New Year’s Eve was spent with our beautiful men. Hungover and tired from the bachelorette celebration we lounged around watching the ball drop on TV fighting to stay awake until midnight. Glad to be together, happy that we had not planned a big New Year’s Eve party. As we turned in for the night we knew the new year would bring new adventures and amazing memories for all of us!
The 28 days until Brian and Claire’s wedding would pass fast. All details needed to be in place, list needed to be made and checked twice. My job for the next few weeks, was to make sure nothing was overlooked and Claire’s life was as easy as possible, no need for the bride to be stressed. Good thing I have catered a thousand weddings! I made sure the linens were pressed, center pieces complete, tasks were assigned, flowers were accounted for and every detail covered.
The boys’ bachelor weekend was in Colorado mid-month, a few days of snowboarding and shenanigans was the plan. Unfortunately, the snow fall in Colorado had been non-existent and a day pass for the mountain was outrageously priced so they only hit the slopes once during thier long weekend. The rest of the time was spent exercising their minds and doing whatever else boys do during a bachelor party.
At the same time in Washington on Whidbey Island… the ladies gathered together for a formal bridal shower. Another gathering of the goddesses in Claire’s life, we made a beautiful array of tea sandwiches and a lovely smörgåstårta; a Swedish
celebration dish. Traci honored our bride by making a beautiful strawberry champagne cake. Kay Kay brought her delicious homemade Chai tea. Let’s not forget our heart shaped ice cream sandwiches made with homemade sugar cookies filled with salted butterscotch ice cream, oh my were they delicious! A perfect afternoon with friends and family accompanied by an amazing sunset on the water.
When Daniel returned to Washington we made a lunch date with his cousin Vivian who works in downtown Seattle. It had been many years since they had seen each other. We ate at a small bakery a couple blocks from the building where she worked. We only spent a short time visiting with Vivian, our busy schedule didn’t allow for another gathering while we were in Washington this time. It was great to meet family and we promised the next time we were in Seattle we would make arrangements to visit longer.
January 20th was Francesca’s second birthday. We thought about taking her to the Seattle Zoo but it was cold rainy, so we made alternate plans. Early that morning Claire had a riding lesson so we bundled up and went to the stables. Claire has been riding a professional jumping horse named Turtle, we brushed and saddled the beautiful creature then took him to the arena. After Claire’s lesson miss Francesca got to ride him. It was the first time she had been on a horse and absolutely loved it. When you ask her if she is going to ride horses when she is older she will say yes. Looks like we will be needing a farm, if you hear of one someone giving away land please let us know.
The weekend before the wedding we spent snowboarding on Mt. Baker with Brian and Claire. We took a day trip to the snow packed mountain and took turns riding while the other played with Francesca. It was the first time I had been snowboarding since I was pregnant and it kicked my ass. It was a bit like my first time all over again. I had a hard time getting off the lifts, crashed a few times, got stuck in the snow and had to unstrap to get out. I was a sweaty mess covered in wet snow and completely wore myself out after a few runs. Feeling a bit defeated I switched off parenting duties with Daniel. He was able to enjoy the mountain for a few hours while Francesca and I cuddled in the car taking a much needed nap.
The ride home was another spectacular potty training moment when our little miss proclaimed she needed to poo-poo. Of course we were on a mountain stretch of road that had no stores until you came to the town at the bottom. She tried her hardest to hold it but we weren’t going to make it down before she had to go. We had to make an emergency roadside stop! She was trying hard to keep it in, Daniel hopped out of the car and grabbed Francesca but before he could get her pants all the way off it was coming out. Brain started gaging, Daniel was cursing, Claire and I were laughing at the boys. The whole thing was hilarious, an America’s funniest video moment if we had recorded it! We discarded the undies and cleaned up Francesca and the mess on Daniel’s pants and shoes before heading home.
The last week of preparation before the wedding included Daniel preparing for the rehearsal dinner, he was going to flex his skills as a chef and cook for the 40 guest that would be in town the night before the big day. Ginger glazed salmon steaks, marinated flank steak, roasted potatoes, sautéed asparagus, caprese salad, veggie orzo, a beautiful cheese and meat tray. Everything was planned, purchased and prepped before we left Everett. The day before the wedding we packed up the vehicles and headed to Bellingham.
The house we rented overlooked the harbor and ferry terminal, the location for the wedding ceremony and reception. The night we arrived was the rehearsal dinner so once we unloaded the cars we started preparing for the arrival of Brian’s family, it would be the first time his entire family had been together in more than a decade. The night was perfect, everyone enjoyed dinner and each others company. Excitement for the following day’s festivities filled the air, we couldn’t wait to see Claire and Brian exchange their vows. The evening wound down early, we wanted to get our beauty sleep for the wedding.
The big day had arrived, January 28th was upon us, the boys went to poppa Mike’s rental house and the girls’ hair stylist, Shannon Wylie, and make-up artist, Dusty Bolyard, arrived early morning to doll us up. Claire had chosen an art-deco theme for the wedding. The girls picked their make-up and hair style to compliment their own. Both the hair and make-up artist did a fabulous job. The photographer, Andy Shepard (absolutely amazing and highly recommended) magically captured intimate moments throughout the day. Once the pre-ceremony pictures were complete we headed to the ferry terminal to get Brian and Claire hitched.
Daniel and Rod, the best men, all dapper in their tuxes. Andrea and Bridget, the bridesmaids, visions of beauty in their sparkling gowns. Miss Francesca, the flower girl, a cutie pie in her floral print dress and sparkling shoes and the head fairy of ceremony, Laura, performing the union. Everyone was dressed to the nine. The wedding party gracefully glided down the aisle to await the bride. When it was Francesca’s turn we headed down the aisle hand in hand, she looked up to see the room full of people staring at her and froze. I tried to encourage her but she stood motionless and began to tear up, so I scooped her up and we made our way down the aisle sprinkling white rose petals behind us. Claire and her father, Mike, walked down the aisle arm in arm. The Avett Brothers were playing as the radiant bride in her breathtaking champagne colored art-deco gown approached her handsome groom. Brain stood mesmerized by her beauty, as she reached him and they stared into each others eyes the song proclaimed, “So in January we’re getting married.” The couple had picked the perfect song for a beautiful and unforgettable moment!
The ceremony was beautiful, filled with laughs and tears, unforgettable moments and emotions. Brain’s vows were a story of love and admiration, and how lucky Claire was to take home a prize like him after an infamous leg wrestling match the weekend they first met. His words had the room laughing out loud, smiling from ear to ear, and crying with joy. Claire’s vows were a proclamation of eternal love and devotion between them. Words that touch your soul and remind you of the meaning behind the bond that was being created. We had bear witness to the joining of two amazing souls and a love that would last for all time.
The remaining of the evening was filled with dancing, food and fun as we celebrated the union of Brain and Claire Rosenlof. Francesca partied with her new friends, ran around the terminal getting piggy back rides and boogied on the dance floor for hours. Once the reception ended we headed back to the house and entertained late into the night. To much excitement to sleep and fun to be had celebrating the joyous union. So much fun that someone confused our bedroom door with the bathroom, which was across the hall, and in a drunken stooper tossed their cookies or should I say wedding cake in the doorway of our room. It was quite a surprise when I went to check on Francesca and stepped right in it…eww gross!
The following day we went to Aslan Brewery for lunch and spent the day recuperating and lounging around. It was nice to have a day of rest before heading back to Brian and Claire’s. We knew January was almost over and a big adventure was just around the bend. The next morning we loaded up the cars and went back to Everett where the last minute packing began. We were ecstatic for the weeks to come, we had been planning this adventure for as long as we had been planning the wedding.