One year ago…

I won’t be here to blog on my anniversary (Sept. 18) because Mike is taking me on a surprise getaway for the weekend (!!), but I wanted to give you a little look back at what was, in my totally biased opinion, the greatest wedding of all time.

Whenever I look at the pictures, I just have to smile at the total expressions of joy on people’s faces that day. Everyone looks like they are having so much fun, and that was the whole point.

Planning a wedding and living a marriage are two totally different animals. I feel lucky to be with someone who loves me for exactly the person I am, and who supports me in all the crazy decisions I make in my life.

So just for fun, here is a ridiculous number of my favorite photos from the wedding. A few of them I’ve never posted before. But just so you feel like you’re getting something new, I’ve made them BIGGER. Enjoy!

All photos by Joe and Libby Crimmings.

DIY coffee bean roasting

So while I was staying with Erin, she showed me how she roasts her own coffee beans in a popcorn popper. It’s actually really easy, and you learn how differences in the length of roasting time can vary the taste of your coffee. It’s kind of like wine snobbery for coffee.

You start with green coffee beans, which you can order from Sweet Maria’s.

You heat up the popcorn popper, then add a scoop of beans, and wait for it to do its magic.

As the beans heat up, the popper pushes off little shreds of the shell, and the beans eventually start to darken and make cracking noises. You can tell by the sound of the cracks how ‘well done’ your beans are.

After they’re done roasting you toss them back and forth between two strainers to cool them off a little, then let them sit and cool some more. By morning you’re ready to grind ’em up!

I can’t wait to get an air popper and try this myself. I want to have the smell of freshly roasted coffee beans in my kitchen.

No place like home

I saw this Amish buggy going down the road in rural Missouri next to SUVs.

My mom was going to come out and visit us this month, but we kind of decided at the last minute to change the trip so that my sister and I went home to Kansas instead. Even though it’s wonderful here, I hadn’t seen my family in a long time, so I’m glad I got away for a few days.

It ended up being kind of a whirlwind trip. The first night we got together with our good friends Liz and Galen. While there, we realized their house is only about a block from my aunt Rox and uncle Jerry’s house, so we walked down there and saw them, too. The next day I drove up to Des Moines and had lunch with three of my breakfast club girls. Then I drove on to Kirksville, MO to see my best friend Erin.

She and her husband just bought a house and got two adorable kittens.

Erin is quite the hostess, so of course she planned a great dinner, complete with HUGE steaks, bruschetta with local heirloom tomatoes, and grilled romaine lettuce. Have you heard of that? I don’t usually like wilty greens, but the smoky flavor is amazing.

Yeah, that steak laughed in my face.

Then Erin taught me how to roast your own coffee beans, which I’ll show you in another post. It’s so cool!

The next morning she had to work, so I drove all the way back to Kansas so I could go bargain shopping with my mom and Megan. We loaded up carts of stuff to try on at NBC, and bought quite a few things. I hardly ever buy clothes anymore, so it was really nice to indulge a little. And then I got to take home an extra suitcase full of clothes that Liz can’t wear since she lost a bunch of weight. Thank goodness she is such a stylish lady!

After shopping, we went to my aunt Lark and uncle Randy’s house in KC for a mini family reunion. My sweet grandma was there, and she gifted Mike and I a cross-stitched piece with our wedding date on it. I might have welled up a little over that one. And we also got to see my cousins and their spouses (and dogs Lucy, Quincy, and Rudy).

I shopped some more in Lawrence, lunched with my dad and stepmom, helped my mom organize her antique mall booth, and probably a lot more I’m forgetting. Oh I know what I’m forgetting.


My mom’s boyfriend got a matching Boston terrier, so now Charlotte has a buddy.

Unfortunately, she is used to being the only dog around, and she pretty much hates him. But it’s pretty darn cute to see the two of them together.

Now I’m back with my own doggies and doing California things like ordering double doubles at In-N-Out Burger. Yum!

Stinson Beach

Lots of people told us we had to check out Stinson Beach, so we drove the loopy winding road out there. We were all excited for a sunshine-y day at the beach, but it turns out it was actually pretty gloomy there that day. We still had a good time, though, watching surfers and being entertained by gulls that almost got away with someone’s unsupervised backpack.

Stinson Beach is actually a cute little town with a nice market selling organic veggies and some cute stores and restaurants.