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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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holiday shuffle

If you’re like us and live away from family (one side or both) you know that time to decide and plan for where to spend your holidays is rapidly approaching. Air fare will only start to sky rocket from here which warrants the conversation, whose family are we spending Christmas with this year?

Sam and I have spent four holidays together, coming up on our fifth. The first year, I flew out to visit him and his family the day after Christmas, the second year, we both went separate directions and the third year, we agreed on an alternating schedule with my family one year and his next. The third year was spent in Wisconsin with my family. The fourth year was spent in Portland welcoming and adjusting to life with our little three week old, miss e. Due to her young age, we didn’t want to expose her to chaotic airports, flu infested recycled air on the plane (and truthfully the passing her around to all of the new baby hungry family members as she was so new to us and we wanted to study her every move and didn’t want to share quite yet) we decided stayed at our home and invited family to us. His mom and my parents both came out at separate times. Our fifth Christmas, in keeping with the promised schedule, will technically have us with his family for the holidays.

Evy's first ugly sweater party - in a stocking

Evy’s first ugly sweater party – in a stocking

Here’s the debate – we made this agreement when we lived away from both sides of the family and were in Portland, OR. Now that we’ve moved within 5 minutes from his mom, his cousin, his aunt, his grandma and within 30 minutes from his other two uncles – we get to see them and celebrate with them for every other holiday (including Easter, memorial day, labor day, all birthdays, presidents day (if we wanted to), etc.). Is it fair to request that we start a tradition with the weekend before Christmas celebration with his family in Baltimore and make the trip to Wisconsin for Christmas Eve and Christmas day as an annual occurrence (if we can afford it)? We’d spend every thanksgiving and every one of Evelyn’s birthdays in Baltimore with his family but we could give Christmas to my side of the family as a semi-even trade. Is it really a fair trade though? At some point, we will most likely start our own non-traveling holiday plans but for now, traveling is in our plans. With this debate, it should be noted that I absolutely love celebrating every large and small event with his family but yes, I am a little biased as I miss my family and my nieces every single day.

Sam so generously agreed for us to celebrate the holidays in Wisconsin this year, but the debate of future rotations is still up in the air. How do you and your family decide how to spend your holidays or personal celebrations between two families?

Honest opinions and suggestions welcomed.

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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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fear of flying

American Airline Flight to TX

Never in my life have I had a fear of flying. Ask anyone- I would hop on any plane, to any destination at any moment if given the chance. I love to travel. Turns out that once you pop a baby out, that changes (slightly).
I’m on my way to Texas for a work trip and while it’s always difficult leaving behind my hubby and baby, the recent happenings with airlines make it more than difficult: fearful. Two weeks ago there was the Asiana flight which landed short of the run way and then just days ago was the Southwest flight whose front wheels collapsed upon landing. Yikes.
I’m trying to be an optimist and put my big girl panties on, but these events do leave room to wonder – what if I’m on one of those unlucky flights? I don’t have a will put in place. Sam and I avoid the what-if conversations because… because! Is it time to change our ways and be prepared for any situation or does that lend itself to foreshadowing events to come?
Regardless, I use to sit on flights and anxiously await the adventures that lie ahead at my destination. Now I sit on flights reflecting on how happy I am at this point in my life and anxiously await the adventures that lie ahead back home! Don’t get me wrong, if my family were traveling with me, I’d be excited for my destination and the adventures to come but this trip – without my baby and without my better half – leaves me in need of a plan – because life is unpredictable and just a tad bit scary.

Anyone else had this sudden shift from comfort of flying to fear of flying?