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reception: The Old Lantern Inn and Barn, Charlotte, Vermont – Lisa, proprietor

ceremony: Saint Frances Xavier, winooski, vermont

hair and makeup: Kerry Armstrong, Formal Hair Design and Jamie Dragon, Lush Salon

cake: judy laberge

gown: Fiori by Casablanca

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I don’t think I can say enough about how much fun and just how…plain…wonderful…Kristina and Shane’s wedding day was. We arrived, the night before, at the Old Lantern Inn and Lisa, the owner, was AMAZING! She made us feel right at home, stayed and chatted with us for some time and invited us down to the Barn to see the band playing. Within the first 15 minutes, we were so comfortable and felt like we had known her for years. That feeling carried through the rest of the weekend as everyone, simply everyone, felt like old friends and family to us. From Kristina’s warm welcome and hugs when we arrived that morning to the last farewells at the end of the wedding night. Everything was pure magic!

But pure magic in January does come with a tiny bit of a price…bitter cold! To say I was in awe of how well Kristina, Shane, the bridesmaids and groomsmen all handled the 9 degrees with -11 wind chill in their wedding clothing and managed to look gorgeous, poised and WARM…well, awe would be an understatement. There was not a red nose to be found. πŸ™‚ I just loved everyone’s relaxed, go with the flow attitude that just made the day so enjoyable.

Kristina and Shane…you both are so much a part of each other and your love is pure and true…and beautiful. Thank you for letting us be a part of your special day! I wish you all the happiness and fun adventures life will bring you as you make old bones together.

{love doesn’t make the world go round…love is what makes it worth the ride}

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For many people, New Year’s Eve is celebrated in style…fancy parties, gatherings, fireworks, with a billion other festive people in Times Square while the ball of 2,688 Waterford Crystal triangles drops to the wild countdown. It is punctuated with resolutions and promises and the hope of big, big changes in the coming year. Couples get engaged; babies are born; drama and excitement and cheers are everywhere. As a New Jersey native, living 10 minutes outside New York City…I thought there was no other way to “do” New Years Eve.

But this year…as New Years Eve came in on a whisper…everything changed.

The first moments of this new year was spent curled up with my three children. Arms and feet all entangled and wrapped up in a warm blanket we call “the bear” we snuggled and giggled and wished each other a happy new year. Then, my son just whispered “I love you” and gave me a gentle kiss on my cheek. Quiet-like…and it was as if a magical moment was suspended, right there. And I thought…THIS…this is what it’s all about. This moment, this feeling.

Pure. Real. Love.

It’s not about all our resolutions and goals. It’s not about what we are going to DO…it’s about how we are going to BE. It doesn’t come to us in a loud crowd, in daily distractions, in large bangs of epiphanies.

It comes in a whisper.

I have no resolutions this year. I wore pajamas on new years eve and ate cheesy puffs and mini ice cream sandwiches with my children. We snuggled. We played Mastermind andΒ  “Mommy Monster” and hide and seek. We heard fireworks outside our house and ooooh’d and ahhhh’d but did not rush out to see them. We were happy right where we were.

This year I learned that life is not about how BIG we can make it and how much we can do with ourselves, our goals..even our dreams. I learned that it is about listening to the quiet and the whispers we so often miss as we rush through our daily lives. I learned that there will be some days where the biggest accomplishment was that we were just able to breathe through it…and that’s okay. Other days will be filled with some serious Wonder Woman ass-kicking accomplishments…and that’s okay also. Every day is an adventure…small or large.

But what matters most is not what has happened before, because nothing about the past can be changed, nor does the future matter because we have absolutely no idea how that is going to turn out, despite our best laid plans. All that matters is this moment…this feety pajama, ice cream coated, bear blanket, cuddled moment…with a whisper of “I love you” and a gentle kiss. What matters is what kind of person we are going to choose to be. How gently we are going to choose to live our lives; how kindly we are going to choose to treat others; how we accept change with grace; how we make up for our mistakes; how we sit with silence; how we love with all our hearts.

Wishing you all peace and happiness…and love. From our home to yours!

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  • Michelle LaBonte

    This made me smile big!! Thanks for sharing Rachel! Happy New Year to you and those gorgeous kids of yours! Xo

  • Aunt Edna & Uncle Bob

    So eloquently written as usual Rachel and so very true. We were snuggled up on the couch with our dog and it felt wonderful. Happy New Year to you and your beautiful children. May it be filled with peace, good health, and happiness! Love to you all.

  • Vanessa

    Rachel, thank you for sharing this. This post is so beautiful and made me smile so big. Happy New Year … here’s to 2015!

  • Louise

    Rachel:
    You are so very right about what is truly important in our lives.
    It is to be with those we love the most. The kids won’t remember when they got that bike, or this game, but they will remember all their lives the warm feeling of total love and acceptance that only a wonderful mother can give. All blessings in the New Year to you and your wonderful crew !
    Much love….

  • rachel

    Happy New Year to you all as well! So glad this gave you a smile and I wish you all loads of love and happiness as we move into a brand new year of adventures! πŸ™‚

{true love is not someone completing a missing half of yourself…but, rather, it is two whole people, full of gifts and wonder and goodness, side by side, walking through the adventures of life…together}

People come and go from our lives…sometimes in a few moments; sometimes after years. Then there are the precious, truly special people who enter our lives, by chance, stay for good…and it changes us. I remember the day Megan walked into our home, a slightly nervous (yes, I remember your hands shaking a bit! πŸ™‚ ) 20 year old college student looking for a nanny position. She met our children and, within a few moments, that was that…instantaneous love! Megan became part of our home and daily lives…but so much more than that…she became part of our family. To my baby girl…Megan is the big sister she always wanted. Now, five years later, each time Megan comes back from graduate school, my daughter jumps up and down and dances because, as she says, “my big sister is home from school!!”. I will admit, I jump up and down and dance right besides her!!

My children are the most precious gift to me and to know that they are safe and happy, comforted and cared for…in those moments when I can’t be here…well, there are truly no words that can even touch my gratitude, my relief, my joy. Megan, you are a second daughter to me and I have watched you grow into this confident, amazing, truly beautiful person…inside and out. What would our lives be without you in it. You are irreplaceable…and not just because of all you do for us (even as the “dish fairy”!) but because of WHO you are. Your light, your joy, your aliveness and your gentle, giving nature. Such wonderful gifts!

Craig, my children still can’t believe that after 5 years, I met you last night for the first time…but I must say, it only took a few moments to see that you, as well, are a kind and good soul. I can’t tell you how much I am looking forward to getting to know you better and to watch you both grow in love as you build your lives together.

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  • Judy Cutter,

    Rachel, you’re comments first about Megan brought tears to my eyes. She is so special to her father and me and I know she feels the same about your beautiful children. And Craig is the best thing that has happened to her and together they have found their soul mates in each other. Thank you for these precious
    and beautiful pictures of their love for each other.

location: home

hair and makeup: Xana-do Salon and Spa

flowers and cake: The Bankery and Skowhegan Fleuriste

catering: heritage House

music: DJ Boz

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Janet and Jake’s wedding day was one of those moments where you realize that time really does fly by…whether you want it to or not…it just keeps truckin’. I first met Janet when she was in high school for her senior photographs. I remember, very clearly, her telling me that she hated having her picture taken, looked terrible in every shot there was, didn’t know how to smile or pose or anything…riiiigghtttt! Well, that got shot down immediately when she plopped on the cowboy hat and boots…and there was no stopping her. Each image was more gorgeous than the last. What an amazing time we had!

Fast forward to wedding time. Janet reminded me that she takes awful photographs and feel awkward…yadda, yadda…and no one there believed her because, well, we have evidence to the contrary. πŸ˜‰ But none of that mattered because when Jake looked at Janet and Janet looked at Jake…no one else existed. Cameras? What cameras? People? What people? The love between them was tangible and real…and beautiful.

It was evident in the marriage arbor Jake built and the entrance doors in the field he built as well. It was evident in how he made sure we tended to whatever Janet needed because “she is the most important person today”. It was brought to life in the way they always found a way to gently touch or glance at each other whenever they could. It was quietly spoken of when Janet talked about how their history. It was celebrated by all the family and friends that came to share in the day.

It was supposed to rain…downpour in fact…the whole day. Even Mother Nature decided to place a blessing on their love and not only held off the rain…but gave them sun and heat and just a gorgeous day. They even had a little rain luck when the sky opened up…when everyone was safely in the tent dancing away.

Janet and Jake…I wish you both all the happiness and love a life well-lived, together, will bring you both!

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  • Michelle

    What a beautiful wedding. .. very happy for you
    The pictures were gorgeous

  • claraburrill@gmail.com

    These are beautiful! I can’t wait to see the rest of the photos. I knew from the moment of our meeting they were going to be for your attention to all the little details was very obvious – which makes for all the beautiful photos we have seen and will see! It was a pleasure meeting you both and having you at my home. Thank you so much for the wonderful job you have done for my Son and Daughter-in Law, Jake and Janet Burrill.

    Clara Burrill

location: Inn on Peaks with Jayson Mathieu

floral design and decorations: Laurie Andrews Design

Hair and Make-Up: Jill and Brooke of J Kelley Salon

DJ: Kevin of Double Platinum

Pies and baked goodies: Two Fat Cakes Bakery

Dress: Leann Belter from Spoil Me

Everything about Ashley and Jon’s wedding day could not be (dare I say it?) more perfect! Gorgeous; sunny…not too hot, not too chilly; low tide so we could play around at the beach…and OH that sunset! Epic sky made for the storybooks. There is something magical about getting married on an island. In particular, getting married on Peaks Island. The moment you get on the ferry and watch the mainland shrinks away, so does your stress and worries. You are on island time now and with that comes smiles that come easier, laughs that are more abundant, shoulders no longer hunched with stress, minds that get uncluttered and bodies that are truly able to relax. How amazing is that?

Speaking of amazing…have I mentioned the sunset??

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Β John and Ashley, thank you for letting us be a part of your wedding day. It really was magical from the first step onto the ferry all the way to the fireworks display going on across the water in Portland. But what made it special was the two of you. From the moment I first met you both and heard your fun proposal story ( πŸ™‚ ) I knew you both were something special. It is so easy to talk and just be around you both. Your awesome personalities just bubble over and your love is so tangible and real. I hope your wedding day was everything you imagined and that you found yourselves laughing easier, smiling more, relaxing much and enjoying all that island time. I wish all the happiness and fun in the years to follow!!