Leighton’s 1st Easter

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We went up to Nashville (well, really to Franklin) to spend Easter weekend with Craig’s family, and it was egg-cellent! ūüėČ That was our first time back to visit since Christmas, so Leighton had changed quite a bit and had a lot of fun playing with all of her TN family.

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Thankfully, since we didn’t have to worry about time off from work, we were able to make a long weekend out of it, which was so nice. We celebrated Craig’s brother’s 23rd birthday with a cookout, had a delicious brunch with a bunch of friends at Tupelo Honey, and ate a lot of good home-cooked meals with his family.

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On Sunday, we went to church with Craig’s family — Leighton made it about halfway through the service before being over it, which was all sorts of fun. ūüėČ She woke up at 5 that morning, so needless to say, she was not too happy to have been awake for over 4 hours at that point (and neither was I!). But aside from wrangling what felt like a tiny baby alligator while standing in the back, it was a lovely Easter service. ¬†Afterward, we ate a massive lunch feast at Craig’s aunt and uncle’s house with about 50 family members. The kids had an egg hunt in the backyard, and I can’t wait for ¬†Leighton to be big enough to participate next year!

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Leighton got three more Easter baskets (she already got one from my parents, which included a flamingo beach towel and an adorable pink bunny, both with her name embroidered on them). Craig’s parents gave her a pink swing to keep up there for our visits and a cute spring outfit… and we’re going to keep all of her candy for ourselves. Sorry, baby! Craig’s grandparents also had a basket of goodies for her, including some yummy baby food, board books about animals, and a silver bank and cup/fork/spoon set from when Craig was a baby. His grandmother made the sweet little macrame basket years ago, which she gave to Leighton to keep.

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I had so much fun putting together Leighton’s first Easter basket. In true “planner” fashion, I’d started thinking about it a couple months ago. We got her a cute white basket and pink gingham liner with her name embroidered on it, and I just love it! She got two swimsuits, a sweet pink and white embroidered bib, a Winkel toy, and a couple springy cotton headbands. I love buying her books, so we included one with illustrated Bible stories and a board book about a funny dog named George — and of course a chocolate bunny, which I’ll eat for her. ūüėČ

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It was so nice celebrating this special holiday weekend with Craig’s family and having a few relaxing days to visit with everyone. With each visit, Leighton is able to interact with everyone more, and it’s been so fun seeing her laugh and play with each of them. We can’t wait to come back next month – this time, for Craig’s 15 year high school reunion! Eek!

Leighton’s 1st Thanksgiving

Last week we celebrated Leighton’s first Thanksgiving, and oh how much we have to be thankful for this year!! The addition of our little girl to our family is of course the biggest blessing we’ve received not just this year, but ever.

Our first trip to Nashville with baby in tow was definitely different than last trips, but we had so much fun trekking around the city introducing her to family and friends. We spent 4 nights there with Craig’s family, but we managed to pack about a month’s worth of visits in while we were there. And along the same lines, we packed half our house to make the trip! Here are a few of our favorite moments from the trip (not pictured are visits with several other friends — somehow, I forgot to snap any photos!).

The perfect baby traveller is a sleeping one::
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Cheering on Aunt Cassie at her basketball game::
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4 generations with Craig’s grandparents and a portrait of his mom, Karen::
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I think it’s now confirmed that L looks just like her daddy::
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Thanks for my Gobble onesie, Addison!
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Thanksgiving #2::
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Craig’s family¬†surprised us with a mini shower and sent us home with all sorts of goodies!
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A fun afternoon at Arrington Vineyards::
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Quality time with some of my best girls::
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L didn’t quite cooperate for a photo with Craig’s parents, but we’ll take it!
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The holidays have always been something I look forward to — spending time with loved ones, eating delicious food, doing nice things for others, and taking time to really appreciate our many blessings. Having a baby has made these occasions so much more special and memorable, and I know that feeling will only multiply as she gets older.¬†We can’t wait to get back to Nashville next month for Christmas!

a couples shower for baby H!

A handful¬†of our friends offered to throw us a couples shower in Nashville¬†last weekend, and it couldn’t have been a more perfect evening shared with Craig’s family, many of his high school friends (who have become my friends as well over the years), and some of our favorite Atlanta friends who made the trip up. We had delicious Martin’s BBQ at our “Baby-Q”, as well as some of my current favorite desserts — cookie cake and Krispy Kreme donuts… yum!

We feel so¬†loved, and¬†we are now on our way to being more prepared for her arrival, thanks to the many thoughtful, helpful, and fun gifts we received!¬†We’re so grateful to have such wonderful¬†friends to throw this shower in our honor, as well as everyone who came to celebrate baby H¬†with us that night.

Our fabulous hostesses (and host) — some of the best friends we could ask for::

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How cute are these koozies?! 
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Our shower ended up being a “4th of July lake trip” reunion of sorts, so we¬†had to get the traditional group photo with so many of those we’ve spent¬†the holiday with over the past decade or so.
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Cheers to baby Hayes!
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a very merry christmas

I hope everyone had a very merry Christmas/Hanukkah/anything¬†else you may celebrate! We had a really wonderful week off work visiting Craig’s family and several of our friends in Nashville and then heading back home to Atlanta to spend some time with my family. I just love this time of year — especially the lights, music, food, and fun. For me, it’s a season of giving, spending time with those you love, and being thankful for our great, many blessings. ¬†Here’s a recap of our holiday week…. it’s hard to believe it’s already over and that we’re focusing on the coming new year!
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Early Christmas dinner at Craig’s grandparents’ house with¬†his¬†little sister and his brother’s girlfriend… and Coco who was not interested in smiling for a photo.
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The lights in the Cottonwood neighborhood in Franklin put the Atlanta neighborhoods to shame. So many festive houses!
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Happy Hour @ Urban Grub with one of my besties
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Christmas with the Sims family in ATL (notice Riley is much better than Coco is at posing for photos…)¬†
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Yep — this was my Christmas night dinner!¬†
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One of my favorite¬†Christmas traditions is hosting a big dinner at our house every year for our family and my SIL’s parents who live in town. It’s so fun getting together with them, and we just love the chance to host everyone. My dad always fries a turkey, and this year, Coco got a prime spot for carving.¬†
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As part of dessert, we served some of the icewine I brought back from Napa (which is actually made in Canada). It’s super sweet, but it was fun to share.¬†
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Here’s looking forward to what 2015 has to bring!!

vacay recap:: nashville

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Last week, we took a few days off work and headed¬†to Nashville for a mini vacation. Every time we’re up that way, we are usually visiting family and/or going to a football game, so we never get to do many of the “Nashville” things that so many others rave about. So we decided to take a long weekend trip to knock several things off our Nashville bucket list.¬† I took far too many photos (shocking!), so I’ll keep the words to a minimum and let you tag along via photos on our trip as “hometown tourists.”

On the itinerary:
1. Arrington Vineyards
2. Nashville Zoo
3. Country Music Hall of Fame
4. Dinner at Husk
5. Lunch at The Pharmacy Burger Parlor & Beer Garden
6. Olive & Sinclair Chocolate Co.
7. TN Brew Works
8. Hot chicken!

Arrington Vineyards::
We made a pit stop¬†at Arrington¬†on a windy, overcast afternoon, and it was one of my favorite things we did all weekend. Because it was a Thursday, the vineyard was fairly empty, so we grabbed the “Picnic Tasting” (4 samples of our choice with wine crackers) and headed out to a picnic table with a beautiful hilltop view. ¬†You can bring your own picnic or purchase cheese/crackers/sausage/chocolate truffles from them. We didn’t think ahead to bring our own snacks, so we bought a block of Gouda, some toast crackers, and a sampling of their specially-made truffles for an¬†impromptu happy hour. It was absolutely lovely, and I can’t wait to go back!

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Nashville Zoo::
We both voted the Zoo as our favorite place that we visited, and I’ll have a post devoted to our animal friends coming soon.

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Olive & Sinclair Chocolate Co.::
While I don’t consider this place quintessentially “Nashville” since it’s a newer company, we were excited to make our way over to their shop. We first tasted O & S chocolates and caramels at the Atlanta Food & Wine Festival earlier this year, and I just had to find their shop to get some more of their goodies. I love their Bourbon Nib Brittle, and¬†Duck Fat Caramels. Get on their website and order yo’self some. Or if you’re in Nashville, stop by their shop and you can take a tour of the factory!
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As usual, we ate our way around the city, including a home-cooked Mexican dinner with Craig’s family and a lunch out with his grandparents.

We had burgers and beers at The Pharmacy over in the East Nashville area. Such a fun little joint with lots of great outdoor seating, lots of burger and sausage options, and lots of beers on tap.
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Our favorite was dinner at Husk, which I wrote about here earlier this week.
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We got some of Nashville’s famous HOT chicken at Hattie B’s. We debated for a long time between Prince’s and HB’s, but this not as sketchy location won out, and I’m happy about that. The chicken was hot, but not on fire, the sides were OK, and the company we had at our picnic table was really nice. And while this choice is a bit more mainstream than Prince’s,¬†I didn’t have to worry about our safety¬†while I waited in line, which was a legitimate concern if we’d chosen the other option.

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And we got after-dinner cocktails at The Patterson House, which was quite fun. It’s definitely not a large group-type of place, but it’s perfect for a date night or outing with a couple of the girls. Lots of interesting options (Craig got the Bacon Old Fashion and I got the Champagne Cocktail), and the mixologists are really¬†good at what they do.
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We had a little extra time one afternoon, so we made a quick stop by Centennial Park to walk around The Parthenon. I didn’t see the need to pay for us to go inside, but I later learned that it serves as the city of Nashville’s art museum, which is pretty neat. Nonetheless, it was fun to walk around the outside and gawk at the size of the columns on the¬†full-scale replica of this Athens monument.
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Hatch Show Print::
This was particularly¬†fun for me to visit, given my degree in Printmaking. Hatch Show was the big “competition” to Yee-Haw Industries, the letterpress company I interned with in Knoxville at the end of college. Hatch Show has been around for decades and as you can see in the photo below, they make allll sorts of letterpress signage. Their studio is in the Country Music Hall of Fame building and is open to the public. Nobody was working in the studio over the weekend, but I’d have loved¬†to see the printmakers in action. I picked up a fun Tennessee-themed print to hang in our house. ūüôā
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Country Music Hall of Fame::
I bet you can’t guess who wanted to go here? ūüôā Just kidding — it was pretty neat to learn more about the history of the genre and see all sorts of country music memorabilia, including costumes, guitars, records, and even giant cars once owned by Elvis and the likes. The museum is humongous, and I’m sure if you stopped to read every bit of signage on display, you could spend all day there. And how about that purple wolf jacket below? I know what Craig’s getting for his birthday this year…

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Tennessee Brew Works::
After we were finished up with all of the touristy items on our list, we met up with our friend Danielle for a beer tasting and some football watching at Tennessee Brew Works. We love trying out new breweries, and I really liked that at this one, you can sit down restaurant-style and order either a flight of different beers or just choose your favorite brew to sip on. The Georgia/South Carolina game ended up being delayed quite a bit due to weather, so we made our way over to M. Street Tavern for the remainder of the night. Such a fun way to end our touristy trip through Music City! 
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nashville recap

You are probably tired of hearing about birthday celebrations, but I don’t care! hehe just kidding. We had such a fun weekend celebrating Craig’s birthday and Auburn’s win (not even going to talk about that UGA disappointment) in one of our most favorite cities. Nashville has so much to offer, yet we rarely get to take in much of it because we’re always visiting for a short amount of time and have lots of people to see while we’re there. I think we need to plan a trip back sometime to play tourist in Craig’s hometown.¬†We did manage to squeeze in a tiny bit of time wandering downtown and taking in the beautiful weather from the rooftop of Rock Bottom Brewery, though, so I’ll take that for now.

We got to spend a little time with Craig’s family in Franklin, which included this delicious homemade cheesecake.
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And then, for the first time in our 8+ year relationship…. I got to ride in his beloved Super Sport! It was an exciting moment in time. This gal is an “antique” and was the best car ever, from what I’m told. Craig’s grandparents have been babysitting her for the past several years, and I’m glad I got to take a quick joy ride in it before he sells it…. and speaking of, for anyone in Nashville area, it’s for sale!
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We got in a little time downtown at sunset. It was the PERFECT weather for happy hour on the rooftop!
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And we had some honky tonk adventures.
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My bestie came in town from NYC. Yay!
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Saturday, we literally spent 12 hours watching football. All of our teams won except for Georgia, the team we actually came to Nashville to watch play Vandy. A very disappointing loss, indeed. We still managed to have a good time.
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For gameday, Craig wore one of my grandfather Bop’s Auburn shirts that he recently inherited. I know Bop was smiling down on us about Auburn’s big win AND Craig’s choice of shirt for the day!

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The Batman Building in all its glory
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MMM… nothing beats waffle house for birthday breakfast! When did they start making waffles with their logo on them?
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It was a most fun weekend with Craig’s family and several of our favorite friends. Thank you to everyone who made Craig feel extra special, and especially to those who helped us celebrate all weekend. There’s not a much better way to celebrate another year, right?

celebrating 31

October 20th is a pretty special day in our house. Craig turns 31 this Sunday, so he gets a special little post all to himself! I bet he’s blushing as we speak.

I promise not to be too mushy, because I know Craig just looooves when people do that for all the world to see, but I wanted to give him a shout out while we’re in Nashville for his birthday this weekend, because he’s pretty awesome.
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He cooks dinner! (And sometimes, he even helps clean up the mess he’s made while cooking said dinners.)
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He builds and fixes things!
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He’s the sweetest dad to Coco, and I know he’ll be even better with our non-furry children one day.
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He likes organizing cookouts and bus outings to football games for us and our friends to enjoy.
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He humors me and is generally just along for the ride (like driving a total of 3 hours just to go pumpkin picking or pretending to be attacked by a fake bear for our family’s entertainment on vacation).
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He’s not afraid to dress up like Santa, a redneck, or a pilot from Top Gun in the name of a good time.
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He loves my family like his own.
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I don’t know what I did to deserve it, but God graced me with the most incredible best friend and husband I could have ever asked for.
I hope you have the HAPPIEST of birthdays, Craig! I love you more than you’ll ever know!
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Friends + Food + Floating + Fireworks!

I hope everyone had a safe/fun/relaxing/exciting weekend! We traveled to Mt. Juliet, TN for the 16th annual 4th of July weekend at our friend’s family lake house.¬†As with most of the Southeast, we had a pretty rain-filled holiday, but we made the best of it! We got some games (Sour Apples to Apples, Cards Against Humanity, and Heads Up for Iphone) and had the most entertaining time waiting out the rain. We had a much smaller group this time around… around 12 or so compared to 30+ in past years, but we had a fabulous time, as we always do!

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We set up a giant tent so we could at least enjoy the outdoors while we played all afternoon. 
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BFFs since high school, and the mister on the left is the reason we met! They also love America. 
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Every year, we have a big, fancy dinner at the Cherokee Steakhouse. Meaning that it’s an all-you-can-eat steak and bring-your-own-cooler type of place. ūüôā It’s always a great time. And I hear it’s for sale with the marina behind it for a cool $6 million if any of you are interested.¬†
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Last year, we started a new tradition of going into Nashville to celebrate our friend Hunter’s birthday. This year, we stepped it up a notch with a party bus, complete with a dance floor, which came in quite handy for travel entertainment.¬†
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Nothing but magic.
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Downtown at the honky tonks — this is Craig’s favorite, The Stage. I love the giant mural of country legends along the wall.¬†
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On our last day, we finally got a break from the rain and were able to take the boat out. Perfect way to end our weekend!
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Actually, this was the perfect way to end the trip — a private fireworks show by the neighbors. So pretty!
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Despite the less than stellar weather for the 4th, we had a fantastic weekend because we were with wonderful friends. You can’t beat a trip ¬†filled with friends, food, floating, and fireworks!

celebrating 30 years of craig

Happy belated birthday to my favorite person and best friend! The past couple weeks have been busy busy busy with traveling to both Nashville and New Orleans, so this is a tad late…. but who doesn’t like their birthday to last all month?

Craig’s 30th birthday fell on Saturday, 10.20.12 — the day of the Auburn/Vandy football game in none other than Nashville, Craig’s hometown and one of his favorite places. It worked out perfectly for us to plan a weekend trip there with our friends, and surprisingly, most of them who came were UGA fans. Thanks, guys!

We got in some quality family celebrations for both Craig’s 30th and Cassie’s 13th birthdays before the weekend got started… they involved lots of delicious food and chocolate pies. We visited with his grandparents, got to see his cousin Torrie and her husband Chris, and also got to meet 2 new babies! It was so fun finally getting to see Craig’s long-time friend Pricey’s son Asa and Craig’s new baby cousin Bree.



The rest of the weekend consisted of a lot of honkey-tonks downtown, a freezing trip to the Vandy stadium for the Auburn game, and a fun downtown “living room” at Bailey’s, where we watched UGA pull out a win. We ended the trip with a quick breakfast at Puckett’s Grocery (had to) with Lauren and Drew. I love that place — so not healthy, but pretty good Southern food… and lots of high-priced groceries that I doubt anyone buys, but they’re fun to look at.









I always love going back to Nashville. Lots of family, friends, good food, and entertainment. I’ve still never spotted a country star, but I haven’t gotten my hopes up yet… Anyway, thank you to everyone who helped us celebrate Craig’s 30th birthday! It meant the world to both him and me to have so many important people there with us, and we had the best time! I think 30 is going to be an amazing year for my favorite guy!

wedding weekend in franklin, tn

We spent last weekend celebrating the marriage of one of Craig’s best friends from high school, DT (Daniel), and his sweetie Megan (who also went to school with Craig). I love that Craig is still close with several of his BGA friends and that I’ve gotten to know them all so well – partly from going to college with a few of them, and partly because they have not let time and distance keep them from staying in touch.

Franklin must have been an amazing place to grow up — it feels like a small town, but has great shopping, restaurants and entertainment. I never get tired of walking down Main Street and perusing the boutiques… and eating burgers at Puckett’s. It also doesn’t hurt that it’s 20 minutes from Nashville. I love its quaint downtown and massive plantation homes, sprawling countrysides and windy roads. It’s the perfect place to ride with the windows down and the country music up. It’s one of my favorites places.

Our weekend was filled with old friends (of Craig’s), family, a hot¬†beautiful ceremony, delicious food, shakin’ it at reception #2, and lots of laughter. I just love weddings, and they’re even better when we get to make a whole weekend out of them!

We found these giant old sign letters at William Powell Co.::

Pimiento cheese sammies, fruit tea (always reminds me of Craig’s family get-togethers), and some delightfully cold chocolate Heaven cake on an undelightfully (is that a word?) hot afternoon::

An unofficial tour of BGA, Craig’s high school campus. Quite different from my public school days… ::

Rehearsal dinner at Stoveworks at The Foundry. High school buddies – Ben, Danielle, Craig, and Hunter (and they let me get in the photo)::


Wedding day – 6.23.12::


The happy couple — as Ben said in his toast, “it’s about time!”::

Strawberry and key lime cake yumminess::


Reception #2::

It’s hard to believe how big Craig’s little sister Cassie is… she was 5 1/2 when I met her::

True story, told via double-stuffed cookie cake::