Tuesday, August 20, 2013

A Wedding at the Barn

At the end of July, we traveled to Iowa for my older brother's wedding. He and his fiance had planned an intimate wedding weekend in picturesque northeast Iowa. It was fun to get to spend a whole weekend together and being that it was a small wedding, a lot of the stress of weddings and receptions was left out.

We all stayed together at The Barn on the Bluff in Elkader, Iowa. The setting was gorgeous! The barn is set up well for groups to come and spend time together. The kids immediately loved it there since the barn itself is lots of fun and there were cows in the pasture down the lane. The matron of honor's two little girls, Millie and Alice, were great playmates for the weekend.

The Barn on the Bluff
Our view for the weekend...so peaceful.
Looking at the cows.

A huge cow pillow was a favorite spot to play.
Levi and Lillian with flower girl, Millie.
"Ride 'em, cowgirl!" Lillian loved the rocking horse.

Steffoni swinging with Millie, Alice, and Lillian

Nathan with Millie and Lillian

My mom made beautiful flower arrangements that were placed throughout the barn.

The couple before the rehearsal

Early Saturday morning, we woke up and started getting ready for a very special day. Nathan and Steffoni had planned a ceremony full of love, meaning, and family. I was honored to be a part of it.

A display of family wedding photos

The bride and groom before the ceremony.

Levi and Lillian waiting for the wedding to begin.
"This is Happening" was a phrase coined by Levi that became a funny theme to the wedding.

The ring bearer in action.

The ceremony
Officiated by John

The ladies
I enjoyed getting to know Erin, Steffoni's friend from AZ.

Our whole family

Wedding cakes made by Steffoni's aunt (on right) and me (on left). Both made with favorite family recipes.

What's more, we were able to spend real quality time with the bride and groom, and other people who are so important in their lives.

The whole gang

Thank you to all the family members who shared their pictures with me. 

Monday, August 19, 2013

Packing in Some Fun

Our summer is kind of winding down, as John headed back to school today. However, we took advantage of one last week together to have some fun.

Levi saw his first movie in a theater-"Planes". He has been a big fan of "Cars" for the past few years and was over-the-top excited at the prospect of a new movie with planes in. We promised him a trip to the theater when it arrived at the end of the summer. In the past few months he has told family, friends, and complete strangers that he was going to get to see "Planes" in the movie theater at the end of the summer. He loved it!

A summer wouldn't be complete without a visit to the Chicago Botanic Gardens. This time we all went into the Train Garden. I think we all could have spent a whole day looking at the model trains make their way through the mini-landscapes.

Feeding the ducks

Levi took this shot in the waterfall garden.
It's been a little cooler lately-a sure sign that fall is on its way. However, it warmed up this weekend so we headed to the beach with John's parents and a few friends. Splashing, building in the sand, some canoeing, and, of course, fishing.
Lillian's first fish
The weather forecast for this week looks hot and steamy-perfect for more summer fun. We still have a few more weeks until Levi starts preschool.