On Monday, we returned home from a trip to Minnesota (where I grew up). Even though we love our home here in Texas, a trip North was overdue. Lauren's wedding was one of many reasons for a visit. This one was jam-packed with lots of wonderful things. Some of my favorite things:

Breakfast at home: frittata, gf zucchini bread, clementines, blueberry smoothies, and french press coffee. Yum.

Doing a work-out video with my mom in the family room (it was really fun, but I'll spare you a photo of us doing that ;)

Being sous chef to my brother. That guy can cook. We made some of the best pad thai I've ever had. 

A luncheon for the bride and family/bridesmaids. Below is a picture of the beautiful bride and her mom. We ate good food and shared marriage advice with the bride-to-be. And of course, it wouldn't be a true Minnesotan get-together if there weren't dessert bars. ;) I love events like this for a lot of reasons, but I especially appreciate hearing the advice of other married women. There is always more to learn! My particular piece of advice to the bride: really, really commit to enjoying something your spouse loves that you never thought you'd enjoy. For me, this was Nicholas' computer/video games. I watch and engage with him when he plays, and occasionally play with him. Initially, at best it felt like personal inconvenience, and at worst, it felt like personal sacrifice. BUT, it's been worth it. It's one more thing to add to the list of common interests. He's excited to talk to me about it...and a little birdie told me that he feels really well-loved when I pay attention to something he enjoys.

Lauren's bachelorette party: pizza (gf for me), red wine, and a comedy show in Uptown, and lots of giggles with Lauren (the bride-to-be), and some lovely ladies. (How could it not be an awesome night, since the bride and the maid-of-honor were my maids-of-honor at my wedding? Anything with these sisters of mine is so good).

And, of course, the wedding was the main event! The ceremony spoke of the symbolism of marriage as mirroring Christ and his bride, the Church, and it spoke of the true sacrifices, but even truer joy that marriage brings. Josh and Lauren were a stunning couple. We wore sparkly gold dresses and lazy snow flurries fell as we took pictures outside. And, all our hearts melted a little at Josh and Lauren's love for each other and the Lord.

I love this photo because it's candid, and seriously, what a gorgeous bride.

And this one, because we were laughing about something:

And then, after the wedding, IT SNOWED. Lauren had to lift up the hem of her wedding dress to keep it out of the snow as she ran to the getaway car. Call it optimistic, or selfish, but I secretly hoped it would snow. It's a safe assumption that literally everyone around me inwardly or outwardly groaned at this turn in the weather, but this snow made me overjoyed. I couldn't stop marveling at the beauty. It was like fluffy, white confetti in celebration of Josh and Lauren's marriage. Below, is a photo I took on the way to the wedding rehearsal.

And then I took these on our way to the airport after the wedding:

See? Fluffy, white confetti in honor of the newlyweds. 

The day after the wedding, Nicholas took me on a breakfast date at a local restaurant. We drank coffee, ate our omelets, even splurged for a cinnamon roll, all to the soundtrack of the locals discussing fishing season in Minnesota accents. Ah, my heart. It was the perfect end to a wonderful weekend. And just for good measure, here's a quick iPhone shot (courtesy of my mom) of me and my handsome wedding/breakfast/plane/driving/life date. I mean, that smile.