Saturday, November 27, 2010

Happy #3 Abby!!

Abby got to pick what she wanted for dinner the night of her actual birthday.  She picked chicken nuggets, fries, and mac and cheese.  Go figure.  So I made her homemade chicken nuggets and fries.  She took one bite and said, "these aren't Chick-fil-A!!"  Haha, oh, well. 

We celebrated Abby's birthday with a little party with some family and friends at our house last weekend.

When I asked her what kind of cake she wanted, her only request was "PINK!!" 

The kiddos played a few rounds of musical "chairs."

And then we had a dance party, of course!

Abby and her buddy Campbell

Sweet Catherine and Elliott

Charlie got lots of love from Aunt Katie

And of course, we had to have a pinata!!

Opening lots of presents- she got so many fun things!! Thanks everyone!

 Oh, Abby, what fun you are!!  How fun it is to celebrate you!  I know this next year is going to be filled with as much fun and wonder as the last year has been!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Looking back: October

And finally, for all of our fans out there, a peek into what we have been up to lately!!

October was a FULL month for us this year.  We were living at Andy's parents for a good bit of it, moved into our new house mid-month, celebrated three birthdays, celebrated Halloween, and enjoyed school and friends in between. 

Abby's hair is finally long enough and she is finally able to sit still long enough for me to do fun things with it.  I have put her hair into braids like these several times for school.  Doesn't she look like such a big girl??

And my Charlie- look at this girl!  She is growing up so fast.  She has such a sweet disposition, she has this smile that will just make you melt.

I put a movie on while I was getting dinner started the other day.  Charlie was playing with some of her toys on the floor. Abby wanted to sit next to her, so she pulled a chair up right next to her and plopped down.  They sat like this for a good half an hour.  So cute!!

We celebrated Andy's birthday out on our screened in porch.  It was a bit chilly but it was fun to enjoy eating outside.

Abby chose to be Tinkerbell for Halloween, so I made this costume for her.  Do you see this face?? She likes to pose for me.

She had a party in her class and Charlotte and I went to hangout for the morning.  It was so fun to watch her interact with all her little buddies.  And they were all so cute!

This is Abby and her buddy Campbell.  These two have the sweetest little friendship.  They LOVE each other.  In fact, they love each other so much that they will hug each other so hard that they fall over in a heap of giggles.  I am so glad that they have each other!

Abby at her desk. LOVE love love.

We went to Hunt Club Farm to pick pumpkins the weekend before Halloween.  They have a petting zoo there and Abby really enjoyed walking around looking at all the animals.
Me and my girls

Love this face!

Look how much Abby has grown!! I love this picture of her from last year (on the bottom).  It's amazing to me how much she has changed in just a year.

My sweet little pumpkins

Getting ready for Trick-Or-Treating 

Alright, can you tell which one is Abby and which one is Charlotte??

How about in these??

We took Abby trick-or-treating along with her buddy Myles.  Isn't his costume amazing?  I love that face!!

Sweet little baby bats- Owen and Charlotte

The next day I let Abby look over her candy.  I walked out of the room for a bit to do dishes, and when I walked back in this is what I found- she had sorted out all of her candy into little piles by type.  Oh. my. goodness.  She is SO my child!

They LOVE love bath time together!!

Hope you are all enjoying a wonderful Thanksgiving feast with your families!!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Surprised by Joy

I can still remember perfectly every detail of those three minutes. Setting the stick on the vanity, walking away because it was going to drive me crazy standing there waiting for the answer, setting the timer for 3 minutes, checking my email, timer went off, walking back into the bathroom, looking down at the stick...

Two pink lines.


I was sure that one was a defect, so I opened a second test, and went through the same steps all over again.

Two pink lines. Again.

And then my mind literally exploded.  I was plunged into a whirlwind of emotions; Excitement, fear, happiness, anger (this was not the plan, this was two years too early!!), guilt (how can I feel anything but happiness over this?  what kind of person am I?  I clearly don't deserve this baby...), confusion (what happened to "the plan"??), fear (what if something happens to him/her?  how do I tell my boss?  Andy is going to grad-school and I was supposed to work full time and we won't have any money and what's going to happen now??), wonder (there is a BABY inside of me!).
I picked up the phone to call Andy and tell him, but the second he answered I started sobbing uncontrollably.  All I could say is "come home, NOW."  He thought someone in my family had died.  He was home in less than 10 minutes.
As soon as he walked in I told him.  And his face broke into the biggest grin I have ever seen.  You would have thought someone had just told him he won the lottery and would never have to work again! 

And we had won the lottery.  Abigail Shea made our two-some into a family 9 months later, on November 16th 2007.  And from the very beginning, she brought joy and delight into our home.  

I think the phrase that best describes the past three years of being Abby's mommy is "surprised by joy." Not that I am surprised that it has been a joy- I knew I would love being her mom and find it very fulfilling and joy-filled.  I just didn't know how much. And I didn't know the means that God would use to bring about this joy.

I think I thought it would just be so fun, and that she would just be so cute and sweet, and it would just be so great teaching her things and playing together and spending our days together, and that naturally it would all just be a joy! Part of that is true- she IS cute and sweet, and it IS great teaching and shepherding her, and I DO love playing with her and being with her. Being her mommy brings me much happiness.

But my greatest moments of joy in motherhood have been when the Lord has brought us through trials, and struggles, and suffering.

A month before Abby was due, it was discovered that Andy had a golf-ball sized tumor in his brain, pressing on his brain stem.  He needed surgery right away.  It probably wasn't cancer and was highly treatable, but there were lots of risks involved in surgery.  Lots of things that might never be the same again.  When they wheeled him away for his 9-hour long surgery, I knew that there was a chance that he might never be the same again, or worse, that something could happen during surgery and I could become a widow at age 25.  And on top of all that, I had a newborn who needed constant care.  Abby turned 1 month old in the hospital.  Lots of people said to me during and after the surgery (and even sometimes now when I tell the story), "I can't imagine how you could ever do that with a one-month old!"  But God knew.  He knew that there would be dark moments and times when I would doubt that He was in control, and good, and trustworthy.  And He knew that I would forget His faithfulness.  And so He planned Abby long before we knew about Andy's tumor, and gave her to us as a tangible reminder of His love and care for us.  She was a light in the midst of a really scary time.  Sitting in the waiting room for hours upon hours, day after day, her smiles and coos warmed us, helped us battle boredom, and reminded us to hope instead of worry.  Her presence actually helped Andy to heal- in his darkest moments, bringing her into his room would instantly lift his spirits. Suddenly, it totally made sense why He brought her to us earlier than our "plan."  He knew.  She was a daily reminder to me that God loved me deeply, was holding us and sustaining us, and that He was working good in ALL things. That's why we named her "Abigail."  It means "joy of the father," or "father in rejoicing."  She is a daily reminder to us that our Father rejoices over us with singing- of the joy that comes only from our Heavenly Father who loves to give His children good things. In the midst of this trial, He surprised me with joy.

When Abby hit about 2, I suddenly understood the "terrible" in "terrible two's."  Tantrums, tears, defiance, that "look" that says, "how DARE you say 'no' to ME!"  Who was this child?? It was a daily struggle for me to keep calm, stay patient, and to correct her gently. Shortly after Charlotte was born we hit an all-time low.  Tantrums were happening multiple times a day, my attention was divided between the two girls, and it seemed like most of my time with her was spent threatening and disciplining.  Instead of enjoying her, we were battling and struggling.  The days became all about surviving. For the first time I found myself wondering "is this it?  Is this all God has for me in motherhood? Do I really want four of these?"   It felt joyless and empty.  
And then I started to pray.  For an extra measure of patience that day.  For wisdom in how to best discipline, shepherd, teach. For more love for her in her ugliest moments.  For gentleness.  For compassion. For her to listen and obey. For a breakthrough. And the Lord started to work in my heart.  But instead of changing her, or instantly turning me into a better person, making me more patient and giving me better methods, He started to show me how my heart desperately needed to change.  How I was in desperate need of His patience, love, compassion and grace.  The more I saw her sin, the more I saw my own, and the uglier her tantrums, the more I saw the reality of the ugliness in my own heart.  The more I prayed for help, the more He showed me the depth of my need for Him, and the more He began to meet these needs for me.  Motherhood slowly began to be less about me "getting it right" and having a "perfect" day, and more about me meeting with Jesus and trusting Him to supply me with all that I needed to get through the days.  And surprisingly, the less I focused on getting the results I wanted and the more I focused on bringing her to Jesus, the better our days got.  The tantrums became less.  The moments of desperation fewer.
We still have hard days, and battles and moments of struggle.  Lots- she is my child and has my strong will! But instead of leading me to despair, they drive me to the cross.  And instead of wearing me down, they are making me grow.  As I learn to trust in Jesus more, He is making me into the mommy He has called me to be.  Most importantly, my struggles in motherhood are helping me to know Jesus in a deeper way than ever before.  In the midst of the struggles of tantrums and tears, He is surprising me with joy.

And lastly, I never knew how much joy I would have in getting to know my child. I knew it would be fun.  I knew I would love her.  But I just didn't know it would be this great.  All the little things that make Abby who she is, I love every single one of them.  How she started talking in full sentences early and will. not. stop.  How she loves to sing but she gets a lot of the words wrong and sometimes mixes songs together.  How she will sit and read all the books on her bookshelf for an hour.  How she has to put EVERYTHING in her mouth and it drives me crazy! How she asks, "are you happy, Mommy?" when she senses I am upset with her, and how much it crushes her if I am angry with her.  How she is so sensitive to our feelings.  How she follows big girls around, copying everything they do.  How big her eyes get when she asks me a question.  How she is timid in new situations with new people.  Her incredible amount of energy- she is crazy!! How loud she is.  How she laughs.  How she loves to hear stories about Jesus and to pray.  How she is so proud to be a big sister- when people come up to us in the store she stands proudly and says "this is my baby sister Charlotte!" How she tries to comfort Charlotte when she is crying.  How inquisitive she is. Oh I could go on for pages and pages.  I knew I would love her.  I just didn't know it would be this much.  In the midst of all that makes her who she is, He is surprising me with so much joy.

So, I always knew that being a parent would be a joy.  I just never knew it would happen quite this way.  

Happy Birthday my little bumblebee.  I love you more than you will ever know, and I am so proud to be your mommy. 

Friday, September 17, 2010


I have been thinking that the black background with white writing is a little hard to read- is it just me?  So I thought I would try out a white background with black writing... what do you guys think?  Which one is better??

Tuesday, September 14, 2010


Life is going at about 180 mph and isn't showing any signs of slowing down any time soon.  No time for a longer post, so in the interest of keeping all 10 of you who regularly stop here up to date on our crazy life, I thought I'de just do a quick bullet list of what we've been up to lately, and some things I have been thinking about.  

  • We moved two weeks ago.   We are in the process of purchasing our first home (YIKES!! SERIOUS YIKES!!!), but our lease ran out before the house closed. So two weeks ago we packed up our house, put it in storage, and moved in with Andy's parents in Virginia Beach.  Yup, right at the beginning of Abby's first year of preschool and in the middle of the busiest time of the year for me on campus.  We like to live on the edge.
  • My in-laws are amazing.  I'm sure that when you finally get to be an empty nester, you never imagine that your children will be moving back in with you, with their children and animals in tow. We bring a LOT of mess and noise and craziness and business with us.  But Bruce and Trisha have welcomed us graciously and provided for us so lovingly.  Some people would have a near panic attack at the thought of moving in with their parents/in-laws, but so far it has been great and we have really enjoyed living with them.  We are, however, counting down the days until we get our house and get to be back in Norfolk near all of our friends.
  • It is so crazy and so the Lord that I am even saying that last sentence- that I MISS NORFOLK!  Norfolk, the last place in Virginia I wanted to live when Andy was doing the job search a year-and-a-half ago.  Norfolk, the place I was sure I would hate forever, after the first month here missing Blacksburg and Harrisonburg and all my friends and being able to walk to campus. I miss Norfolk and all it's quirkiness.
  • Did Saturday really happen?  What??? This is the first time my loves for both JMU AND Hokie football have collided.  After the game Saturday I felt both elated for my Dukes and totally bummed for my Hokies.  I still feel bad that their season is pretty much over now, but I am pretty excited about all the new buzz about Dukes football that I am seeing. Common, Big East....
  • And speaking of Hokie football, Frank Beamer is the man.  We listened to his post-game interview, and I was reminded again of what a level-headed, humble guy he is.  
  • I've been really struggling with putting Abby in pre-school lately.  I feel confident that it's the right thing for her right now- and it's only a total of 6 hours a week, for pete's sake! But lately, I have been really wrestling with feelings of guilt and regret over the last (almost) 3 years of her life.  Guilt over all the ways I have sinned against her and all the mistakes I have made already (and she isn't even a teenager yet!) Regret over all the things I never did with her that I wanted to do. It's normal mommy guilt I know. But, I think it reveals a deeper heart struggle- my lack of faith in Jesus to be the one who meets all of her needs perfectly, and my lack of faith in Him to spread his grace over all of my mistakes and failures.  And, my perfectionism, pride, and idolatry.  Ugh. So, I am wrestling- surrendering some things and still clinging to others, but wrestling nonetheless.  And trusting the Spirit will work in me and grow me in dependance on Him.
  • There are far too many drive-through Starbucks down here.  I know of three between the Benson's house and preschool and campus.  This is not good for my wallet or my post-baby belly. 
  • Charlotte is 6 months old now.  HALF OF A YEAR!  Say what?? She is rolling all over the place, trying to crawl, almost sitting, eating solid foods (and loving it! and still nursing 6x a day-the girl loves her groceries!), sleeping until 6am, and looking more and more like Abby every day.  Seriously, I call her "Abby Shea" all the time by mistake because she looks and acts just like baby Abby.  I love love having a baby around again and could just eat her to pieces.  She is so much fun and we love her so much!
  • Yesterday evening I overheard Abby playing with her dolly.  This is what I heard: "NO Dolly! STAY. IN. BED.  Get out of bed one more time and get a SPANKING!"   Two seconds later: "Ok Dolly, get a spanking!" She then grabbed her dolly, laid her face down on her lap, and spanked her!  I was half cracking up, half concerned, because this is exactly what does down every night with HER, and it's really revealing to hear your child repeat back what they hear you saying to them.  But then, I peeked in and saw her hugging her dolly, saying "Pray God, pray Dolly listen, pray Dolly stay in bed, pray Dolly to obey.  Yuv you, amen." It was encouraging, because we always pray that she will really "get" that when we do spank her, it is to teach her to obey us and God and to restore her relationship with us and with Him, not to punish her or to manipulate her to obey us out of fear.  Disobedience is always sad, and spankings are too, but reconciliation is sweet and restoration is always promised!
  • Back to house-buying:  The fact that we are in the process of buying a house here in Norfolk is really, really huge if you know me at all and know my dream of raising my children a block away from JMU. The past five years have looked something like this: ask for Hburg, looks like Lord is saying "yes,"  looks like He is saying "not now," get angry, surrender and trust Him, move to Blacksburg, see God's provision in a new place with new friends and see that His ways are better than mine, looks like He might give us Hburg now, ask for Hburg, looks like His is saying (again) "not now," get angry, surrender and trust Him, move to Norfolk, see His provision and goodness again and that His ways are (still) better than mine, looks like He might be opening a door and finally saying "yes" now, ask ask ask like crazy, looks like His answer is still "not now," pray about what it would look like to really settle in and invest in this place- our city, our church, our friends. And that's where I am.  Praying, trusting, surrendering.  I really, REALLY know that His ways are far better than mine.  There have been way too many tangible reminders of this in my life over the past three years.  I don't know if He will ever say "yes" to Harrisonburg.  I still ask Him to, someday.  But I think I am finally at a place where I will be "okay" if he doesn't.
  • Our close friends are waiting to welcome their first baby, a girl, into the world any minute now!! We are on pins and needles waiting to hear news that they are in the hospital.  They are already a few days past their due date, which I know is really discouraging and frustrating.  So if you think about it, pray for them?! This baby is the answer to so many prayers, and this family has been through a lot in the past year. We cannot cannot wait to meet her!!!

Friday, August 27, 2010

pure awesome

Have you seen this website?  It is aMAzing! It cracks me up so much.

Catalog Living

Its a blog by actor/comedian Molly Erdman- she's in those Sonic commercials.  She takes pages from catalogues and puts funny captions on them.  Cracks me up every time.

And if you are anything like me and have serious envy issues every time you get your Pottery Barn, Crate & Barrel, or Anthropologie's in the mail, than this site will help put things into perspective!

Here's an example of one of her posts:

Life’s simple pleasures…

After a long day, nothing pleased Gary more than sitting down to a tasty bowl of rocks with his best friend Gus at his feet.

Friday, August 20, 2010

"Am I pretty, Mommy?"

She's been into princesses lately.  Obsessed, really.  She watches the movies, she reads the books, she puts on her tutu and dances around the kitchen and announces to us "I am a princess, and Daddy is the prince!!"  She is ALL. GIRL.

Lately she has taken to standing in front of the full-length mirror, brushing her hair and making different faces at herself.  Yesterday I walked by and she said to me, "am I pretty, Mommy?"
"Oh yes, Abby, you are my beautiful girl, and I love you."
"Okay," she said.

Her question stopped me in my tracks, though.  Where in the world did that come from?? Is she just repeating back things she's heard me say, or is she really beginning to wonder about her looks? And even if she doesn't really "mean" it this time, how long before she really does?  How long until she thinks differently about the clothes she chooses in the morning, or the way she fixes her hair, or, (yikes!!) makeup!!! Or her body- those chubby yummy knees I love to kiss, and her sweet belly I tickle, and her face that is so beautiful to me it takes my breath away sometimes- when will she start despising these, too?
Or, how can I shepherd her well so that she doesn't end up struggling in these ways (or at least, struggles less?) My tendency is to want to shelter her completely from all the ways the world speaks about beauty. I could take away all the Disney movies, get the princesses out of the house, and heck, let's just get rid of the television all together! That thing is the devil!!

But that isn't realistic, or even healthy.  I can't shelter her forever, and someday she is going to need to know how to interpret the world around her, and all it's mess, for herself.  So maybe Jesus has something more for my parenting.  Maybe He wants to redeem the broken ways the world speaks about beauty and give us a whole picture of who he has made us to be.

Maybe Cinderella can teach us that though she was pretty on the outside for sure, her looks weren't what made her truly beautiful. Prince Charming had a lot of other women to choose from and they must have all been just as pretty as Cinderella.  What made her stand out from all the rest was her kind and gentle spirit.  And how she served her stepmother and stepsisters with a cheerful heart even though they oppressed her.  And how she cared for the lowliest of creatures- the mice and the barn dog.

And while I teach my girls about the qualities that Cinderella had that made her beautiful, I can also teach them about where the power comes from to have these qualities.  Because I can't make myself more beautiful.  Try as I might, I just can't make myself kinder, or gentler, or more just, or more giving.  I always come up short.

There was One who did all these things perfectly, and who knew from the beginning that despite my best efforts I would fall short, but who put his Spirit in me to give me the power to life a life of beauty for Him.  And I can teach my girls about Him, and how he is making them more and more beautiful as they trust in Him.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Dinner Tonight: Bulgogi

(image from

This is quickly becoming one of our favorite meals, and one of my favorites to prepare.  Beef Bulgogi, also known as Korean Barbeque (but don't let that name fool you, it tastes NOTHING like American BBQ). Marinated steak cooked quickly in a skillet, served on a small piece of lettuce with a sponful of rice, and a little dallop of hoisin sauce on top, rolled up and eaten with your hands... yummy goodness!!

The first time I had it was back in Harrisonburg at our friend/neighbor's house.  Heidi is one of the best cooks I know, and she invited me over for lunch one afternoon and this is what we had.  I had forgotten about it until a few months ago when on a whim I emailed her and asked her for the recipe- I was craving it something bad! This summer I have probably made it 4 or 5 times, and will make it again!  Andy loves it, Abby loves it, it's super easy to make, and if you use a lean cut of meat it's pretty healthy, too!  (Or you can go even healthier and use chicken.  But we love us some red meat around here.)  And, it's one of those meals that you can eat a ton of and just feel gooooood when you are finished- not stuffed, not "I can't believe I just ate that, I must have gained 5 pounds," and not, "that's it??" Just satisfied.

Anyways, here is the recipe I use.  If you google "Bulgogi" you can find other, much more complicated recipes for it.  But I am all about homemade food that has few ingredients and still tastes heavenly!

Marinate beef for several hours in:
3 T. soy sauce
1 T. sesame oil
1 T. sesame seeds
1 clove garlic, minced
1 t. sugar
1/2 t. salt
1/4 t. pepper
-Cooke rice. I use white sticky rice especially for sushi, it works the best, but you can also use jasmine or brown rice.
-Saute beef in a skillet or fry pan on the stove until done, 8-10 minutes.
-Serve with rice on a small piece of lettuce- Bibb, iceberg, or any other.
-Top with a little bit of hoisin sauce or soy sauce.  Roll up and enjoy!

-You can buy sesame seeds pretty cheap in the asian section- cheaper than in the spice aisle.
-I usually pick a thin piece of beef that is especially for sauteeing.  But you can use whatever cut you like.

See?? Easy Peasy!!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Summer Happenings Part 2

Weddings of college friends are the best, aren't they?  There is really nothing like these mini-reunions; getting to see old friends and meet new spouses and children, watching your friend marry the woman/man of their dreams, and going crazy on the dance floor together, just like the old days! We had the privilege of being part of the wedding of one of our closest friends this summer.  Chris Loose was one of our groomsmen, and then about a month and a half ago Andy got to stand beside him as he married his love, Rachel.
To make it even better, the wedding was only 45 minutes from our dear friends the Weymouths, so we got to spend lots of time with them as well, and Abby got lots of time with her bestest friend Lallie-B.

On the way to Asheville we stopped for the night at a hotel, to break the trip up a bit (8 hours is reallllllly long with a toddler and a newborn!!).  The girls did GREAT with their first hotel stay!  I have to say, I was not looking forward to this part of trip- too many bad memories from my childhood of road trips to MInnesota and Disney World.  Me+Dan+Matt+8 hours stuffed inside a cramped station wagon+two beds in one tiny hotel room DOES NOT EQUAL fun.  Especially when it came time to decide who got to sleep on the lone cot.  But I digress....
Charlotte's new favorite way to fall asleep

Abby got a double bed all to herself.  Lucky girl.  Enjoy it while it lasts, kiddo...

Once we got to the Weymouths, it was party time!!! The girls wasted no time breaking it down.

We are saving these up for their dorm room walls.  That's right I said it- we have already applied for early admission for them to be roommates at JMU in 2026. Class of 2030!!
(ummm can you even imagine 2030?  That seems forever from now.  I will be 46. YIKES.)

After bath time, snuggle time before bed

Abby's favorite thing all weekend: going through all of Lallie's accessories.  Shoes, hair clips, head bands, oh my!!

The girls: Lallie Beth, Madeleine, Charlotte, and Abby

Alexe set up mini pedicures on the front porch. 

Such cute pink toes!

We left Abby with the Weymouth's Friday afternoon so we could go to the Rehearsal Dinner and then the wedding the next day without our crazy preschooler in tow.  THANK YOU THANK YOU Weymouths!!! Seriously, you know you have good friends when on top of having house guests in and out of their home for 7 days, they are also willing to watch your kid for you for almost a whole weekend.

At the rehearsal:
They look so happy!!

I wish you could have seen his face all weekend.  Chris is normally a happy guy, but I have never seen him smile so much in the 8 years I have known him.

At the wedding:
Chris and Rachel met while serving together on an InterVarsity mission trip to Mongolia a few summers ago, but their relationship didn't technically start then.  Chris went back to Mongolia to do full time campus ministry for a few years, and during his time over there Rachel ended up going over for a period of time as well, and their romance began then!  They are such a great match for each other, and their story is such a reminder to me (and everyone!) of God's sovereignty, provision and care for His children.    Their reception was Mongolian themed, including the cake!  How fun!!

In Mongolia it is custom for the bride and groom to sing a song to everyone at the wedding reception. So, Chris and Rachel sang a song to us in Mongolian as well!  

What a handsome couple!! Rachel was gorgeous, and glowing.  

It was so great to catch up with so many college friends, and some of our best friends in the world
William and Amy Roy, Me, and Mark and Emily Davis.  William, Mark, Andy, and Chris lived together for a year after college, the year Andy and I were engaged.  I have so many great memories with these guys, and now with their spouses, too.  Such great friends!

William you are going to be an amazing Dad!  No pressure!! haha

I'm pretty sure we were cracking up at Chris dancing to Freebird.  A tradition from his college days.

Yep, and here it is.  Rachel joined in and Chris's air guitar solo became a duet.  This was probably one of the highlights of the evening.

It was fitting that our good friend Brandon caught the garter, as he and his wife, Amy, got married a few weekends ago!

Sending them off

I know I keep saying this, but what good friends we have!  Chris has been such an encouragement to Andy over the years.  He has played a big part in some of the major moments in our relationship- when Andy was first deciding whether or not to pursue dating me and then when he was praying about marrying me, during our engagement, at our wedding, and he was even present for our first big fight! So, this wedding was really special for us and really more like having a sibling get married. We love you, Chris and Rachel, and we can't wait to visit you in Boston!!