Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Happy Birthday Dad!

Today my dad turns 70.

What an amazing father I've been blessed with!

Here's a little video I made showcasing bits of the wonderful life he's led.

This dad of mine has written like 40 books (so many that I can never remember the exact number), one of which was a NYTimes #1 Bestseller, spoken to audiences around the world about parenting ideas and life balance, served as an amazing mission president in England when he was only 30 years old, run several companies, run some major campaigns, held some pretty lofty political appointments, traveled to virtually every country, started a whole bunch of excellent programs for families including the Joy School program that is known and loved by hundreds of thousands of families, and has headed up so many exciting and meaningful accomplishments and contributions that I they'd take pages and pages to list.

But most importantly, he has served as an amazing husband and father and grandfather. He has 9 children, 26 grandchildren, and scores of friends and extended family members who benefit from his personal example, advice, and love. His example of vision and goals and hard work and faith combined with faithful confidence and strong convictions have made him a truly remarkable influence to many.

I'm so grateful for this dad of mine. And this mom who puts up with the sometimes bombastic and eccentric stuff that comes with his greatnesss!

Monday, October 27, 2014

Charity's Wedding

My baby sister is married.

I have so many fond memories of her when she looked like this (from the book of memories my mom presented her with the day before the wedding):

But now she's this beautiful, accomplished, vivacious, passionate, wonderful MARRIED woman!

Charity's wedding was fabulous, spectacular, and lovely in every way. She thought of every little details and dreamed up a spectacular wedding. And all her dreams came true! It was really a glorious celebration. The weather cooperated beautifully. All the details came together. And we all had a wonderful time and seeing our baby sister glowing with joy and love. It was simply heavenly!

There were three pretty-much full days involved in the initial wedding celebrations. Then there were additional celebrations in Texas where Ian is from and in Palo Alto where Ian and Charity live (but I didn't make it to either of those so check my mom or Charity's blogs for info on those two lovely celebrations). I'll just share about the three days we celebrated together for the wedding itself.

The day before the wedding, all bridesmaids and sisters and older flower girls got together for a lovely lunch at the Dodo (Charity's all-time favorite restaurant) and then got our nails done. It was fun to get to know Ian's sisters and see many of Charity's good friends who I remember as little girls.

That night, my parents hosted a huge dinner for Ian's family and my family where we ate pizza and celebrated the lives of this great couple. The moms helped orchestrate a fun little show where the grandkids modeled clothes Charity and Ian wore during their growing up and college years. It was a crazy fun evening!

All the grandkids on both sides had to wrestle Ian down as the first item of business for the evening. They sure love Ian!

Here are the Eyre grandkids modeling Charity's baby dresses, dance company dresses, cheerleading outfits, boots from her mission, t-shirt from Oxford, sweatshirt from Wellesley, you name it.

We all had a great time with baby Ezra - the happiest, cutest little chubster around.

Then after cleaning up for that event, Charity, Shawni, Saydi and I went on a little walk around the temple and had a few precious minutes of sister time before we sent our little sister off to bed on her last night as a single woman!

These are the only photos I got. Charity so excited in front of the temple. And a selfie of the four of us with a nice pile of random garbage behind us.

Then the next day we had an MFME (Mothers and Future Mothers of Eyrealm) breakfast at Charity's favorite breakfast place - Ruth's Diner up Emigration canyon. We presented Charity with a book full of our favorite bits of advice for marriage along with lots of photos of past MFME gatherings and some favorite recipes. Saydi was the hero behind putting that book together. So fun to talk about our favorite bits of advice over breakfast. Then we said a tearful farewell as we sent Charity off to get her hair done and head to the temple.

We got all the kids settled to watch each other (and a movie) during the temple ceremony.

The ceremony was absolutely beautiful. Sacred, lovely, sweet. That sealing room was packed with people and with love. I looked over at my mom and her sister and had this distinct feeling that their mom, dear Grandma Hazel, was there. And when I looked at my dad, I could feel that his parents were with us also. 

When we came out of the temple, all the kids were there, excited to greet the newly married couple. I was proud of Ashton and Isaac and Eliza for getting everyone where they needed to be at the right time. 

These five boys love each other sooooo much. They're so full of spunk and joy and mischief.

They made this for Charity and Ian while waiting for them to come out (Charian is their special combo name)

And Eliza and Hazel had so much fun watching little Zara:

We had time to take a family photo while we were waiting - haven't captured a more formal family shot in a long time. And this temple is where our family started.

These next pictures tell their own stories.

Do you think they like their aunt?

All the Eyres who made it to the wedding (we were sad to miss Shawni's family who were in China and Tal's wife and little girl who couldn't make it from New York)

 SO happy Shawni could make it from China (and we couldn't get enough of Noah and Kristi's little Shelby)

When we finished at the temple, we hurried up to set up at Millcreek Inn where we had a perfectly lovely dinner in the glorious fall-peak splendor of that place. The candle-lit evening, the thoughtful and poignant toasts by loved ones, the couple just glowing with happiness - perfect evening. (More on the lead-up to making the perfect evening happen at the end of this post!)

How cute are these two?

I love these out-takes - off of us trying to figure things out while Ian and Charity just enjoy the moment.

The next day, we all worked together to get the reception set up at my parents' house. It was a full-day affair moving furniture, setting up other furniture, arranging flowers and hanging bottles of flowers from the rafters, and getting everything set up just as Charity had envisioned. 

Then it was another pretty huge deal getting everyone all gussied up in their wedding attire. There were some moments of panic here and there when we realized there was way more to do than there was time. And it wasn't very fun when Saydi realized she had left Charity's veil at Millcreek Inn the night before and her kind husband did a quick drive to pick it up and had it to the house in the nick of time before Charity got there for her pre-reception photos. Or when just as Jared arrived with the kids for the photos - he'd taken them home to Ogden for the night so I could stay and help with stuff - we realized that Ashton had somehow left his wedding clothes that I'd spent forever shopping for the week before in Ogden and Jared ran to the nearby outlets and was amazingly fast at finding and purchasing him some new clothes that luckily happened to be on a great sale and Ashton was ready for the photos he needed to be in just in time. But it all worked out totally beautifully in the end and it was another magical evening - but this time big-party-dance-style magical.

Zara wasn't into being in the picture. Neither was Ian's little nephew.

The flower girls were pretty pleased with their role - and their flower crowns.

The little groomsmen were the first to the buffet table.

And the flower girls were right behind them.

 Cutting the cake.

Traditional daddy daughter dance.

Then everyone did some serious dancing. Eliza and Eli were especially good dancers.

We grabbed a quick photo of the Wellesley alums on the premises to send in to Wellesley magazine:

The bouquet toss.

And then they were off!

Just to keep it real, I'll end by saying that Charity's fabulous wedding involved serious work. She and Ian assigned us all various responsibilities to help pull of three fabulous days of festivities and fun (we've always done this with family weddings - big families equal lots of work but also lots of extra help!). Charity assigned everyone in her family and Ian's family various duties based on their abilities and availability and when everyone does something, it's amazing how much can be accomplished! Charity assigned people to do everything from arranging shuttles and drivers for the reception (parking had to be off-site at my parents' house and Noah did this and donated the use of his huge new van) to DJ the evening (Eli's the master of music) to doing the flowers (my cousin Lindsay was in charge and did an amazing job and we all pitched in) to making sure everyone was on time to everything (Saydi was in charge of this and came up with an excellent plan - she gave everyone points for being on time for each event and at the end, everyone got to put their name in a hat the number of times that corresponded to their number of points and we had a drawing for fun prizes like a $10 bill, getting first pick of rooms at Bear Lake next summer, getting out of clean up duties for an evening at Bear Lake, getting to eat first for a meal at Bear Lake, that sort of thing).

I helped a lot with stuff that needed to be done well in advance of the big day (Eliza and I spent Labor Day weekend helping Charity out as she met with the florist and caterer, went to her wedding dress fitting, bought and spray painted tons of vases for the flowers, and addressed over a thousand invitation envelopes. Plus I got to talk Charity and my mom through tons of logistical stuff - everything from where everyone would sleep and who could most effectively help with what to who would drive which car and who could babysit who and how to get people and paraphenalia from one place to the next in a timely fashion. 

Then the week before the wedding, Ashton and I were in charge of making a wedding video featuring photos of Ian and Charity growing up (Ashton did the heavy lifting there - I just oversaw). And for the wedding day itself, I was in charge of making sure all my kids were ready willing and able to watch their younger cousins while all the adults were in the temple, ordering and picking up the pumpkin cake for dessert at the wedding dinner from an outside vendor along with whipping cream from the grocery store and getting it all to the dinner venue and making sure they knew what Charity had in mind for how it should be served.

This dessert-coordinator job turned out to be a bit of a fiasco. After the wedding, it took a long time for Charity and Ian to emerge from the temple and we finished photos at the temple a lot later than anticipated. I needed to pick up the cake and cream and help set up and Shawni, Julie and Eli had set-up duties as well so the four of us needed to get our kids tucked into other people's cars and get them sent to my parents' house where they'd be during the adult dinner but we found out the hard way that no ones cell phones have reception in the parking garage where the 4 different cars involved were parked and we spent a pretty darn frustrating half hour trying to find each other and get everyone and everything where they needed to be. When I finally found a spot the parking garage that had cell reception, I realized my phone was dead and I somehow had Shawni's phone which was password protected. I ran outside and caught Noah who was about to take off with most of the kids and he tried to call Eli but Eli wasn't in a place with reception. We reached my mom and she said she'd pick up the cake and take kids to her house and Noah took me to Trader Joe's where we assumed Shawni and Eli and Julie would be and yes, they were there, so Noah could take off and get his kids to my parents' place and I could get the whipping cream. But when I got to the cash register with the cream, I realized I'd left my purse in Noah's car and I still had a dead phone. But luckily Shawni and Eli and Julie were next door at Staples where they were picking up all the placecards for the wedding dinner and they were able to pay for the cream and we were on our way to the dinner. We hurried to set everything up and had it all ready by the time everyone else got there. Woohoo!

Then for her reception the next day, I was in charge of planning and setting up the kids' area where kids could color and do fun scavenger hunts and training my kids to run that. 

And of course, everyone pitched in for set up and clean up and tons of other little things that cropped up along the way. Sometimes we get super frustrated with each other an there are moments where everything seems pretty bad. But in the end, we make a pretty good team and my mom's little phrase "crisis + time = humor" comes true.

So I guess I just wanted to end by saying that beautiful wonderful events and family time will always involve some work and stress on the front end. But they're sure worth it! 

And to end on a really lovely note, here's the excellent short video that the official wedding videographer made. Can't watch it without crying. Captures a lot of the magic of the day so nicely.


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