Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Weekend in the Woods: Family Pictures

After the ceremony ended and Mr. EB and I were finally married, there was one more thing we had to do to make it legal - sign the marriage certificate.

Annemarie made sure to have a place in the back set up for us specifically to have a few moments alone and to sign the marriage license. She also made sure we each had a glass of water before pictures and cocktail hour. I'm so glad she did this as it was the first thing I'd had to drink since lunch, and I knew that I needed to drink more water before I started drinking our wedding wine!

Once we signed and my sister and Mr. EB's best friend witnessed it, our marriage was official!

We made our way outside to take family pictures, of which I wanted to share a few with you:

 Mr. EB and me with Mr. EB's immediate family, including his grandmother and cousin

Mr. EB with his mom and dad

Mr. EB with his parents and their partners

Mr. EB and his sister

Us with our parents

Mr. EB and me with my immediate family

And the two of us with my family, including my grandmother

The only picture that I'm bummed not to have is one of me with my brother and sister. I completely spaced asking for that during the earlier bridal party pictures and then again during our family pictures. So once again, definitely tell someone if there are shots that you know you'll want!

And this picture is just to remind you that while the day was absolutely gorgeous and I'm so thankful that it didn't rain, it was so. very. cold. And I was standing outside without a coat on. And I hadn't yet had a glass of wine. And I was really ready for one.

After the pictures with our family, Kat asked to do a few more portraits of the two of us.

Now by this point, I must confess that I was really over pictures. I knew that I didn't want a lot of posed, formal family portraits. No matter how many or few we planned on, I knew they were going to take longer than I wanted and take away from getting to spend time with all of our guests during the cocktail hour. Also, did I mention it was cold? Yeah, I was freezing, and I'm not proud of it, but I started to get cranky the longer we stayed out there. Kat read my mood perfectly and I think she did a fantastic job of getting enough pictures so that I was really happy with them afterwards, but also getting us done and back inside for cocktail hour. 

Oh, and as a note to people with large families, I really wanted to avoid the production of getting all of my large extended family in one place for a big family picture. That didn't work. At all. I'm honestly not sure why I thought it would work, knowing my family! Luckily, we did that later, indoors and by that time I'd had a glass of wine!

Told you there were a lot of us!

*Unless otherwise noted, all photos by the fabulously talented Persimmon Images.

Want to catch up?

We bottle and seal our wedding wine.
We finish our projects one week out.

Monday, August 29, 2011

A New Way of Eating

I don't do well with extremes.

This is probably true of a lot of people, but as I get older it's something that I continually learn about myself. I'm not one to make drastic changes in my life - not if I want those changes to stick. I've never managed to stick to any real diet before as there are too many foods in my life that I like to eat to be ok with cutting them out for any real period of time. However, recently I have made a fairly significant change to my eating, and while ordinarily I would find myself slipping back to my "normal," I can't do it this time.

Every time I slip back to "normal," I find myself up in the middle of the night in pain. Did I mention I'm writing this at 2:32 am? Yeah...

A few months ago, I found myself awake one night in significant pain. I had no idea what was going on, as I don't recall ever having felt this type of pain before. I thought it might be stress (I'd just gotten married, I was still looking for a job, etc). Besides, it only happened the one night, so it was probably just a fluke.

But then approximately one month later, it happened again. And again the next month. And by now I was seeing a pattern and getting slightly concerned. Especially as the timing of the pain during the month right before I got my period started concerning me. At that point I was worried enough to go to the doctor to get an ultrasound to find out if that was the issue. On the plus side, everything with that came back totally normal. On the negative side, I was still in pain. Dang.

Finally, after I was awake for at least an hour at night for nearly two weeks in a row (and taking more pain killers than I ever had before), my mom suggested what I've come to believe is the most likely source of my pain. Gallbladder attacks. The symptoms that I read about matched mine almost to a T. 

Then I started reading more and more about how one's diet affects such attacks, and can prevent them from occurring. And then I found a program called the Whole30. This way of eating cut out many of the foods that supposedly caused gallbladder attacks (including dairy, all grains, and beans). Additionally this program prohibited all processed foods, any added sugar and alcohol. The plan was to follow this way of eating for 30 days and reset my body's digestive system. This sounded like a great idea to me (which was shocking given how much I love bread, cereal, milk, cheese and a beer or a glass of wine!). But, when it was affecting my health in such a direct way (pain or no pain), it was a whole lot easier to want to make a change.

I started this plan on August 1. And felt an immediate difference. No pain at night. None. And because I wasn't in any pain, I didn't need to take any more pain meds (I'm certainly not against the occasional Advil, but I was taking far too many doses of Tylenol PM, Advil and Aleve in an attempt to figure out if any gave me some relief. Nothing appeared to work on these attacks at all, except for drinking tea and sitting up until the pain dulled so I could sleep again).

Now that the end of the month is almost here, I wanted to reflect on how the changes in my diet have affected me. Overall, I feel great. I'm not in pain and I'm sleeping better (though I don't have as much energy as I thought I would). I've been eating a ton more veggies which makes me feel great, and only moderately more meat than I normally would have. Most of the time I eat eggs and a couple of slices of avocado for breakfast, a big salad for lunch, nuts and red pepper slices for snacks and then a meat, veggie and salad for dinner. The cravings hit hardest around week 2, but have subsided for the most part.

But, I should note that I have cheated. Especially more so toward the end of the month as we're moving and I'm just not eating as carefully as I know I need to. I've also had wine and beer more often than I should. And every time I've pushed the limit too far, I've ended up back awake at night. Specifically there were 3 instances this month (tonight is the 4th). And while part of it makes me really sad (no more greasy pizza and beer nights for me), on the other hand, as I see the changes that this way of eating has done for me, it's hard to argue that for me, this works. When I avoid greasy foods and lots of dairy, I'm not in pain. When I eat them, I am. I can't really argue with my body on this point.

Incidentally, I've also lost about 10 pounds so far. I have at least 20 more that I'd like to lose now, but weight loss wasn't even the primary motivation this time around (as it has so many other times). Truly this was about how my body felt. I honestly thought this plan wouldn't make much of a difference as I'd never had food intolerences before. Oh how was I wrong!

What I've learned though is that I'm pretty sure it's not any one food or group (though anything with a lot of grease - ie non-homemade pizza and hamburgers appear to be out for good), but that it's how I'm eating overall. So if I want a little bit of cheese, I'm probably fine. Or if I want a slice of bread, no problem. But I can't eat half a loaf of french bread and brie for dinner anymore. 

I haven't even tried cakes, cookies or brownies for over a month. I'm a little bit sad that when I do I won't be able to tolerate them well anymore. I'm currently awake now due to an ice cream binge I had after dinner tonight (though I'd like to note that "binge" means less than a quarter cup of Ben and Jerry's. Sadly, apparently that's even too much for me). Happily it appears that frozen yogurt is fine, though (too bad we're moving away from a pretty great place that just opened in Fremont).

But ultimately, this has worked for me. And it's shown me a lot of areas where I was adding sugar and eating processed foods not because I necessarily wanted them, but because I was just used to doing so. Like adding sugar to my coffee in the morning. Who knew I liked black coffee? I've also saved money as I'm now packing a lunch every single day. Before I'd try to bring a lunch 2-3 times a week and was more or less successful. Now I don't want to deal with finding food I can eat, so I just bring a salad. I'm happy that since I don't appear to actually be allergic to anything, I don't have to be as careful as some of my friends about avoiding certain foods totally. As long as I'm diligent in what I cook for myself, I can be more relaxed when going out to eat.

I was looking forward to the end of this month to start adding some foods back in, but given my few experiences with cheating already, I'm probably going to continue to stick fairly close to this way of eating for the time being. 

Which is all fine and good, but I'll miss my takeout pizza most of all.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Weekend in the Woods: The Ceremony

As I made my way down the aisle, I only had eyes for Mr. EB.

Once I reached Mr. EB, I hugged both of my parents and made my way up and onto the stage (as a side note - if you plan on having lots of candles on stage with you, think about the heat that they'll create! That was the one thing I hadn't thought of and it ended up quite hot on stage! Also apparently there was a moment when my skirt nearly knocked some of the candles off... it was a good thing my dress wasn't any bigger!)

Ever since the rehearsal when Annemarie told Mr. EB and my dad that they would be hugging at this point, my dad had a running joke about just how many times he'd hugged Mr. EB that day. I'm pretty sure he just whispered "No more hugs!" right here.

I haven't written out our entire ceremony here, but I did want to share a few of my favorite parts since Annemarie did such a wonderful job writing our ceremony.

As Annemarie welcomed everyone to IslandWood, I took hold of Mr. EB's hands and didn't let them go for the entire ceremony. I realized that I had no idea what to do with them and was afraid that they'd be shaking if I put them at my sides. Luckily Mr. EB seemed perfectly fine with this arrangement!

I loved Annemarie's welcome, particularly these words:

"Now, the fact that Mr. and Mrs. EB have asked each of you to be here today does not mean that you are going to celebrate with them today and tomorrow you are going to walk away and watch them have a happy life!

The fact that you are here today is an invitation to you to be a part of their life from now to forever.

You can be there as a friend or as family to provide encouragement and strength to Mr. and Mrs. EB as they move forward in life – to help them have the kind of marriage that will bring not only joy to them but also joy to you because you know that you are part of this couple’s happiness and you’ve helped – in small and big ways – to make this loving relationship and family happen."

She then invited everyone to offer their support by responding in the affirmative when asked if they were willing to respect and support us and our relationship in the days to come.
After asking whether our community as a whole supported our marriage, Annemarie turned to our parents and asked each set in turn whether they would love and respect our relationship and give their blessing of support for our marriage.
We decided that we each wanted to say the same vows, and so when it was time we each repeated:

Mr./Mrs. EB, each of us has had quite a journey
in our lives so far.
I feel so blessed to have found you as my partner.
I love you and I am choosing you
to share all of life’s blessings,
challenges and sorrows with.
As your husband, I will encourage you and stand by you
in our life together.
I promise you this with my heart and soul,
and I vow to you before our family and friends,
to dedicate myself to our marriage,
our friendship and our love.
And then together we repeated:
I take you as my life partner.
I belong to you and with you.
I give you my protection, my allegiance and my heart.
Your life, happiness and welfare will be cherished for a lifetime.
I did really well getting through all of my vows without crying, but as soon as they were over the tears came. Along with my announcement that I was going to cry. Luckily both Mr. EB and my sister had tissue ready for me!
We then exchanged rings, each repeating the following words:

Mr./Mrs. EB, with this ring I give you my heart.
I have no greater gift to give.
May you feel deeply loved because you are.

With this ring, through all life’s changes,
I shall always turn towards you.

I am honored to have you in my life.
I thank you and I love you.

With one final Irish blessing:
May the road rise up to meet you.
May the wind always be at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face;
and the rains fall soft upon your fields.
Annemarie pronounced us husband and wife, and we were married!
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