, to stick our toes in the ocean to whatever.  It’s been five months since we’ve done anything like that; where ordinarily, it would never go more than 3 weeks without some sort of adventure.  We need an adventure. (yes, the past five months have been more than a fair share of an adventure, but we need an us adventure – if that makes sense).  It’s time to make Maryland our paradise.

So this morning, my lovely and unexpected welcome into work has inspired me to finally stop moping about missing Portland and to do something proactive about it by planning several cheap, nearby, unknown day trips to discover.  If anyone has any suggestions – throw them our way.

Wishing you all your little oasis of paradise today & if you’re with us on the East coast, stay dry!