Sunday, October 17, 2010

Reflections of...

A Modern Day Fairy Tale

(Click pictures to enlarge. Photos courtesy of Leah Polhemus.)

Once in awhile, right in the middle of an ordinary life, love gives us a fairy tale. This past weekend, Josh and I found ourselves smack dab in the middle of one.

It’s not every day that Josh and I hop aboard a plane, leaving our 4 children behind (yes, even the baby) to head to New Jersey to attend the wedding of a couple we’ve never actually met in real life. But, this couple is no ordinary couple and their story is no ordinary tale.

Meet Adam and Kristin (a.k.a. 'Cinderella' and 'Prince Charming').

Adam and Kristin share the kind of love that fairy tales are made of. (Read their story here.) While their relationship has not been void of trials and hardships, & they've suffered the highs and lows common in every relationship, they already realize what most couples spend a lifetime trying to figure out:

“If you want something to last forever, you treat it differently…”
~F. Burton Howard~

To observe them, is to see a union formed by Heaven itself.
Three years ago, I met Adam while we worked together in our spare time on a web based advertising/marketing business. We became fast friends as many of our core values and beliefs were in synch. I was impressed by his integrity, amazing attitude towards life, his willingness to always put others first and his absolute love, concern and adoration for his then girlfriend, Kristin.

While the website that originally brought us together as friends eventually succumbed to the spiraling economic times, Adam and I remained in contact, updating each other on life every few months; him sharing updates on his relationship progress with Kristin (he had been saving money for an engagement ring), and his real job as a NJ State Trooper and me sharing the latest and greatest about motherhood and marriage to my prince charming, Josh.

Fast forward a couple of years to March 2010. My brother and I had decided to join forces and open up our own web based business, similar to the one Adam and I had worked on together previously. Immediately I knew that our business needed Adam’s strengths and personality if it were to be as successful as we hoped it would be. Adam eventually succumbed to my peer pressure and joined with us as one of our site administrators. He has been such a blessing and asset. Our business has grown because of his careful attention and presence. However, more importantly, as I have come to better know Adam and Kristin this past year, my appreciation for them and the kind of relationship they share, has grown.
While in the thick of their wedding preparation, Kristin’s father suffered some major medical setbacks resulting in a massive heart attack and ultimately leaving him in a vegetative coma. Just a few short months before their marriage, she and Adam were forced to lay aside their massive to-do lists, personal agendas and visions of a perfect country wedding to be at her father’s side, helping him fight for his very life.

The twists and turns are too numerous to list as they have fought and continue to fight with the insurance company to cover the very care that could help her father recover from his massive ordeal. Unfortunately, the needed coverage was not granted and the much prayed for brain rehabilitation treatment has yet to be performed. And with just a couple of months before her wedding remaining, sadly, Kristin learned that her father would not be the one walking her down the aisle at her wedding, nor would he have the privilege of giving his first-born daughter away in marriage. He would not escort his daughter to the dance floor and lead her in the first dance or give her a parting kiss on her cheek before heading off into the sunset with her prince charming. This realization was devastating, but in typical Kristin and Adam fashion, they would not let this tragedy define them or create a wedge between them. Their faith would not falter and their resolve would not weaken. Suffice it to say, their love for one another & their faith and trust in God has trumped every sadness, overcome great heartache and further strengthened a relationship that many couples will spend their whole lives trying to build. Their carefully chosen wedding day--10-10-10--would still go on.
Needless to say, when the invitation was extended to attend their wedding, I told Adam I would move heaven and earth to be there. Thankfully, Josh, the love of my life, saw the significance of this invitation, the specialness of this couple and granted my wish to see the fulfillment of a fairy tale.

We just arrived home from a whirlwind wedding weekend and are still pinching ourselves to make sure we were not dreaming! Adam and Kristin’s wedding was just as beautiful as I imagined it would be, and they are just as incredible in person as they came across when only an internet cord connected us.

Here is a masterful depiction of their beautiful farm wedding via this highlight video. It tells the story of not only their love and their beautiful day, but the story of a father’s love on a day he would have given everything to be a part of.
(Pause the music on my playlist and turn up your volume.)

.kristin and adam..the dress from endless wave studios on Vimeo.

Thank you Kristin and Adam for not only teaching us what true love is about but for reminding us what true love looks like. We love you and know great happiness will continue to be yours.

Jen & Josh

Saturday, October 16, 2010

October 7-11th

(Click photos to enlarge.)

Josh and I had the amazing opportunity to go on a somewhat 'spontaneous' trip to the East Coast last weekend after receiving the invitation to attend a friend's wedding in New Jersey (separate wedding post coming). We decided to take advantage of the kid-free weekend and tacked on a few extra days so we could visit Ammon (Josh's brother) and enjoy some leisure time in New York City.

After arriving late Thursday, we spent the night at the Marriott Fairfield Inn, close to the Newark Airport, opting to take the train into the city the next morning. We hit Manhattan around noon on a gorgeous Fall day with no predetermined agenda and enjoyed casually strolling around the city. (After just coming off of an exhausting Disneyland trip, the casual approach and pace of this trip was just what the dr. ordered.)

We were giddy as we realized this was the first real kid-free trip we've enjoyed since our last trip to NYC 4 1/2 years ago. We couldn't believe we could actually hold hands, sit by one another at the restaurant & even steal a kiss or two without at least 2 children in between us. It was magical.

**Important note to all our friends & family: We gladly accept invitations to any and all 'adult only' functions from here on out, especially if it requires an overnight stay in a far off location.

Some of our favorite things we did included:

1. Seeing the Broadway Play Mamma Mia (storyline set to ABBA music). Entertaining & fun, but not one I'd spend the money to see again.

2. Dinner out at Bar Americain (a Bobby Flay restaurant). Amazing food! Best filet mignon I have ever tasted!

3. Visiting Josh's brother, Ammon & having him show us some of the delicious local places to eat & sightsee. We enjoyed a great lunch outdoors at Rue 57 on Friday and another fabulous lunch on Saturday overlooking the water at The Frying Pan. We topped off the food fest with dessert at Billy's Bakery, sharing the most ginormous piece of red velvet cake you have ever seen.

4. Shopping on Canal Street. 'Louis, Chanel, Coach. You like Miss?' Ha ha.

5. Beautiful views of the New York skyline and the World Trade Center/Financial Disrict from the Milennium Hilton Hotel where we stayed while in the city.

We love NYC and can't wait to return!

How did we trick our kids into manual labor and good behavior for 2 months straight? Simple. Sheer bribery and a little help from

M-I-C-K-E-Y M-O-U-S-E.
(Don‘t pretend you didn‘t just sing that.)

Call us crazy, but we did just that. Boy was life grand during the months of August and September. With the promise of the ultimate 5-day trip to Disneyland & California Adventure riding on their every move, my kids didn‘t dare say a cross word or let a scowl pass their lips for fear that said trip might be revoked. They happily did their chores (ok, “happily” might be a slight exaggeration. But hey, at least they didn‘t totally revolt) and treated each other as all good little boys and girls should (with the exception of the occasional 'he hit me' or 'she‘s bothering me'). After all, this was no ordinary trip to Disneyland at stake. This trip we decided to go 'all out'.

Highlights included:

* 3 days at Disneyland, 1 day at California Adventure, 1 morning at Downtown Disney
* World of Color water & light show
* Getting pictures and autographs of dozens of Disney characters
* Lunch with all of the princesses at Ariel’s Grotto
* Halloween Time--Disneyland was all decked out for Halloween
* Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Trick-or-Treat Party the night of Jen’s birthday
* Aunt Mari visiting
* Dinner with Aunt Mari and Uncle Chris at the Rainforest Café in Downtown Disney
* Visiting a live show of Playhouse Disney
* Tricking Josh into going on the Tower of Terror with Jacob.
* Jacob braving his first upside down roller coaster (California Screamin’)
* At least one ride that Josh was on breaking down each day that we were there.
* Jacob being selected as a jedi during the Jedi Training Academy