One Day at a Time

Hi there!  Remember me?  I know, it’s been months…I’ve missed you!  Life somehow has gotten in the way lately, and blogging has had to go to the back burner.  Or maybe off the stove completely.  I’m so humbled by those of you who have reached out to me….I don’t even know you, and you were worried about where I’d gone!  I’m still here…hanging on by a thread sometimes, but here.

I’d love to blame it on Flowertown Festival.  But in reality, I was super prepared this year, and did very little last-minute prep (usually I’m up late the whole month before doing last-minute inventory).  The festival weekend was beautiful and successful…and after a few rainy and slow years, it made me appreciate my crafty side of life again!  So…. if Flowertown isn’t why I went M.I.A……what happened?!?!In a nutshell, life has exploded.  I started working part-time for our church.  Y’all.  We LOVE our church.  Our faith has grown so much since becoming members, we’ve made an incredible tribe of friends and our kiddos are loving learning more and more about Jesus every day.  We found our place once we got involved.  Dave helps out with all things technology-wise and has an awesome group of Godly men that he meets with weekly.  And I have been helping out with curriculum and weekly logistics for the church’s kiddos for about 5 years now.  So I feel incredibly blessed to know officially be on staff and be even more involved with our church community.  They are doing great things in our little corner of the world, from feeding hundreds of people each week from our food truck to building an actual church building to allow more people to worship with us and learn about Christ.  And our kids’ ministry has exploded with over 100 kiddos in our program every. single. week.  Crazy!  And so exciting!The staff I work with is just incredible.  I’ve never been around such a creative, hilarious and Godly group of people…and I have the privilege of hanging out with them for a few hours each week.  I love my new job.  However, life with me working even for a few hours outside of the home each week has been a transition.  The hours I normally spent blogging and sewing have been re-dedicated to church stuff and meetings, so I’m learning how to structure my days….again.And let me tell ya, life didn’t slow down any to accommodate any of these changes.  Lincoln is a full-blown preschooler now {where did my chill toddler go?!?!}…with his own opinions on everything and a vocabulary that has exploded.  His little “certainly” and “you bet I am” quips keep me in stitches.  He runs, jumps, and climbs on everything he possibly can, but  doesn’t hesitate to pause for a snuggle.  The day before Easter he fell at the farm and busted his head open.  5 hours in the ER and 6 stitches and 8 staples later, he was a miniature Frankenstein….but back to his old self.  A week later, he got everything taken out and you’d never know about the gray hairs he caused me that week!Millie is finishing up kindergarten, and has absolutely blown me away with her reading skills.  This second half of the year something must have clicked because she has turned into quite the bookworm!  She pretty much has two modes…..dramatic and hilarious.  Everything is a big deal and possibly the end of the world.  So, she might as well talk in funny voices and do silly dances!  She is rounding out her school year with the first of many sleepovers and the start of gymnastics at the YMCA.Jayna blew through second grade this year…acing everything on her report card.  She was one of literally a handful of kids in her school that tested into the Gifted and Talented Education class for next year, and gets to attend the GATE summer program.  She’ll be doing chemistry, computer programming, and other STEM stuff for two weeks this summer.  Softball started late this spring and so we’ve been having 2 practices and 2 games a week.  Which would be fine except that swim team also has started 4 days a week so we pretty much live at the ball fields, at the pool and in the car every evening.  We have yet to master the art of carpooling (or family dinners, for that matter), but it’s moved to the top of my list because….well, something’s gotta give.  She and I have had some great mother-daughter dates this spring, including going to the Secret Keeper Girl Show.  If it ever comes to your town, I highly recommend it for your 7-10 year old….it’s a live Christian show that focuses on modesty.  It’s really well done and a really fun mother-daughter time!As for Dave and I, we have been in constant travel mode lately.  St. Mom Mom has come to corral the children a couple of times as Dave and I jet to conferences and business trips, with the occasional trip to Orlando as well!  We joined a few of our neighbors to head to Disney for the “Dark Side” Half Marathon….a Star Wars themed 10K and half marathon, which Dave ran two days in a row.  I am so proud of him-a 10K and then a half marathon the very next day!!  Then, all six of us headed to Universal Studios for a day of rides, Harry Potter and Butterbeer.  Although we love doing Disney with the kiddos….there is something to be said about that place during an all-adult weekend too!

So there you have it….a few things we’ve been up to the past couple of months.  We have a few more things up our sleeves, including a massive rearranging of the house.  More on that later! Thanks for checking in….I’ll be back soon!

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Sunday Scripture: Work

I have a new job!  Well, really it’s nothing new….just “official” now.  For the past 5ish years I’ve been handling the curriculum and logistics for the kids’ ministry at my church.  I do all of the social media, compile all of the weekly lesson materials, and do the scheduling of all of our kids’ volunteers.  I love it!

When we first started going to our church, we just attended.  We loved the services, music, and general feel.  But it wasn’t home.  Yet.  But then, our pastor {who was one of our very good friends, and even married us}, kind of threw us into realms of volunteering.  At first, we resisted….Dave doing the technology piece {slides and such} during worship, and me helping out with the kids areas.  He didn’t really feel like being the IT guy for church when that’s kinda what he does all week.  And I was burned out from teaching and thought I wanted nothing to do with kiddos on Sundays.

But after a few weeks of settling in and then taking ownership of our new positions, we began to feel more connected with people in the church.  The senior worship staff, the band, the set-up crew.  And for me, I was getting to know kids and their families on a personal level each week.  The senior staff has done a fantastic job of making us feel like we are absolutely indispensable…which makes us even more responsive and responsible in our positions.Sunday Scripture: Work .... a new job and a familiar callingI don’t have a link for today’s Sunday Scripture…beautiful though, isn’t it?

And after 5 years of running the backside of the kids’ ministry team, I’ve finally decided to take on the role part time for the church as an “official” staff member.  My duties won’t change, although my workload will slowly increase as our ministry gets larger.  But now, I’m part of a team.  It’s been a long time {8 years!} since I’ve worked for someone else and been a part of a staff.  And although there are just 7 of us in the “official” capacity, I’m excited to be a part of the backbone of our awesome church!  #BetterTogetherSC

Have a blessed week!

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A New Year’s Challenge!

Happy New Year!  Hope y’all had a wonderful holiday break.  We had a blast with a ton of family in town.  Then my parents took the kiddos for a few days so Dave and I could work on a few house projects.  And, I’m working on a special project this year that I’m really excited about….more on that later!

But, I just wanted to share with you that Dave and I are once again hosting a New Year’s Biggest Loser Challenge.  It’s open to EVERYONE!  And it’s only $25 to play.  There will be weekly challenges and motivation….I’d love for you to play along with us!  Here’s the link to sign up, we’ll be starting on January 9th!

Biggest Loser 2017 Challenge {Facebook Group}New Year's Biggest Loser Challenge 2017!  Join the challenge and make a change!And in case you need some other motivation or ideas, here’s the link to one of my most popular posts from when I WON a Biggest Loser Competition and lost over 30lbs in 15 weeks.  There’s some worksheets on there, and some of my diet and exercise examples.

Let’s start the new year out right and start making some changes!

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Christmas 2016

Merry Christmas from our family to yours!  I wish you a New Year full of joy, hope and peace!  See you next year!Merry Christmas Card 2016

Christmas Trees on the Square

We have thought about moving many, many times.  But when it comes down to it, our friends and our town are completely irreplaceable.  We live in a small town.  Not tiny, for sure…and definitely sprawling by the minute.  But it’s still a small town.  We have only lived here for 12 years, and yet we see people we know all day long when we are out and about.  I love that.  Even though I’m not so keen on the chit-chat, I like knowing my neighbors.  I like that my kids will “hang out” in areas where adults know them.  You know, eyes everywhere!A tour of our town's Christmas Trees on the Square.And as for the atmosphere of the town itself…couldn’t be more perfect.  You get off of the interstate and pass by the required Target, Cracker Barrel, and Lowes.  But drive another mile down the road, and you’re transported to a one horse town {with a lot more traffic….}  The center of “downtown” is called Hutchinson Square.  It’s a little park surrounded by an old fashioned theatre, Mom & Pop shops, antiques and coffee shops.  At one end is the railroad tracks, at the other is Town Hall, with a big Christmas Tree in front.A tour of our town's Christmas Trees on the Square.A tour of our town's Christmas Trees on the Square.A tour of our town's Christmas Trees on the Square.In addition to weekly Farmer’s Markets, Third Thursday {wine, shopping and entertainment}, and seasonal parades, there is a huge Christmas party to celebrate the lighting of the town Christmas tree.  And the other “Christmas Trees” that surround the park, sponsored by local groups and businesses.A tour of our town's Christmas Trees on the Square.A tour of our town's Christmas Trees on the Square.I put that in quotations because some of these groups get very creative in their interpretations of a Christmas tree!A tour of our town's Christmas Trees on the Square.A tour of our town's Christmas Trees on the Square.F3 and FIA are two workout groups that are huge in our town.  Dave is one of the leaders of F3 {the guys version}…they work out, hang out, and pray together-for free.  Daily.  In multiple locations.  It is by far the best thing that has happened for Dave in a long time.  Not only is he healthier and stronger, but this group of guys has provided him the Christian fellowship that has made him such a great role model in our house and in our community.  F3’s tree is a great representation of their group,  They work out with very little equipment….mostly tires, cinder blocks and telephone poles!  And every guy that shows up for a workout gets a nickname.  Dave is “Picasso.”A tour of our town's Christmas Trees on the Square.A tour of our town's Christmas Trees on the Square. Hope you enjoyed taking a little tour of our Christmas Trees on the Square!

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Thank You for Bedtime

I’m not really sure how we fell into the pattern, but when we are both home and available, my husband and I divvy up the bedtime routines.  And somehow, he usually ends up putting the girls {who are 5 and 7} to bed, while I put “the baby” {who is 2} down.

I’m sure our little system started back when I was ginormously pregnant and physically unable to lean over the bathtub to bathe the girls.  Or maybe when I was constantly nursing a newborn, trying to convince him to sleep in his nursery while his sisters giggled next door with their daddy.  Either way, somehow the tradition has stuck that Mama puts “the baby” down.

I know, I know.  He’s hardly a baby anymore.  He’s just about two and a half now, and almost as verbal as my 7 year old.  He’s potty trained, knows all of his letters, and goes to pre-school three days a week.  Let’s face it…he’s well on his way to being a little kid.

But.  He’ll always be my baby.  I mean, all three of them will always be my babies…but he is my final baby.  Admitting that is hard for me to do.  Although I panic at the thought of being pregnant again or having to start all over, I also envy the tiny snores and sweet baby toes that my new mama friends still get to enjoy.  I’ll always be up for snuggling the closest available baby, but I fully recognize that it won’t be my own.  And as ready as I am for the next phase of my family life, I tear up  even as I type this.Dear Husband, thank you for bedtime. #motherhood #parenting #baby #children #finalchild And so, I’d like to thank my husband.  My better half.  My baby-daddy.  For letting me have bedtime.  For letting me completely coddle that almost-two-and-a-half year old for awhile each night.  For letting me read him too many stories, sing him too many songs and then turning out the light and just rocking him for a few more minutes.  I cherish those little moments.  And he loves them too…I know this because I never have to coax him up into my lap or to even turn around and lay his sweet head down on my chest.

During the day, I’m your average mommy….often annoyed at his two-year-old antics.  I don’t use baby talk with him, I encourage him to clean up after himself, and  give him choices to encourage his independence.  Soon we’ll be fighting over dirty clothes on the floor and unfinished homework.   But for now, after bath time, he gets my undivided attention and the chance to be a complete “Mama’s boy.”  And because his daddy is willing to put “the big girls” to bed every night, I get to soak up a few more precious moments with “my baby.”

Thank you dear husband, for bedtime.

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Halloween Wrap-Up 2016

Another Halloween is in the books!  Once again this year, my parents were able to come for the weekend, so we also went to the Coastal Carolina Fair.  Busy weekend!Halloween Wrap Up! DIY Kid Costumes and a Night at the Fair #Halloween #HalloweenCostumes #DIYCostumesThe fair comes to town for about 10 days around Halloween every year.  It’s one of my favorite Fall traditions.  And it’s {usually!} the first cold snap we see around here.  This year, however, it was a sweltering {and mosquito-filled} 85 degree day.  But the friends, funnel cake, rides and animals made it all worth it!Halloween Wrap Up! DIY Kid Costumes and a Night at the Fair #Halloween #HalloweenCostumes #DIYCostumesHalloween Wrap Up! DIY Kid Costumes and a Night at the Fair #Halloween #HalloweenCostumes #DIYCostumesHalloween Wrap Up! DIY Kid Costumes and a Night at the Fair #Halloween #HalloweenCostumes #DIYCostumesI think this might have been the last year we were able to stay in KiddieLand, with all of the younger kiddie rides.  The big girls’ knees literally did not fit on some of them!  Plus, they were begging to ride the swings and go through the mirror mazes.  This was the first year that Lincoln got to ride anything, he was hooked on the line-up of vehicles that rode around in circles….reminded me of the old boardwalk rides at the Jersey Shore.Halloween Wrap Up! DIY Kid Costumes and a Night at the Fair #Halloween #HalloweenCostumes #DIYCostumesSince Halloween fell on a Monday this year, the kids were able to wear their costumes to school for the annual StoryBook Parade.  Jayna was Princess Leia and Millie was Charlotte the Spider.  Millie’s costumes was easy to make….I found the spider web skirt at Target and then I used chalk to draw a web on a black leotard.  We used sparkly foam sticker letters to spell out “Some Pig” and safety-pinned some spiders from Michaels all over her.  No ruining of the leotard necessary!Halloween Wrap Up! DIY Kid Costumes and a Night at the Fair #Halloween #HalloweenCostumes #SpiderCostume #DIYCostumesHalloween Wrap Up! DIY Kid Costumes and a Night at the Fair #Halloween #HalloweenCostumes #SpiderCostume #DIYCostumesJayna’s costume was a little more involved since I made it from scratch, but still easy.  I folded a sheet in half and laid her down on it.  And then I literally drew the outline of a dress around her body, cut it out and sewed it together.  Easy peasy.  I added a little collar and used painted scrap fabric for the belt.Halloween Wrap Up! DIY Kid Costumes and a Night at the Fair #Halloween #HalloweenCostumes #PrincessLeiaCostume #DIYCostumesHalloween Wrap Up! DIY Kid Costumes and a Night at the Fair #Halloween #HalloweenCostumes #PrincessLeiaCostume #DIYCostumesLincoln was an alligator this year, which all started when he saw the hat at the Dollar Store!  We also found three green tee-shirts there, which brought the cost of his costume to a whopping $4!  I’ll have a tutorial another day, but I cut off the arms and sewed up the holes to create his pants, and then cut a tail from the third teeshirt.  A little hot-glue and some scrap felt…not to mention Crocs {get it!?!}  finished off his costume.Halloween Wrap Up! DIY Kid Costumes and a Night at the Fair #Halloween #HalloweenCostumes #AlligatorCostume #DIYCostumesThank goodness he stopped long enough for his teachers to snap a picture at school!  Once trick-or-treating started that night, he didn’t slow down!Halloween Wrap Up! DIY Kid Costumes and a Night at the FairHappy Halloween!

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Awkward Bathroom Situations

We discourage potty talk in our house, but forewarning….this post is full of it.  It all started last Friday.  A quiet morning that I had a couple of hours kid-free to get some blogging work done.  So I headed down to my neighborhood’s fabulous amenity, the Shady Grove Cottage. Y’all, I just love this place.

Free wi-fi, coffee, books and games.  And adults-only.  I use it about once a week and am usually the only person in there, so it’s easy for me to focus on what I really need to get done.  And it’s always nice to have free coffee at your fingertips while trying to work.Just Another Awkward Bathroom Post....So.  Last Friday, I had the place to myself.  I was banging out blog posts and updating Etsy and scheduling stuff you don’t care about.  I had been there about 45 minutes, when I hear a “noise” coming from the bathroom.

And I realize that I am NOT alone.  Someone had been in the bathroom the entire time I had been there!!!!!

So then I panicked.  At some point in time this person was going to have to come out and realize that I have been out here the entire time.  I’m not sure if you have ever pooped in public, but I feel like it’s embarrassing enough coming out of that stall immediately after, just to face anyone waiting their turn.  But this person had been in there for OVER 45 MINUTES.  And was going to come out and come face to face with ME!

So, after hearing some shuffling noises, I thought they might be finishing up.  I figured, if I could hear them, they could hear me too, right?  So I {just loud enough} cursed under my breath and made a noisy exit like I needed something from my car.

I sat in my car for over 5 minutes, texting about this dilemma to my sister Loo {who I knew would appreciate my conundrum}.  I watched the front door to the cottage….no one left.  But I couldn’t see the back door.  So I’m thinking that surely this person, {who maybe stayed in there so long because they were trapped and embarrassed?} would have jumped at the chance to sneak out that back.

So I headed back inside and settled back in to my workstation.  The bathroom door was closed and the fan was on.  How considerate of them to leave it that way.  Ten minutes later, I hear another noise….they were STILL in there!!!

I decided at this point that I had given them their chance to escape, and I refused to be embarrassed when they came out.  So I got back to work, highly distracted by now.

About 10 minutes after that, a guy comes out without making eye contact and heads out the back door.  He looks like he may be a worker for the housing developer maybe {and shouldn’t be using our amenities…}, but I let it slide.

But wouldn’t ya know it…about 3 minutes later, he’s back in the bathroom…without saying a word.  He’s in there for about a half an hour.  By then, I’d pretty much checked out of “work mode” because I was so concerned about this guys’ potty habits.  So I decided to pack it up, but right before I left….the toilet flushed, and the guy heads out the door again.

This time, I couldn’t help myself.  I know it’s gross, but I just had to check out the bathroom.  I’m picturing that scene in Dumb and Dumber….or the scene in There’s Something About Mary, and imagining all sorts of scenarios.  I figure at the very least, it should stink to high heaven, right?

But nothing!  No evidence of a struggle.  The toilet is still fully assembled.  And there is absolutely NO SMELL.

So, I never solved this guy’s potty predicament.  All I learned out of this awkward bathroom situation is that apparently his shit doesn’t stink!

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I Want to be a Bad Mom

I recently went to see the “Bad Moms” movie with a bunch of my other mom friends. Just like any other night out without the kids and with a little wine involved, it was a fantastic evening. The movie was a little crass, but absolutely hilarious, and hit the pressures of motherhood right on the nose.

If you haven’t seen the movie yet, make it a priority for you and your girlfriends to go see. But let me give you a quick little synopsis without giving anything away. Mila Kunis is an overworked, under appreciated mom of two; who, like the other moms in the movie, feel like they have to be perfect.  The level of perfection expected from the moms in the movie is ridiculously exaggerated, but perfectly relatable.  An outrageous example is the bake sale that required homemade goods without: sugar, gluten, soy, peanuts, etc. So when Mila’s character decides to buck the system, be herself, and become a “bad mom”, she brings in donut holes from the gas station.  That’s when everything hits the fan.
I loved that this movie kind of poked fun at every type of mom there is, even calling some out specifically.  Each stereotype was represented in the extreme, but the point of the whole movie is that we are all just really “bad moms” at heart. We put on a show for the benefit of other people, with the help of Pinterest, Facebook, and Instagram… Only showing off the 5% of perfection that is actually a part of our lives.
I'm tired of all the "good moms" on social media....perfect hair, smiling children, Pin-worthy DIYs. Am I the only "bad mom" out there?!?!?!And when fellow moms compare 100% of their hot mess (but normal) life to other moms’ 5% of perfection, the results are devastating.  Especially since that 5% that we show off to the world is sometimes completely staged, and often exaggerated.  The nauseating public displays of affection toward your spouse on Facebook hides the rough patch the two of you are going through.  The perfectly staged close-up of the DIY centerpiece that you painstakingly made, hides all the rest of the crap all over your kitchen counter.   And the “just whipped this up” comment underneath masks the chores that you neglected while DIY’ing all.day.long.  But seeing others’ similar perfect posts constantly make us feel like we aren’t doing enough; pressuring us into unnecessarily creating the illusion of a perfect life and a perfect family.  We hide our “bad mom” moments behind the illusion of a “good mom.”
 But in truth, some of these “bad mom” moments that we are so ashamed of… Our kid getting benched, a school project that looks like crap, a messy house or a Lunch-able for dinner. These are often the moments that turn our kids into nice people, rather than just little objects of perfection. The benched kid learns humility and sportsmanship, the crappy artist learns about hard work and perseverance, and that messy house and on-the-go dinner mean that you were spending time with your kids creating memories.  When you show your kids {and the rest of your world} your mistakes, your are teaching them to be themselves.  To always try their best, to not worry about what others’ are doing but focus on their own fulfilling life instead.
 So let’s stop the comparisons.  Stop the social media bragging on your 5%.  Stop the vicious cycle of enabling and championing our little losers.  Stop the excuses for bad behavior and the sheltering from everything.  We can show love to our kids by teaching them how to deal and then letting them experience real life.  Hardships.  Disappointments.  It will make them better people; able to cope with situations and have empathy toward others.  Sure, celebrate the true victories and tell your kids that you are proud of them.  Them.  Mistakes, losses, wins, straight B’s, kindness toward others, dealing with disappointment, self control, accountability, trustworthiness, generosity, etc.  Let them know that perfection is not essential, but you expect them to always try their best and be themselves.   Then tell yourself that too.
I'm tired of all the "good moms" on social media....perfect hair, smiling children, Pin-worthy DIYs. Am I the only "bad mom" out there?!?!?!

My unstaged and unedited attempt at a selfie with my silly and pouting daughters in the midst of homework and chaos. No photoshopped wrinkles. No clean house. No optimal lighting, brushed hair, or even poses. Just us.

And as for the rest of your perfect little life {on social media, anyways}…let it go a little.  Don’t get me wrong, I have a Pinterest board for every room of my house and a visions of a perfectly decorated mantle for each holiday.  I love looking at that stuff and dreaming about future houses I may have, the organization of my home when I have more time, when I finally gather all of those rustic knick-knacks to make my home “Farmhouse Fresh.”.   But the “bad mom” in me also appreciates the real life photos:  clutter, kids melting down, burnt dinners and Pinterest fails.  Because these pictures let me know I’m not alone; there are other “bad moms” out there too!  I don’t mind being perceived as a “bad mom” with a cluttered house and take-out, as long as I get time with my family and my kids turn out to be kind, independent, hard-working and humble.
So, who’s with me?  Who else wants to be a “bad mom”?
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An Unplanned Wedding

My baby sister finally got married! We are absolutely thrilled for her and her new hubby, Doc.  And her wedding weekend was absolutely perfect, and just her style.She stressed me out a bit with her “unplanned wedding.”  As a Type-A personality, I couldn’t fathom not planning every second of the weekend, but a laid-back event was just up her alley.  Once they finally picked Labor Day weekend for their wedding date, they decided to keep it to just immediate family.  They’ll have some separate celebrations with their friends later on.  As for the weekend, we were able to relax and hang  out with our “new” extended family.Our side of the family decided to rent a property in Fort Myers.  It was perfect because it had just the right amount of bedrooms in the main house, plus an adorable 2 bedroom guesthouse that our little family {we had the only kids} could invade.  The main house also had a huge living area and a nice pool, perfect for entertaining.
My mom took over the hostess role by opening up the main house to Doc’s side of the family too.  On the day of the actual ceremony, she hosted a brunch and pool party so that the two families could bond a little.The ceremony was held at a property that’s right by Loo’s apartment, right on the water.  There was just enough indoor area for us girls to get ready for the ceremony there.  Jayna and Millie loved getting their hair done professionally, and the flower crowns were perfect for my little flower girls.

The wraparound porch had a bar, some tables and a bluegrass band that played during the ceremony as well as the reception.  And although the girls were disappointed that the band didn’t know “Big Rock Candy Mountain,” the music was fantastic and fun to dance to.

Millie had the official job of throwing the flowers.  And she took it VERY seriously.

Lincoln did great during the ceremony too; he cheesed the entire time, and got in every.single.one. of the family wedding photos after the ceremony! The ceremony itself was gorgeous.  Overlooking the water at sunset, the ceremony was performed by a good friend of the family.  And since there were only immediate family members there, we all got a front row seat!Congratulations Loo and Doc!

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