photo dump: the wedding edition

I know I have been rather coy about my sister’s wedding, especially about my bridesmaid dress. Then I teased a little, and a little more. Then I got all secretive because it’s the code. But I did offer a little peek. And then…nothing because of lame excuses like back to school and moving a child to college far from home and selfies and PTA rejects and a new tattoo and life.

But, at last, one month later.

Rehearsal because you need to practice.

But before it gets TOO boring…

strike a pose…

or two.

And share hugs.

And eat and drink because the next day Ange and Matt are getting married!

But first we need to get the bridal party ready.


But first let’s strike a few poses…

And melt because it is hotter than balls…even if we aren’t wearing literally 14 layers of tulle, which I imagine is almost as hot as menopausal hot flashes that soak your hair and dress while posing in the hotter than balls sunshine…then again I’m not sure because I have never, ever worn 14 layers of tulle.

Wait. One more pose.

You know, on Pinterest this seemed like a really good idea…

Okay, time to get this party started. The officiant is here and he likes to start on time.


Bridesmaid badge unlocked.

And my sister is a Mrs….soon to be Dr. Mrs

Definitely something worth celebrating with cake.

As soon as they slice it up.

Beautiful adventure. Beautiful day. Beautiful Mr. and Mrs.

Thank you little sister and brother in law for sharing it all with my beautiful family.

I still never get over the fact that I had a part in all this beautiful-ness that is my family…and this picture reminds me of that again.


I love social media. I really do. What a great way to keep up and stay in touch with everyone who circumnavigates in and outside of my family circle. I see babies, first day of school pictures, vacations and adventures galore and I celebrate (like) them all. But with the good and great comes the bitter, tragic and sad because we do share it all on social media…and I mourn with you all then too. It’s social. It’s media. I celebrate it all…except, you know when it hits too close to home.

Our dear Uncle Bill passed away this last Sunday night.

I found out on Facebook.

It’s okay.

Actually, no, it’s not.

But I get it because it’s part of the social that is social media.

A family friend posted on our cousin’s wall expressing her sorrow, love and condolences, as we often do when someone we know and admire and love dies and from there it took off as others shared their own thoughts, sorrow and love…all before family can take the time to make sure that all of the family knows. So while on my break at work Sunday night, I scroll through my Facebook newsfeed and discover that our dear Uncle Bill had died that night.


I love social media but Sunday night I hated social media.

It’s really crappy when you get really bad, sad news that way.

It happens.

It absolutely, positively sucks.

But if I was to learn anything from the man I have always called Uncle Bill it was to focus on what is important right here, right now…family…our family…his family.

His daughter Kimra shared:

the world lost another unsung hero. Our father Billy Yowell, lost his long battle with PLS and Parkinson’s disease. He was a great father who was always present in in his daughters’ lives. Never missing an event, he cheered loudest with each success and cried the hardest at each failure. He was a hard worker who believed that if you worked hard all things were possible. Quoting my cousin Mark “Bill was a giant of a man in my life. He seemed to define how a man should be masculine and strong but never too strong to show humor and especially love”.

So true. So very true.

Monday morning, after work, I sat down with Daniel and shared with him that Grandmom’s brother, Uncle Bill had died. The first thing he said was that his cousin, Amy, one of Bill’s daughters, and her husband, Randy, would need a hug from him because they must be very sad.

Oh Daniel!

Trying to understand, together Daniel and I talked about Uncle Bill and the kind of man he was. We talked about his patience, his kindness to everyone, his fairness and his amazing sense of humor.

I think that I want to be just like him.

You are, son! You are a giant just like our Uncle Bill.

Billy Ray Yowell
Nov. 14,1940 – Aug. 30, 2015
Billy will be deeply missed by those who were blessed to know him. He was born in Blytheville, Arkansas and raised in the Bay Area. He entered the U.S Air Force after high school. While stationed in San Diego, he met Carol Johnson and married in 1961. After his military service, he continued his career with the Ford Motor Corporation. Billy is survived by his wife Carol; daughters – Kimra, Tamra, and Amy; grandchildren – Drew, Tim, and Tracy; and sister Dorothy Brown.

working on messy love

Years and years ago, back when The Big Top was scarcely beginning, a friend of mine gossiped confided about what another dear friend had shared about her marriage…that it was work…WORK, she snorted. Love and marriage is not work, at least it should not be…in her humble opinion. Years and years later, the three of us all are still married to the same darling husbands and having been married to the same darling husbands for 33+ years, I would imagine that we all can agree together that there is some work…maybe a lot of work involved in more than 33 years of marriage.

I thought about that a lot a couple of years ago when a certain actor/director/producer accepted a Best Picture Academy Award and acknowledged that his marriage to another actor was the best kind of work, which then cued up all the talk that their marriage was DOOMED! Doomed, I tell you, because he thinks love and marriage is work. Of course two years later it seems that all that talk was correct as the marriage of this Hollywood power couple seems to be over.

Go figure!

Yet, based on my own personal experience, I still sit on the Love and Marriage is Work Team because it is. It’s sometimes easy-peasy, lemon squeeze-y and it is sometimes blood, sweat and tears work because it can be frustrating, exhausting, scary and thrilling all at the same time. Better or worse, it’s messy.

And I was totally going to talk all about that messiness that marriage is when shit happened, as it often does, which made me realize that marital love isn’t the only kind of messy love in my life. Friends…family…so many different individuals that stir up the dust and debris all around us and making a general mess of everything in our lives and relationships….a big, fat mess…a mess that SOMEONE will have to clean up…a mess that is part of our love for each other.


I hate messes and chaos and dust and debris and, especially, cleaning up messes and chaos and dust and debris. Always have. Always will. But I do love love and I love those in my life whom I hold dear…my friends, my family, my darling husband. I love them all in spite of all the messiness that is loving them. I hope that they feel the same.

It’s work sometimes, all the messy love in my life.

Worth it though.

Thank goodness I can celebrate that…today and every day.

life distracts

No apologies, just acknowledging that living life day to day sometimes will distract.

Doctors’ appointments and wondering what pediatrician’s office doesn’t have these germ encrusted toys that our kids always want to play with? Sorry, some things micro preemie moms just never let go even when their extremely premature baby is now a teenager.

Road trips…for more doctors’ office visits.

Exhausting they are…completely.

Back to school adventures begin and we pause wondering how in the world can she be in SECOND GRADE??!!

And how can she possibly be hundreds of miles from home starting college which includes a class studying Orange Is The New Black? She better ace that class. I mean it.

Then there’s work…

and laundry…yes, still…

Life distracts from taking the time to sit down and write about life and I offer no apology because life distracts…and because I have several loads of laundry waiting to be folded.

One would imagine that with only 2 of my 5 children remaining here under The Big Top that there would be so much less to juggle. One would be wrong.

Give me a sec to adjust this juggling act.


Having a sister is like having a best friend you can’t get rid of. You know whatever you do, they’ll still be there. ~Amy Li

Sisters are there to cheer you on.

To frolic with you.

To be silly with you…

especially at 6:53 AM!

Your sister is there to help you when you can’t button those buttons.

And to bring out your very best features.

Because you have to look good when you are standing next to her.


You can always count on your sister to offer a word of encouragement.

To stand next to you always.

And to get shit done.

No matter where life may take you.

Thank goodness she’s there for you.