May you always be this happy. May he always sweep you off your feet. Or at least sweep the kitchen floor. That’s pretty darn romantic, too.

To my dearest cousin Rachel,

How I wish I could be with you today. To see your glorious smile in person as you walk down the aisle and start the next chapter in your life. Fondly, I remember the many days and nights we spent together at Grandma and Grandpa’s, spying on our relatives, giggling until tears fell, and performing three-act plays in the living room for innocent bystanders.

I hope your future husband knows how lucky he is. You’re a catch, to say the least. You’re beautiful, intelligent, funny, and have a heart big enough to accommodate countless friends and our entire amazing family. I’ve always admired how you’ve lived life …

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I love this man. (Photo courtesy of CLG Photography.)

Sweat trickled down the middle of my back, and popped up in beads on my brow. The storm door smacked shut behind me as I traveled in and out of the house, arms stuffed with the day’s gathering. Cool. Hot! Cool. Hot! Cool. Hot! I lingered a bit in the air conditioned kitchen before heading out for the next haul. Unloading groceries in a 110 degree heat wave is a tiring chore, but hubs and I were making good time.

As he heaved in two five-gallon water jugs, one in each hand, I marveled at his brute strength. It’s one of our many differences that I appreciate. Some of our other differences, though, have made the already difficult road of marriage and child-rearing a bit …

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Our engagement photo. We’re just as mad about each other now as we were then, and just as goofy.

He is not the mac to my cheese, or the peanut butter to my jelly. He is no Prince Charming, and I am certainly no princess. Our romance busts the mold of canned love analogies. He is the wind…to my windmill.

He is powerful and steady, a constant force of change and movement. I am a vessel, carefully crafted to harness his strength and refine it for a greater purpose. We are never stale, never stagnant. Together, we are productive.

He is gentle like the morning breeze when caressing our infant daughters, steady like the Kansas wind when holding my hand through tragedy, and mighty like a wild twister when he needs to be.

He gives me power, and …

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While staying at home isn’t always "baking cookies and tickle sessions," it does happen from time to time.

Let’s face it. We all need a common enemy to “kvetch” about. Right or wrong, we bond over shared gripe sessions. (This is especially true for women.) When you’re doing the 8-5 thing, oftentimes the object of your grumblings is someone in the workplace, whether it be your boss, coworker or client.

No matter how wonderful (or not wonderful) they are in general, there’s always something that will get on your nerves, and when you come home, your significant other gets to hold back your hair while you verbally vomit (again). Well, what happens when you remove all of these situations from your life at once? Suddenly, you’re left with facing the enemy at home.

Were your kids this naughty …

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