Friday, August 29

10 Fun End-of-Summer Activities for All!

Here is a post I wrote for my cute friend, Julie a few weeks ago! I thought I'd share it with you because it really is the end of summer now and you only have, like, 25 days left of summer so you/we/all of us better get going! Also, Julie's blog, A Hopeful Hood, is adorable! Check it out when you have a minute! Anyway, here is the post: (just in case you missed it ;)
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Hello everyone!

I'm Olivia from the little gunnell family blog. Julie and I have actually never met, but we've known each other for a couple of years (it's hard to remember exactly how long) through our mutual friend, Megan. Megan is my best friend from high school, and Julie and Megan became friends at Gordon College. Thanks to Facebook, we are now friends, too!

Anyway, a little about me:
I am a stay-at-home mom, lucky wife, and student. I got my associate's degree (of science in English) from BYU-Idaho where I attended before I was introduced to my husband, Dalin. We had a very quick, whirlwind-type of relationship and engagement (something I never expected personally), but hey--when you know, you know. We are both Mormon and were married for eternity on August 19, 2011 in the Boston, Massachusetts temple. Our third anniversary will be here next week and (lucky us!) we will be in Boston once again for it! Every day, I am constantly reminded that marrying Dalin has been the greatest blessing and the best decision I ever made. I am now finishing up my bachelor's degree in English from Brigham Young University (we're currently in Provo, Utah). In August 2013, I gave birth to our beautiful daughter, Tenley. She is now one and a huge blessing in my life. I'm so excited to be done taking classes on campus so I can be home with her all the time now! One last thing, I am pregnant with our second baby (a boy, we think) and due in February. We're thrilled that our family is growing and feel so very lucky and grateful!
This was right about the time we found out I was pregnant with #2 in early June!
Now, enough about us.

Can you believe that the end of summer is nearly upon us?! I believe the first day of fall this year is September 23, but already the air here in Provo (and I know even more so back home in the Northeast) is cooling down, especially at night. The smell is delicious (we leave our window open all night long) and we like having to cuddle a little more into our sheets and blankets than we did a few weeks ago. Is anyone else so ready to break out the sweaters and boots?? I love long-sleeve shirt weather (probably because I own so many!) so I am really looking forward to seeing those leaves change their hue.

Still, I love summer for the days at the beach (or at the pool here in Utah), the special foods (watermelon, shave ice, popsicles, you know;-), and the light clothing. I would add the freedom, but we just barely got out of school so this wasn't a summer with much spare time for our family! But since there are only a few weeks of summer left, I have been thinking up some ways to make the most of it. Here are those ideas:

Host an End-of-Summer or Back-to-School Barbecue! Believe it or not, this can be done without spending too much money. Choose maybe a dozen friends (six couples or so) and invite them over for a nice evening BBQ. You can have them bring the sides and desserts, while you provide the main dish, or you can do it all with a smaller group. Buy the steaks or hamburger meat and some hotdogs (don't forget the buns!), make a salad (fruit or veggie), slice up a watermelon, and/or make a dessert. Have someone bring soda, or, if you want to be fancy, buy and mix up some frozen pink lemonade and put lemon slices with it in a punch bowl. It's a small touch but it shows you made an effort. Other ideas for sides you can encourage your friends to bring (or if you're ambitious...): potato salad, baked beans, corn on the cob, or salsa and chips.

Check Out the Local Farmer's Market. These are not just for fall! They generally start in August and there is just nothing like farm fresh produce in my opinion. Our local farmer's market offers veggies of every kind, boxes of peaches, homemade salsa, pastries, fresh berries, flowers, warm kettle corn, and several crafts made by local businesses. It is a fun place to walk around, try samples, and get some fresh produce for your home. These are fun to go to with friends, but even more so with family. Plus, they are guaranteed to get you ready for fall.

Plan Family Pictures. Fall is a great time to take family photos with the changing leaves, cute clothes (sweaters!), and dimmer lighting. Talk to your family (or if you're single, your roommates--at BYU-Idaho the six of us took roommate pictures together for fun!) and pick a time, a cool location, and a photographer. Going professional can be expensive but they do all the editing for you and they always turn out so much better (for me anyway) than when I do them myself. If you want to keep things low-cost, find a friend or extended family member with a few photography skills and ask them to take them for you.
Eat Some Seafood. Seafood is definitely at its best and cheapest in the summer. If you don't live near the ocean, (like us in Utah), look up some good seafood restaurants (Red Lobster maybe) or opt for sushi. If you don't like seafood, try it again, or something new. Lobster is my favorite food of all time, closely followed by steamers. Living in the west like we are now though, I usually order snow crab legs instead of lobster because it tastes very similar (with butter you can't tell at all), is cheaper, and I think it tastes better than the lobster does out here.
Have a Game Night. These are probably the easiest kind of nights to host. If you don't have a lot of games, borrow some, or have your friends bring their favorites. If you want to have snacks, go with chips and salsa, veggies with dip, or some home-baked cookies. You can keep it simple. Chances are, you probably won't end up playing more than three games so don't stress too much--just make sure you have games planned that the whole group can play together. Charade games are always fun. Look up Reverse Charades or Extreme Charades for two different versions that will have everyone in tears from laughing.

Be a Tourist. Take a trip to a nearby city. Find a museum in your town or one nearby. Look up attractions in your area. If you are somewhere for school or in a new place (or even if you aren't!) you may find a new place that will become one of your favorites.

Donate School Supplies. A lot of kids will be starting school in the next few weeks! Donating to an elementary school means lots of crayons, markers, and notebooks which can be very cheap. If you have kids, make school supply kits for a class and donate them! You might even ask a teacher or the school in advance what is most needed. Teachers always love extra support!

Read a Book. If you have some free time (especially if you are going to school in the fall), read two or three books you've been wanting to read while you still have the chance. If you need inspiration, ask your friends or read an old favorite. I never get tired of reading Harry Potter when September starts ;-). I just pretend I'm heading off to Hogwarts with everyone else.

Serve Someone. Make a nice dinner or surprise someone with dessert. Mow a lawn, or pull weeds. Sweep a porch, or wash windows. There are so many little things you can do (alone or as a family) that take less than an hour and will make someone grateful to you forever. It isn't hard to be nice! If you are a little more on the shy side, do an anonymous act of service for someone. Send a card or a gift basket. You will guaranteed make someone's day (maybe even their month) by helping another out.

Plan a Halloween Party. Okay, this may seem a little early, but my in-laws host an awesome Halloween party every year and they let their guests know far in advance which weekend it will be on and what the theme will be (they always have a costume contest). Plus it's good to find out who is available when during October so you can make sure the most people possible can attend. If you aren't one for hosting, you can always attend one!

I had a lot of fun coming up with this list and I'm sure I'll think of more things to add as soon as I finish. Thank you, Julie, for having me on your blog, and please comment or share ideas of your own so I can add them to my personal list!


Thursday, August 28

Update on My Kids (Wait, I Have Two Kids! What?!)

I'm starting to wonder if there could be twins in this belly of mine. Not too seriously, but I do wonder. We definitely should have seen them on the ultrasound if that were the case, but I hear of many, many stories where doctors miss a second one until much later in the pregnancy. The two main reasons why this thought has occurred to me (besides that we have fraternal twins in my family) is because of how big I am already even though I know you tend to grow a little faster with succeeding children (like, just wait until you see me in my maternity swimsuit--my mom has pics--the suit isn't actually maternity but pregnancy is the only time it will fit), but also because when I feel the little guy kick me, I'll pause and touch my belly with my hand to enjoy those little taps and a few minutes later he'll suddenly be on the opposite side of my belly doing the same thing! Tenley never did that. She favored a side and pretty much stayed there. This baby seems to be all over. Or there are two. But I'm not truly believing that even though my body seems to hint otherwise :-)

There are some things about Tenley that are very funny. She is just a great girl (and super smart, but I could be prejudiced a teeny tiny bit ;-). I'm realizing that she has a very distinct personality. She's already stubborn and a little bit naughty. She does what she wants because she can, and even when I tell her no, she looks right at me and does it anyway, sometimes with a little smile. It is probably my fault that she is a little stinker sometimes because I have a hard time not laughing at her when she does things she knows she shouldn't be doing, but it's hard because babies are smart and hilarious! She recently got in the habit of smacking her head or face with her hand to get attention which definitely worked--especially at first (she does it less now that we just ignore her) because we kind of laughed at the little smile she gave us while she did it, thinking she was being funny. Now if we have to laugh, we turn our head so she can't see us react. It's kind of hilarious when we're in the car and we hear a little smack! smack! coming from next to us and we are determined to not look at her. Then when we turn back to her, she gives us this funny little look and a smile that says, I know you guys still think it's funny.

Tenley is also walking like a pro now. She started walking on her own the day after her first birthday, and now she walks more steadily than she falls. She has had practice on a lot of surfaces...wood floors (both even and not), grass, dirt, sand at the beach, carpets of all kinds, stairs, cement, pavement. This trip has given her plenty of opportunities for practice anyway!

I've also realized that besides one obvious fear, Tenley is very brave. Her one known fear is and always has been being thrown in the air. Even the motion of being thrown in the air freaks her out--her arms go out and she has a little moment of panic. Apparently (I have not had the opportunity to try this with her) she also does not like the swing. That feeling of falling/insecurity really gets to her.

But funnily enough, she is big into climbing. She climbs things with no fear of falling much to my dismay when I find her in a precarious situation. She loves climbing things and even though she can get down (like stairs and couches for instance), she has not yet perfected her balance which makes me very nervous.

Another thing about Tenley, she has a pretty high (and seemingly random) pain tolerance. She hits her head a lot on tables, floors, walls, etc. and rarely cries or if she does, she is usually instantly better once I pick her up. For example, at the ocean yesterday, she climbed the giant rocks, stepping on barnacles and small rocks without even flinching. When I changed her diaper later, I noticed a nice scrape on her elbow but she never reacted to it so I didn't know when it happened. She seems, if anything, to react more from my reaction half the time than anything because I always feel so bad for her when she hits her head. She also does not bruise easily (thank goodness, because with the amount of times she hits her head on edges I thought someone might call child services on me if they saw all the marks she should have as a result) and as far as I remember has only gotten one actual fingerprint-sized bruise on her forehead and I do not remember what it was from.

Tenley also does not fear the water (there is one exception to this: she does not like being placed in the bathroom bathtub which has no grip or anything on the bottom so her bum slips right out from under her and she gets that panicked feeling that she's going to slip backwards). This is impressive but also a little frightening. I would like if she had a healthy fear of water, but she has always loved taking showers with me (I'm too big belly-wise and my arms too weak now to hold her for so long though) and she loves her own little bathtub to splash around and play in, and in the last few months we've discovered she also is not afraid of the pool or ocean at all. We brought her to a kiddie pool beach area where Dalin and I sat on the edge where the water started, thinking Tenley would need some coaxing, but she came flying right between us on all fours and crawled right up to her face in the water! We were surprised and impressed but she loved the water. We thought maybe it was because the water was warm and there were other kids around playing in the water, but on our trip to the ocean she did the same thing! And let me tell you, the water was not as warm as a pool and we were the only ones there swimming. The few other beach goers that day were all on the sand sitting in the sun. Dalin and I had walked Ten across the sand over to the water's edge and she pulled her hands out of our grip and crawled in the ocean right up to her face again! She only stopped because she tasted the yucky salt water and made a face. It was again really impressive, especially since Dalin and I had been hesitant to put our feet in at first because it was cold. It does make me realize that, maybe even more than other children, Tenley has to be watched constantly because she has no fear of water. I feel like that is so odd because both of my young cousins as babies were afraid of going in the water for a couple of years and they grew up by the ocean! I am not sure where Tenley got her unique bravery. Certainly not from me.
This girl is usually a great sleeper. This trip has screwed her up a little bit but she still has been mostly good. She rotates around the bed the entire night and sleeps on her belly most of the time. She is definitely a "sprawler." And wiggly. But oh so cute! ;-)
So those are my babies. I love them both. It is so strange being on your second pregnancy because all I know is being pregnant with Tenley girl. I can't picture this baby boy of mine looking like anything but Tenley but siblings look different all the time. Either way, our kids all have a very high probability of getting the blue-eyed genes (everyone in my immediate family has blue eyes and half of Dalin's do--the other half has green!). Dalin and I were both pretty much towheads as babies, but obviously our hair has darkened up as we've grown up. I would be happy if a few of our babies stayed blond or got some strawberry-blond in there though ;-) I hope the red in Tenley's hair doesn't go away at least. On this trip, more people than ever before have commented on the reddish tinge her blond hair has in the sunlight and when it's wet. I took some photos but I haven't looked at them yet so I don't know if you can even tell from those alone.

Well, one baby is in the kitchen with Nana Searle saying "mama" and the other baby--and consequently me--is starving for breakfast (and maybe just got over his first (noticeable) case of the hiccups? Let's hope!) so I'm going to go take care of business and hopefully eat some bacon and scrambled eggs. I missed my mom's breakfasts.
You've probably already seen this 16.5 week photo on Facebook, but I'm hungry and lazy:P
Anyway, I hope you are enjoying your last moments of summer! I am so happy for fall that any cooler weather (this morning, for instance) is being happily embraced. I just wish Dalin could see New Hampshire here in the's my favorite! Eek, oh well, some day for sure. :-)

Have a autumny-summer day!

Monday, August 25

Heritage Farm for Breakfast

I decided to try something new with this post. I've had the Blogger app on my phone for a while now, but I've hardly ever used it because it's so inconvenient to download pictures and to type up an entire post on my little iPhone five. So what I'm doing right now is actually dictating using the microphone (which is pretty much the only way I text now because I hate typing on my phone especially because AutoCorrect is so annoying to me and because Siri is the worst at understanding what I say) and "I have to say it's going immensely" (quote from Erin off The Office--maybe her only funny line).

Anyway the day has been busy but we started off our last week with a bang. I woke up at like six with Tenley (her schedule is a little messed up here) which was definitely not ideal but I did capture an adorable picture of her napping by Grandpa Searle so that made it worth it;-) 
When the boys got up at ten (they've stayed up past midnight playing poker every night--much to my dismay since I'm way too exhausted to stay up with them and they're too exhausted to get an early start as a result), we drove to Heritage Farm in Sanbornton for breakfast at the Pancake House (it's owned by a member of my ward at church). If you have not been there it is well worth the trip. No question. They serve their food family style meaning all on large platters and there is always plenty to go around. A $12 adult meal consists of two pancakes, two eggs, bacon or sausage (or both if you're me and that's your favorite part;-), homestyle fries, and a drink. They have a huge selection of pancakes and drinks and they'll cook your bacon nice and crispy (or "dead" which means super hard--I love that:P). Plus their fries and sausage are delicious too. Basically you get a ton of food (if you order for a child for $6 you get one of everything instead of two) and it's all amazing. If you have leftovers--between the five of us and Tenley we had one pancake--you can feed them to the animals outside. We split our pancake between the pigs, goats, and geese. Pretty much all the animals wanted some. 
Anyway the food is so good. It's been hours and I'm still thinking about it! After, we stopped by the Nike outlet because Dalin's fairly new slides had a rip already and the manager was cool and let us exchange them for a new pair. So then we stopped by Market Basket (my favorite grocery store in NH when it was managed by ATD;-) so the guys could check out how empty it was with everyone boycotting it because of the change of management. There were only two cars there besides us (and besides the workers' cars on the side who had nothing to do in the store because of everyone boycotting) and the place looked ransacked. Someone should film a zombie apocalypse movie there. There were signs everywhere outside reading "We want ATD back!" & "ATD will return!" & "Boycott Market Basket." Dalin took pics inside. It was crazy. There was almost no food anywhere. 
Anyhow, after that detour, we headed home to rest for a bit. It's been so nice to be able to have other people to play with Tenley for me while I catch up with naps. I'm not much of a napper because I usually have too many things to do but here in NH I've taken one or two every other day which has been great. I think the extra sleep and second trimester hormones are helping give me that pregnancy glow that I did not really get with Tenley. Well, those things and the humidity, which really helps my skin a lot. I'm very pleased about it anyway ;-). 

After some down time, Dalin, Tenley & I took a walk around the neighborhood  block and visited with my former first grade teacher who is also a neighbor. Tenley fell asleep in the middle of our brief conversation with my teacher and her husband and was dying to get to bed even after I woke her up to feed her dinner when we got home. She missed her own naps today :-P We had steak, corn on the cob, and vegetables for dinner and it was delicious! 

Speaking of corn on the cob, on Facebook, I asked friends to tell me how they eat their corn and was relieved to find I wasn't as weird as my whole family and Dalin's seem to think I am for eating my corn around the cob (opposed to across like a typewriter). I am never self conscious about it until someone points out that it's weird and they always do! But evidently I'm not alone so I feel much better about it now :-)

Well, I'm tired (clearly from that last paragraph) and want to do some reading, plus I can feel baby boy Gunnell kicking his little feet against me and I want to savor the sensation so I will leave you for now. 

Wishing you a cozy Monday night! Since I'm typing this on my phone I may have to add pictures later! 

Let me know how you eat your corn and if you have any suggestions for things to enjoy this last week in New Hampshire! ;-)

Tuesday, August 19

3 Years of Forever

Four years ago, even three and a half--I had no idea that I was months away from getting married. I had never met or (seriously) dated anyone who I felt I would have possibly consider marrying. When Dalin and I were set up through our mutual friend, I had no expectations. I was excited about the prospect of meeting this guy and attracted to Dalin from the pictures I'd seen of him (we first chatted through Facebook at the suggestion of our friend for those who don't know) but that first week was so funny. I thought at first that he was a little bit cocky because he seemed so confident. But he was also funny and sweet, and I didn't want to stop talking to him. So we didn't. And we haven't since.

Two weeks later, we had met, I'd spent a week with his family, we had officially begun dating (he was the first guy who asked me out that I had said yes to and that was after a long, quiet drive home--I still feel bad that I made him wait for an answer as I thought about it on our drive home. I felt like I had hurt his feelings when I didn't answer right away and after I said yes, I had no idea why I'd waited at all), and I felt really, really good about it. In fact, I had no bad feelings. 

I remember my only worry was about what other people would think. The timing was so quick. But I knew in my heart that it was right. And despite my previous desires to date the guy I'd marry for a year, be at least 22, (among others), I learned that when you know, you just know. I prayed about marrying him and always felt so positive about everything whereas with past guys I'd dated I had had concerns or regrets. I had felt like none of them were right for me to pursue to marriage. But with Dalin, I couldn't think of anything that made me worry. And the fact that my parents supported me and trusted me with so little discussion or persuasion (especially considering how unsupportive they were of me dating in the past) convinced me that they also felt good about it. They told me they liked what they had heard and seen of Dalin and felt positive about the choice. That sealed the deal for me.

In mid-May, just two months after we met, Dalin called my dad and asked for his permission and blessing to marry me (which he got after an eleven-minute conversation that I was dying to hear about, but nobody gave me good details). Then, a week or so later, on May 28th, in Provo Canyon, Dalin asked me to marry him for eternity in the temple. At this point, I had already known I would be marrying him and said yes without hesitation. Being engaged was one of the most fun and exciting parts of my life. We had such a great time together and I knew that marrying Dalin would be a joy. Now, three years later, I see just how much my perception of joy has changed. I love Dalin more than I thought a person could love someone.

And yet, in spite of all this, I want to remind you that our marriage is not perfect. We fight and argue pretty often (though almost always about stupid things like changing Tenley's diaper or doing a chore we both hate). We get angry and frustrated with each other. We say things we want to take back (this is mostly me). But our marriage is amazing. And how? Because we are quick to apologize and forgive one another. Because we do things for the other person that they hate to do themselves (and that we probably hate, too). Because Dalin never yells (I've been working on that for a long time...). Because we still surprise each other. Because we sacrifice for each other. Because that's what you do if you want your marriage to last forever. You forget your pride, you forget who was right, and you apologize and forgive because anything less is not an option. It's not easy. It's actually pretty hard. But I have never regretted a time I've sucked up my pride and apologized.

So that's what we've been doing for three years. Forgiving, forgetting, and growing that joy that started when we first knew we loved each other. I am so thankful for Dalin and the person that he was as a boy and young man, the man and father that he is now, and the wonderful man he's becoming. I love every part of him. And I plan on doing so for eternity.

Now, for some less mushy stuff, here are some old photos from my bridal shower and our wedding day taken by my uncle, Robert Peek. He is an amazing photographer, and some of these were "long lost" so I decided to share them now. Enjoy ;-)

A photo with my aunts, Nana, and mom, all who did SO much for me on our wedding day!
Aunts Carolyn, Pam, & Molly, (me), Nana French, Aunt Dianne, my mom Linda :-)
Good picture of my mom!
Getting our marriage license in Belmont, Mass.! (where the Boston temple is actually located) Dalin looks so young!
I love this photo outside the Belmont town hall. Not long before we got married!
And our first time outside as husband and wife!
I was a tad excited ;-) Mostly I was probably just trying to be funny :-P
I love this of us just talking outside the temple while our sister, Jensen, holds my train
best friends. forever (for real now)
My family. I love how my parents and Dalin and I look in this one! My brothers though...come on... :-P
At the family luncheon listening to toasts from family members. We were inseparable :-) 
Leaving the Common Man hand in hand
Love these pics!
Outside our reception center on Lake Opechee in Laconia (after I had my hair styled clearly)
Preparing for our first dance together
Dancing with my dad. He's so funny
This one makes me face haha
Such a great photo of my dad!
With my favorite maternal grandparents ;-) Grandpa and Nana French, and Great Nana Kane!
Cute picture of Dalin and his dad. Both handsome in their suits. Love them!
I hope you enjoyed those "old" pictures as much as I did. They're so clear and makes me wish I actually tried to take decent photos a little bit ;-)

If you have any fun (or serious) marriage advice to share, I would love it! We have an eternity of time left to use it! 

And happy anniversary to my darling husband! As you know, I love you like mad.

Monday, August 18

Details of Our Wedding

Hey people! I recently went through the albums put together by my photographer uncle Robert Peek from our wedding day three years ago (tomorrow) and I noticed that there are a lot of great photos of our venue from that day and I don't think I shared them!

So today is a little bit of a picture overload, but it's been so fun for me to reminisce about my wedding day which was seriously the best day of my life, followed closely by the birth of our daughter. While I can say with certainty that our marriage and especially our love and affection for one another has grown sweeter since that day three years ago, I honestly feel that those short moments in a temple of God, where Dalin and I knelt across from one another and were sealed to each other (and our future children) for time and all eternity, was so amazing that I can't possibly think of a moment that compares. I have never felt so much peace and joy in my life at knowing that we had made it possible for our family to live together forever. We're so blessed!

The reception was ocean-themed, but subtle--like East coast beach. We mostly had a lot of pretty and colorful wildflowers (with plenty of yellow roses, which are my favorite), smooth ocean rocks, soft gray Atlantic sand, and a colorful assortment of antique glass jars and bottles. It was perfect and so exactly illustrated me. I don't think Dalin or I really cared much about the details at the time though. Regardless, I was really happy with how it turned out, almost entirely by the efforts of my mother. She is amazing at pulling these things together--especially on a budget. It probably helped that I cared so little for how the day looked at the time, I just wanted to be married! ;-) I remember going flower shopping with my mother and aunt and being completely unhelpful because in spite of them wanting my opinion, all I specifically requested were yellow roses and a variety of other flowers. Unluckily for me, the flower people wanted to know the exact flowers I wanted but I remember just wanting my mom and her sister to choose for me! I guess my heart was in the right place, though I'm sure I was a difficult bride-to-be up in those moments. ;-)

Anyway, here are some photos of the various settings we were in on that wonderful day:
The Boston LDS temple where we were married for time and eternity
Dalin is six foot and I am five foot (with heels here). Our colors were blue and yellow because we both love blue (we wanted something we both liked) and we chose yellow as a complement because it's happy and goes well with blue ;-)
My dress--an A-line full-length (I swore I was going with a tea length dress but there were so few tea length dresses available to choose from!) with lace trim at the bottom, beaded decals, and cap sleeves. The dress--originally $700--was talked down to about $300 by my mom. Over the phone. After I failed to get it cheaper in person. It was pretty sweet and I guess I'm a pushover. But anyway, my favorite part is my veil! It has this pretty beading around the edge and I probably care more about my veil than I do my dress. My bouquet, put together by my Aunt Carolyn, includes three yellow roses (my favorite flower) and I think white carnations and green hydrangeas. I'm probably forgetting some.
My shoes for most of the day were these cute sparkly gold flats with ivory lace socks (other than pictures in which I wore heels to make me look taller and so my dress wouldn't drag in the dirt). 
The Common Man--a very sophisticated inn and restaurant where we held a family luncheon after our sealing in the Boston temple!
Love the old-timey, vintage look to everything. We had a large room to ourselves. 
Outside our luncheon room, taking a few couple photos (it felt so strange being newlyweds!)
Our handmade boutonnieres, made by my talented Aunt Carolyn. The aqua napkins from the reception center were really the blue we had in mind in our color scheming.
My Aunt Dianne, the baker and decorator of our wedding cake! Doing some last minute touch-ups.
The finished product with three yellow roses and surrounded by heart rocks my family has collected over the years. 
Our awesome aqua blue, confetti, and yellow inner cake! Aunt Dianne did an amazing job making it look perfect (and it tasted incredible).
We kept the food simple and made it clear we weren't serving dinner, just appetizers and treats but we received so many compliments on the food! My mom put this all together by herself. 
Fancy cheeses, crackers and grapes (huge summer staple in the Searle family, especially on trips to the ocean)
Outside our reception center on Lake Winnipesaukee. I curled my hair myself for the temple in the morning then had my hair styled in the hours before the reception by Barbara Gumbs from my LDS ward
I love this photo of Dalin :-). Plus I guess you get a cool side view of my reception hair.
I just love Lake Winnipesaukee and New Hampshire. Such a beautiful place. I loved our venue for the reception.
Our guest book and wedding favors (my mom and I filled all of these ourselves;-). It was fun. 
We had pineapple jellybeans, blue rock candy, and blue and teal shades of M&Ms
Our tables. We were going for an East Coast/Atlantic ocean theme so we have gray sand (that we collected from our favorite beach in Maine) in Mason jars with a candle, smooth ocean rocks (that we also collected), three yellow roses, and an assortment of wildflowers (like what you would find at the ocean around here). We used an assortment of different sized colored bottles that we collected at garage sales and used some that we have had for years.
The dance floor. You can see the head table with the parents and my maid of honor on the right. I loved the dim lighting. It was perfect for dancing:-)
And then, after introductions, greetings, cake-eating, dancing, and pictures--us getting sent off to our bed and breakfast suite with sparklers from all the guests.
It made for some pretty pictures :-)
All of the flowers and ocean sand jars collected from the tables. We had such a beautiful variety (again all arranged by my Aunt Carolyn!)
In case you were wondering where we stayed for the first night of our honeymoon (we went all over from Maine to Portsmouth, NH to Boston for the week that it lasted), it was a lovely place in Dover, NH called the Silver Fountain Inn. It has several Victorian-style rooms and a tea parlor for breakfast! Anyway, it was a lovely place. Even though we did miss breakfast so we'll never know how that was ;-)
I hope you enjoyed reading about our favorite day, three years ago on August 19th, 2011, and if you are planning your own wedding I hope that we provided you with a little inspiration of your own! For the guests, it's all in the details ;-) Even so, it is so fun to look back and be able to admire those details and the hard work that my family members put in to contribute to that day. It makes me feel so loved when I think of all the time sacrificed to make our day incredible.

As for Dalin and myself, we are so blessed and grateful for these last three years we have had together. I know I would not change a single thing about my decision to be sealed to Dalin Gunnell forever. He is my best friend, my provider, my protector, the father of our two babies, my loving husband, and most of all my eternal companion. I am forever grateful that we chose each other.