Iowa guests are the bestest guests.

3:45 PM

(O.k. so that made a cool title, but the truth is, ANY person from ANYWHERE that comes all the way out here to the edge of the earth to visit me is the best.  Period. Whew, glad I got that off my chest.)

 Well, well, well.  Blogtember burned me out.  We steamrolled right on into October, (cool your jets 2013, seriously!) and I heaved a sigh of relief and didn't even want to look at my blog, or anyone else's for a while. 

   But I'm coming around again, as I always do.  Sneaking peeks, poking my fingers around and sniffing curiously like a little kid in a candy store.  So I suppose it's time for a post again. 

   The last two weeks have been CRAZY.  But it a rather delightful way.  We were privileged to host overnight guests from Iowa, my brother Shawn, Floyd and Elaine and two of their children.  Growing up, Floyd was my youth pastor and so their family is very near and dear to my heart.  Honestly, they are two of the biggest spiritual influences I have had in my life, to date.  Their doors were always open for a world-weary teen to stumble into and unload all of the issues weighing on their mind until 1:00, maybe 2:00 am.  I mean, I'm guessing it was.  It's not like I ever did that or anything.  *coughcough*

   So NEEDLESS to say, I was thrilled when I heard that they were coming out to take part in Jamison and Ciara's wedding and would be staying at our house.  But of course guests means cleaning, and so clean I did.  I feel like the previous weeks to them coming were pretty much a blur of trying to get a bunch of canning done, chasing my littles, and simultaneously deep cleaning my entire house.  Like I said, it's a blur.  I'm a bit fuzzy on the details. 

   Then Shawn arrived and the party began.  I took literally a handful of pictures the entire time.  And none of the wedding.  So I receive a D- in all things photos.  But I will steal some from Shawn's facebook.  Because he has a camera lens for a left eyeball.  I am crediting him for most of these.  Except for some, because some are mine.  Oh who really even cares.  Check out his blog over here for probably a lot of the same exact photos, except way funnier stories.  And more details.  Like, more details than anyone except a Graber could possibly even appreciate.  Just kidding of course, his blog is awesome.  There's that mid-west humor striking again, that no one gets out here.  (You are SO right on that, Shawn!!)

   We started things off right with some gluten-free goodness.  I actually (kinda) had fun cooking gluten-free while Shawn was out here.  It made me more courageous about thinking of trying the diet for ourselves, but probably not courageous enough to actually do it.  But I'm thinking now! Baby steps, people.
With Shawn around there were lots of laughs, late night games of Catan, movie nights and just good times in general.  This leads me to the conclusion that A. he needs to marry someone from around here.  Or I guess B. just visit a lot more often.  But of course option B could lead to option A's a win/win people. 


   He's an awesome uncle.  We already knew this, but this visit confirmed it.  Jocelyn has been missing you and asking about your whereabouts, Shawn.  Time for another visit. 

Big brunch, morning of the wedding.  Gluten-free options too!  Are you proud, Mom??

   Then there was the wedding, the reason for all of these wonderful guests and, here is the lovely couple.

My brothers made quite the studly groomsmen.  The Cowan girls were quite lovely as well, as usual.

  I didn't get any pictures of all of us all together (I never do) at the wedding.:( So sad.  But my little ladies just slayed me in their up-dos, and fancy dresses.  They were so grown up.  Sniff sniff.

And then they got faux-married in a faux-wedding?  Yeah, I don't get it either.

   Then we went to the coast.  Because, hello, how can you not take your guests to the coast?  It was cloudy with a chance of sunny and breezy with just a touch of cool.  It was rugged and wild and beautiful, just like it always is.

  We watched the seals, and even though we do this probably every time we go, it never quite gets old.  And this particular time was the best time yet.  Poor Carita lost her shoe down into the murky depths of the seal cove, and it was a sad day.  But then Shelby lowered a bucket down to save it.  Then everyone cheered and woke up all the sleeping seals and they fought and barked angrily for like, a solid 20 minutes. Like I said, best seal-watching episode EVER.

  Christopher and Michelle, two of the four Yutzy kids that made it out.  You were missed, Audrey and Lucas!
   Myron and his new wife Alissa.  Not that he had a different wife and she's the new one, they're just newly-wed.  He is an old childhood friend.  Not that he is old....o.k. nothing is coming out right.  And he looks so glum in this photo but he is actually quite goofy and jovial and always pulling pranks.  Which I hadn't really thought about until we were all sitting around the table telling stories, one out here pulls pranks on people.  No one toilet papers trees, soaps cars, forks yards.......nothing.  It's rather sad, actually.  We need more Myrons in this world to keep things interesting.

   And this infamous shot made Floyd feel like no one listens to him, so I posted the next two photos to make him feel better.
   There you go Floyd, a table full of apt admirers.  Although now that I really look at these, maybe it was Elaine talking??  Ha ha, either way, you know that we were pretty much soaking in your wisdom all weekend, so no worries.  Back to a few more at the coast.
  Myron- "Alissa you should jump in! Come on, really, you should just leap into those waves!"  Alissa- "No way no how that is happening.  No means no, Myron."  Floyd- "Hmmm, this isn't so bad."  Elaine- "I....AM....FREEZING!!!!!!!!!!"  Christopher and Shelby- "Would you LOOK at those clouds?" 

Of course I had to try out the Saltwaters in the.....salt...water.  *drumroll*

   So there were some of us sitting on towels playing in the sand and taking this picture, and then there were some that were dipping their toes in the water timidly, and then...............there's Shawn. 

   And now for my tribute to Floyd and Elaine....seriously, we had the best time ever.  We drank pots of coffee, burned the midnight oil too many times to retell, and over all slept very little, but it was SO WORTH IT.  These pictures made it look like we frolicked on the beach all weekend but in reality, we spent most of our time either gathered around the living room or our dining room table, talking about anything and everything.  There are few people on this earth that are so easy to confide in and ask for advice.  Oh and ask I did!  Those poor people probably felt like charging by the hour for counseling services by the time they left.  What a couple.  Being a youth leader now I have NO CLUE how Elaine managed to be a busy mom to four, clean houses for a part-time job, be a PASTOR'S WIFE and juggle all that entails, and somehow have a spotless home for Wednesday night Bible study EVERY week and yummy snacks and freshly brewed coffee waiting for us when we got there!  Seriously, who even DOES that??! 

   And not to mention Floyd, who is a business owner, pastor, husband, father, and serves on different boards and has about a billion things to do, would lead those Wednesday night Bible studies (highlight of my week, people) and not blink an eye at sitting up to discuss the world's problems with us until 2 in the morning.  And of course we were teenagers and could operate on 4-5 hours of sleep but he had to go to work the next day.  And survive.  Like I said, we help with youth now and only have two kids (at last count) and I just have no clue how they did it all.

   I could go on and on.  But mostly, thanks guys for just being pillars in my life in a very turbulent time.  I was such a floundering, wandering soul, and I feel like you both tried to give my feet some gravity without making me feel like I was being strapped into a straightjacket.  I cherished this time with you here so much.  You thought I was the one "hosting" well, jokes on you, because it was the cheapest therapy ever! 

   Seriously.  Elaine helped me putter around the kitchen, you raved about my food, you actually thought our guest bed was comfortable, my kids adored you and cried when you left, you left me a goodie bag that knew me like you read me diary or something....treats for the girls, cookies, chocolate, a candle that smells like fall and a bag of coffee that smells like Heaven.

I am probably forgetting like 100 other things, but Charlotte is awake so this will have to do. 

I was the lucky one to host you.  And PLEASE, come again soon. 

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  1. Aw. Such a sweet tribute to Floyd and Elaine. And every word is true. i'm so glad you got to enjoy some wonderful Iowa company.

  2. Shelley Why do you have to ask, Are you proud mom? You know I am!! And I will always love you!!!

  3. This just sounds like the most wonderful time! There is something so so great about being with people who GET you. Get your culture, your humor, what makes you YOU. It's the best kind of refreshing!

  4. sister faux-married your brother?? I think we should work with this. I mean, we would basically be family!!!

  5. I agree-- the world needs more Myrons!! :-) I think my dad would agree, too!


  6. Nobody pulls pranks out there? Yeah, it's a thing we like to call "maturity". I'm doing my best to spread it around Hoosierville, but it's a losing battle!


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