Sunday, July 31, 2011

Help Me Help YOU!!

i am taking a break from mowing the grass. i was supposed to do this much earlier in the week, but since we are having both a drought and a heat wave, the grass has not been growing who wants to mow the grass when it is 88 degrees out at 7:40 pm on sunday?? yep...that is really what it is here...that is hotter than hot for ohio!!

anyway, i know that there are so many of you that have been praying for me and for peter...thank you! the last few days have been so much better since my last post and i am sure that has a lot to do with you praying for me! over the next few days/weeks i am going to have some time to spend reflecting and praying and i would love to be praying for y'all! i know that there is a lot going on in everyone's lives and i would love to be praying for those things with you!

feel free to email me, facebook message me, or comment here on the blog. i hope that you all have a great week! thank you, again, for praying with me and for y'all!

Matthew 18:19-20 "Again, I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything you ask for, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven. For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them."

blessings, ALo

Thursday, July 28, 2011


...i need some prayer! i feel so stressed out! i know that in a few weeks everything will be fine, but right now i just feel so overwhelmed. i hate complaining...i also hate feeling like i am not in control. heard this before? probably! i am not sure why i am so bad and just letting God do His thing...just trusting that He knows what He is doing. its one of those things for me that my head and my heart war about what is "true".

i know that we are following what God has for our family right now. i know that everything will work out. today, i didnt "feel" like that. we had to have our house inspected a few weeks ago for the relocation company. we are so blessed that peter is now working for a fabulous company that is helping make the move process so much just takes a while for the relocation people (hired by cameron, peter's new employers) to get back to us about things. so, after a certain point, the company will buy our ohio home from us if we dont sell it, but that means that we have to meet all the standards or the offer is null and void. our inspections came back with a few things that needed to be "fixed" or changed (ie. the garage door sensor, a little tlc for the AC unit). the only big problem was a potential mold issue in the crawl space. well, after more testing and inspection, there really is mold in the crawl space and it seems to be a larger problem than we thought and/or needed. ugh!!! i have a feeling this is not good and could be very costly! our sweet friends, jon and lindsey, have been helping me get people out to the house to do the jobs, but i really hate that peter is not here to help me! i have a feeling that some of these guys will try to take me for all i am worth...especially on the mold. please pray that all the work can be done in a timely manner and without too much cost. please pray that there are no other issues that come up!!

we have a good friend in houston that is allowing us to live in with him in houston, for free! i mean, we are helping with things around his house, but he is not expecting anything. he is one of peter's best friends and they are loving the bachelor life, especially without me there! until our house in ohio sells, we will be staying with adam. while that is fine for a while, i will be more than ready to settle into a routine in my own home. please pray that we sell the house in ohio, sooner rather than later, so that we can really start looking for a new place to live in houston. please pray that peter does not get too used not having me there :)

the packers (yes, the company pays for people to come pack boxes...awesome!) come monday and the truck comes wednesday (one day later than planned, but that is ok). this gives me serious anxiety! not because i dont trust them to pack, but because this all seems to be happening so fast! i am feeling very emotional about leaving ohio and saying good bye. i dont want to be dealing with house issues during my last few days here...i want to be doing fun parties, lunches, home hair, shopping, etc. please pray that i do not get discouraged and that i will make the best of my time with my friends! please pray that i am able to keep my emotions in check...reign it in!

last thing...first off...the family reunion was a blast! sorry i dont have any photos. :( i did a horrible job of taking pics. we had so much fun just hanging out, playing games, and celebrating my grandparents' 60th anniversary. everything went off without a hitch, except for the hot air balloon ride saturday rained :(. maybe next time! so, if you read a few posts back, you know that peter and i have been trying to have another baby. i have tried very hard not to get discouraged and know that things will happen when they are supposed to. so...i have always been very regular (sorry if that is t.m.i). i have never been late, other than when i found out i was pregnant with Charlotte. i was supposed to start my period last wednesday and when that didnt happen, i got very excited! well, after three days i was super pumped, but was still getting negatives on the tests. then on saturday afternoon my period came. i was feeling every bad emotion in the book. i am sure that my body got messed up from all the stress and change in schedule in our lives, but i still dont understand. like i said, i know that God is in control and that He has a plan, but i was really upset, especially knowing i was saying good bye to peter the next day for several weeks. after plenty of tears and some hugs from my awesome hubby and my mom (who totally understands, unfortunately) i went out and enjoyed time with extended family. please pray that i will not feel like a failure when things do not go according to my plan. please pray that i do not let jealousy creep in. please pray that peter and i can keep good communication going while we are apart, off and on, for the next month and a half.

i know that you guys love me and pray for me!! thank you! i know that there are so many bright days ahead for us. tonight, i am going to take some time to thank God for all the things that He is blessing me and peter with...even on days i feel a little discouraged.

blessings, ALo

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Let the REBELLION begin

...or in other words, our family reunion! :) every year my mom's side of the family has a long weekend reunion. the past few years it has taken place over the third weekend of july and is ususally hosted or planned by a member of the family. last year we spent our time in park city, utah and the week's events were planned by my cousin drew and his wife abby. by the end of the trip i had somehow been volunteered/offered to plan the next year's trip. :) so, i got right on it and started planning a trip for the outer banks of the you know how hot it is in july in the carolinas? UGH!!! so, after a few months, and my mimi's suggestion to stay away from the heat and bugs, it was decided to have the annual Miller Rebellion at gull lake in richland, mi. gull lake has been a part of our family summers since my mimi was growing up. now days there are quite a few of us that get together...mimi and boppa have 4 kids (mike, cindy, sara-aka mom, and sally), a daughter-in-law (pam), 2 son-in-laws (craig and bill), 16 grandkids (amanda, luke, cj, jordan, drew, dusty, me, jonathan, grant, olivia, nate, beau, brett, alexandra, ashlyn, alyson), 9 grandkind-in-laws (joe-almost, paige, autumn, abby, aj, peter, whitney, brian, kristen), and 4 great grand kids (tucker, kayla, carter and zoe) with 2 more on the way. this year, because of being in ohio and all that peter and i have been going through the last few months, i have planned this to be a pretty low key week. my mom has played a HUGE part in planning this weeks events with some help from my aunt pam too. just so we know, this would not have even begun to happen without my mom taking initiative!! so, thanks for getting us this far mom!! ok, so we didnt go to the beach because it is the end of july and usually so hot, but michigan summers are just plain perfect...until this week! of course it is going to be the hottest week michigan has seen in over 30 years! i think it is probably that way all over the country, but i cant help to take it personally...not really, but you know what i mean :) we have changed a few of our events during the rebellion so that someone doesnt end up in the hospital...speaking of that...please be praying for my uncle wild bill. he had to have an emergency appendectomy TODAY. we are glad that he and aunt sally figured out what was going on before it was too late, but selfishly i am hoping that he makes a very quick recovery so that he can come hang out...i wont even make him play any games...just come and sit in the pool or the lake! :) anyway, this is going to be so fun, even if all we do is sit inside the house with the air conditioning blowing! :) this week will be loaded with some serious family time, games and team competitions, spa appointments, boat rides, swimming and hot air balloon rides (!!!). but the big event is on saturday when we will be celebrating my grandparents 60th wedding anniversary!!!! there will be over 100 people here...all family from both near and far...all because of the life and love of my grandparents. if it werent for them, my life would be so different. i am more than blessed to have them and i cant wait to celebrate...even in the heat! i can only hope to spend 60 years with my best friend. it is so awesome to watch my grandparents interact with each other and share their lives together after so many years!

 look for pictures from this week after i have recovered on sunday :)

love on your family this week!!

blessings, ALo

ps. cj and autumn, jordan, and ashlyn...i will miss having you guys here!! know that you are all loved and thought of even if you cant be here this week! so glad that you are all following what God has for you in your lives...keep going strong!!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

My Shadow

I have been missing Charlotte today...not that i dont think about her everyday, but today i really miss her. this morning, peter and i went around to a few places with a realtor and i just kept thinking about how i would have decorated Charlotte's new room if she were moving with us. i love to think about decorating, and now with my new obsession over pinterest things get crazy!! :) anyway, i have come to realize that grief is kinda like a shadow. sometimes the shadow is very close to me...right up next to me, sometimes i can hardly tell the difference between what is real and what is shadow. other times, the shadow is farther away, stretched out and not so easy to make out. my (new) friend nikki and i were just talking about this the other day. the thing with shadows is you never know from day to day what you are going to have...just like grief. some days i feel pretty "normal" and i dont "see" the shadow of grief as much and other days i know as soon as i get up that my shadow is following very closely...i can almost "feel" it. that is me today. i didnt do anything differently...maybe it just has to do with having some extra time to myself this morning. i spent some time in prayer this morning, just trying to prepare for all that we had going on. i guess i need to start praying about how to emotionally and mentally deal with all that goes into a cross country move while still missing and grieving my Charlotte.

dr. cook (aka papa c), one of my favorite cedarville professors, sent me a really great article through e-mail yesterday. he told me that he read it and thought of me...i was more than touched! its not too long, but if you are in a hurry, read it when you have time to sit and think it over...dont just rush through it. definitely worth reading though!! thanks, dr. c., for thinking of ya!!

Two Minutes to Eternity
Why would God allow the miracle of birth to be followed so quickly by the mystery of death?
Marshall Shelley
Monday, July 11, 2011
I was with my son his entire life. Two minutes.
He entered the world of light and air at 8:20 p.m. on November 22, 1991. And he departed, the doctor said, at 8:22.
It seemed a very short time. Too short. My wife, Susan, and I never got to see him take his first steps. We barely got to see him take his first breath.
I don't know if he would have enjoyed softball or software, dinosaurs or dragonflies, machines or math. We never got to wrestle, race, or read—would he have enjoyed those things like his older sisters do? What would have made him laugh? Made him scared? Made him angry?
Those questions swarmed around my soul in the days following my son's arrival and all-too-hurried departure. So many things I wondered. But one question loomed larger than all the rest, haunting me for months: Why would God create a child to live two minutes?
Many tragic deaths can be blamed on human cruelty or foolishness. A stray bullet punctures a tenement wall and kills an infant. A driver loses control of a car and careens into a group of schoolchildren on the sidewalk. Senseless. Heartbreaking. But at least I know where to direct my anger.
With my son, no direct human responsibility could be charged in his death. It was a "chromosomal abnormality" called Trisomy 13. One of the 23 sets of chromosomes developed a third appendage. Despite genetic tests and the expert opinions of doctors, we discovered no known cause for this condition.
As far as I was concerned, this was a design flaw. And the Designer was directly responsible.
I remember the first time I heard the term "Trisomy 13." It was the same hour I first saw my son—as ghostly black-white-and-gray movements on the sonogram screen. In silence, Susan and I watched the embryonic motions as Dr. Silver manipulated the ultrasound, measuring the cranium and the femur and viewing the internal organs.
"Is everything okay?" I asked.
"Let me complete the examination, and I'll give you a full report," he said. I noted his evasive answer and hoped this was merely his standard procedure.
Moments later, he announced his observations in a matter-of-fact voice: "We have some problems. The fetus has a malformed heart—the aorta is attached incorrectly. There are missing portions of the cerebellum. A club foot. A cleft palate and perhaps a cleft lip. Possibly spina bifida. This is probably a case of Trisomy 13 or Trisomy 18. In either case, it is a condition incompatible with life."
Neither Susan nor I could say anything. So Dr. Silver continued.
"It's likely the fetus will spontaneously miscarry. If the child is born, it will not survive long outside the womb. You need to decide if you want to try to carry this pregnancy to term."
We both knew what he was asking. I was speechless. Susan found her voice first. Though shaken by the news, she said softly but clearly, "We believe God is the giver and taker of life. If the only opportunity I have to know this child is in my womb, I don't want to cut that time short. If the only world he is to know is the womb, I want that world to be as safe as I can make it."
We left the medical center that July afternoon stunned and saddened.
"Pregnancy is hard enough when you know you're going to leave the hospital with a baby," Susan said. "I don't know how I can go through the pain of childbirth knowing I won't have a child to hold."
Signs of the Pneuma
Summer turned to fall, and we were praying that our son would be healed. And if a long life were not God's intention for him, we prayed that he could at least experience the breath of life. We longed see that reminder of God's Spirit, the Pneuma, flow through him like a gentle wind.
Even that request seemed in jeopardy as labor began November 22. As the contractions got more severe, signs of fetal distress caused the nurses to ask, "Should we try to deliver the baby alive?"
"Yes, if at all possible, short of surgery," Susan replied.
They kept repositioning Susan and gave her oxygen, and the fetal distress eased.
And then suddenly the baby was out. The doctor cut the cord and gently placed him on Susan's chest. He was a healthy pink, and we saw his chest rise and fall. The breath of life. Thank you, God.
Then, almost immediately, he began to turn blue. We stroked his face and whispered words of welcome, of love, of farewell. And all too soon the doctor said, "He's gone."
Within minutes, our pastor, our parents, and our children came into the room. Together we wept, held one another, and took turns holding our son. My chest ached from heaviness. Death is enormous, immense, unstoppable.
The loss was crushing, but mingled with the tears and the terrible pain was something else. I'm not sure I can describe it.
At the births of my three older daughters, I'd felt "the miracle of birth," that sacred moment when a new life enters the world of light and air. The pneuma, the breath of life, fills the lungs for the first time. Now this moment was doubly intense because the miracle of birth was followed so quickly by the mystery of death. The pneuma was here and now gone.
"It feels like eternity just intersected earth" was all I could say to our pastor. The pain of grief was diminished not at all, but it blended with the weight of overwhelming wonder at the irresistible movement from time to eternity.
"Do you have a name for the baby?" asked one of the nurses.
"Toby," Susan said. "It's short for a biblical name, Tobiah, which means 'God is good.' "
We had long thought about the name for this child. We didn't particularly feel God's goodness at that moment. The name was what we believed, not what we felt. It was what we wanted to feel again someday.
The words of C.S. Lewis, describing the lion Aslan, kept coming to mind: "He's not a tame lion. But he's good." We clung to that image of untamed and fearsome goodness, even as we continued to struggle with the question: Why would God create a child to live two minutes?
Everything has an inside
Shortly before we discovered Toby's condition, I read a book by Christopher de Vinck, The Power of the Powerless, in which he describes what he learned from his severely and profoundly retarded brother, Oliver.
I was interested because our third daughter, Mandy, was also severely retarded, unable to respond to her environment. And just three months after Toby's birth and death, Mandy also entered eternity. She was two weeks shy of her second birthday. One of the points de Vinck made about Oliver helped me with the God-directed questions I had after Toby's birth and death.
One of the greatest discoveries that a child or an adult can make, writes de Vinck, is that "everything has an inside. In our house, we split apples to look at the core, we crack walnuts to see the meat inside, we press a toy stethoscope to our chests to listen to the heartbeat."
The point: you can't always guess what's on the inside by looking at the outside.
The Bible says that "Man looks on the outward appearance, but God looks on the heart." That was true then. It's true now. We're so outer focused. We're taught to judge people by the stylishness of their clothing labels. Political campaigns are crafted by scriptwriters, TV directors, and pollsters. Educational policies are based on appearances of political correctness. We're tempted to believe that image is everything, that outward appearances are most important. We ignore the inside, the heart, the spirit.
Each of my children also has an inside. With my two older girls, I get occasional glimpses of their interior life. Their words and actions give me clues about their inner worlds. With Mandy, the glass was darker. And with Toby, we never had a chance to see inside.
But Mandy and Toby both had insides. Despite the damage to the outer frame, the inside is to be treasured.
Our unearthly calling
Not long after we buried Toby and Mandy, our seven-year-old daughter, Stacey, told us she heard God's voice in the middle of the night telling her that "Mandy and Toby are very busy. They are building our house, and they are guarding his throne."
Not knowing how to respond to a child who had never offered a claim like that before, I found myself reading the Bible with renewed interest in descriptions of heavenly activities. Was this message consistent with Scripture? Our family discussions usually focused on heaven.
We saw that heaven is a place of activity, not just leisure or ease. God is preparing a city for the faithful (Heb. 11:16), where all will be made perfect and complete (Heb. 11:40). The Bible contains many descriptions of heavenly worship as active and intense.
And since Jesus said that in his Father's house are "many mansions" and he was going to prepare a place for us (John 14), we could easily envision part of our heavenly activity being to help prepare for those yet to arrive.
I must admit, however, that I was more intrigued by the image of guarding Christ's throne. Was this an honor guard? A ceremonial assemblage of children, whom Christ on earth had invited to be near him? Or perhaps seats of honor for those Christ had in mind when he said, "The last shall be first"? I can't think of many more "last" than Mandy and Toby.
But what if guarding the throne isn't ceremonial but actual? Daniel 10 describes the angel Michael in conflict with a spiritual foe. Ephesians 6:12 describes a struggle "against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms." Could it be that among the spiritual warriors in this conflict is one named Toby?
The Book of Revelation records battles involving heavenly armies (Rev. 19:19). Could it be that along with countless others of us, Toby will serve among the heavenly hosts in that final great war?
All of this, of course, is conjecture. But what is clear is that heaven will be a place of active duty.
And when the ultimate spiritual battle is over, our responsibilities continue.
The apostle John's vision of eternity suggests what's in store for all the saints: "The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in the city, and his servants will serve him. They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads …. And they will reign forever and ever" (Rev. 22:3-5).
I don't know exactly what our service in that city will involve, nor can I be specific about how we will assist in reigning. But those tasks sound like they may have a bit more significance than most careers we pursue in our current lifetime.
Could it be that when I finally start the most significant service of my life, I'll find that this is what I was truly created for? I may find that the reason I was created was not for anything I accomplish on earth, but the role I'm to fulfill forever.
I realized that my earlier question had been answered.
Why did God create a child to live two minutes?
He didn't.
He didn't create Toby to live two minutes or Mandy to live two years. He didn't create me to live 40 years (or whatever number he may choose to extend my days in this world).
God created Toby for eternity. He created each of us for eternity, where we may be surprised to find our true calling, which always seemed just out of reach here on earth.

this is a poster/picture i found on pinterest...i think it is totally appropriate for me today :)

blessings, ALo

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Sandra and Matthew

well, peter and i survived the drive from jamestown (ohio) to houston (texas)!! we went through parts of 5 different states...ohio, kentucky, tennessee, arkansas, and texas. we sat in the car for almost 19 hours and we had some really great conversations. of course, my favorite conversations revolved around MASH. yep, the middle school game of future predictions! :) so, first off, peter wanted NOTHING to do with this game! lol!! i had decided at the beginning that we would play "celebrity mash" so that he didnt have to feel too uncomfortable about naming girls we wants to "marry" :) well, he still couldnt come up with names so he made me go first. it was hilarious! here is what was on my paper...mind you, i came up with the first two things and peter had to come up with the third bad one.
husbands: matthew mcconaughey (bc he is a good ole southern boy, and totally good looking), adam sandler (bc he is hilarious and would make me laugh daily), or gary busey (thanks, peter...gross!).
honeymoon locations: tahiti, alaska, or afghanistan.
hometown: malibu, park city, or detroit.
cars to drive: mercedes sl550 (my mimi's), mercedes s550 (my boppa's) or toyota yaris (real get up and go kinda car...).
wedding colors: grey, navy or plaid. my dream job: party planner, pro traveler, or landscaper (ps. i hate to sweat!).
perfect pet: fish, dog, or a squirrel.
husband's job: stay at home comedian, writer, or night road paver.
number of kids: 2, 4, or 0. is my future...i am going to marry matthew, we are going to live in a shack in park city, utah and have medium wealth. we will go to afghanistan on our honeymoon. our wedding will feature a grey color scheme. i will be a party planner driving a mercedes sl550 and matthew will be a stay at home comedian. we will have a fish but no kids.

here is peter's future: he is going to marry sandra bullock (his choices also included p!nk and rosie odonell). they will live in a house in jamestown, ohio and have medium wealth. they will go to alaska on their honeymoon after their camo themed wedding. peter will be a full time nanny and drive a '63 corvette. sandra will be a fashion designer. they will have a pet llama and have 17 children. WOW!

this literally gave us so many laughs on the drive! the only bad part of the entire 18+ hour drive? i got pulled over :( thankfully the officer let me off with a warning! peter and i were both a little perplexed about the whole situation, but in the end it was fine...i really tried not to get too riled up!

thanks for all the prayers...peter and i can feel them comin! there are still a lot of overwhelming things to happen, but we seem to be doing well and communicating great with each other. we know that we are right where God wants us to be, so we are just riding this wave! we have started our "see ya laters" which really stinks. i am not good at those and i get serious anxiety thinking about leaving...but again we have so much peace about houston and the new job, so its all good.

tomorrow we are going on a house hunting trip, so i will let you know how that goes. just pray that we agree on what we think would be best for our family. we are not in a hurry to buy, but just want to take advantage of our time here. so, i guess its for sure...houston is our new stompin' grounds! :)

blessings, ALo

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Tis the Season

for weddings!!! i love weddings. i love everything about weddings. i love doing hair for weddings. in fact, i have done hair for 3 weddings in just one week! i love to do hair, anytime and anywhere and i love weddings...BUT...brides make me sooo nervous! i make sure that we do a trial run before hand so that i am not walking in blind and unsure of what i am up against, but that doesnt always mean much. i get so nervous because i know how special the day is for the bride. i know they want to look their absolute best all day, not just for pictures. i have been doing hair for over 3 years (not long in comparison to some) and i feel like i have seen all types of brides, but this week i was soooo blessed that each of the girls were super laid back!! is it weird that those girls make me even more nervous? i mean, the pushy/crazy ones will always speak up and tell me what they really think, but the "laid back" ones may let things slide and just say "oh well, this will work." let's not forget to mention that i am a serious freak about hair...especially brides' hair and how pins show...does not always go well with nerves! :)

last saturday i was a part of amy's wedding in grand rapids. she is a cousin of my cousin abby. when i did amy's trial run, she came to my mom's house and we had quite the audience...something that i am sure did not make her super comfortable, but she was a real trooper. she wanted to look a lot like she normal would, just a little more dressed up. love it...thats what i wanted too! :) the only thing we didnt practice was the veil, but we knew we had scheduled plenty of time the day of in case of a snafu. of course that is what happened that day! i, for the life of me, could not get her veil the way i wanted it to look! amy was so patient and in the end it was perfect...she was a glowing bride, so excited to marry her now hubby!! i also did hair for 4 of her bridesmaids and stayed for touch-ups after pictures...sure was a beautiful day for a wedding!!!

before the freak out on the veil
at the reception...after the veil was taken off.
thursday after amy's wedding i did my sister's (olivia) hair for her wedding. we didnt do a trial run for her wedding because it was planned so quickly, but it wouldn't have mattered anyway. i boss her around all the time and thursday was no different. i told her to sit down and let me do what i wanted to :) she didnt argue. i did let her think she had a say, but we all know she really didnt! :) liv has been growing her hair out and i had toyed with leaving it down, but the day of the wedding was very humid after the rain and i knew that the curls would not stay, up it went! she looked great...pretty grown up! like my grandma said that day, Olivia sure did clean up nice!

the last wedding of the week was for my sweet friend aubree. aubs and ty got married july 3 in canton, ohio. it was super warm out but so pretty! aubs and i had set up a schedule to stay on track the week before the wedding...schedule started at 9:15 am and we finished at 1:45 pm. my hands were pretty well coated in hairspray, but i loved every minute of it!! back in early may (i think) aubree and i did her trail run...this is what it looked like...
soft swept

curls and texture low and centered in back.

we knew that there would be a flower pin added, but other than that, we were both happy with it. well, this not at all what we did sunday! :) when i walked into the hotel aubs told me she wanted to change it up. not going to lie, i had an internal freak out moment! then she showed me the pic and i really freaked out!! not because it was a bad pic, but i for real didnt think i could do it...mostly because we didnt have extensions to work with. in the end it was of my favorite bride hairstyles i have done in a while! thanks for shaking it up, aubs! when we were finished i thought it was smooth sailing for the last two bridesmaids...thanks tara for proving me wrong! :) talk about the heaviest and silkiest hair!! good thing i like you enough not to just shave your head!!!

braid on each side. curls low and off the side

some of the back

our group of friends at the wedding. so fun!!!

so, moving to houston will put an end to my home hair days for a while, which is sad! hopefully i will make friends fast with people who need a new stylist!! :) by the way things are going well on the move front after talking with a relocation company...guess we are really moving!!

blessings, ALo

ps. if i stole your pic for this post...thanks! :)

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Hitched! little sis is a married woman! it was a whirlwind of a trip for me, but sooooo worth it!

kayla and i spent a few days in ohio together, which was so fun! we went shopping at the outlet mall...she picked out an adorable outfit from j.crew and we picked up a bouquet of silk peonies from pottery barn for liv. she cheered for uncle petey, uncle grant and me at our softball worked, we won! i am pretty sure she colored at least 15 pictures, and ate way too much sugar!! we also went to a really cool park that had a splash area. she even suffered through a little home hair. :) i wish i had a few more pictures, but we all know how great i am at taking pics...not!  so here are a few...
our last night, we realized we didnt have any pics!

kayla looks like her mom here...she wanted a silly face.

this was supposed to be a creepy pic...mine is creepy bc i can stick my tongue up my nostril

in the parking lot when i dropped kayla off

kinda matching shades

her cute new outfit.

 thursday afternoon (after i dropped kayla off) i spent some time with my mom in her pool. it was awesome, except that my little bro kept trying to hit me with "pool golf balls"...not funny, nate! anyway...we got ready and made the drive to coopersville (a little over an hour away) to help miss o get ready for her big night! when we got to brian's (the fiance) parents house, mom and i could tell liv was a little anxious...i totally remember those pre-wedding jitters!!! i tried to joke and laugh, and she played along pretty well. the wedding was set to start at 6:30, by 6:15 olivia was a beautiful bride ready to go! we were all so thankful that the rain had stopped and that everything would happen just as they had hoped! olivia was so pretty (and it had nothing to do with her hair and make-up)!! you could tell that she was so excited to be marrying brian! i think that he was just as excited too. my uncle roger performed the ceremony, which was so great! the ceremony took place on what used to be a baseball field, right on home plate, actually. uncle roger referenced the movie A Field of Dreams (such a good one!). he said that just like in the movie, this day could be the start of olivia and brian's dream life. if they follow their hearts together, they will be blessed. not gunna lie, i got choked up! liv has been through a lot in the last 2 years and i am so excited to see all that God has in store for olivia, brian, and zoe as a family!! uncle roger also encouraged all of us in attendance to pray for and encourage this new family of three to follow their dreams. after the short and totally sweet ceremony, there was a cake and beverages while we all mingled. leave it to my sister to pick an awesome cake...girl after my own heart! one of brain's cousins is a photographer so hopefully there will be some good pics...again, i didnt take very many...i was a little distracted! after mingling and before it rained again, we said goodbye and everyone from "our side" went to dinner down the street. i think the place was a little overwhelmed when a group of 21 walked in with no warning...thats us! :) in all, everything was so great! everything was planned and carried out in a matter of 4 days...litterally! last sunday, brian and liv decided to forego a big wedding for a simple ceremony (and the cash!). they will have a party in august when brian's brother can come from alaska...but this was a great way for them to do things!! i was so excited that i could be there and be a part of my little sister's big day... even down to being there when she picked out her wedding dress (and much more!) which was so fun for both my mom and me!

liv, i am so excited for you and for brian and for zoe! i am so glad that brian loves you from who you are...the real you! i think it is more than awesome that zoe is a priority in brian's life! it was so clear to me, while watching you both say your vows, how much love you have for each other. i will always be here, cheering you on as you grow as a wife, helpmate, and friend to brian. i will be here if you need advice or to chuckle about weird things that boys do! i will pray that God continues to strengthen you personally, as a couple, and as parents. thank you for letting me be a part of your special day. i love you, livvy!! xoxo

here are a few of the pics...sorry i dont have more!

getting ready...

mimi (mom), zoe and liv just before the ceremony

dad and liv walkin the plank :)

sweetie zoe...the best baby ever! 


exchanging rings

love little zoe so much!!

blessings, ALo