Wednesday, March 31, 2010

wedding wednesday: his turn

I have a confession to make. I went out of order. Hubby actually said his vows first. One of his friends was kind enough to shoot a little video on her camera during the ceremony. There was a clip of each of our vows and I remembered that Hubby was trying to hold his paper and microphone when he started reading. Yeah, that wasn't gonna fly with me. First, I wouldn't have been able to coordinate it all. And second, that would mean we wouldn't be touching at all during the vows. Luckily, our religious figure grabbed the microphone and all was well.

A tip to folks out there who are writing their own vows... If you want your significant other to hear them for the first time during the ceremony (which we did), you may want to have a third party read them both beforehand. Pick someone you trust. Someone who will say, "Yeah, those didn't go together at all. This one was too short, that one was too funny, this one wasn't sappy enough." My Matron-of-Honor had the, uh, honor of reading them. She thought they went together fine and suited both of our personalities. Here are his:

"As an engineer, I'm always looking for the right combination of inputs that can lead to the best outcome. Finding the perfect qualities in a spouse for a long and happy life together is perhaps the most important decision I've had to make.

"In searching for my ideal wife, I was simply looking for a woman that was:
young at heart
able to laugh at my jokes
fun to be with
I could go on, but you get the idea.

"I found that woman in you, cjh, a true gem. You have greatly enriched my life. So for you I developed the 4 C's. Cherish, Collaborate, Comfort, and Celebrate. These vows begin and end with cjh.

"Cherish. I vow to cherish my time on this earth with you and protect you all my life, forsaking all others, and putting you first in my life.

"Collaborate. I promise to collaborate with you, to work as a team and tackle all of life's challenges. I don't know what may lie ahead, but the challenge of busy work schedules, hurricanes and medical woes has not and will not keep us apart. We are stronger together and can surmount any difficulty.

"Comfort. Life can toss out many obstacles. I vow to support you and be the one to turn to for strength in the face of adversity, to console you and to lift you up. I want to assuage your suffering and provide support when needed.

"Celebrate. I will celebrate life with you. I know we will take advantage of all the opportunities available to us, including:
exploring new places together
meeting new people together
making new friends together
raising children together
raising pets and vegetables together
strengthening our relationship together
growing old together
and drinking in the riches of everyday life to the fullest with you.

"cjh, I will Cherish, Collaborate, Comfort and Celebrate life with you. These things I vow."

Huh. Those were good. First time I've read them since the day I heard them. Yeah, he's a keeper.

One funny note--Hubby is known for throwing out a big word or two every now and then. Matron-of-Honor noted that there was one word she had to double-check the meaning on. During the ceremony, when Hubby said "assuage" I turned around and looked at MoH and she nodded. Pretty funny. That's the sign of a good friend...inside jokes during your marriage vows.

We're almost done with the ceremony. I think there was something to do with rings and kissing...

(Pics by Monique Montoya.)

Monday, March 29, 2010


No, this isn't what we looked like when we started dating. We had tickets to a benefit for a local Women's Center on Saturday night. There was an Elvis theme. The cool thing about that is you can pretty much dress up in a 3-decade span. We went 60s-ish. (Or else I just had a really good "Texas hair" day.)

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

wedding wednesday: my vows

I'm not sure at what point in the wedding planning process I brought up writing our own vows. I'm pretty sure I wanted to do it even before we were engaged. And Hubby had already proven himself a good, creative writer so I thought he might be game. Lucky for me, he was and we ended up with a really awesome, personalized wedding (you know, in my opinion).

How did I come up with something to say? I did a little online research for some inspriration but I also did a little research in my closet. I'm a bit (cough, cough) of a list-maker and I guess a little bit of a hoarder sentimental saver. I pulled out an actual list I made of attributes I had wanted to find in a mate, written years ago, and used some of the actual verbage in my vows. Is it weird to say that I ended up having a rough draft of my vows maybe 7-ish years in advance?

I know we're not the first folks to do this but our wedding was the first time I'd heard non-traditional vows in person. Our guests (or heck, even we) may not remember the specifics of what we said that day but hopefully they'll remember it was unique. Here are mine.

"I don't think I ever told you this but several years ago, back when I was fresh from getting my second psychology degree, I made a list of what I was looking for in a guy. Some criteria were pretty basic. He should be single, he should likes “shes.” I didn’t want to take any chances...

"But I also added things that previous experiences had taught me were non-negotiable. Obviously it took a long time to find someone who could meet my high standards, and I was starting to think this day would never come. But two years ago I met you. Right here. I knew right away that you were handsome and smart. Before we even went on our first date, it was obvious that you were also funny and creative and open to new things. And in all the moments since, I’ve discovered that you are also romantic and moral and really fun to be with. You’re a stand up guy. You’re here for me during the good times and the bad. You’re not embarrassed to hold my hand in public. You’re loving, and you let me make my own decisions. You respect yourself and me. You’re a little bit quirky in an endearing way. And you make life easier. Better. Complete.

"It took so long to find each other but I don’t think either of us would have really been ready any sooner. Hubby, I choose you to be my husband, my friend, my partner. Together, we are so much more than we were alone. I promise to try every day to make our relationship stronger. To work through any problems that may come. To share my life with you. To only get closer. I promise to try to take your feelings and opinions into consideration. Sometimes that’s hard. I’m a little independent. I promise to show you the respect that you’ve shown me. I promise to put your clothes on their hangers backwards (unless I can convince you otherwise). I promise to love you and support you and be your biggest fan. I promise to be faithful to you and always be open and honest. And I promise to test at least some of my boundaries. I promise all of these things to you--today, tomorrow, for the rest of our lives--because you really are the best thing that ever happened to me."

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

wedding wednesday: musical interlude

We really wanted to involve my husband's sister (I'd just say SIL but I now have two of those) in the wedding. She's a really great singer so we thought it would be perfect to have her sing a song during the ceremony. Then, of course, we had to search for an appropriate song. After we found that, I couldn't for the life of me find an instrumental version. My SIL had one of her friends learn the song on piano and record it. How awesome is that?! Here's the song:

During her performance there were some technical difficulties. First, the music was so quiet and difficult for her (or anyone) to hear. But she still started the song. It was the first time I had heard her sing it (I think that's called faith). She was doing a wonderful job when my extremely-soon-to-be husband started crying. The only time he cried that day. He looks at her and she looks at him and she busts out laughing. I don't think she realized he was seriously crying, just that he was making faces. Our photographer did an amazing job capturing it. (Might I add that in addition to being a great singer, she cleans up real nice...)

And the lyrics, if you're intersted:

We Are Man and Wife by Michelle Featherstone

All the things you are to me
Darling you have set me free
I'll always give you what you need
And what you deserve
All the joy and all this love
I know that it is from above
And now together there's enough
To fill this world

'Cause you are the love of my life
You are the love of my life
And now we're man and wife

All the things you will do
You know I'm standing next to you
And darling I will see you through
The rest of our lives
With you beside me
I have won
I'm glad I've waited for so long
There is no doubt
That you are the one for me

You are the love of my life
You are the love of my life

And everytime
There will be things
Everything is going to be fine
Now you're in my life

So I give you heart and soul
It's yours to take wherever you go
And through the years
You'll always know
It's yours to keep
God has blessed this sacred vow
And angles high above look down
And see the two of us have found
The perfect love

You are the love of my life
You are the love of my life
You are the love of my life
You are the love of my life

Now we're man and wife
We're man and wife
Now we're man and wife
We're man and wife
We're man and wife

Saturday, March 13, 2010

spring! it's sprung!

Annuals are planted on the porch. Hanging baskets have returned. Some plants that are in the ground are actually coming back to life. There are flowers! The garden is getting planted. Tiny pea seeds are popping up. Squirrels (and birds) are being fed. The lime tree has survived! Blackberries have been planted. The lavendar's back! There's a peach tree! Most exciting of all is that there has been progress on the back sidewalk project. If it ever gets finished, it will deserve a post of its own. Yea! Spring!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

wedding wednesday: the readings

If you've been playing along, we obviously didn't get married in a church. I wasn't really feeling the typical "churchy" readings either. After a lot of searching, we came up with two that fit us (and our readers) pretty well.

First up, one of my friends from college. I was in her wedding a few years back. She's a former elementary school teacher who now works in a library. This was a perfect fit for her and she did such a great job presenting it--excerpts from I Like You by Sandol Stoddard Warburg (punctuation and formatting added by me to conserve blog space).

I like you and I know why. I like you because you are a good person to like.

When I think something is important, you think it's important, too. We have good ideas. When I say something funny, you laugh. I think I'm funny and you think I'm funny, too.

That's because you really like me. You really like me, don't you? And I really like you back. And you like me back and I like you back and that's the way we keep going every day.

If you go away, then I go away, too. Or if I stay home, you send me a postcard. If I go away, I send you a postcard, too. And I like you because if we go away together and if we are in Grand Central Station and if I get lost, then you are the one who is yelling for me.

And I like you because when I'm feeling sad you don't always cheer me up right away. Sometimes it is better to be sad. You can't stand the others being so googly and gaggly every single minute. You want to think about things. It takes time.

I like you because if I am mad at you then you are mad at me, too. It's awful when the other person isn't. They are so nice and hoo-hoo you could just about punch them in the nose.

If you find two four-leaf clovers, you give me one. If I find four, I give you two. If we find three, we keep on looking. Sometimes we have good luck, and sometimes we don't.

I like you because I don't know why but everything that happens is nicer with you. I can't remember when I didn't like you. It must have been lonely then.

I like you because because because... I forget why I like you but I do. So many reasons. On the fourth of July, I like you because it's the fourth of July. On the fifth of July, I like you, too.

Even if it was the 999th of July, even if it was August, even if it was way down at the bottom of November, even if it was no place particular in January I would go on choosing you and you would go on choosing me over and over again. That's how it would happen every time. I guess I just like you because I like you.

I love so many things about that little children's book. We were trying to delete parts so that it wouldn't be too terribly long but it was so difficult! I mean the traveling part since I was on the road so much during our courtship. And the four-leaf clovers since we were honeymooning in Ireland. And "even if it was August" since that's when we were getting married. So, yeah, it was a long reading but it was enjoyable to hear.

Next was one of Hubby's good friends from college. He's currently in med school so he couldn't commit to the time off to be a groomsman. We would have hated to have him not be able to come at the last minute. But luckily he was able to make it and we had him do a reading. It oddly fit him, too. His reading gave credibility to the words. This one is Union by Robert Fulghum.

"You have known each other for years, through the first glance of acquaintance to this moment of commitment. At some moment, you decided to marry. From that moment of yes to this moment of yes, indeed, you have been making promises and agreements in an informal way. All those conversations that were held riding in a car or over a meal or during long walks--all those sentences that began with "When we're married" and continued with "I will" and "you will" and "we will"--those late night talks that included "someday" and "somehow" and "maybe"--and all those promises that are unspoken matters of the heart. Just two people working out what they want, what they believe, what they hope for each other. All these common things, and more, are the real process of a wedding. The symbolic vows that you are about to make are a way of saying to one another, "You know all those things we've promised and hoped and dreamed--well, I meant it all, every word." Look at one another and remember this moment in time. Before this moment you have been many things to one another--acquaintance, friend, companion, lover, dancing partner, and even teacher, for you have learned much from one another in these last few years. You have learned that good company and friendship count for more than good looks. And you've learned that marriage is a maze into which we wander--a maze that is best got through with a great companion. Now you shall say a few words that take you across a threshold of life, and things will never quite be the same between you. For after these vows, you shall say to the world, this--is my husband, this--is my wife."

I haven't read those words since the wedding. Still love them.

Up next? The musical entertainment.

(Both photos courtesy of Monique Montoya.)

Monday, March 08, 2010

40 years

My husband, his sister, and I threw a surprise 40th anniversary party for my in-laws last Sunday. I had my husband tell them it was a belated surprise party for my birthday. This seemed like the perfect plan since we could ask to borrow anything we might need for a party and numerous parked cars wouldn't be out of place. I crafted up some pretty cute invitations and we made plans for food and drinks. And of course there were flowers. Lots of flowers.

Anniversary #40 is the ruby anniversary. Since red is also a popular color with the MIL, we went with a red theme.

I think all the food turned out wonderfully (even though I failed to take a picture of the table). We had fruit and cheese skewers, candied bacon, chicken salad and cucumber sandwiches, a garbanzo-pesto dip with fresh veggies, layered shrimp dip, cherry brownies, chocolate covered strawberries, and raspberry-filled mini red velvet cupcakes. For drinks, we served a variety of red wines, champagne punch, and ginger ale with cucumber. Yes, the red theme may have crept into the food and drinks as well.

It was a really beautiful day for a party. Sunny and relatively warm. It let us have great light inside and leave the front door open for people to come and go. I must say it's been awhile since we hosted a party and I really love it. (It doesn't hurt that people compliment the house and decor.)

By the time my in-laws arrived, the guests were just starting to show up. However, there were two couples who drove in from out of town as well as my SIL (who had sneakily been in town all weekend). When my MIL walked in she asked if I was surprised and I asked her the same in return. After a minute of trying to figure out why these people would come in for a surprise party for me, someone wished them a happy anniversary and they realized the party was for them.

Every time someone new showed up, my FIL would look surprised all over again. It was very cute. He later said that he would think "wouldn't it be nice if person X showed up?" and then that person would. This apparently happened repeatedly. I'm really glad so many people came and that my in-laws could be surrounded by their closest friends to celebrate such a monumental feat.

Forty years... The night before the party I was asking The Hubby what he thought his parents would think about it, if he thought it would be a surprise, how they would react. I told him that I thought some things deserved a big fuss. Forty years is a long time. And I realized that they've been married 80 times longer than we have. I can't imagine spending a lifetime married to the same person but I hope to find out. Congrats, MIL and FIL. Here's to many more years...

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

wedding wednesday: it's time!

Finally, it was time for the girls to make their way down the aisle. During wedding planning, I found a lot of really great musicians while searching to create the right mood. One of them was Patty Griffin. I lurve this song:

Le sigh... Again, since you've seen lovely pictures of them already, I'll skip it. But I can't resist one.

Some people don't like having children at their wedding let alone in their wedding. I say go for it. I'm glad Flower Girl E wasn't a toddler, though. That can be super cute but a little distracting. E did a great job. Old enough to make it down the aisle and through the ceremony without crying or causing a scene. And just look at how everyone else is smiling.

As for me, no crying or causing a scene either. I guess I was in productive mode right up at the end. I think once everyone else had gone down the aisle (somewhere around the 2:00-2:20 mark in the music), I was standing there with just The Brother, singing the words, and got a little overwhelmed. Had to do that fan-yourself-in-the-face thing to regain composure (while The Brother told me that it was ok). And that was it. I was done with tears. I had been worried that I'd just be a sobbing mess for the entire ceremony but I wasn't. Whew.

What was my soon-to-be husband doing the entire time the girls were walking out? This:

So many people told me afterwards that he just stood there grinning. That makes me happy. He told me later that he was standing there thinking I must not be doing well since none of the girls were smiling (some where but they were nervous). And he also kept thinking I'd be the next girl out. Nope. Nope. Nope, nope, nope. And then he forgot about the Flower Girl.

Finally (2:53 in the music--hey, these things are important), it was me.

I noticed several people in the crowd. It was so good to see some people I hadn't seen in quite awhile. And so many who had traveled to be there. The one thing I couldn't do right away was look at the groom. I thought I'd lose it. But, again, I was fine. It was nice to see him after being apart since the night before.
And then The Brother gave me away.

Well, not really. It would take more than a handshake and a few words to get rid of me. Can I add here that one thing I love about the man who married us is that he looks genuinely happy in the pictures. So cute.

And we were ready to commit our lives to one another. Wow, that's some heavy stuff.

Up next? Our fabulous readings.

(All pics by the super-talented Monique Montoya.)