End of A Fitness Instructing Chapter…

After a nearly ten year long chapter in my book of life, the time has come to say “see ya later” to teaching fitness classes.  I taught my very last class this morning at the Council Bluffs YMCA and I absolutely cannot think of a better gym to close out my fitness instructing tenure.  These people all showed up in my fave color of BLACK, with smiles on their faces, ready to get their butts handed to them as I dished out a mashup of all my FAVE moves.

Even the slackers killed it. ❤

 

I know for most, this isn’t much of a thing.  But this thing is HUGE for me and I am not sure I am emotionally QUITE ready for this chapter to end, however, professionally and personally it’s time.

With a career shift (I am still in higher education but have switched institutions and programming size), comes great opportunity, and I am eager to spend my time really digging deep into strengthening programs that cater to our under-served student population and bridging the gap between secondary and post-secondary education across the Metro area.

Some really exciting stuff, guys!

But, with that, comes sacrifice!

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My fitness instructing career began clear back in 2002 in my hometown fitness facility and after a brief hiatus in between my move to the City, I held positions with 24 Hour Fitness, Gold’s Gym, IWCC, and the Omaha Metro YMCA, specifically with the Council Bluffs branch.

I LOVE(D) it.

Teaching fitness classes in the city opened up the door to my stint as a national fitness trainer as a Master Trainer for BBLive, which provided an incredible opportunity to meet fitness minded folks from all across the U.S. and within my territory of Iowa and Nebraska.   (You can read more of my Master Trainer life here and here).

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I still to this day talk to Sarah (second from right) at minimum once per week.  The friendship built through MT’ing was a gift in and of itself.

And the HUNDREDS of people I had the great privilege of training over the course of two years was such an incredible journey.

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To close this chapter is pretty sentimental.  But, to close it with the YMCA folks who have been with me for nearly FIVE YEARS at the same time, same day, is something I will cherish to the end.

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The CB-YMCA is where the Slacker Corner was formed:

 

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And where I earned the OFFICIAL rights to be the Supervisor of them all:

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It’s where I learned time and time again that age is just a number and mental strength always perseveres.

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It’s where I got to know members on a deeper level and held the honor of celebrating their milestones and achievements in their health and wellness journey (here’s looking at YOU Randy in your incredible journey to doing a BURPEE in class with us)

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The folks at CB-YMCA learned to live with me through all my costume themed classes and endless photo opportunities:

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The CB-YMCA is where we celebrated members, turned family, and fought with them battles never before imagined:

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We celebrated BIRTHDAY’s and HOMECOMINGS in a BIG way:

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They chastised me with signs, questionable words under their breath and always with splashes of humor:

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And celebrated with me my LOVE of all things BLACK:

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We grew together as a family as we left the old for the new:

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And banded together to overcome not only the end of the workouts, but life’s ever waving highs and lows.

Class was more than class. It was (and will continue to be) a time of togetherness, camaraderie and love.

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In my reflection over the last several years, I see grit, tenacity, passion, exhaustion, fear, triumph and happiness.  I gave it my all and I sure hope every class, every trainee, every one-timer and every regular truly felt the love I had in teaching and took away something from their experiences.

Putting that mic on brings out a side of me that is a rarity.  Taking the microphone off for the very last time this morning has left a void, but I know, in my heart of hearts, I WILL be back again one day in front of the class.  Let’s just call it a cliff hanger with a sequel to be determined.  And I am sticking around on the sub list so I can get my “fix” on the occasion… 😉

Until then, I am going to continue my participation at a gym I attend as a participant (here’s looking at you, Edge Body Bootcamp) that challenges me physically and mentally every single day.  It’s my personal happy place.  Fitness is a LARGE part of who I am and what makes me happy.  It is not something I will ever let go.  I live for the challenge it places on me. It’s my own personal competition and I am my own opponent.  I friggin’ LIVE for it.

So, on that note…

Here is a CHEERS to my run in fitness instructing.  It’s been fun!

Until next time…

The Power of Music

Music is a universal language connecting moments in time.  Music takes people back and brings people to the present. Every song played connects you to a person, a raw emotion, a memory or time.

Music is therapy.

Music is power.

If there is one piece of advice I could pass on generation after generation it would be to learn how to truly appreciate music.  Music goes beyond emotions and is powerful enough to develop the mind and body.  Once upon a time, I wrote a dissertation on the scientific benefits of music and the effects it has on your brain and health.  Music is something that can be enjoyed and experienced in all stages of life.  A study done in 2015 lists not knowing how to read music or playing an instrument as the most common regret amongst adults.  It also landed as one of the Top 20 biggest life regrets amongst a study done in the United Kingdom.

Music is universal.  It is also never too late to learn how to read music or to take on a deeper knowledge and respect of all genres.   Challenge yourself.

It isn’t a secret that music has always been a large part of my life.  Thanks to my mama, a true love and appreciation of music began at quite the young age, singing with her at church functions and attending Christian artist concerts like Amy Grant.  In middle school, she FORCED me (yes, it’s true) to take up an instrument and am I ever glad she did.  Playing an instrument came naturally to me.  As an 11th grader from southwest rural Iowa, I auditioned and was accepted into the Omaha Youth Orchestra and traveled to Omaha weekly (thanks, mom) for rehearsals.  It was my first experience playing with high caliber musicians and set me up for my experiences playing at a collegiate level.   Playing an instrument is what I was good at… but not something I ever took terribly seriously.  It was fun for me.  An outlet.  With that said, had I maybe practiced a little more I wouldn’t have botched a few of my solo’s during my college senior recital.  Yeesh.  Nightmares.  Y’all, I LOVE to play, but I don’t like being the ONLY person in the middle of a massive stage, with a ballgown on, under hot ass lights, playing for an hour to a very, VERY large crowd.  You’d think those solo recitals that we had to play each semester for four years would have prepped me for that big moment.  It wasn’t a disaster, but it wasn’t something I ever want to repeat.

Anyway, I digress.

It’s not about being the best performer.  It’s not about even playing an instrument.  It’s about learning to appreciate and understand music at its core.  Feel the emotions, put yourself into the composer or writers thoughts and mind, feel the raw emotion embedded in the harmony.

After leaving the world of music teaching in 2011 I found myself yearning to get back to playing music again in 2017 and found myself at the door of the Nebraska Wind Symphony.  My first concert with them last Fall felt right.  The music repertoire isn’t near the caliber I had in college, but that’s ok.  It’s not about the challenge anymore.  It’s about feeling the music, having fun and feeling connected to something I deeply love, again.  I have a lot of hobbies under my name, but this is one that I left behind.   It’s nice to see it again.

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Our last concert for the 2017-18 concert season is Sunday, April 15th at the Omaha Conservatory of Music.  Our music selection is surrounded by the sounds of spring and will leave you feeling light, happy and ready for sunshine and warmth.

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The NWS is comprised of a broad spectrum of individuals.  From recent-ish college grads to retired lawyers, we make up the meaning of “music is universal”.

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Hope to see you there!

Cheers!

11th Annual Biker B!tch Run | July 2016

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The 11th (E.L.E.V.E.N.T.H) annual Biker B!tch run happened July 2016.   Can’t believe it’s been 11 years!

Also can’t believe it took me almost a year to get a post up about it.

Better late then never??

Ya, let’s roll with that, mkay? 🙂

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The 11th goes down in the history books for probably the most unique B!tch run to date.  But, we came, we saw and we conquered.

…And Pep is still smiling that bright and shiny beautiful smile of hers.

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We had a few bonus girls with us manning the Jeep and it was GREAT to have them along.

 

The Jeep came in handy as you will find out in a few more scrolls down.

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The day started in Council Bluffs at a bar that has since closed down, but hey, we appreciated their hospitality while it lasted.  Their parking lot was prime real estate!

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Heidi’s bike on the other hand didn’t treat her so kindly.   High-five to Tyree for saving her.

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After I did my best bossy-pants photo set-ups…

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It was time to rollllllllll…

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First stop: Twisted Tail in Beebeetown, IA; where the food was delicious, drinks were cold and the fan clubs were in full paparrazi mode.

These young girls above wanted pictures taken with them, so of COURSE we obliged.  And then the beautiful ladies below were next in line.

We were feeling famous for about a minute. 😉

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Thanks to Jenn and her continuous drill seargent fitness instructor ways, she challenged Jessica to some weighted squats.

With her as the weight.

Damn, Jess.   You’ve got great form…

… And a graceful fall.

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And before we knew it, it was time to roll on out again.

Want to see us in action?

↓ Click on the photo below ↓

 

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Dunlap, IA to Lampe’s Pub we went.   And also where we hunkered down for the better part of the day.

Sadly, we had a bike that needed some medical attention.  Flat tires and riding do NOT go hand in hand.  Fortunately said flat didn’t happen until we were at a significantly reduced speed creeping into town.   Hello road angels. Liz felt your presence, as did the rest of us. ❤

 

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Thank to a local Dunlap towny, we got Liz’s wheel off,

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drove it down to Woodbine, IA to see the Motorcycle Medic for some TLC

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Then back to Dunlap for the local patron to help us get the wheel back on.

Like I said… it was an adventure!

Thanks Dunlap man.

If we can remember your name, I’ll give you full on credit next time. 🙂

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Meanwhile back at the bar during the bike medical assistance…

Things were getting a little wild.

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Work it, own it, strut it.

Rawr

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Weird… wonder how that dancing red dress emoji girl got on the bar.

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The girls sweet talked this young little bartender into taking his shirt off.

When I ordered a PBR, he didn’t know what it was.

Oh, Bless his cute little young heart.

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Rumor has it the Sheriff rolled through three times.  Apparantly our prolonged presence was making the town folk nervous.

Funniness aside – we thank our men and women in blue for all they do to keep us safe.

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And on that note with bike wounds healed and everyone accounted for and completely sober, it was time to roll.

Thanks, Lampe’s for the good times.

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On to Pop N Docs for a quick drink by the river.

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Tyree and her cowgirl hat hotness.

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And before we knew it, we were rolling on to the Cottonwood Marina in Blair, NE.

But not without the required lollipops first.

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Blair provided us with some dancing, mingling and some goodbyes as a few of us seperated ways as this was technically one of the last stops.

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And with that, our whirlwind of a day was over and the 11th annual was a wrap.

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I am truly thankful for all the strong, empowering, beautiful, full of LOVE females I know.

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What a beautiful ride it is.

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And what a beautiful ride it will continue to be.

Cheers!

 

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Special Thanks:

Anytime Tees – Council Bluffs, IA

The Twisted Tail – Beebeetown, IA

Lampe’s Pub – Dunlap, IA

Motorcycle Medic– Woodbine, IA

Pop N Docs – Decatur, IA

Cottonwood Marina – Blair, NE

 

 

 

 

Weekend Recap | November 11-13, 2016

Saturday, November 12th
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I could end the post right here.

Done.  

End of Story.

But, what’s the use of a hangover without the story of how it came to be?

Let’s rewind to Friday.

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Friday, November 11th

First of all let me say Thank You to our veterans for your time served and to our current armed forces who continue to serve.

Thank You.

Second: Happy Birthday to my mama!  11/11 was also HER day! 🙂

Now, to the bane of my Saturday?  Friday night.

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We traveled north to Sioux City, IA to see the Turnpike Troubadors in concert with Jade, Kayla, Scott, Haley, Josey and Stephanie.  It was a ridiculously fun night.  Turnpike was INCREDIBLE to listen to… again, music geek in me can’t get enough of good music and TRUE musicianship that these guys exude.

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We let loose, we drank a few too many beers, we stayed our ground in the front of the venue holding steady to the gate, we flirted with the band, we sang along loudly and we made every ounce of that hangover totally worth it.

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Is it me, or is Jade channeling Alan from the movie, The Hangover?

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We even managed to hang out with both bands (opener and headliner) after the concert at a local tavern, to which I awkwardly attempted small talk about music (listen Jordan, don’t talk after 10 beers) and Kayla took endless photos with the groups.

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After hours snap chats = lame tag lines.   We love Friday’s?

Really, Jordan?

*insert giant eye roll*

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Thank GOODNESS social media didn’t exist when we were all in High School.   It’s bad enough as adults.

 

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Friday kinda rocked, and I am ready to do it again, minus the heavy amounts of beer.

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So then there is Saturday again.

It looked like this:

  • 3am – Arrive back to hotel safely thanks to kind cabi who received quite a tip after my sober mind calculated.  I’m sure she deserved every penny.
  • 3:10am – Snap Clint attempting 16 times to open the hotel door.  It was classic.  Score 1 for Jordan catching that gem on video.
  • 6am – First wake-up call, thanks due to a rager of a headache
  • 7am – Wake-up again.  Headache and all…
  • 8am – Restroom.  Oh, hey there rumbling belly.  I hear you and I am answering by laying back down.
  • 8:30am – Respond to Kayla’s text.  Commiserating.
  • 9am – Dear LORD this headache.  Curse the fact I need water but curse the fact I am not sure my stomach can handle even that.
  • 9:30am – Respond to Kayla’s text re: lobby and breakfast.
  • 10:30am – Clint wakes ready to take on the world ( his ability to NEVER have a headache nor hangover really sucks sometimes)
  • 11am – Bid farewell to the crew and head back to Omaha.   Radio off, shades on, air full blast, with minor attempts to tune my overly-chatty husband out.  Dude… headache.
  • 1pm – Homaha – drop husband off at home so he can load truck up with hunting gear and head out to Clarinda.
  • 1:30pm- Pick up race gear for Beer and Bagel run on Sunday
  • 2pm – Home.  Hallmark Christmas Movie. Nap.
  • 4pm- Grocery store for hangover worthy snacks that are always top notch on the healthy pyramid.
  • 5pm – Dinner.  Hallmark Christmas Movie.  Nap
  • 8pm –  Succumb to just letting Saturday be a total wash and go to bed.

 

Sunday, November 13th

Let’s all take a moment and rejoice in the fact that I got out of bed at 6:30am and was ready to run the Beer and Bagel 4 mile trail run at 9am.

Can I get a Hallelujah?   Can I get an Amen?

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Blair is a trail running PRO!  She recently ran a 50K.   Yes, you read that right.  50K = 31.08 miles.  So, I laughed at her for wanting to still run this with me.   It’s 4 miles.  That’s like her warm-up nowadays.  But, thankfully, she did it and we had fun and I appreciate her grace in not rubbing in the fact that this is peanuts to her distance legs.

I might consider running the 13.1 trail run next year.  Trail running is SO much better than road running.  It is so much more forgiving on the joints since you are on soft ground and uneven terrain that forces you to take it easy and watch where you are going, rather then operate as a robot and pound the pavement.  Running the 13.1 Beer and Bagel run in 2017 is a definite thought.  A consideration.

We will see. 🙂

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After the race I napped again.  DUDE!  WHAT IS WRONG WITH ME?!    I think it was a culmination of three days in a row last week of getting up by 3:10am on top of the minimal water and shenanigans on Friday night.  My body was O.V.E.R. it.

I forced myself into partial civilization on Sunday afternoon when I bundled up and went out on the HD, just her and I.   It’s that time of the year when the hubs is gone hunting on the weekends and I get my coveted solo ride time in when the weather is cooperating.

I managed to burn through a full tank of gas and it was all sortsa magical.

Solo rides = no destination.  No planned stops.   Just a direction, the roll of the throttle and a big ass smile on my face.  🙂

Although, this snap looks like I don’t even have a head, let alone a face for a smile.

But my front wheel looks B.A.

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Cheers to a GREAT weekend!

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Year 5!

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5 years of marriage

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10 years together

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An incredible ride

 

The saying time flies when you’re having fun couldn’t ring more true.   As you are reading this, we are currently in Illinois for the weekend, staying in a cabin and exploring life along the Mississippi river from the seat of our two wheels.  In honor of year 5, I felt like taking us on a little journey back to 09.10.11 when we both said I DO to this crazy, fun adventure we’ve gotten ourselves into.

Our Wedding Day

The morning of September 10th, 2011 started off as most typical weddings do…

√ with the girls all shoved into a hotel room

√ clouds of hairspray in the air

√ and slight buzzes all around from mimosas

Or if you are the Bride, you are buzzed from drinking champagne straight outta the bottle.

Don’t you dare deny it.  You know you did.

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These girls provided much laughter and entertainment as we each got ready for what was bound to be a fun filled day.

Once the makeup, hair and jewelry were all set in place and the dress on; my sparkly orange shoes and I made our way downstairs to see Clint for the first time.

I believe the look on his face says it all.

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With a little dress help from the soon to be husband…

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…we set out on the Pre-Wedding Party Bus for an afternoon of photos, boozing and laughter.   The thought of doing photos with zero beer sounded insanely boring and not our style.  Plus, who wants a party bus after the wedding when you only get to use it for 5 seconds?

Psssh…. Let’s do this RIGHT.

Load ’em up!

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We chose the old train station in the Old Market as the location for all our photos.  Off the beaten path, a little edgy and zero stuffiness of a traditional setting.

Just the ticket.

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I crack up every time I look at these photos of the boys.  They took the potential awkwardness of photos together and threw it out the window with their ridiculousness.   Priceless.

I love those boys.

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To be serious is really hard.  I believe there are more laughing photos than smiling or serious.  Which is cool for me!  After all, this is a true reflection of our marriage, but most importantly, friendship.

I dig the shiz outta this dude.

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duo

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After we wrapped up the photos, we trekked on over to Joe Banana’s Bar for a few shots and relaxation before making our way out to Westfair for the Ceremony.

Wait, wait.  We hadn’t gotten hitched yet and we were still out having a good time?

BINGO!

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Party Bus loaded, we made our way back to Westfair to actually DO this thing!

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For the walk down the aisle, Clint and I chose to walk together.  We’d already established ourselves as a team and a united front.  Why not go into it as such?  Plus, it took the pressure off my non-spotlight kinda dad and soft-spoken step-dad.

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While my brother played the guitar for our entrance, the wedding party made it down the aisle (and up the stairs in a straight line, might I add) before we made our own way down with a pit-stop at both sets of parents for hugs and love before taking our own spots on stage.

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With the girls to our left and the boys to our right, we said our own vows, prayed for the Lord’s Blessing on our marriage and said our I Do’s, surrounded by the folks that mean the absolute most to us.

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And just like that we became Husband and Wife

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Post-ceremony we made sure to grab our families for some photos before we lost them all in the sea of friends and beer.

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Then came the eating, drinking, laughing and reminiscing with friends past and present.  A SPECIAL shout-out to Claire’s mama, Kendra, for the insanely delicious frosted sugar cookies that proved to be painstakingly tedious to make.  I fell in love with Kendra’s sugar cookies in High School.

COULD NOT. CANNOT. GET ENOUGH.

So, when I asked her to make enough cookies to feed a few hundred, she didn’t hesitate once.   Unfortunately, I nearly ruined her of making these for eternity after this stint.   But, I am happy to report, I have had a few of her creations since then.  Whew… crisis diverted.   Thank You, Kendra!  ❤

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And then the rest of the night?

DANCING

Oh, the DANCING!  With Lemon Fresh Day taking over the Westfair Stage, you KNOW we danced and partied hard.

What an incredible night.

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Cheers to year 5 and to many, many more.

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Venue: Westfair

Catering: HyVee

Photography: Gulizia Design

(please note photos are slightly distorted due to program I used for cropping and combining, NOT from actual photos)

Ties: RokGear