April 5, 2011

Family at Last!

If you have read the previous post, you know that we have been in Tennessee visiting family. We just spent the past 7 days reconnecting with loved ones and making some wonderful memories for all of us to treasure. It truly has been one of the most delightful weeks of 2011!

During our time in Chattanooga, Malcolm got to visit with his aunt and uncle, Mom and Dad and I spent some time relaxing at their house, I visited my grandparents, and we also made sure we made it to Couch's BBQ for as many meals as possible, including one special evening of dining with my brother and his family. The family restaurant is the perfect place for family gatherings!
My brother Ken, his daughters Bentlee and Kensley, and my sister-in-law Sarah
It was a wonderful week, despite damp chilly weather that had us worried about our weekend plans. We should have known better though. No need to worry when life is in God's hands!


On Friday afternoon, we packed the pickup with as much as it could possibly hold and then Mom, the girls and I headed to Nashville to spend some time with my sister. We stopped along the way for a Starbucks coffee and cookies, much to the girls delight!

We arrived in Nashville just a few moments before Meagan, my sister, got off work. We had big plans for the weekend, which included Meagan's fiance and his baby girl, Lily. Since most of our weekend plans were centered around grown up stuff, we left Friday night's entertainment up to Lily. She chose well!

I was disappointed to discover I have lost my touch at Skee Ball...
...but Lily's tallents made up for my lack of skill...
...and when the evening was at an end, we had enough tickets for her to walk away with FIVE prizes, the choosing of which took some deep consideration.

We had so much fun, but by the time we got home, and after a time playing with American Girl Dolls (I got to be every one's Mom), it was time for saying good night and getting some rest!


Saturday morning dawned and we woke to an absolutely beautiful sunshiny day! After meeting Chris and Lily at Panera for breakfast, the big girls headed out to run some errands. Then we went back to Meagan's house to get some things done, and Lily came over for some more playing. By early afternoon, Dad and Malcolm arrived. This was a special moment because even though I've known Lily for a couple years now, Malcolm and she have never met!  They are both such lovable people, it didn't take long for them to become good friends.
We spent some time visiting, and enjoying more family time, and then it was time for the highlight of the day (for us girls)...

I needed this so badly!

The ladies there were good at what they do, and in the end, my truck drivin' toes were as pretty as everyone elses, except maybe Lily's. She got to have little flowers painted on her toes. I was jealous!
Afterwards it was back to Meagan's house for an evening of kicking back and taking a breather before Sunday's big event!

the girls were so relieved to have their man back and to not be locked in their kennel. It wasn't much of a weekend for them, but they did well, and I appreciated their cooperation.


This is my sister's favorite flower...

...and this is my sister's favorite man!

Chris and Meagan met a number of years ago. They shared a suite of classrooms and he "coached" her through her first year of teaching. Since the beginning of her career, they have been teachers at the same school. Even when their school was closed and the staff redistributed, Meagan and Chris were both sent to the same school. Their relationship blossomed like her favorite tulips. He was her mentor, then her friend, and eventually she realized he was the man she'd spend her life with!

Meagan and Chris wanted to exchange their vows surrounded by their nearest family members and a handful of closest friends. It was a very small and precious wedding!

Chris with my brother and niece, Ken and Kensley, Malcolm and my Dad
They also got their wish for a beautiful day! After a week of drizzling rain and temperatures in the 60's or cooler, on Sunday it was almost 80 degrees with a bright blue spring sky! The only hitch were some rather strong gusty breezes (30-40 mph at times), but we worked with it and were thankful for the beauty of the day!
Lily was Meagan's Maid of Honor in a matching dress
My sister was one of the most beautiful brides I've ever seen. She was so relaxed and calm and happy! And Dad was so handsome. This is one of my favorite pictures from the day.
But after their stroll together, it was time to give the bride away, and hand her over to Chris to be his.

the wind was trying to steal the veal and teasing her curls. Throughout the ceremony, Chris kept reaching over to tuck curls back in place and each tuck was followed by a sweet caress. It was heart melting.
Eventually the wind succeeded in whipping the veal off her crown of curls, but fortunatly someone was able to snatch it before it floated on the breeze to the water, and we proceeded

a new family is formed! They poured sand into a glass vase to symbolize their coming together as a family. It was a beautiful moment.

and then it was done! May I present Mr. and Mrs. Hooper!
After the wedding, we all moved out of the wind and into a small reception area where the visiting and celebrating began. Meagan and Chris had picked out everything just how they wanted it, and Mom and Dad had worked hard to make it happen. A friend of Meagan's catered and made the cake, and Mom made the cake toppers. One of the neat things about Chris and Meagan's relationship is that it truly is love and a whole lot of friendship as well. They enjoy so many things together, including their games of golf.

Pictures in such tight quarters are not always easy. For example, Meagan and Chris cutting their cake, turned into an adorable picture of my niece Kensley...
...who did her best to steal the show!

But the professional photographer got many beautiful shots to preserve the moments and what I have is just as important...family moments to remember and add to Meagan's collection.

The cake was cut, the ritual completed...
....and a couple of very eager little girls finally got their slice and dug in with relish.
More rituals completed....
...and the bride and groom were off with their attendants for more photographs while the rest of us enjoyed each other's company.
my brother, Ken, and his wife, Sarah
me with Ken's girls. Bentlee is (um...??) I beleive 7, and Kensley will be 1 in May
Bentlee and Lily playing finger games with their Grandmommy
Dad and Kenslee...I LOVE this picture!
Malcolm and myself. This was at the end of the day, after the wind had done its work on my hair. Doesn't Malcolm look handsome?
Since Meagan's wedding was so small, Mom and Meagan did all the planning and organizing. Malcolm and I helped my parents set up everything that morning, and after the bride and groom and guests had departed, we cleaned it up before heading home ourselves. I had to have a picture of myself toting garbage in my finery and tennis shoes. These truck drivin' feet just couldn't take heels any longer!
My sister's perfect day ended with a perfect sunset over the ponds and fountains of the park.
Meagan, I love you and am so proud of you! I can't wait to see what you and Chris become together. I'm so happy for you both. In finding each other, I beleive you truly have found your soulmates! And as if that wern't blessing enough, your not just a new couple, but a new family!

I beleive you have made one of the best decisions of your life in marrying Chris. And I know that you and Chris and Lily are not the only ones blessed by this union. We are all blessed and very happy to have Chris and Lily in our
 family...at last!


small farm girl said...


ACountryCowgirl said...

Looks like a great time had by all and what an absolutely beautiful wedding!!! her dress was awesome!!! your family looks so sweet and fun. I love all the smiles going around:)

Michaele said...

This is such a wonderful post. So well written and documented with photos. I felt like I was right there with you. Wonderful family! Thanks for sharing - and the best to the new family. Great love story.

Danni said...

Oh my goodness, Sarah...all of these photos (and the stories you tell) are wonderful! The wedding photos are gorgeous and many gave me goosebumps...what a wonderful man Meagan has found - the tender looks he is giving her in all of the pictures just touches my heart!
You are beautiful and Malcolm looks very handsome! I loved seeing pics of your mom and dad, too!
What a wonderful family you have - thanks for sharing these pictures (and your family) on these very special days!

Valerie said...

Beautiful post! Thank you so much for sharing you perspective on the big weekend! It was special . . . every single day we spent together. Love you!

Muffy's Marks said...

Oh what a beautiful wedding and family sharing time. Looks like you had lots of fun. Thanks for sharing your family and the wedding with us.

Tina Marie the Willow Witch said...

This post was amazing...So full of love...

Vintage West said...

Great photo story of your time at home, it looks like you are having a wonderful time!

Meagan said...

AWESOME post! Thank you so much! I am honored and we love you VERY much! (and your note on Lily's bed was a HUGE it!) ;-) XOXO!