The One with the Full House

This month has been filled with quality friends-and-family time, and my cup is overflowing.
One wonderful occasion was in a town west of Chicago–yes, an 11 hour drive–to finally attend our college friends’ annual holiday gathering. There is something special andtotally unmatched about the friendships formed during those four years of higher education. Living with friends, seeing each other at the best of times and worst of moments, cultivates relationships that are rivaled only by family. I experienced the best jolt as more and more of us filled Chris & Katie’s beautiful home. I was reminded of the dearness of these relationships and the strength of college friendships that are hardly diminished over years and miles

IMG_4129
The “Family” Portrait 2012
When all of the guys were all together again, I was nearly brought to tears. It was such a wonderful sight to behold. And I am lucky enough to say that these boys men were my friends and not just friends-of-my-boyfriend. That first year of college I spent a lot of time visiting Kevin in his dorm; that meant hanging out with his guy friends. Ben, Gavin, Matt, Kevin, and Mel were something of a family unit that year. The next year we added Dave, Chris, Nick, Adam, Geoff & Tyler to the mix. And the rest is [mostly] history. Those boys talked with me as their friend, shared with me, and didn’t exclude me from games of frisbee. They wanted me to hang out with them, to play video games with them, to listen to them (because we all know other guys aren’t always the best listeners.) Those boys grew up and became godly men who stood beside us at our wedding. Many of them  have married lovely wives of their own, all work solid jobs and lead in their churches. As I was honestly sharing my fears and inhibitions with all 15 of these friends in a Facebook message window, everyone quickly said, “We’ll do anything to make you feel comfortable enough to come. We want you & Kevin here.” And I knew they meant it. 
Thank you, friends, for loving me for the past 9 years. I look forward to many more times together. 
IMG_4055
27 of us filling 3 long tables for dinner!

A Spice Cake Kind of Birthday

For my birthday, my husband surprised me with all of the “favorite things” he’s heard me mention over the years. He baked a spice cake (even made it double layer! and found the cake stand to display it on!), bought extra frosting and graham crackers to enjoy it with. YUM! And of course he couldn’t forget to write me the most thoughtful love letter to remind me of all the ways he cares. To top it off, he asked a few of the teen girls to surprise me by bringing me sentimental cards from them and joining me in the cake eating. It was lovely. Truly lovely.
I love you, Kevin. Thanks for making me feel special (especially as I’m starting to feel “old.”) 
IMG_3507