1. Turning 31: Last year my 30th birthday came in the midst of a lot of changes. Darren and I were in the process of moving to Wyoming, finding a place to live, and starting new jobs. Maybe because there were so many new and exciting things going on at the time, reaching the milestone of my 30th birthday felt just as new and exciting and promising. I didn't struggle with 30 as much as I had thought I would a few years earlier. Well ... those struggles certainly caught up with me this year as I turned the big 3-1. I felt the last year had flown by and I needed time to slow down to accomplish the plans and goals I had set for myself. When the day came, I wanted to keep the celebrations low-key. Spending the evening going to dinner with Darren and the Bruce family, and then taking a beautiful walk along the river, certainly made the transition easier!
|Along the river wearing the skirt Darren gave me as an early birthday present.|
The next day, Chris and Christiane had a real treat in store for everyone: a Cubs game at historic Wrigley Field. Not only was the weather great and the atmosphere perfect, but the Cubs played a great game for a win against the Baltimore Orioles. I am far from being a sports fanatic, and I follow no professional sports teams, but there is something I have always loved about attending baseball games. I can (usually) follow what's happening and it feels just so ... American. I really love it.
|With the help of my Dad and Sam, Christiane's brother, Darren and I kept score on the scorecard as we watched the game. It brought back some fun memories of attending Dodgers and Angels games when I was younger.|
|Darren ready to chow down on a foot-long Chicago Dog and sporting his new Chicago Cubs hat :)|
Chris looked so handsome Saturday morning (August 23) as we prepared to head to the temple. His obvious excitement for the day added to my own and made me so happy for him!
|Ready to go to the temple!|
The ceremony at the Chicago Temple was beautiful and touching. I know that the thoughtfulness, sensitivity, adventurousness, and sense of humor that made Chris such a wonderful brother will make him an equally wonderful husband and future father. I was filled with so much pride for Chris on his wedding day!
|Waiting for the bride and groom ...|
|The new couple!|
|They were so happy :)|
|New family photo (The photographer asked Darren and I to hold hands, and I'm not sure we quite caught her vision ;)|
|This picture doesn't quite capture the extent to which Darren was covered in water, but it gives you an idea.|
After the temple ceremony we celebrated with a dinner at a restaurant called Pinstripes. It was a beautiful restaurant made fun with Bocce ball lanes available for the kids ... and adults. ;) The professional photographer shared a preview of her pictures the day after the wedding. In the preview was this picture she captured as we said goodbye to Chris and Christiane outside of the restaurant. They have such a bright future ahead of them, and I am so grateful to anticipate future get togethers with them both!
|The expressions on everyone's faces in this picture are totally candid and capture the true excitement we felt for this new couple!|
Before flying back to our respective homes, Mom, Dad, Darren, and I spent a couple of hours seeing the sights in downtown Chicago. We went to the top of the John Hancock tower to get some amazing views of the city and where Dad and Darren dared to go on "The Tilt."
|Dad and Darren in line for The Tilt|
|View from the top of the John Hancock Building|
|View of Navy Pier from the top of the John Hancock Building|
|For our last stop in downtown Chicago, we walked along Navy Pier and had lunch. What a charming place!|
|View of the city from the end of Navy Pier|
Needless to say, this August was quite a memorable month! Thank you to all of the family and friends who helped to make it so special!