Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Our Wedding 03/17/18: Our Family and Just Us

💙 My boys 💙


Just look at these cuties.  I scored the jackpot with them.

They sure loved their suspenders haha.

The photographer asked me if I was good squatting down like I was.
(I kept almost falling over haha)
And I replied "Yep! Just as long as I don't fart."
Thus commenced the boys laughing.
#fartjokes #stepmomofboys #getsthemeverytime hahahaha

Kayson's response when the photographer asked him to kiss my cheek.

Here's Parker's response haha.

My favorite 5 year old.

My favorite 7 year old.

These boys idolize their dad.
He's a fantastic example to them.

And I can't tell you how much I love to watch him be a a fantastic dad.
I just melt watching him care for them.

Don't let Parker fool you, he was excited too haha. I love this pic and hope to have it printed up and put on our wall.

I wanted to give the boys something on the day we got married.
The morning of our wedding, I went to their hotel room and gave them each a dog tag that said:

And I mean it.
I know there will be rough days ahead.
I know it might not be as smooth sailing as it has been.
But just like I promised forever to their dad, I promised them
that I will forever love them too.  Stepmom wasn't a title I ever intended to have
or ever even really wanted.  But now I couldn't be more honored to have that title, and to get to see these two handsome boys grow up into the fantastic men they will become.  They may not have grown under my heart, but they will forever grow in it. 💗

And I have I'll have this man by my side through it all.
The Jackson's 💕 Est: 03/17/18

Our Wedding 3/17/18: Extended Family Pics

Our day finally came!  I can't put into words how wonderful it was.  My awesome photographer (Carly Butler @ captured a ton of fantastic photos.  I'm super grateful she was able to come and get some pics.  Here are my favorites (I love them ALL but I can't load 230 photos haha)

Coming out of the temple and seeing our boys was THE. BEST.

It was snowing a bunch and everyone was soaked waiting for us to come out.

We loved having our grandparents there.

"The Big Girl Cousins" - Love these two and I can't wait for Shay to meet the man of her dreams and attend her wedding.

Riley's side. Did I say how much fun it is to officially be an Aunt?

I scored THE BEST inlaws. Really though. 

Riley is the youngest of seven, so I've finally got older siblings to look up to ;)

And with those new inlaws come their awesome spouses.
REALLY guys, I've already been on some adventures with these people
and I think we are all going to continue to have a blast in the future.

Jody & Amy traveled from Mount Pleasant, Iowa and Chad traveled from Cheyenne.
I'm so grateful they brought their families to be with us that day.

My side.  Our first LEGIT family photo.
No maybe's or soon-to-be's.
We're all sealed in now.

I just love em so much!

Saved the best for last, right??? ;)

My parents.  My rock.
I'm grateful for the decision they made that day 29 years earlier.

Kayson and I heard "Best monkey face!" haha

Kiddos with us, and their new sets of Aunts and Uncles.

The boys just loooooove kisses....can't you tell? hahaha

I can still hear them saying "EWWWW!!!!" haha

The Last 10 Months: Part 2


Well November came, and at this point Megan and Blake were still dating.  We were talking about Thanksgiving plans and who from the family was going to be there.  And surprise!  Shelby said that she was bringing a boy home.

I wasn't ever uncomfortable with the idea of Morgan.  He's been Shelby's best friend all last year, and so for them to say that they were dating wasn't that big of a surprise.  More than once, I'd had this type of conversation with her:

Shelby would talk about Morgan.
Me: "Are you sure there isn't anything more than friendship?"
Shelby: "Oh NO!! We are for sure just friends...(she'd pause for a second)...cause I mean, it would just be bad if we were to start dating and then things go south.  I don't want to lose my best friend."
Me: "Ok, if you say so..."
Me: Roll my eyes and wonder when the two of them would wake up and realize they were going to get together haha.

I mean, how can you spend that much time with someone and then think it would go south if the romantic element was thrown in there? haha.  They'd been dating for a couple months (if I remember right...I kinda didn't know they were really dating, cause they still were hanging out constantly haha), and then they got engaged on Thanksgiving weekend.

Speaking of Thanksgiving, that was quite the weekend.  I'm sure my mom will eventually do a blog post about that, so I'll leave room to link to that here ;)



So Christmas was coming, and everyone was talking about what they were going to do.  With all our new found significant others, it was a big question of who was going to go home for Christmas.  Riley asked me where I wanted to be, and I told him I wanted to be with him, the boys...but I wanted to be with my family too.  He said "I think we can make that work" ;) so we brought the boys home.  My parents were so excited to have Santa come to kids again in their home.

But before I jump the gun, I need to go back to the beginning of December.  Riley asked for my parents for my hand on Thanksgiving.  So I knew that he was going to ask me at some point.  I was being a little difficult because I didn't want a huge ring, but I couldn't find anything I liked.  So he finally agreed to my solution of just getting a silicon band.  (Enso rings are the best).  I knew he wanted to have the boys with him when he asked, so I was guessing it would be the first full week of December.

It was the 6th, and Riley agreed to go to my District Christmas Party at the high school.  Because we had the boys, we dropped them off at their mom's so we could go.  On the way there, Kayson leaned up and asked his dad a question. 

"Hey dad"

"Ya Kayson?"

"Can I tell Mara what you told us yesterday?"

"Sure"...mind you, Riley didn't think Kayson was going to share anything important, as Riley had told him a bunch of things haha.

Kayson leaned over towards me between his dad and I, and says matter of factly:

"So Mara....tomorrow when we go get a Christmas tree in the mountains, our dad is going to ask you to marry him!"

Behind him, I could see Riley physically just deflate. He looked to me and said "That's not what I thought he was going to tell you."  

I couldn't even respond haha.

The next day Riley had everything gathered up in the morning so that when the boys and I got done with school, we could head straight to the mountains.  Riley even got off a half hour early so we could get on our way and find a tree before it got dark.

We got up there and found a tree relatively quickly, and then we went to a spot where the boys could sled.  Now knowing that he'd planned to ask me, I wondered when he would do it.  As we were driving to the spot, Riley gave me a "look" and I knew what it was: he'd forgotten the ring.


I laughed so hard (on the inside of course, so as not to make him feel bad haha.)
We got back to the house and the boys hauled the tree in.  They wanted homemade ice cream, so I went to work in the kitchen.  Kayson was so excited for his dad to propose.  Riley told me later that Kayson had "coached" him through the whole thing haha.  Riley asked me to come into the living room, and that's when he got down on one knee.  He said "I know this isn't the mountains, but at least here's a tree haha.  Will you marry me?" If I could have, I would have grabbed a camera and took a picture of Kayson.  He was just beaming with excitement as I told his dad yes, and even took our pictures with his dad's phone.  I'll never forget the look on that sweet little boys face.  These are the photos he captured. :)

It was the week before that Megan got engaged, so my parents' hands were definitely full with wedding planning coming up.  Because we were waiting on Riley's ex to sign the papers the bishop sent, we weren't able to set date.  It took until the end of January before the bishop was finally able to send off the paperwork for us to receive a sealing clearance, and we received our clearance letter at the beginning of February.

In the mean time, Megan set a date for 12/30/17 and Shelby set a date for 02/09/18.  Talk about difficult, wanting to set a date as well but not being able to.  In the end I'm so glad we "waited" to go to the temple, because in going to all three of my siblings' sealings, I knew there was nothing I wanted more than to be sealed to Riley. But the human in me still found it difficult getting to watch all my siblings receive what I wanted so badly.  I'll just say this: patience can be hard, but it's completely worth it. I just had to keep reminding myself that I would eventually get there and that I was grateful for the chance I had to be to every sealing and bring my soon-to-be-family with me.

At Seth & Michelle's Wedding Reception, September 2017

The whole family at Megan & Blake's Wedding, December 2017

Morgan stealing Parker's lunch money ;)

Avoiding kisses from my mom

Thanks for taking this pic of us, Uncle Blake!

After we got home from Shelby & Morgan's wedding, we checked the mail.  The clearance letter had come! That next morning I called the temple and set our date.  We wanted it to be a weekend we had the boys, and so March 17th became the date!  Funny enough, that's my parents' anniversary.  But when we told the boys about it being St. Patrick's day, they ran with and when we went to pick out ties for them to wear, this is what we came out with haha:


So green became one of my colors! Not wanting to wear white, or have to choose colors, I loved that the boys chose them.  It was a very fun day and the boys loved walking around the mall with all their matching suspenders.  They even wore them home haha.  They wanted to wear them to school too! but they couldn't because we took them to Grandma Jackson so she could sow them a little to make them fit good.  She's awesome! For all of February and the first part of March, I packed up my house and helped with any part of the wedding stuff that I could. Until finally our day came: