Truckin’ Along and Spreading the Holiday Cheer

We’re in Wilmington, NC now – home of the EUE/Screen Gems Studio (the responsible parties for the abomination known as One Tree Hill). For those keeping track, our stops this 2011 Holiday Trip Extravangza (as it will be referred to from this point forward) included Conway, AR; Gainesville, GA; Augusta, GA; back to Gainesville, GA, Fayetteville, NC; and now Wilmington, NC. We should be hitting up a city or two on our way back to OK, but they remain to be determined. Good thing we’re young and full of (foolish?) energy.

Christmas morning came and went. Our family portrait attempt failed miserably but I didn’t let that keep me down. I had gifts to open and a mimosa in my hand – how could I be upset? As always, we were blessed to be surrounded by family and thoroughly enjoyed being with all of my siblings and their families/significant others. We always have a blast when we’re together and this Christmas was no different.

In fact, we even participated in the First Annual Garchow Family Ugly Christmas Sweater Contest. Back in November, we decided since we would all be under the same roof for Christmas we had to celebrate accordingly. So a contest was formed and each couple began to feverishly work on a delightfully tacky Christmas Sweater. As you can see, my family does not half-ass anything. That is why we’re awesome and are brilliantly fun to hang out with. On a side note – please ignore my husband’s goofy faces. He was really committed to the character he was playing…le sigh.

See, I wasn’t kidding. His sweater was actually made into cut-out half-tee. My sweater was bedazzled with lights, pom-poms, and pictures of Jack Wagner, Rick Springfield, Leif Garrett, David Hasselhoff, and Shaun Cassidy. I’m not going to lie – they were freakin’ awesome.

And Clay won! Here is my dad giving Clay the $20 prize. My parents and grandmother were the judges, along with a secret ballot vote among the participants. I love the face you’re giving here honey – very classy!

Yesterday, we hit the road to Fayetteville, NC to visit Clay’s sister, Martha, and her kids. Edward (our brother-in-law) is currently deployed so we missed seeing him but we had a nice time at their new house.

And finally, in the most exciting news of the Christmas season, Zach proposed to my sister Julie on Christmas Day (do you remember reading my prediction?). Yes, this means that there will be yet another wedding in our clan in the near future. We couldn’t be happier for them and can’t wait to make Zach an official member of our crazy family.

Now if you excuse me, I need to nurse a rum and coke and spend some time with Clay’s parents. A trip to the movie theater may be the cards for Clay and I tonight – any recommendations? I’m thinking Mission Impossible 4

A Wedding in the Family

As promised, here are some (amateur) pictures from the wedding. The photographer was wonderful so I can’t wait to see what she captured. While the following pictures aren’t professional by any means, I hope they give you an idea of what went down at the exciting event.

I don’t have any pictures of the actual ceremony so here is one from the rehearsal that my dad took. Grace United Methodist Church in North Augusta, SC was beautifully decorated for Christmas and had a lot of southern charm.

The bridal party at the reception, which was held at the North Augusta Municipal Building – a gorgeous venue. Megan, Julie, and I were thrilled to stand up there with Kelly as she married our brother; and Clay and Mike were honored to be beside Scott. I love when weddings have strong family ties. In case you were wondering, I teared up when I saw Kelly walking down the aisle and then Scott’s reaction. Kelly looked absolutely beautiful and radiant with joy. She is a lucky girl, Scott is a pretty amazing guy. And I didn’t trip during my walk down the asile. At all. Yay!

One of my favorite moments of the night was when Clay and I were walking down the aisle together after the ceremony (we were paired up together). Just as we reached the end, Weston came running into our arms. The photographer captured the moment so I can’t wait to see it! Clay’s parents snapped this picture when we were waiting to be photographed after the ceremony.

Megan, me, and Julie before the ceremony. We were given a color and then able to pick out our own bridesmaid dresses. It was nice being able to express some individuality and choose a cut that is flattering for our body type. Awesome. Oh and much to our delight, all three of us now have the same hair color. Last time we saw each other, which was during the summer, I had red hair, Megan had dark brown, and Julie was a brighter blonde. Now we even look more alike.

Isn’t that a beautiful cake? By the way, I feel like I am typing beautiful way too much but I can’t help it…it really was a beautiful wedding.

Weston didn’t hesitate to show off his dance moves at the reception. Clay’s parents arrived in town on Friday and watched Weston while Clay and I participated in the various bridal party functions. It was a busy couple of days so we are so incredibly thankful for their help. For example, the morning of the wedding, while the girls were at the salon, all the guys went target shooting; and they all arrived in one piece for the ceremony. Success!

And little Mikey looked dapper in his tux. Clay’s parents also helped out with Mikey by letting him sleep in their room. Aren’t they just amazing in-laws? I really lucked out in that department.

One of the most awwwww-inducing moments was when my brother surprised my mom with My Guy by Mary Wells for the  mother/son dance. When my brother was young, my  mom would sing the song to him as they danced around the house.

Me and my younger brother. (:

Finally, I’ll close the post with a picture of my youngest sister, Julie, and her boyfriend, Zach at the rehearsal dinner. And wouldn’t you know, Julie caught the bouquet and Zach caught the garter. Spoiler alert – Zach proposed Christmas Eve and Julie said yes!