Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Friendship

This past weekend I had the honor of attending my besties' wedding. Brooke and I met about sixteen years ago through her parents who attended church in the same ward as my family. We became fast friends and our kids instantly became BFF's. Fast forward a few years, Brooke and Mark were building a house and needed a place to live while their new home was being built. Our families were lucky housemates for about five months. As couples we loved being with each other and even took a trip together to Hawaii in 2009. When Mark passed away in 2011 our world's came crashing down. Documenting Mark's funeral through picture and video was both a privilege and tested both Birch and I to the core. Over the past sixteen years we have taken the Cox family pictures each year and we never imagined we would again take family pictures without our favorite Mark! The past five years we have seen Brooke and her kids rise in the midst of their darkest hours. They have strengthened my faith in eternal families and the importance of putting God and my marriage as my number one priorities.

Saturday, November 26th (just one day before my own 20th anniversary) Birch and I were able to again photograph the Cox family pictures. This time our love has doubled as we welcome Corey, Carlie, and Berkeley to the family. Though I do not know Corey very well yet, I know he is a man of God and one that knows how to love! Corey and his late wife Gina had a beautiful marriage...one that did not last as long on this earth as they ever imagined. They created a beautiful family and now Corey and Brooke get the honor of carrying on their late spouses love for each of their kids. I know the road ahead is not an easy one but both of these families emulate RESILIENCE and together they will make the transition full of love.

Missoula is lucky to have the Cox-Aldridge family!!! In a crazy turn of events - Birch and I lived in Missoula just prior to meeting the Cox family for our graduate studies. Our little girl Sara Elizabeth is buried in Missioula. So open your arms Missoula -- you are just about to be hit with the biggest love story ever!!!















Tuesday, November 29, 2016

the BIG T.W.E.N.T.Y.

Who knew we were going to celebrate our 20th Anniversary in Utah?!!  Not us!  A few weeks prior to our anniversary I got a call from my bestie, Brooke Cox saying that we was going to get married and would love it if we could be at her wedding in Utah.

Birch and I feel blessed that we were able to make it work especially with it being the weekend right after Thanksgiving.  We were so grateful for all of our Spokane family being willing to take care of the kids while we made a quick trip to Utah.



We flew out of Spokane early Saturday morning and landed in SLC just in time to pick up the groom's brother-in-law from the airport.  I had been totally sweating our timing with the flight landing so close to the temple sealing and needing to rent a car and make the drive to the Bountiful temple.  We ended up having totally smooth travels and even beat the bride and groom to the temple.

Gotta take any chance we can get to kiss!

I absolutely LOVE this picture - this is when Brooke first saw Birch as she was walking into the temple to get married.  

Our first embrace!!!  My heart was bursting with love and happiness for both Corey and Brooke.  This was also Birch and my first time meeting Corey.

Check out the beautiful family!!!  A family of eleven...including their late spouses and seven children.

It was so wonderful to have so much of the Yakima gang come and cheer on Brooke and Corey!

Sisters!

The rest of the weekend was a whirlwind.  We spent a night at Leah and Geoff's house.  Birch even got to go to a BYU football game while I snuggled at home with Leah and the kids.  The next morning we drove down to SLC to meeting Matt and Jessica and the girls for 9 am church.  Birch had a special experience of a little chat with President Monson.  He attends the ward right after Matt and Jessica's and we were in the hallway chatting away when President Monson and his escorts drove up to the church.  Pres. Monson came in almost in like a gallop, quick walking with two escorts by his side.  He stopped at Birch at said, "New tie?"  Birch said something silly as he was still in shock and then President Monson kind of waved Birch in the face with his program.  It only lasted a minute but we chatted about it all afternoon.

We did a speedo trip around temple square and the Church History Museum.  We enjoyed watching one of the new Meet the Mormons segments.

Then we made a quick stop to visit Grandma.  What a delightful hour we had chatting and Grandma sharing her seven new paintings she did this past year.  She told us about the symbolism of each painting.  Such talent!

Love this lady!








Then we were off to celebrate our anniversary at the Homestead Inn in Midway, UT.  I've wanted to go there for a few years now.  It isn't really fancy but it was TOTALLY peaceful.  We stopped first to have a dip in the Homestead Crater.  This was a pretty cool (and kind of spooky) experience.

You walk through this blasted rock tunnel into the crater and then change clothes.  The water was warm and because of the freezing air outside the picture is foggy.  It was kind of creepy for me but my man kept me safe!

We stayed in a little cottage on the Homestead.

Overnight we woke up to a layer of clean white snow.  Everything was quiet and it was a perfect get-a-way.

I just feel so lucky to have this man in my life.  I'm not sure if I would have believed anyone if they told me at my wedding that I could love him more in twenty years.  It's possible, I tell ya!  Love my LOVER!!!

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Thanksgiving with the Ditto Bunch

Thanksgiving this year was hard and wonderful!  It was our first year not being altogether as a family.  I am so grateful to know that Elder Alex Ditto was celebrating with Elder and Sister Day and several other missionaries in Arad, Romania.

We were treated to a luxurious stay at Logan and Julia's newly built home!
Isn't it charming!

All set up for Thanksgiving dinner



Cute little turkeys for all the Ditto turkeys

All Because Two People Fell In Love...
This bunch was created!!!

Maren and Savannah


The most glorious picture of Grannie



Blayre and Owen chowing down!

Carter loving his pie

Sweet Maren
Jane and Chloe


Ryan and Blayre

THREE turkeys!!! and one HUGE hams!!!

Hungry munckins

Eating is a serious thing at the Dittos

The beautiful Hostess

Deep conversations

Grannie and Savannah

Dallin is lickin' his lips over all those pies

Diggin' in

Malia - the queen of braids fixing Chloe's hair

Blayre and Tavia enjoying a special sister moment

Ryan giving airplane rides to Owen

Lincoln and his pie

Eliza enjoying her pie choice

Check out all these grandkids -- just missing Alex

Wish you could have been there to enjoy the fabulous Ditto Talent Show - no fear...  Click on this link to watch https://youtu.be/H-YLfXBVgJo