The Wedding, Family Times, & The Latest with the Shafer Four

This is us.

The fun-loving, adventure-seeking foursome.

Now the very big, special reason they came out to Pennsylvania last month, was for the important event of Brendon & Emily‘s wedding.

The wedding festivities began the morning after Davey & Rachel landed in Pittsburgh ~ a bachelorette party planned and hosted by me, Susie, and Rachel.

    The food table ~ two cheesecakes, honey mustard ham sandwiches, chicken salad sandwiches, fruit, and garden tea!  

 We hung pom poms and homemade chinese lanterns from the beams in Susie’s living room. (I wish I had a picture of the homemade chinese lanterns which are now hanging in my study.)

Homemade streamers sure beat the chinsey paper streamers you find at party stores…and they are so easy to make! The two I made from my leftover material are now my front entry curtains. The best part is that it cost me $1 to make this.

                                       The wedding came and went quickly that weekend. All of the last-minute details came together and everything fell smoothly and beautifully into place. With the couple happily married and sent off for their honeymoon in the South, the family buckled down for a week of hanging-out.

That meant basketball games for the boys and long walks for the girls, sipping tea in the cool evenings, debating issues till the sun traded places with the moon (and beyond), playing games, cramming around the dining room table for extended family meals, a day at Presque Isle sunning and swimming…

And the week wound down, and eventually it was time for a little Shafer Four excursion in keeping with our recent tradition.

So, because we were all feeling slightly poor after the wedding, we decided a day and night in Pittsburgh would suffice this time, and we would dream instead of our some day trip to Ireland together.

 We ate at Pittsburgh’s almost famous since 1933 Primanti Brothers restaurant and had some rather-filling, rather-large sandwiches – stuffed with meat, cheese, french fries, and coleslaw. (I told you it was original.) We sipped pumpkin spice lattes from Starbucks, shopped and walked along the renowned Strip marketplace, and ended the day taking in the sights of Pittsburgh from Mt. Washington.

 We fell in love with the beautiful, picturesque city of Pittsburgh! Ryan and I really wondered why we don’t make Pittsburgh excursions more often.

Now a few photos of me and my dear friend Rachel! We’ve been friends for twelve years this fall. It all started with a pen-pal ad in a Christian girl magazine and hundreds of stamps, envelopes and crazy letters later we ended up being sisters-in-law.

It really is a God thing because we never, ever, ever imagined that could happen.

 Relaxing in the air-conditioned foyer of Heinz Hall. We really wanted to get inside but it wasn’t open!

Our almost-matching dresses for Brendon and Emily’s wedding! We had planned to match and then our plans didn’t work out the way we thought…but we must be enough alike, because what we ended up was pretty close! (People                thought we did it on purpose.)  

A little windblown, but happy ~       Pittsburgh 2012

We might be married and twenty-four, but there is still a lot of little kid left inside us. Here we are on our midnight walk through Meadville. Let’s just say there was lots of laughing going on.

I am so grateful for Rachel’s friendship. We’ve shared a lot together, over the years, and the shared journey just keeps getting better! It felt, for both of us, that our bond as sisters and friends, grew a lot stronger and deeper this visit. Highlights include…*episodes of Downton Abbey*Starbucks*heart-to-heart talks*praying together*almost constantly saying the same phrase at the same time (we seriously think a lot alike!)*shopping*swimming in the hotel pool*doing hair and girly sister things together (should I wear this top or this one?)*making food together*discussions on every topic imagineable…from gluten-free eating and lactose intolerance to child training*hosting a bachelorette party*comparing our amazing husbands*

It was an extravagantly fun week-and-a-half celebrating a wedding, experiencing family, and living life as the Shafer Four. Be it Ireland or Washington or Timbuktu, we can’t wait for next time!