Friday, January 24, 2014

Flying First Class and What We Brought Back from the US

We flew back to Stockholm on Friday, January 3rd.  It was different flying back this time since I knew we had a "home" waiting for us when we got there.  I was sad to leave my friends and family but I was excited to get back and start planning trips to different countries.
I was so thankful our flight wasn't delayed or cancelled and that we left after one snow storm but before the polar vortex (which is a pretty dramatic name and I think people in Sweden would laugh at that).

Landing in Chicago.  Apparently they only clean off the runways and even some runways still had snow on them.  Taxing over snow isn't a great feeling but I am thankful our flights went well and were on time.
We flew from Kansas City to Chicago which is about an hour and a half flight.  We had a two hour layover in Chicago which is just enough time to switch terminals, go through security again, grab some food and get on the plane.  By the time we got through security we had about an hour before our plane took off and we were hungry so we decided eat lunch.  It was our last Mexican food for a while and it was good.

We headed to our gate when Jake stopped by the restroom and left me with two rolling carry-ons and two backpacks and that is when I heard Jake's name being paged.  I kind of panicked because I was worried that our flight was delayed or cancelled since the weather wasn't so great in Chicago.  When I got to the desk they said we had been upgraded.  I was confused since I knew we were already in economy plus and in row nine but I took the tickets and turned around to find Jake.  He was confused since I had just left him but then I told him we were upgraded.  We still didn't know what to think as we boarded the plane.  When we showed them our tickets they said we were to the left.  If you've flown much you know that when boarding a plane you always go right (at least, we always go right).  Going left meant we were in first class. (We learned later that technically we were in business class which is similar to first class but isn't as fancy.  Let's just say it was fancy enough and I will probably still call it first class.)  I could not believe it.  We both tried to hide our excitement but I'm not sure it really worked.  I was pumped!  Jake was too but he was more subtle about it.  I was trying to figure out how to take as many pictures as I could without it being obvious that it was our first time.

Jake started putting our rolling carry-ons away when the stewardess offered us drinks.  They had water and juice. In real glasses.  And the legroom was incredible.  I put my backpack in front of me like I would sitting in economy and that's when I learned that in first class you don't do that :).  All bags must be put in overhead bins or another cabinet for take off and landing.
Our seats were awesome!  In the bottom right hand picture you can see how much legroom I had.  It was insane!  Our seats had a leg rest that we could use, there was a button to push to make the chair massage our backs and then of course the controls to make it almost completely flat.  I was a little worried at first because my buttons took a really long time to respond but my chair still worked which was great.  We also had TV screens, which isn't really that much different than economy seats on international flights except it was so far away that we had to use a remote control (or we could use our feet as some other first class passengers chose to do).

Once we took off they walked around and passed out menus.  Yes, menus.  And they asked us if we wanted to be woken up for breakfast.  We both said yes and then started looking at our menus.
We had a 3 course meal.  They gave us a cloth place mat and a cloth napkin.  We had real silverware, ceramic plates and real glasses.  The first course was seared tuna, fig and couscous salad. I didn't eat much of that.  For our main course we could choose between red snapper, ribs or roasted vegetable ravioli.  I had the ribs and Jake had the snapper.  Mine was pretty good but I was still so full from our food before we got on the plane that I didn't eat much of my meal.  For dessert you could have cheese (because in Sweden people think cheese is a dessert, I don't get it), lemon cheesecake, Ben & Jerry's ice cream and seasonal fruit.  I  noticed that most people were taking two different desserts so I had the ice cream and the fruit.  At this point I was more than stuffed but I'm not sure I'll be sitting in first class ever again so I had to enjoy it while I could.
We noticed on the menu that there was a choice for a quick meal.  I thought that was strange but by the time we were finished with our meal we had been in the air for about 2.5 hours which meant we were only going to get about 4 hours of sleep before they would wake us up for breakfast.  (Our 9 hour flight seems long but when you break it down there really isn't much time to sleep which is why I don't handle flying to Europe as well as I do flying to the US.)  Before we got ready to sleep we told the stewardess we didn't want to be woken up for breakfast.

We brushed our teeth, using our toothbrush and toothpaste from our convenience kit, before trying to fall asleep.  The bathrooms in first class were a little bit bigger than the ones in economy but other than that they were about the same.  We walked past the buffet that they mentioned in the menu after brushing our teeth, which was a bummer because I would have tried some of the chocolate they had.  They had some snacks, sandwiches, drinks, etc.
Jake's ready to get some sleep.

We finally decided to try to get some sleep.  We got situated and pushed the buttons to get our seats to recline.
Trying to show how much legroom I had even with my leg rest out.  The red pillow on my lap is my camping pillow which I take when we travel and it is great!
It turns out that neither of us really sleep well on planes.  We were much more comfortable than we would have been in our economy or even economy plus seats but neither of us really slept that great.  I'm not sure if it was because I was excited from being in first class or that I knew it would only be a few hours before we had to wake up but I didn't get much sleep.  Since we were already up we decided to have some breakfast.
Yogurt, granola, bread, jam, fruit, egg, cheese, ham, lettuce and juice.  We could also have coffee and tea.
The side pocket next to the seat was great.  I could charge my phone and I had a place to put my things.  You can also see the remote control for the TV.  
So much legroom!
Not a great pic but I am enjoying first class. 
We landed in Stockholm at 7:50 am.  One of the reasons I don't handle flying to Europe is because you miss a night of sleep while flying.  Technically you should be sleeping on the plane but I'm not sure that really counts as a full nights sleep.  We landed early on Saturday morning and then we had to make it through the whole day before we could sleep.  It was rough.  It was better this time than when we moved over because at least we had a place we could hang out in and we knew where to get food but it was really hard to stay awake.  Jake handles flying to Europe much better than I do.  I finally called it a night around 9:00 pm knowing that if I slept 12 hours I would wake up at 9 am and that would be fine (instead of wanting to sleep at 3:00 pm and waking up 12 hours later at 3:00 am).  Jake went to bed around 11 pm because he doesn't typically sleep as long as I do but we both woke up the next morning at 11.  I think that is the latest Jake has ever slept in his life.

What we brought back from the US
Before we moved to Stockholm I had a long list of things I wanted to bring with us.  Several of the things I brought with us have been very useful, some we can easily find here and some things I wouldn't have thought would be hard to find here are non-existent i.e. a cookie sheet. Side story: I searched high and low for a cookie sheet once we moved and you cannot buy them anywhere here.  Stockholm is very different from back home when it comes to buying home goods at grocery stores.  Back home you can usually find anything you could think of that has to do with food as well as home goods at Walmart or even a regular grocery store.  Here grocery stores have groceries.  And that is pretty much it.  They have a few cleaning supplies but you won't find cookware at a grocery store.  Jake's boss in Olathe came over in October and he had heard that I couldn't find a cookie sheet and he brought me one.  He carried it in his backpack and took it through security multiple times before he gave it to me.  I was so surprised and thankful.

After we moved I started a spreadsheet (Yes, a spreadsheet.  I LOVE spreadsheets.) of things that I wanted to bring back after we were home for Christmas.  As time went on the list kept getting longer and longer.  It was nice to be in Stockholm making the list because then I knew for sure what things I could find here and what things I would need to bring from home.

The things on my list were there either because I like a specific brand and I can't find that here or it is so expensive here it is cheaper to pack it than to buy it here even though it takes up space.

I posted this pic on Instagram while we were home after we finished shopping at Walmart.
Here is what we brought back.

Things that are more expensive in Stockholm so we brought them back:
(I included some prices in US vs Sweden so you could see the difference. The first number is the price in the US and the second is the price in dollars if I bought it in Stockholm.)
band aidshand lotion - $2.97 vs $9.16shampoo pumps
chap stick - 8hand sanitizershower cap
deodorantibuprofen and Tylenol - 200 tablets for $4.00 vs $6.83 for 30 tabletssnow boots
face lotioninsoles tank tops
face washleg warmerstoothbrushes - daily & travel
floss - $1.47 vs 2.27 krlotiontoothpaste - travel and regular
full flat sheet - trying not to repeat the breakdown postmakeuptriple antibiotic cream
full sheet set - $44 vs $74pensVick's Vapor Rub
hair lotion - $16 vs $28 rolaidsvitamins - daily and vitamin d3
hair tiesShampoo & conditioner liters - $26 for both liters vs $400 for  both in Stockholmwound cleaner
Shampoo - The ones on the left are from Beauty Brands in Olathe and the ones in the bottom right are from Stockholm
When we flew over in August I brought one liter of shampoo and one liter of conditioner.  I wanted to bring another set but I didn't have enough "weight" left in the bag in order for it to not be over the limit.  Once we were here I started looking at shampoo to see how much it would be if I just bought it here.  It is expensive!  Stockholm, in general, is very expensive but that is a whole separate post.  I usually buy my shampoo and conditioner in the summer at Beauty Brands during their liter sale so I get a liter for about $13 which is great!  You can see from the picture that it is normally about $24 when it isn't on sale.  Well, in Stockholm the little bottles that you see in the picture is about a quarter of a liter.  That shampoo is about $44 and the conditioner is almost $50 for a quarter of a liter!  So to get the same amount of shampoo or conditioner you'd have to spend about $200 verses $13.  And that is why I brought two of them with me when I came back.  I know I could just buy shampoo here but I like that shampoo and even if I bought different shampoo here it is still expensive.  And thankfully I put the shampoo and conditioner in plastic bags since the conditioner leaked a little :).

I also brought a few things from home that I already had like a pair of black leggings, a cord for my tablet and my bible.  I thought I could just use a bible app but it turns out I need to hold the real thing.  We tried not to bring very many books over with us since they can add quite a bit of weight but this one needed to be come back with me.

Here are things that I can't find here (a few of these are in the International aisle at the grocery store but they are very expensive:
2 brownie mixes - These are $7.50 in Stockholm and $1.50 at Walmart.goldfish - I got Goldfish from my sister-in-law and my mother-in-law for Christmas and I was pumped!
5 boxes of mac and cheesegranola bars - I take these when we fly and they helped get me through some rough food selections on one of our trips
animal crackers junior mints
badge holder - I used to wear a badge at school and now I needed something to hold my key for schoolnasal salt - I use my neti pot every day and I didn't bring any salt with us when we moved and thought I could buy some here. They don't have it so I had a friend bring some over and I brought some more just in case.
bed sheet holders - apparently I am a little high maintenance when it comes to sheets but I don't like wrinkles :). saltine minis
can opener - they have a can opener here that is strange and I have yet to do it on my own so this was a must.skittles - Jake's boss in Stockholm mentioned Skittles once so we brought him some.
caramel flavoring - thought it might be fun to put in my coffeesudafed - They don't have cold medicine in Sweden. You can get Ibuprofen or Tylenol (which is very expensive) but they don't have decongestants or other cold medicines. I bought Jake something for nasal congestion in November and it turns out it was all herbal and did nothing for him and it was about $18.
crockpot liners - they don't have crockpots in Sweden but my parents ordered me one for Christmas and I am pumped!vegetable peeler - we have one but it doesn't work very well and I have no idea where to get another one
crockpot seasoningswash clothes - you would think this would be easy to find but it wasn't
dryer sheets - they have fabric softener here but my sheets are still staticky so I thought these would help

We had quite a bit of room in our luggage since we did have the Christmas presents we brought home for our families so we were able to get everything to fit and we had about 1.5 pounds left before we were over the weight limit.  

I also brought back some things for my friend Lance.  Lance is the PE teacher at the school that I volunteer at and I offered to bring back some things for him.  He is from California and was very excited to have a few things from home.  His list was much shorter than mine :).  I brought him two large bottles of Advil, 21 chap sticks (I LOVE that he asked for chap stick because Jake gave me a really hard time about bringing some when we first moved but sometimes you just need to stick with what you know works), 3 bottles of eye drops, 1 bottle of nasal spray, Bare Minerals make-up (for his wife) and some San Diego Chargers stocking caps (which he shipped to our house).

After I got back and unpacked I started thinking about all of the things we brought and if I would have changed anything.  I realized that although it is nice to have food from home, especially if I am homesick, actually sick or have had way too much Chinese food in 10 day time :), it probably isn't as necessary as I thought it was to bring it all back.  We are only going to be living in Stockholm for about a year or so and then we will be back eating all of our normal foods and shopping at Walmart where I can get anything I could ever possibly need. So this year is just a short blip in time and maybe I should try to find new foods here that I like because animal crackers will still be there when I come back :).  And I won't be as excited to eat them when I'm home if I bring a huge suitcase full of all of my favorite foods back with me.  I'm still glad I brought them but I'm not sure when we come back home again if I'll put in as much food as we did this time.

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Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Christmas Marathon in Kansas (and Texas and Oklahoma)

After brunch on Sunday with my cousin's family to end the wedding weekend extravaganza, Jake's parents picked us up and we headed to Granbury, Texas.  Jake's sister's family moved from Abilene, Kansas to Granbury, Texas this summer and we headed to their new house to celebrate Christmas.

We had a great time in Granbury.  Andrew has been learning how to play the miniature tuba and he really enjoyed playing a duet with Jake.  The boys played frisbee in the backyard.  Nathan might be shy but that won't stop Jake from holding him :).
I love playing games and we always play Moon with Jake's family during Christmas.  Since the weather was so nice we headed to Granbury Lake to throw some rocks and to feed the ducks.
(From left to right) Jake, Kara, Ken, Janet, Andrew, Annie, Nathan, Stephen 

We had a great time in Texas.  Thank you for letting us stay Stephen, Annie, Andrew and Nathan!

 We headed to Wichita on Tuesday, December 17th.
We used to have Grandy's in Wichita but they closed a long time ago so whenever we drive through Oklahoma we always stop and eat at Grandy's.  They have great fried chicken and rolls.  It was really good!
I know this picture is kind of cheesy but I was excited to be back in Kansas!
We were in Wichita for less than 24 hours before heading to Olathe.  I had dinner with some friends at Old Chicago on Tuesday night right after we got back.  I woke up early on Wednesday morning and headed to get my haircut before we left town.

We had 6 busy days in Olathe before we headed back to Wichita for Christmas.  Jake went to work at the Garmin office in Olathe as soon as we got back into town and I headed to the dentist. We had dinner with some of my school friends our first night back in Olathe which was great!  Oh how I missed them!  It was great that the first day back I got to see my friends.
It was so good to hang out with these guys!
Amy and I were trying to get a good picture and Jake wasn't being very helpful so Amy decided to take one on her phone.  I think she is telling Jake how great he is and how much she missed him in that picture :).  My friend Amy won the "hanging out with me the most while I was home" award.  Before this get together she asked me to come over and hangout.  We hung out the next day and a few other times.  I think my favorite was when Amy had a bad day and she just needed me to come over so she could vent.  My love language is quality time and I had lots of it with Amy!

We had lots of lunches or dinners with friends while we were back and of course we had to eat at some of our favorite restaurants.  While we were in Olathe we had Iron Horse, Oklahoma Joe's, Mi Ranchito (technically we only went there once but thanks to a great friend and their drive through I had their salsa and espinaca three times while we were back), Noodles and Company, Chipotle, Schlotzsky's, Little Caesars, Pizza Hut, Braum's (in Emporia), and of course Dr. Pepper which I realize isn't a restaurant but I had it at almost every restaurant so that still counts :).

I was able to stop by my old school to see some friends and students.  I miss teaching. A lot.  I know I still go to a school 3.5 days a week but it isn't the same.  I don't get to see my teammates and I'm not in charge of the classroom.  I know I'll be back in the classroom someday but it most likely won't be with all the same coworkers and that makes me sad.  Our district opened a new elementary school this year and almost our entire staff moved to that school.  Literally, there were 7 of us staying I think and then I moved to Stockholm.  I also went to the new school to see other friends and a few students I knew as well.  There were lots of hugs that day and it was great!

We headed to Wichita on Christmas Eve morning.  We had lunch with some friends at Saigon, another restaurant on our list of must haves while we were back.  It was great being able to make time to see friends we hadn't seen in a while.

We always spend Christmas Eve with Jake's family.  Like I've mentioned before his mom's side of the family is from Sweden and in Sweden they celebrate Christmas on the 24th.  We headed over to his parents house for appetizers, Christmas music, dinner and presents.
We brought home some glögg, hot mulled wine, home from Sweden to share with our families.  
After opening presents we headed to Christmas Eve candlelight service with my parents.  We usually go to the church Jake used to go to when he lived in Wichita.  It was fun catching up with people before heading to my parents house for the night.

Christmas day this year was really laid back since we weren't celebrating with my family until Saturday.  We hung out at my parent's house during the day before heading to Jake's parents house for Christmas dinner.
Christmas Day dinner at Jake's parents house.  I love the place cards.
On December 26th we headed to Oklahoma to see the Knox Cousins.  Recently we've only been able to ee them once a year in May but this year we really wanted to see them while we were back.  I am SO glad it worked out.  We had a great time hanging out, eating great food and catching up.
Top: Ken and Janet with Kathy (Ken's sister) and Dick
Middle: Cousins and spouses :) - Kara, Jake, Tim, Nicole, Andy, Diana, Megan, Matt, Amy, Aaron
Bottom: The girls.  Technically I am just a cousin-in-law which might seem like I shouldn't care if I get to see these girls but I do.  I love spending time with these ladies.  I look up to them and learn so much from them about how to love God and your husband well. I just love being around them.  Thanks for making me feel included!
On December 27th I met up with a friend and his wife at Taco Shop for lunch (another restaurant on my list of places to eat while I was in Wichita).  It was great to catch up with them while they were in town.

In the afternoon of the 27th I got to see my roommates!!!  Thankfully it worked out and we were all able to get together at the same time.  We were able to hang out and talk while the little boys played and the big boys talked.  We had pizza and talked some more and then something happened that has never happened in the 10 years these girls have been lovingly referred to as my roommates.  We played a game . . . and I am not the one that suggested we play it!!!!  Seriously.  In the middle of hearing the rules I interrupted to point out that a game was about to be played and I didn't initiate it.  It was a huge moment.  We played Quelf.  Awful title, but the game was fun.  I feel like it is one of those games you have to play with really close friends or people you barely know.  If you kind of know people it could be really awkward to play this game with them.  I haven't laughed that hard in a while and it was so good!

I love that Ryan is "helping" Caleb in the background of the picture with Eli and me.
Emily (and baby boy #2), Jami, Kelli, Me - Thanks for making time to see us!  Love you girls!

We celebrated Christmas with my family on Saturday, December 28th.  We had a great time opening presents, eating delicious rolls my mom always makes and playing with the kids.

Avery had a Christmas list this year for Bunny.  She wanted Bunny to have Cinderella dress and a Belle dress and thanks for Grandma (my mom) she got both.  My Grandma (my dad's mom) used to make us clothes and dresses for our babies and I love that my mom is doing that for my niece.

For the past several years Jake's Dad has taken our family picture on the night we celebrate Christmas.  This year the weather was nice so we headed to Sedgwick County Park to take a few pictures.

Lindsay, Jocelyn, Aaron, Avery, Jake, Kara, Debbie, Larry, Maci, Missy, Robbie, Jace

Thanks Ken for taking our pictures!
After pictures we headed back to my parents house for dinner and to watch K-State play Michigan in the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl and K-State WON!

On Sunday, December 29th we had my dad's side of the family over for lunch.  It was great seeing everyone and catching up.  That side of the family can be really loud and crazy and I am so thankful that we were able to get together before Jake and I headed back to Olathe.

On Monday, December 30th we went to Topeka for a funeral.  Jake's Grandpa's Brother passed away.  It was nice to be able to see that side of the family but I just wish it was under different circumstances.  I had met Gordon a few times but didn't know him very well but I do know his kids and grand-kids and they are wonderful.  We hadn't seen some of his cousins on that side of the family in a long time so it was nice to catch up before we left.

We were in Olathe for about 5 days before we flew back to Stockholm.  While we were there we hung out with some more friends, had a small get together at our house for New Year's Eve, had one more get together with my coworkers and did some last minute shopping before we packed up and headed back to Stockholm.

The day before we flew back my brother and sister in law asked me to take my nieces to school because they had different hours than usual and they couldn't do it.  It meant I had to get up super early and drive over in the snow but it was fun getting to see them one more time before heading back to Stockholm.  I sure miss my nieces and nephews when we are gone.  They change so much in such a short amount of time.
Jocelyn is getting so big and Avery and Bunny are matching :).

We spent a total of 28 hours flying home and back plus we were in the car for a total of 27 hours going to Texas, Oklahoma, Wichita, Olathe and Topeka but it was worth it to see all of our friends and family we could while we were back (and there were still lots of people we wished we could have spent time with).

It was interesting being back because we had lots of people ask us the same questions: What do you like most? What has been your favorite part about living in Stockholm?  Will you be ready to go back?  Someone suggested that next time we come home we should just set up a presentation so we don't have to keep repeating ourselves :).  But the funny thing was when we would ask what they were up to some didn't want to say much since they were just doing the "same old boring stuff" but it is nice to hear what others were up to instead of just repeating what we've been doing.  Plus, I hate to break it to some of you, we have boring days too.  Jake and I still go to work, we (I) still have to shop for groceries, make meals, clean, do laundry, all the normal boring things everyone has to do we are just doing that in a different place.

While we were back some days were a little overwhelming being surrounded by so many people and answering the same questions. After 3.5 months of only being around Jake and then 23 days of being constantly around friends and family can be a little bit much but . . . it was really great!  We spent so much more quality time with friends and family this Christmas than we ever have before.  When you aren't around people you really start to realize that relationships are what matter.  So thank you to all of you who rearranged your schedules to see us during such a busy time of the year!

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Heading Home & Holly's Wedding!

To say I was excited to go home for Christmas would be an understatement.  I was thrilled, excited, anxious, a little bit stressed but oh so happy.  We had been away for 3.5 months and I was ready to be home with friends and family.

Our trip home was pretty uneventful which was good.  We had a 9 hour flight from Stockholm to Newark, a 3.5 hour layover (which was about an hour too long) and then a 4 hour flight from Newark to Dallas.  We left Stockholm at 10:40 am and arrived in Dallas at 8:05 pm (which was 3:05 am Stockholm time).  So it took about 16.5 hours to get to Dallas.

Long flights aren't as scary or intimidating as they used to be but you can't always predict how they are going to go either.  Some are fine and other are just frustrating.  Thankfully the trip home was good.  When we fly from Stockholm back to the United States we are supposed to stay awake.  Why?  Well, we leave Stockholm in the morning and by the time we arrive in the US it is evening and we only have to make it a few more hours until we can head to bed so you really don't want to sleep on the flight because you aren't missing a night of sleep in the air, if that makes sense.  I adjust better than Jake does when we fly back to the states.  Jake has a hard time because if he wakes up at 5 am he can't fall back asleep because his body says it is noon in Stockholm and mine says "it is dark here and 5 am so I'm going to sleep :)."  We were a little bit tired our second day in Dallas but it really wasn't bad at all.

We flew to Dallas on Thursday, December 12th because my cousin Holly was getting married on Saturday, December 14th.  I love my Dallas family.  My mom's brother Brad and his wife Carmen live in Dallas with their five kids Holly, Sydney, Winslow, Chandler and Trenton (technically only Chandler and Trent still live in Dallas but still :)). Every year we go down there for Thanksgiving and when I was younger I used to go down every summer to visit my cousins.  Holly is the oldest and we have always been close since I'm only about 6 months older than she is.  We couldn't miss her wedding so our first stop was Dallas.

My parents picked us up at the airport and we headed to the Bright's house for a welcome party that included a hamburger truck.  The hamburgers were SO good!  It was great seeing everyone but we were pretty tired so we headed to the hotel after dinner to get some sleep.
I hadsome Blue Bell Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough ice cream. So good!
My mom packed a bag of goodies for us to enjoy since we were back like . . .  real Honey Nut Cheerios :).  She also packed some Goldfish and chocolate chip cookies.  Thanks Mom!
The next day all the girls headed to Indulgence Nail Salon to get manicures and pedicures.  I typically don't get my nails done but if I am in Dallas I do.  That place is the best.

Even the flower girls needed to get their nails done.
My Uncle Brad brought some flowers to the salon.

After we finished at the nail salon we headed to the Joule hotel for a bridal luncheon.

The flower girls were enjoying the bridal luncheon and their gifts.

Carmen speaking at the bridal luncheon.

The girls practicing for the big day.

Father of the Bride, the Bride, one of the Maids of Honor (when you have 3 sisters you can't just pick one)
After the rehearsal we headed to a Mexican restaurant for the rehearsal dinner.  I have really been missing Mexican food while we've been gone so I was really excited about dinner!  At the rehearsal dinner I met Lionel Richie.  Chris, Holly's husband, home schools two of his kids and one of them was in the wedding.  Lionel Richie wasn't supposed to be able to make it to the wedding but then plans changed and he was able to come.

My aunt Carmen was introducing him to my cousin Trent, his girlfriend and then to another cousin's boyfriend.  By the time she got to me he asked who I was dating in the family.  I laughed and said that I was married.  He told me I looked too young to be married. We made small talk for a minute or two after he found out we were living in Stockholm which he thought was "fab" and then I grabbed some food.  Later in the evening he stopped by our table with my Uncle Brad.  Brad was introducing him to everyone and when he got to me he said something along the lines of "oh yeah, I remember you.  You're the one that is married.  How long have you been married?"  I told him we had been married for 5 years.  He commented that I had a baby genes.  He said he had always been told he had baby genes which he used to not like and now he loves it.  He told Jake "you did good" picking me and gave him a thumbs up.  I was thankful that he left after that because I'm pretty sure my face was beet red.  He was very nice saying hello to anyone who went up to him.  He did go to the wedding and he gave a toast which was very good and pretty funny but he didn't sing.  The night wasn't about him but he did a nice job toasting the bride and groom.

Sofia Richie posted this picture of Avery on her instagram account.  The picture is super cute but it is kind of crazy how many likes the picture has.

I missed these girls!  This is Jocelyn's bad guy face and I love it!

Jake and me after the rehearsal dinner

On the day of the wedding the girls spent the day getting ready in the bridal suite.  We had sandwiches from Jimmy Johns and hung out while we got our hair and make up done.  When I sat down to get my make up done the lady asked me what I wanted.  My response was "I don't wear make up. Ever.  I mean I wore it at my wedding."  I might have exaggerated a little bit because I have worn it since my wedding but when I do wear it you can barely tell, but I wanted to make it clear that I wanted it to be subtle.  She then asked if I brought eyelashes to put on.  I laughed and said no.  I told her I didn't need any but she thought I did :).  I thought she did a great job on my make up and my cousin Sydney did part of my hair before turning it over to one of the hairstylists.  You could say the make up artists and hair stylists had a busy afternoon with 9 bridesmaids, two flower girls, the bride, the house party plus lots of family members but they did a great job.

While the girls were getting ready my Mom and Mama Stela hemmed a few bridesmaid dresses.  I wish I would have gotten a picture with my camera but I didn't so I borrowed this pic from Sydney's instagram, thanks Syd!
I've always told my mom she can fix anything even under pressure :).

Don't let this bad guy face fool you.

She was thrilled to see us!  Well . . . at least Jake :).  I love this picture.
 The wedding started at 7:00 and it was beautiful.
My nieces did a great job walking down the aisle.
Mr and Mrs. Chris Towson
 I just love Holly's dress!  It was so pretty!
My brother Aaron, his wife Lindsay, Avery (standing) and Jocelyn

I wish I had this picture from from the front but here is the Bright family with Mr and Mrs. Towson! (Left to Right: Trenton, Winslow, Brad, Holly, Chris, Carmen, Sydney and Chandler)
Most of the wedding party.  I was part of the house party and helped pass out programs and Jake was an usher.
Jake and Holly have become pretty close since Jake and I have been married.  They are always talking about things on Google chat. I love that they are close!

My hot date for the wedding!
My parents
Lindsay and Aaron
Avery danced all night!  It didn't matter if she knew you or not, she would dance with you.  Jocelyn fell asleep on Jake's shoulder which was really cute but I don't have a picture of that.
Father Daughter dance

 Congratulations Mr. and Mrs. Chris Towson!

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