Friday, July 25, 2014

K&A's Rehearsal Dinner | July 10, 2014

I just wanted to post a few photos from my brother's and his now-wife's rehearsal dinner. What was great about Kenzo's and Angela's rehearsal dinner was how many family members we had there. I had relatives fly out from Chicago, Toronto, and Saudi Arabia—and unlike my own wedding rehearsal dinner last year—I actually got to spend time with these relatives.

Russ and I both had so many relatives come out for our own rehearsal dinner/wedding last year but I don't think we ever fully enjoyed everyone there. We were too busy running around, smiling, making rounds, that we barely registered who we spoke to or who we posed a picture with. I'm sure it was the same for Kenzo and Angela this year. It's always overwhelming the days leading up to the actual date.

I was helping my dad set up decorations in our backyard before the rehearsal dinner and at one point he turned to me and said, "This reminds me a lot of last year." To which I responded, "Yes, but this one is more fun." Don't get me wrong—I loved our own wedding and celebrations but it was tiring. Now, seeing my brother and Angela be the center of attention this year is a huge relief. This time I get to sit back and spend time with some family I only get to see every few years.

Mini cheesecakes 
This photo makes me smile. The lady in the pink (left) is my grandma. The lady in the yellow (right) is Angela's grandma. Both grandmas don't speak English. My grandma only speaks 2 dialects from Philippines and Angela's grandma speaks a dialect from Italy. Still, they complimented each other on their hair and appearance through hand gestures and brief translations.

At the end of the night, many people spoke to Angela and Kenzo and gave them advice on how to start a healthy, growing marriage. It was heart-warming.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Reno | July 2014

At the end of June, Russ and I had to make a sudden trip to Reno for family matters. Russ was able to work remotely for a week in Reno but I had to fly back down, work for the week here in SoCal, then fly back up on the 4th of July.

Side note: I have decided that the Reno airport is one of my least favorite places. Not because of customer service or anything that has to do with people, but because they almost always fly you in and out of Reno in tiny planes which is the scariest thing ever when going through the mountains/valleys of Reno. That little plane shook so much I thought I was going to die.

I had my first All-American Forth of July this year.
Proof of my All-American 4th of July
It was lots of fun. We celebrated Independence Day at our friend's cabin on Donner Lake, complete with silly hats, good ole American food, 200 pound dogs, and good company.

USA cookies (left) and USA flag (right)
Gigantic 200-lb and playful dog
The Damontes--look at baby Piper, so cute!
We were so fortunate to be able to catch up with lots of friends in Reno. Usually when we're up there, we're on a quick trip to see Russell's family but this time, we got to see a lot of people and spend some quality time with them. 

While being in Reno and experiencing the fireworks show up there was an experience I am thankful to have, I sadly missed my side of the family's celebration in SoCal. My brother and his wife hosted a barbeque at their condo. Lewis even got to be part of that celebration since we couldn't take him to Nevada with us. My brother with his unending humor texted me this photo when I asked him how Lewis was handling the fireworks:

Hehe, too bad I missed seeing Lewis' first experience with fireworks. There's always next year!

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Georgia Trip | June 2014

Since I've been so behind on blogging and since there are lots of things I want to remember years from now, I will be going back a bit and blogging about not-so-recent-but-still-worthy memories.


In June, Russell and I took a trip to Georgia to see his best friend get married to a wonderful woman. It was our first time in the South and what they say about Southern hospitality is definitely true. Lots of good (fried) food and some very sweet tea. Another thing I also noticed was the way they talked. I'm not just talking about accents or the way they say "y'all". The way they talked was almost lyrical. Maybe it's because of the Southern drawl but it kind of sounded melodic when they spoke.

Anyways, Georgia was warm (literally), welcoming, and beautiful. Everything was green:

So. Many. Trees. 
Trees everywhere

The scenery everywhere was pretty. Even prettier was the wedding venue that took place outside a barn, on a nice green field. I'm a sucker for outdoor weddings. And of course, the bride was prettiest out of everything there. Seriously, look:
J & E
How sweet is this? I was tearing up during their vows because I love words and theirs were so beautiful. It's was honestly very exciting to see this marriage begin and to see where this marriage will go. I LOVE THAT THEY'RE MARRIED. There's only great things ahead...makes Russ and I want to visit Jordan again... ;)

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

The Subtlety of Love

I recently witnessed my brother marry his now wife in a wedding that made my heart swell. It was a gorgeous wedding between two people I love so much. The celebration was filled with loud laughter, sweaty dancing, and sincere congratulations to the new couple.

And while I love weddings and hearing vows and witnessing people promise the rest of their lives to each other, it's the little almost-unnoticed things that capture my heart. Minutes before the wedding ceremony, I was in a room with the bride and her older sister. I was watching them talk softly to each other. The older sister said something to make my sister-in-law (SIL) smile. It was a quiet joke, something just between the two of them and probably something only the two of them understand. I could see my SIL visibly relax. Then, it was time for the bride to put on her veil. There was no photographer there, this was a moment just for the bride and her sister.

I remember the stillness of the moment, the relaxed silence void of the sound of a camera clicking. The moment would go by undocumented but remembered. Gently, the older sister placed the veil on my SIL and smiled at her. There were no words, but the love was loud. It was simply a moment of an older sister loving on her younger sister.

It's these tender moments. The moments that are not always capturedthe shared smiles between friends, soft conversations between lovers, inside jokes between sisters, gentle kisses from a motherthat make my heart soar. Love is grand, yes. There are moments that deserve attention and big celebrations. But love is also gentle. Sometimes it is quiet and soft. It can drift by unnoticed by a stranger. And if you don't take time to see it, you'll miss it.