My family is one of the most important things in my life. I come from a big family, & am blessed that my family members are also some of my closest friends. Then a few years ago, I married Laker, & his family also became my family. I am so thankful to have each of these people in my life!
I started dating Laker in November 2010. We are both the quiet, stay-at-home type of people who enjoy nerdy things like Lord of the Rings & Pokemon, so we hit it off quickly. On Valentine's Day in 2012, he proposed, & in June of that year, we were married. Laker has done more for me than I can ever explain. He is my best friend, & is the first person I go to in good times or bad. He has been there for me through so much that no one our age should have to experience. He is an amazing example of a husband who embodies his wedding vows & takes "in sickness & in health" to heart. He always takes care of me without complaining through all of my various illnesses & struggles, but is also ready for anything on my good days. We love to travel & always have a trip or two planned, & we also love spending time nearby in the OKC area, hanging out in his hometown in Duncan, & exploring what else Oklahoma has to offer. Laker is truly my best friend. We can be goofy together, I can tell him anything, & our personalities fit so well together. We can have the best time going out & trying something new, or just sitting on opposite ends of the couch reading books. I know that God made each of us with the other in mind.
My dad is the best example of Godly fatherhood that I could ask for. He is compassionate, thoughtful, & always putting others first. He has had his share of struggles, but always strives to have a good attitude & keep his focus on God. I try to follow my dad's example in his outlook on life. No matter what is going wrong in his own life, he always seems to be looking for ways he can help someone else, & never seems to be too down on himself. My dad is also incredibly funny, & will do just about anything to make someone laugh.
My mom is another role model of mine. She is always doing so many things, I'm not sure how she balances it all, yet she does everything well. My mom is the smartest person I have ever met. She is also one of the biggest nerds I have ever met (I say that in a loving way!). I credit her for passing that nerdiness down to me. We can talk for hours about Star Wars or spend an embarrassingly long time picking out the perfect planners at Barnes & Noble. My mom is also very crafty, witty, loving, & wise. I honestly believe there isn't anything she can't do.
My big brother is the greatest. Since he is only a year & two weeks older than me, we were always close growing up - sometimes even getting asked if we were twins. As kids, we played Batman & rode our bikes everywhere. When we got to high school, he was nice enough to let his little sister tag along with him & his friends. When I got to college, I got a phone call saying he accepted Christ, & got to talk with him after his decision! Now that we're adults, I see all of the qualities he's always had, & can appreciate them more fully. My brother is such a generous person. He loves to give gifts, often for no reason, & they're always amazingly thoughtful. He loves to help people, even strangers. He is incredibly gifted with music & technology. He knows how to make people feel appreciated, & he is one of my favorite people in the world.
My little twin. Although I guess I can't call her that anymore because she's taller than me now. Ever since she was born, I was SO excited to have Mackenzie around, as you can see in the last photo! I used to always want a big sister, so Mackenzie was my chance to BE the big sister I always wanted. I still try to live up to that & be the best I can be for her (& for Taryn!). Mackenzie doesn't really need an example, though. She is such a strong - & often headstrong - person, who is so driven, smart, & passionate. She sets goals & doesn't stop until she gets them - like becoming Concert Mistress in her high school's orchestra two years in a row, graduating in the top 10 in her high school class, & then being accepted to the Disney College Program. She knows there's nothing she can't do, & we all know that too! She is also such a beautiful, funny, sassy person, & so talented - musically & in other areas. She's going to be great in everything she does.
Taryn & I have gotten a lot closer in the past few years, & I am really enjoying all of the time we spend together. She is one of those people who is good at just about everything. She played a bunch of sports when she was younger & was good at all of them. But then she quit those to focus on music & became chorale President & first chair of the cellists in orchestra during high school. In her first semester of college, she has earned solos, a starring role in a musical, & was nominated as a homecoming queen candidate to represent the band! & she's also amazing at hair, makeup, crafts, & pretty much anything else she touches. You'd think with all of that talent, she'd be really prideful or full of herself, but instead, she is one of the goofiest people around. She's so funny, & will do anything for a laugh, without a care as to what she looks like or who's watching. She has become such a beautiful, mature person, & I can't wait to see where God leads her next.
I could not have asked to marry into a better family! I am so thankful that Laker was also raised in a Christian home. Paul & Sybil are great parents-in-law. Paul is always making me woodworking projects in his shop, & we love spending time with him during our visits. Sybil is enjoying finally having some girls in the family! We've had so much fun shopping, seeing ballets, & planning get-togethers for everyone. Alex is my first (& only!) little brother! It's fun to pick on him (although he returns the favor!) & get to know the person Laker grew up with. & we're so glad Halli has joined the family! She has become one of my best friends. She is so sweet & crafty, & I've loved all of our double dates & girl dates, as well as getting to know her family!
Ben is the newest member of the family! At least officially. He has felt like a part of the family for years, & it was so awesome to see him marry Mackenzie. Ben is so sweet & smart & challenges Mackenzie in the best way. I couldn't have picked a better match for her!
Last, but not least, our pups! Lily joined the family in April of 2014. We went to the pet store for fish food & I saw her & convinced Laker that we had to get her. We thought she was going to be a 35-pound Boston terrier mix, but she's most likely closer to a 50-pound Pitt mix. We love her anyway though! She has such a personality & is so smart. She knows a whole list of commands, knows when I'm taking photos & only gets in them when she wants to (she hates family photos), loves car rides (& people & other dogs & sticks & everything really), & still thinks she's a lap dog even though she's half my size.
Padfoot is a whole different kind of pup. He is much more timid & shy, & is much more emotional. But he is such a sweet little boy, & he loves to cuddle & be babied. Once again, we were fooled - our 80-to-100-pound German shepherd mix somehow grew up to be a 22-pound German shepherd(?) mix, but we love him so much. He loves to hunt & jump & climb (things he's not supposed to), but he also loves to lay around & crawl under the covers & cuddle. Mostly cuddle. Also, we took him to the Medieval Fair last year & everyone loved him. People kept stopping to pet him & play with him. He didn't mind it at first, but after a while, he was over it (see the leash photo below).
Christ. Laker. Lily. Padfoot. Puns. Polar Bears. Travel. Tea. Tattoos. Tigers. Books. Belle. Buffaloes. Wonderland. Creativity.