Chuck's cousin Nickie got married at the beginning of July and if you can find a more beautiful couple then I will be really impressed, because seriously, look at these two:
Austin plays football at SUU and is like 7 ft tall and Nickie is on the dance team at SUU and is like 5 ft tall and even the juxtaposition is adorable.
(P.S. This picture, along with every other picture on this post of Really Good Quality is courtesy of Melissa and her incredible talent. Melissa was snapped (get it??) up by Flash Photo a while back and does beautiful work there if anyone in the northern Utah area needs pictures!)
We loaded up the kids (all four of them, not just the happy little cherubs pictured) and headed south for the wedding festivities!
...starting the evening before with setting up for the luncheon at the church (we helpfully rolled in just as the last few chairs were being set up #winning) and pizza at the park with Grandma Thomas and Aunt Sue and co.
There was a pretty competitive bocce ball tournament going on but when Courtney and I weren't on the field (the green?) she played with my hair and it was Heavenly.
We took full advantage of the lovely accommodations at Casa Smith that night - one of my favorite perks being the in-house make-up artist and hairstylist that came with our reservation, aka Heidi who was blessedly in town and Courtney who was celebrating her own wedding anniversary that day.
This is the only picture from our stay - our somewhat vain attempts at forcing Carma and Nora to be instant best friends haha. It's okay, we've got time for them to realize their destiny.
And then it was off to the temple! The sealing was beautiful, after which Chuck and I hied our way outside to help wrangle the children. It was hotttt so we found ourselves a shaded corner and plopped down.
Oh but first I gathered my coordinated gang for some pictures. I call the top left "Land ho!" as I'm clearly channeling my inner Magellan? Lewis? Clark? Man, no one tell Mr. Bisig or Mr. Burridge that those are the only explorers I can remember ;).
The rest of the pictures tell two sagas: Jack and his (slowly being consumed) cookie and Will and his (refusal to go on without) sunglasses.
We gave up on that sunny area and reconvened for another go:
Got this one, called it a win. Caption courtesy of Instagram: (and picture courtesy of Mallory!!)
Grabbed Chuck for some selfies, crashed by Clyde, one of our favorite third wheels... and typing that clearly requires me to link to my fave Studio C third wheel sketch: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z3if9AdTGUU
And then Austin and Nickie came out:
This was in the midst of reassembling for another picture; I just love Aunt Sue in the middle looking calm and carefree and gorgeous!!
Smaller group - all of Nickie's family/friends. Clyde headed up front with George, Will is hanging out up top like a boss, and Chuck and I are smiling mid-wrestling our younger two children hahaha.
Okay, random picture, but this is a group of Austin's groomsmen - mostly high school and college football teammates if I remember correctly. As we were all standing around during the picture process, Jack randomly cozied up to them. Like, he was leaning against one of them, totally snuggled up. The guy was totally sweet and slightly confused but going along with it, but after a couple of minutes Jack looked at me (trying not to look at him) and then looked up at the tall group of guys... and immediately made a beeline for me. We tried to ask him about it but he got embarrassed and wouldn't respond - I think he's just used to being around uncles maybe? It was pretty hilarious!
Speaking of awesome guys, I love this picture of the Gray siblings - mostly because it mirrors our kids, three boys and then a girl :). (fun fact: another set of cousins on this branch of the family has three boys and then two girls. High five to Aunt Gina, but we're sticking with Aunt Sue's version ;) ).
This was a great chance to see some of Chuck's cousins - and meet spouses since we weren't able to attend Chris and Liz' New York wedding or Jesse and Kit's Colorado wedding. A lot of Chuck's growing up/holiday/summer vacation memories involve Jesse, Chris, and Brian + legos and action figures :).
Kit (on the left) is a ridiculously talented artist who does commissioned portraits of wildlife and pets, see her Facebook page here: https://www.facebook.com/kitgrayillustration/ And Liz (on the right) is a ridiculously dedicated public school teacher in New York City (pause for clapping....) and has put up with my insistent Facebook friendship over the years so graciously ;). Loved finally meeting them both in person!
We hung around and watched a few more pictures and then packed up our sweaty kiddos. Have I mentioned yet what troopers these four were during the marathon day of activities?
Luckily next up was the luncheon! Yay for air conditioned churches with plenty of room for little scallywags (correct spelling is apparently scalawags but I just can't) to run about. Highlights for the rest of us: delicious Costa Vida lunch, an awesome slideshow and commentary from the moms of the groom and bride, and passing the microphone around for friends and family to share memories and good wishes. I was shadowing Carma in the hall for most of it, but what I heard was really fun and sweet!
And then it was back into the slight warmness of July in Utah (bless those pioneers who rolled in this time of year and said, 'Sure, let's stick around!') as we headed out to the reception site. Most of the gang (aka adults) headed inside to be helpful, while Chuck and I took our eleven children on a Grandma-sponsored hay ride! Speaking of our newly expanded family, we're obviously angling for a reality show - what should we call it?? 'Chuck and Jana ... Go Bananas?' 'Jana and Chuck... Need a Bigger Truck' maybe?
Obviously if the reality show takes off, we'll have to train the wee ones on being camera-ready at all times. My favorite is Anna adopting Jack's grumpy expression. ALSO, JACK'S FACE IS MORE PINK THAN HIS SHIRT. I promise we were pushing water. Lots.
The hay ride was... pretty great. There was a noticeable lack of an onboard tour guide so I adopted a southern accent and narrated the ride, much to the extreme delight of the other passengers, I'm sure.
Couple more outdoor shots before we invaded the beautiful reception area inside!
So pretty, right? Kit did the lettering for all of the signs and Aleesha made the beautiful cake:
Shameless collection of pictures of me; I'm obsessed with that dress ($5 at Savers + borrowed slip extender from Paulina) so I set a goal to be photographed as much as possible in it. I grabbed Liz for a picture to reallllly cement our in-person friendship (left); Bri came and snuggled with me so obviously that necessitated a picture because she's a doll, and Chuck took the one of me and Carma and Jack of his own volition - he must have liked the dress too ;).
I love this collection of dance floor pictures that Melissa took! Clyde and George had wayyyy too much fun sliding across the floor. I had wayyyy too much fun cuttin' a rug (wait, cutting' a rug? cuttin' up a rug? Is this a pretty good indication I shouldn't be using this expression??) with my squad (insert sunglasses smiley face emoji here to REALLY convey my level of coolness).
Commissioned Jack for this full body shot of me and my super hot date.
Sunday morning was nice and slow-paced - we convened in Melissa and Kevin's backyard for some 'Nine Square' which is an amazing homemade game built by Kevin's awesome dad John. (spoiler alert: it will pop again... literally... at the August family reunion in Lava Hot Springs) There was also some pretty cute second cousin bonding by Carma and Hudson on the trampoline...
Cute little church Izatts!
More hanging out - Carma and James doing a keyboard duet, Will snuggling up with Uncle Kevin, and Carma making the rounds to her adoring fans.
Pictures with girls I love! Including a selfie with Grandma Thomas; she's a natural!!
We gathered the random great-grandkids (left) and grandkids + great-grandkids (right) for pictures with Grandma. The great-grandkids pictures are missing RaeLyn, Xavier, Maverick and the since-born Lincoln, Emily, and Ella. Pretty incredible legacy Grandma Thomas has!!
I have to end with this beautiful picture Melissa took - Nickie and Sue! It was so wonderful to be able to be there to celebrate with Sue (since we've missed her other kids' weddings especially!) - she is such a loving and attentive aunt to Chuck and our family and makes such an effort to be at our special events. I loved seeing her totally in her element as the mother-of-the-bride!!
Congratulations again Nickie and Austin - we wish you two allll the best! You've made it to 8+ months, so you've clearly got this thing ;).