Friday, May 30, 2014

Merging Two Families

Memorial Day (weekend) 2014 was awesome for many reasons.

Not just because Tom and I went to Niagara Falls (with the in-laws).

And attempted a few group photos.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Making Banana (Only) Ice Cream... the Hard Way

This is how I failed to follow instructions, and attempted to make ice cream by blending frozen bananas.

The recipe says to peel the bananas, cut them up into tiny pieces, and then to freeze those pieces. Well, after I put my unpeeled bananas in the freezer, took them out and attempted to peel them, I found that to be impossible and had to let them thaw. Which made a goopy cold mess. So, once I removed the cold goop from the peels, I put the goop back into the freezer.

Which resulted in a block of frozen banana goop.

Which does not blend well at all. I started with medium sized blocks of banana goop, and when that failed to blend, I did something stupid.

I removed the jar from the base and shook it. Because, of course that would fix it. All it did was relieve some frustration, and I have to say that I might not have held the lid down securely. It was almost comical how banana (I promise I'm not exaggerating) flew around my kitchen.

Eventually, after waiting for the bananas to thaw more, and dicing the pieces up really tiny, I got it.

The result was a little melted, but I threw it in the freezer and it was fine. I should mention that this recipe is best done with a Vitamix or other high-powered blender. Trust me, the resulting ice cream was almost not worth the hassle. Almost.

Anyone attempt any Pinteresting recipes and fail horrible?
Anyone write a recap on how to do them wrong?
I'd love to laugh at myself, but I'm still chipping banana off my walls and the knife block.

Monday, May 26, 2014

12 Things Learned Our First Year of Marriage

Good Morning! Today is officially our first anniversary, and while this past week I've been posting photos and recaps from the wedding day today is all about what we've learned this past year.

We both knew that living together (especially since we hadn't lived together before we got married) would be a transition. We were told that the first year of marriage is the hardest, and although that's now highly contested (since many live together before marriage, it's not as applicable) it definitely applied to us.

I grew up with lots of space and solitude to do with as I pleased, while Tom lived in close quarters with his family his whole life. I live minimally, and Tom has all his childhood memories in boxes. I am stubborn, and he is passionate. And while living together is hard that first year, it is also amazing. We've learned about forgiveness and grace and also prayer. And we've learned a few other things.

What has Tom Learned?
  1. Genesis 2:18 couldn't be more true. One year in, God truly made an appropriate help meet for man.
  2. Breakfast! The most important meal of the day takes on a whole new meaning when prepared with love. Highlight of the day is when Farin makes silver dollar pancakes and plates them in the form of a smiley face.
  3. Bickering: I'm a sinner, married to a sinner. Arguments and disagreements are bound to happen between any couple but the my main take away is make up quickly.
  4. Monogamy: God's full purposes of marriage rites are a mystery according to scripture but a blessing nonetheless. It is something to be fully cherished.
  5. Be proactive: Farin and I imagined a marriage full of dates and couples activities. Life gets in the way and you quickly find yourself in a routine. Be purposeful and deliberate about date nights and stick to em.
  6. Remain close and intimate with each other. Makes being together at all times a much nicer experience.
Men. So concise with their words. You know I won't be, so here goes.

What have I Learned?
  1. Forgiving each other is hard! But necessary. I can be the queen of holding grudges, and I also clam up when upset. That makes a recipe for disaster as Tom has no clue what I'm thinking. But when I remember that we are told to forgive and move on, things are left behind. God gave us grace, and we should extend that to other- especially the ones we live with!
  2. Do your own chores. We avoided sharing chores, since every person has their own 'way' that is best. I haven't done laundry in 1 year, and he hasn't had to yell at me for shrinking his shirts. Or turning them pink. Also, I do the dishes since I am a bit obsessive over them being completely clean. No more spots or complaining to him that he does have to actually wash (and not just rinse) the colander or the pot lid. 
  3. Greet each other warmly and always kiss goodnight. Tom knew I was a stickler for these things (he even wrote them into his vows)- so it's not something we've had to 'work' on. But on the nights when you're upset over one thing or another, always kiss and say goodnight. This extends to sleeping together. The only times we sleep apart aren't because of arguments, but because either he's snoring or I'm sick and coughing nonstop. Luckily, that hardly happens, just around flu season :-)
  4. Do each other favors. Bring each other breakfast or coffee in bed, or offer to bring their returns to the store. It's nice to know they think about how to serve you, and it feels good to do them favors in return.
  5. Listen to and encourage each other. Make sure you remember that they probably have a whole other set of struggles and stresses at work, home or school and might not have a dumping ground. Provide that, a place to get it out. Offer an ear and help them unwind.
  6. Make time together, and have some shared interests. I hate biking and would never agree to bike anywhere except it meant a lot to Tom to bike in Canada (and we biking in traffic). And while Tom might not follow any blogs (mine or others) he's always there to offer a suggestion if feedback on a post.
That's about it! Hope everyone is having wonderful Memorial Day weekend and return to work on Tuesday.

What have your learned your first year of marriage, or this past year?

Friday, May 23, 2014

Anniversary Week. Toasts, Cake and a Dance-off

We skipped over some of the more traditional wedding aspects (no garters or bouquets or receiving lines. But we wanted to hear from our closest confidants. What they thought about us, about our union, and just what they thought in general.

And while I don't have those transcripts or a video, I remember it being more of a roast than a toast.

From the best man telling us to 'make lots of babies' (which I'll admit, was a little unexpected) all the way over to what he originally thought when Tom brought me in from Pennsylvania and wondering if I'd fit in.

My maid of honor went in another direction entirely, and started exposing all our secret teenage antics. For our friends, my family and new family to hear. And the three nearby houses to hear, considering we were using a loudspeaker.

I was a well-behaved kid in an overall sense. But I guess I should have listened to her concerns about writing a speech and given more detailed instruction than 'oh, you'll think of something'.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Anniversary Week. Sunset Photos and Family Portraits

Everyone tells you to savor that bite of cake, because that will be the only thing you eat at your wedding.

They were right, because as soon as we were able to get some food on our plates we were pulled away for individual and family photos...

Then the sun decided to steal the show...

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Anniversary Week. Our Receiving Mob, and an Ode to our Guests.

After recovering from pelted with lavender, we made our way to the group of people who were waiting to attack.....

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Anniversary Week. Ceremony, Vows and a face-full of Lavender

Once all the key people were where they needed to be, the procession was able to start.
First were my beautiful bridesmaids.

And our very professional ring bearer

And my three flowergirls, who were a little worried about littering. Initially.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Anniversary Week. First Look, and a narration of events.

Our first anniversary is in one week, and since we've already celebrated it on our vacation, we're going on a mini-roadtrip with the in-laws to visit Niagara Falls and see my parents in Pennsylvania.

But..... since I wasn't blogging a year ago, I thought it would be an opportune time to show off what an awesome day May 26, 2013 was.

In three parts. Because I don't want my computer to die.

First Look and Getting Ready

Tom always waits for me at the public library, in a suit and looking spiffy. And appearing to be enjoying his ring-less finger.

Yeah... like you really thought I wouldn't show up.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Summer Goals

Drafting this post on Evernote, and my phone auto-corrected "Summer Goals" to "Dinner Rolls". Evernote is so intuitive.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Pacific Coastal Vacation

Good food, beautiful weather. Time to disconnect from work and reconnect with each other. Seeing places together for the first time. Attempting to take at least one good photo together. Remembering that we were celebrating our first anniversary and not just taking a vacation. Remembering to focus on us and trying to keep a leisurely (non-New Yorker) pace.

We just returned from a 12 day vacation, visiting Los Angeles, San Francisco, Victoria BC, Vancouver BC, and Seattle. Tom planned an amazing trip, and I'm convinced he should do customized itineraries because he has such a knack (outdated word?) for it. And, even though our flight was delayed, it was actually a blessing in disguise. I was able to spent Mothers Day with only Tom, and while the world was celebrating babies we were celebrating our first anniversary.

I still need to sort, crop and rotate photos, but plan on uploading them soon.

I also plan on covering:
Some snapshots:

Friday, May 9, 2014

Pack Your Bags...5 Tips for the First Time International Traveler

Please welcome Kelly, from A Lovely Life, IndeedKelly writes on a variety of subjects- from food to fitness, and from marriage to her knowledge of travel. She's lived in Galicia, Spain- and often posts gems such as this one she's sharing below.

Thanks for sharing Kelly!

Now that spring is here, people may be starting to plan their summer vacations and summer time is a popular time for international travel. If you have your passport and you're ready to go, consider these five tips to put your mind at ease before you even get in line for security.

1. Scan your passport and email a copy of it to yourself. Make sure your photo and passport number is visible. If for some reason, you lose your passport, it will make it easier for you to get it re-issued if you have evidence of the documentation. You can access it from any computer in the world.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Bicultural Adoption, like Disney World, is Magical

Please welcome Peggy Gilbey McMackin, creator and author of Spiced Peach Blog, a food blog along the spice road of food and friendship.
Today she shares with us how a return trip to Disney World with her grandson can bring the memories back. A story of adopting two daughters from Korea. A story involving not only paperwork and building anticipation, but also the trials and triumphs that motherhood involves. 

Thanks Peggy for sharing this great post!

It’s the natural order of things, the rite of passage to the next generation I suppose, wishing a very magical time to my eldest daughter, and her son, my grandson, as they headed off for vacation to Disney World.

Monday, May 5, 2014

Things to Do in SoCal

Please welcome Julie from Girl on the Move- as she shares with us her experiences in travelling from place to place and sampling all that life offers. Today she's stopping in with a little 'insider info' about what to see when visiting Southern California, which is great because that's where I flew to on Thursday!

Thanks Julie for sharing this great post!!

I feel fortunate enough to have been able to grow up in Southern California and outside of seven years I lived on the East Coast after college, I’ve been in SoCal ever since!  We have beautiful weather, great food, beaches, mountains, desert, and so much more.

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