Monday, October 8, 2012

A September Wedding

Once upon a time, in a far away place...I met little Mae-Lee. We were just itty bitty things, when were first became friends in pre-school at Creative Montessori School. She was spunky, athletic, humorous, smart, pretty, had an infectious laugh, a no dilly-dally type of girl. I'm just kidding. I don't remember what Mae-Lee was like at age 4. But---I do remember (only through pictures - we all know my memory isn't what it once was) that I invited her to my 5th and 6th birthday parties. AND she actually came, without much convincing. Although the pictures might show otherwise...she looks a tad on the shy side and I am going to say with confidence that Yu-Ping dragged her to my princess party.

Drum roll please........

If you read the speech below (at the very bottom), you'll get a few more details about our friendship history, so I don't want to bore you too much now. Here is the short of it: we were friends, we weren't friends, we were friends, and then she asked me to be her maid of honor. Bing, bang, boom. Sorry boys--she is officially off the market. Mae-Lee married a stud-of-a-man. A transplant from Montana. Jared, more formally known as Jerry, won us over wholeheartedly. He is also spunky, athletic, humorous, smart, pretty, has an infecious laugh, etc.... kidding, kidding. Jerry really is awesomely talented and hilarious and huggable, and they are simply two peas in a pod. I know it's cliche, but seriously--look at them golf pros. We are a lucky to have these two in our group of friends. 

Rather than draft a long written synopsis about the events surrounding their nuptials (which is painstaking hard for me NOT to do), I'll just post pictures, with a few short descriptions. My definition of short might be different than yours. This is what I promised Jerry--when I told him the next blog post would be about celebrating the Pang-Atkin's marriage. One minor disclaimer....after looking through the pictures--one thing is for sure, we like to party, we like to drink, we like to have fun.

First, we start with their engagement. And it ain't official, until it's on Facebook. I mean, right?! Jared popped the question while on the course. Mae, as a teaser to the FB world changed her status to, I didn't get a hole in one [insert picture of beautiful/big ring] ---- but dang, Mae-Lee got something brighter and more sparkier (sp?), than any hole-in-one I've seen. Well played Jerry, well played. Oh and I did I mention he proposed on her birthday. You win, all the single men better step up their game. Ahem. Ahem.

After such a wonderfully planned proposal and a few months delayed, we throw an engagement party. The event was held at the lovely Houser residence in Snohomish. Take a peek at what started as a formal affair and turned into a late-night dance party. Don't be shocked, our get-togethers almost always turn into a dance party.

Next up, was Mae-Lee's 2nd bridal shower. The first one was held in Gig Harbor at her aunt's house. Unfortunately--I didn't take any snapshots, but it was a perfect setting, surrounded by lovely people.

Her "friends" shower was held at my parent's house. I based the decorations/invitations on her color scheme for the wedding. Yellow and Grey! I ordered the invitations & return address labels from Wedding Paper Diva's. Their customer service was top-notch and they had sooo many unique designs, that it was a full-blown group effort with my co-workers trying to decide what to finally buy. I also must add that the instant messaging program used was KEY for me. I mean....if I don't have to make external calls, and the chat program happens to be available M-F, between 8-5, it's incredibly helpful :) The lanterns were purchased from Just Artifacts. I found this company through a google search. Although the website is lacking, the items were shipped within just a few days. I was really pleased with these products. Mae even ended up using some of them for her wedding! The party favors were hurricane glasses, fill with lemon drops & lemon heads, and topped with a silver floating candle. The wreath was made with a variety of fabrics in yellow/grey/white/black patterns. It's an easy peasy task. With the leftover fabric, I made the banner. The beautiful cake design was done by my friend Jaslyn. For her other work, see the pirate party cake she made for Raleigh's 1st birthday. Seriously, if you need someone to make cupcakes, cake, anything--she's your gal. The weather turned out okay, thank goodness. The sky was a little cloudy, but we ended up being outside for most of the party. We ate a yummy spread, drank vodka lemonade's, opened presents and played a "how well do you know the bride & groom game." Thanks P. and J. Coff for letting us use your home!

This now brings us to the bachelorette PARTAY! We decided to go out of town, stay in a cabin for two nights and enjoy the eastern Washington weather. We rented a house from All Seasons Vacation Rentals. I booked almost 7 months in advance. Is that extreme? The communication was great with the owners and the house was perfect for our group (everyone had a bed). The pictures on the site make it seem more like it's in the middle of nowhere, but I should warn--it's not, it's very cul-de-sac-esque. Also, in one of my emails I mentioned that it was a bachelorette girl's weekend away. Unfortunately, this company does not rent out to bachelor/bachelorette parties. So, if that's the plan. Don't stay here. They made an exception, and just changed the damage deposit amount from $40 to $600. Rules are rules, I guess. And we got back $550 of that money, apparently, we did NOT leave the hot tub in tip-top shape. Oops! We all drove over on Friday afternoon and started off just right with drinks in hand. My new fave: vodka, Crystal Light, and some sprite. Amazing. Thanks Sandy for the idea! I did menu planning for the weekend with the help of the rest of the bm's. We had a Coffey-family-favorite pasta dish (rigatoni, prosciutto and asparagus), garlic bread, and I paired it with one of the versions of the Olive Garden Salad. Also on Friday, Brandi's bathing suit was frozen in a block of ice. I swear it wasn't my idea...but it was freaking hilarious. On Saturday, we went to Lake Cle Elum for the day. It was beautiful and sandy and the water was FREEZING. We BBQ'd hot dogs on the beach (didn't realize there was a burn ban, my bad), had pasta salad/cole slaw, chips and beer and just tanned away. For dinner that night, we had a late night Taco Bar. I had a combination of each (salad, nachos, hard taco and burrito). It all looked too good to pass up! The weekend was a blast, we watched Bridesmaids about 25 times, ate (a lot), drank (a lot), hot-tubed (a lot), and spied on people (a lot). Overall, a success. For party favors for the weekend, I bought wine glasses filled with limoncello shooters, Tylenol/Advil packets, and ring-pops. They were placed on lemon coasters I sewed using this pattern. Again, the invitations were from Wedding Paper Diva's/Tiny Prints, in the same color scheme.

Now, it's the NIGHT before the big day. The bm's and bridey drove down to Gig Harbor early on the Friday before the wedding. We had are nails done (I slipped in a tan, of course), went and grabbed snacks at QFC, stopped by her aunt's house to check out the progress of the venue, and checked into the hotel. After some freshening up, we headed to Fondi's for the rehearsal dinner at 3pm. Jared's family hosted, and it was a great time. We had really good pizza, salads, unlimited beer and THE best candy on table. No seriously, these Hersey bites were to-die-for. I think I ate a whole wine glass full of them. After dinner, we went back to Mae's aunt's house for the rehearsal. It was a beautiful night! The rehearsal turned into an after-party, which turned into late-night snacks at Taco Time, which turned into us bm's passing out by 9:30pms. Whereas, the groom and his gm's decided they had something different in mind and kept the party going until the wee hours of the morning (well at least some of the boys did!). A big thanks to Jared's family for hosting dinner and for the delicious desserts made by his mom - cookies AND rice crispy treats. Yea, I stashed a few in bag and brought them back to the hotel.

September 8th, 2012. We wake up refreshed, covered in Taco Time wrappers and ready to start the day. With this many girls, showers commenced at 7:00am. We headed to the house to continue getting ready. Her aunt Kris is awesome. No seriously, there are multiple reasons I could list, but for starters, she provided the ultimate "getting-ready room" for the bride and her bridesmaids. We show up, and she has this huge spread with drinks, water, snacks, flowers and decor all provided. It was soo cute. And did I mention her and Rick's house is stunning! We all wanted to move in. It almost looked like we did, with ALL of our stuff. The wedding went on without a hitch. Rick did a wonderful job marrying Mae-Lee & Jared. His speech was entertaining, funny and serious. They couldn't have picked a better guy to do the job. We danced as if there was no tomorrow, smoked cigars as if they were our last, drank BLL's like it was water, and held up taxi's like it was our job. We just didn't want the party to end. Typical. Their wedding was beautiful, crafty, fun, and loving. A fabulous event for everyone that attended.

Congratulations to Mrs. Mae-Lee Pang-Atkins (lovin' the hyphens) and Jared Atkins.
Best wishes to you both on this next journey!

And for those who actually want to keep reading (yikes!), I present to you my word-for-word speech I gave to the happy couple. Actually minus a paragraph. I decided to cut it out last minute to avoid booing from the crowd. My friend Kris stole my speech and posted it smack dab on Facebook. So, for those who missed that online appearance, here is round 3.

Good evening everyone and welcome to this lovely celebration honoring Mae-Lee and Jared. I want to start by thanking the bride and groom, as well as their family for allowing us to share in these special events this weekend. It truly has been a beautiful experience.
But now I want to go back in time, 23 years actually. For those who have heard my wedding speeches before, don’t let that number scare you, I will keep this as short as possible.
 At age 4, I met Mae-Lee at Creative Montessori School.  Me, with a mushroom haircut, ginormous glasses, and eye patches that depicted the days’ weather and Mae wearing black & white polka dot pants, hair pulled back in a side ponytail, and dawning a boyish Bart Simpson t-shirt. Needless to say, we became pre-school pals with a fashion sense that’d make you jealous. Mae even attended my 5th and 6th birthdays – we have amazingly awkward pictures to prove it. However, after completing kindergarten, we went our separate ways.  Our friendship went on an official hiatus until the year 2000, where we both re-met at Inglemoor High School. We did cross paths playing tennis against each other in Junior High and again at a mutual friend’s party in 9th grade---but neither of us fully recognized the fact that we had actually known each other at one time. Our friendship has literally spanned decades, and I appreciate each and every moment we’ve shared, from our travels to Mexico and Vegas, to swimming in the backyard pool, to Slurpee runs, tennis matches, high school house parties, Red Robin, teriyaki, coffee stand visits, concerts and so many more adventures that came our way. I am honored to stand by your side Mae-Lee and look forward to another 23 years of friendship!
 Now onto the reason why we are all here celebrating tonight. Most of us have watched Mae and Jared’s’ relationship grow from a simple Starbucks friendship to a “Facebook official” couple on August 15th 2007 (yes, I looked). Throughout the last five years, Mae-Lee went back to school in Vegas, they did long distance for a year and a half, Jared eventually took the plunge and followed. They lived together for 5 months in the sweltering heat and a not-so-nice apartment until they thankfully moved back to the Pacific Northwest. Now more than 5 years later and after purchasing their first home together, it’s official. Jared, you are the perfect partner for Mae-Lee. You are funny, artistic, passionate, a beer-lover, a golf enthusiast, a tad doofy, patient, loving and supportive. I’m so happy you two have found each other.
Today is a celebration of not only where they are now, and the road ahead, but the road that has brought them here. They have built a beautiful life and home together and I’m sure I can speak on behalf of all of us that we as friends and family are here to support you and watch you two continually grow as a family.
Raise your glass for a toast to Mae-Lee and Jared.
Congratulations to Mr. and Mrs. Atkins!

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Lake Chelan: A Wapato Point Adventure!

My grandpa Coffey owns a timeshare at Wapato Point and has for a few decades. I love this place. I loved it soo much that I begged and pleaded with my boss (and teared up a little) to extend my vacation there this summer. Three nights just wasn't fulfilling enough. My petition worked, but those extra days in the sun went unpaid and now I have no vacation days till January. Boooo. Don't get me wrong--it was absolutely worth it. I'm very close with my family, and once-a-week family dinners just aren't enough so this vaca was just what I needed. While skipping work, I was able to have four extra mornings with my babbling nephew, four extra delicious dinners made by my dad, and four extra days of being a beach bum (something I've excelled at) which is worth far more to me than my reception job.

Papa being silly!
We always get the condo for a week, from Friday to Friday. This year my immediate family had our week in August. We scored big time. The last time I had been back to Wapato was five years ago, August '07. I know this because Branden came on that trip with me, just 4 months after we met. The trip fell right before he had to head back to Washington State to start his junior year. I cried as I watched him drive away in his white gravely Saturn. It was a very enjoyable vacation right before our summer fling ended -  or so he thought. Our summer fling has spanned 5.5 years. Joke's on you honey.

Sunset from condo, looking toward beach.
Anyway, back to THIS year's Chelan adventure. B and I drove over on Friday morning with the intent that we'd get to the lake before check-in and make the most of our day off. We'd lay on the beach, read, relax, swim and have dinner ready for my parent's who decided to work a half day. Wellll we left at 10am, decided to hit up the North Bend Outlets and look for a baseball cap for Branden. He forgot his---and well, he just needed a hat...that sun can be brutal. Needless to say, he couldn't find a hat...but we spent an hour at the Nike Outlet looking for new running shoes for moi. Side note: This would be my 4th pair this year, not because I run too much (or at all), but because I'm a pain in the arse and am never happy with the comfort of my shoes. I did find a sparkling white pair, with a neon pink cushion. I was happy. Then even more happy when we went to McDonald's so I could get a snack wrap and a double cheese. Yea, I had both. Don't judge.

Sissy, stop taking pictures of me!
Onward we went...with plans to head over Blewitt. I like driving this way, less traffic, less windy. Done, I'm in. We got off the exit and head to Route 97 and bam TRAFFIC. We landed in a construction site. The same construction site I think was to blame for the Taylor Bridge Fires. We snuck off the main drag, drove on some back roads & finally re-grouped with Route 97. Finally, we pass the Mill Bay Casino sign and I know we are close. So much for leaving early.

Condo neighbors gave him a squirt gun...he only squirted himself.
Oh Wapato how I've missed you and your big clunky metal keys and your activity calendar for face painting and miniature golf tourneys. It's been too long. We open the doors to Nekquelekin. It smells the same and looks the same--even after 27 years of going. That's okay though. It has it's charm. We unpack (throw clothes on the floor), put on our bathing suits and hit the pool. It feels luke room, but perfect. I'm just happy, happy to be out of town, happy to be in a place I love. After an hour of people watching 3 year olds who are better swimmers than myself,  I'm dragged out of the pool by Branden and we head back to the condo to start dinner. Our nachos are famous. Trust me. We are perfectionists with them. They are layered and gooey, covered in chorizo, oozing with two types of cheeses and dipped in a selection of salsas with a side of homemade guacamole. Always home-made and chunky - just how I like it. Mmmm. I'm drooling thinking about it. We paired the nachos with some Mexican beer & limes. The whole baking sheet of nachos were devoured. Success! Like I said, our recipe should be written in the history books.

The best attempt at a family portrait.
The next few days went by in a flurry. We took morning walks out to the point, read our books, Branden studied (a lot), we went wine tasting, inner-tubing/boating with Chase & Jennica, and every night we were up by 7am and passed out by 9pm. Before I knew it, our time was up. We were leaving Monday afternoon and heading back to work. I had a pit in my stomach. My sister, Steve and Raleigh weren't coming to Wapato until after we were to leave. I didn't like that one bit (insert whiny voice), I wanted to hang out and have more family time. More importantly, I wanted to swim/play/cuddle with my nephew. I just wasn't willing to leave. I texted my boss, we had a lengthy phone conversation and with hesitation she agreed to let me stay, ONLY because there was coverage available. Life as a receptionist---wouldn't wish it upon anyone. But, I was beyond any guilty conscience I had about staying with my family soon fell by the wayside.

Wine tasting! (photo credit: j. coff)
So I stayed and Branden left. I was sad to see him go, but I knew he wouldn't be fun company at home (no offense babe). He had finals all that week and I had some bronzing to attend to. The week was perfect and the weather was delightful. I slept with Erin every night in one of the bedrooms, while Steve was on the pull-out in the living room. Apparently neither had issue with this. I was able to wake up every morning to Raleigh talking/babbling in his bed. I'd scoop him up and we'd all snuggle until finally his wet diaper forced us out of bed. It would be an all- morning affair trying to round up the troops to get down to the beach. Some mornings, I just went by myself. I mean, 11:00am! Come on people---a time's a wasting. We would pack the entire condo - tents, chairs, floaty toys, ice chests, wine bottles, beer, snacks--you name it, we had it.

The cutest little boy in the world.
On Wednesday, my dad rented a pontoon boat and Steve drove us up lake. We spent hours and hours on Lake Chelan, with lots of drinks and tuna fish sandwiches to hold us over (see previous post regarding this Coffey-family sandwich tradition). It was stunning. There is something beautiful about the eastern Washington landscape, sparse trees, dry earth, clear blue skies. Yes Branden, I know eastern WA is literally, THE best.

Boat captain & wifey.
We didn't escape the boat ride scotch free though. We received a ticket infraction for not having proper licensing on the boat (I blame the people we rented the boat from) and we were |this| close to losing a floating mattress but we managed to get it back. We also tried to go on a manhunt for a man that had disappeared a few days prior (we found a "MISSING" poster and I wanted to play detective). The story behind the poster: man had left his cabin to read a book by the water, he fell, hit his head, went unconscience and then went missing from the cabin where he had been staying. But, the park rangers ending up finding said man confused and meandering the cliffs of the lake. Ohhh and that's not all. One more little incident happened - the boat broke down. We were just about to take one last spin (closer to the town of Chelan) before the boat was due back. We made it to the end of the no-wake zone and donezo went the boat. Steve is a professional boat captain. No joke, he knows everything about boats. Wait, he knows everything about everything. So, when he couldn't figure it out--we knew we were in trouble. He called the rental company - thank goodness their phone number was written on every single life jacket on the boat. The plus side, the boat broke down about 100 yards off from where the rental company was. They zipped directly out from their dock, and towed us in using a jet-ski. Overall, it was a mostly a successful day. Just kidding, it was absolutely perfect.

Our boat journey photo montage:

Look north; on Lake Chelan
We interrupted a couple having lunch here. Oops! But the views were fab.
Papa & Raleigh
The "MISSING" poster sign. See, I wasn't lying. (photo credit: j. coff)
The Coffey girls! (photo credit: j. coff)
This is where we were ticketed. Booo. (photo credit: j. coff)
The time we almost lost our air mattresses. (photo credit: j. coff)
Just sunning himself. Don't worry, he has like SPF 500 on.
Mama & Raleigh taking in the sparkly blue water!
A castle house, I dig it!
Gigi, Papa & Raleigh!
Boat co-captain, debating our next moves.
Three generations!
The whole fam. I swear I was on this trip.
The week eventually came to an end. We were unsuccessful in getting Raleigh to swim in the lake. However, we were very successful in drinking, eating, tanning, sea-dooing (thanks Erin and Steve for renting two of them!) and relaxing. It was one of the best vacations I have had and I do NOT regret extending my vacation. I wonder what we'll be like 5 years from now...when we get the condo again in August?! favorite pictures of the week!
Ok, and my OTHER favorite picture :)
And...a historical (un-edited) view of my time in Wapato:

Ralph & the late Katherine Coffey (my wonderful grandparents!)
Easter morning during low tide.
Pillow fight with cousin Nicky!
Potential Christmas card picture? This one didn't pass the test, but another more awkward/unattractive one did.
With the Fitch cousin's. That same blue bar is still there. It became Raleigh's favorite toy.
My bff Mel. She came almost every year to Chelan with me. Boy chasing just isn't the same without you.
The crew...5 years ago! Don't mind my bandage, just a 3rd degree burn, no biggie.