Matchmaker, matchmaker, make me a match.11:31 AM
Picture perfect proof of how difficult (impossible) it is to get a good family picture with four little kids. These were taken (or attempted to be taken) back in October, in Iowa, at my brother Shelby's wedding, when our sweet little Archer man was only 6.5 weeks old.
Their story is perfect. Their whole day was perfect. The weather was perfect.
Too perfect. I bought a dress with the end of October in mind. End of fall. Beginning of winter. In Iowa. And it was like over 70 degrees that day. I sweated all day.
AND MY PERSONAL FAVORITE:
I happened across these pictures the other day and thought that while I was thinking of it, I would QUICKLY try and re-cap Shelby and Keilah's wedding! It won't be nearly as detailed or as interesting as Ranee's post about it, and so you should just check that out over here on her blog.
Traveling with littles is never easy, and so we got creative this time around. I was a little apprehensive about flying with 4 under 6, and so my mom came out a few weeks before the wedding, and when she flew home, she took Jocelyn and Charlotte with her. They had an absolute BLAST with their grandma, and it was so nice knowing they were in such good hands and having so much fun, AND that we would only have to fly out with two. I missed them a lot, and realized how much they actually help me when they weren't there anymore. Even when they're not actually playing with William, I think they are just an entertaining/calming presence for him and without them there, it just felt like two babies with constant needs.
And so it wasn't so much the "big break" I was thinking it might be, but it definitely was worth it. They talk about it as if it was the highlight of their entire short lives (and probably is) and can't wait to do it again some day. We tried to FaceTime often, and Jocelyn got a little sad and wistful one time which totally broke my heart. I wanted to drop everything and fly right out there. But they made it, and we made it, and the reunion was hugs and shrieks and everything I hoped it would be. And then it was on to the wedding festivities!!
I had this friend, Ranee....sort-of, kind-of, online. I know, it's weird, we hadn't even met in real life yet, but she was just one of those people I knew would be a friend in real life, if we WOULD meet, you know? And guess what. I was totally right. She's awesome. And even if nothing else had come of this all, I think it would still be a pretty cool story because I would have made a pretty cool fried. But two beautiful souls joining together forever as one?!? BONUS.
So Ranee messages me one day and says, "I think I met your brother Shelby today". Long story short, he works for my dad in the family AC/Heating business, and had gone on a service call to Ranee's house. In typical Graber fashion, he was friendly and outgoing and great with her kids, and made an impression on her. So she told me she had a single sister-in-law that she thought would be about his age and should we try and set them up on a date? If he's single, of course.
My immediate thought was "Sure, why not!" Shelby needs a little push now and then, and I really wanted him to meet a nice Christian girl and SETTLE DOWN ALREADY. He knows I love him, I can say that. Ha. But then I started thinking, "How does this even work, exactly? I've never set someone up before. Do I give her his information for her to pass on to Keilah? Do I tell him her number and he just calls her out of the blue? Do we tell either of them anything and just try to spring it on both of them as a blind date surprise??" I was a little lost.
Eventually we settled on telling them both what we were doing, and so it would break the ice, and if nothing else, they could get together for a cup of coffee and laugh about how their crazy sisters wanted them to meet up. And so that's what they did. I gave Shelby her number and he set up a coffee date and they met and talked for hours. Instant connection. He left that coffee date nervous and giddy and floating on air, and I knew. KNEW it. This was different. He had never been like this before. And it didn't take a detective to sleuth out that they were pretty perfect for each other.
Anyway, so trying to keep this brief, fast forward to exactly one year after I texted Shelby her number TO THE DAY......and we were watching them stand at the altar, vowing to love, honor and prefer one another in Christ, for as long as they both shall live. Pass the Kleenex, please.
It was a beautiful ceremony. They each sang and played a song to one another and wrote their own vows. We all sang in worship together and it was such a holy, God-filled service and I was a blubbering mess, obviously. 6 weeks postpartum and front row seats to a couple I helped set up?! Hello.
This wedding was also special because Shelby lived with us for two years while he volunteered for Gospel Echoes NW, and was out here while Charlotte was born. So by the time she was two, she didn't really know a family or a life without Uncle Shelby in it. I think she honestly thought he was in our family and then one day he was just gone. We just lost a member. They've always shared a little connection and whenever he is out to Oregon again it is a joyous occasion. So needless to say, we would have been critical about just any girl entering Uncle Shelby's life, and with Keilah? We're not sure who is the luckier one. :)
I feel like I haven't really been able to take it all in and enjoy the little moments with my siblings' weddings like I would've liked to with all my little ones needing me. I missed the rehearsal (for both brothers' weddings) because I was decorating for the rehearsal dinner. Big and pregnant at Shawn's, and then wearing a baby on my back and chasing after an active toddler at Shelby's. At Shawn's I ran out of time getting ready and had no time for my hair, and so I threw a hat on and called it good. At Shelby's I ran out of time finishing up all the little girls and threw my hair up into braids and a bun and I never, ever, EVER feel all put together. I never get around and talk to everyone I'd like to, and by the time the reception rolled around my feet were killing me so badly in those heels, I considered going barefoot the rest of the time. I had to go to a bathroom and half-undress to nurse because hello, dresses aren't nursing friendly! We juggled nap times and grumpy babies, and at one point I think ALL FOUR of my children were sleeping on someone's lap, somewhere, at the reception.
But guess what. It's still a wedding, it's still a beautiful day, and I've learned that it really doesn't matter at all whether I have lipstick on or my hair looks nice. Shoot, at this point I'll just aim for all of the kids at least dressed and with shoes on. And if we can't manage to get a nice family picture? Oh well. We have the memories.
And the memories always look a little rosier and shinier and sparklier in our minds than they were in reality anyway. :)