Thursday, August 31, 2017

50 Days to Go!

Us, 50 days ago.

Today marks 50 days until our wedding! I haven't blogged about planning as much as I'd hoped to (and frankly, I haven't planned as much as I'd hoped to), but it's coming up fast and I couldn't be more excited to marry this fellow.

My soul has always known that Roger was the person for me, and I feel we've been of one heart since before we knew each other. Meeting when we were so young has given me the great joy of growing up together with him and learning how to change and grow separately as people while still nurturing another person. Through all the change in our relationship, Roger has always been devoted to equality, to improvement, and to my own happiness. I love everything about him—his quirky sense of humor, his intense willpower, the gold flecks in his hazel eyes—and about our life together in all its hectic, overwhelming joy. I can't wait to see where this next chapter of life takes us.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Wedding Wednesday: Bachelor(ette) Party on the Connecticut Shore

We had one of the best weekends ever on August 5-6. Roger's incredible friends from college planned a joint bachelor(ette) party for us at Emily's grandparents' house in Westbrook, CT. We figured it would just be a little get together by the beach, but the HWS crew took it a mile further with fun decorations, silly sailor hats (Roger and I got captain hats, and mine has a veil attached to it), and cute games. Any time we're all able to get together is a special time, but with all these fun little things, they really made it such a perfect weekend for us.

On Friday, after a bit of work in the morning, we packed up our things (including a bunch of beers we wanted to taste before serving them at the wedding), and hit the road down to Westbrook. Funnily enough, we packed more for this trip than we did for our week in Latvia last month, but I wore almost everything I brought!

Roger worked in the car while I drove, and when we arrived, we had lunch at Johnny Ad's in Old Saybrook on the recommendation of Salt Water New England. The lobster roll was totally stellar and I loved their clam fritters, but I was less in love with their clam chowder.

After that, I dropped Roger off at a Starbucks so he could finish work and went to pick Molly up from the train station. She and I headed to the Old Saybrook town beach, which was quiet and lovely. Parking is apparently only for residents, but we arrived at 4pm and didn't have any trouble finding a spot or getting a ticket. The water was super shallow, but we went for a quick dip and then hung out on the sand for a while, until Christine and Cece joined us.

At around 6pm, it was time to pick up Roger and head over to Westbrook to meet the rest of the crew and check out the house. Emily's grandparents were incredibly generous in lending us their gorgeous beach house for the weekend, and having such a beautiful and comfortable spot to spend the weekend helped make this trip as relaxing and perfect as it was.

Cede surprised us with some amazing nautical decorations she'd made, which really added to the festivities. The highlight were problem the sailor hats she got for everyone, except Roger and me, who had captain's hats. Mine had a veil on it! I also got everyone these sweet koozies, which turned out to be adorable and really high quality. 

Emily and James made us their signature tacos and we all spent the evening catching up. At one point, Roger and I were asked to play the Jefferson version of the Newlywed Game, which involved each of us trying to guess the other's answers to questions like, "Windows or doors?" and "First graders or fourth graders?" ... Don't ask.

On Saturday, we woke up to a rainy, gray morning, but by around 10am, things had cleared up enough for a walk on the beach. When we returned, Laura had made her signature Latvian pancakes!

At lunch time, we all wandered over to Lenny and Joe's Fish Tale for lobster rolls and other assorted seafood goodies. Christine took what might be my new favorite photo of us, and Dave photobombed us.

After lunch, we all took a dip in the sound and played some board games before getting ready for our boozy sail on the Connecticut River. Emily had organized a sail on the Onrust, a replica of the 1614 vessel that Adriaen Block used to explore the Connecticut. It has a fascinating history made for a gorgeous sunset sail. This is the first year it's in Connecticut after being built in New York, so it was fun to have taken it up one of its original paths. It sails out of Essex, CT, which is one of the most adorable towns I've ever been in, and that's saying a lot considering I live in the Upper Valley now.

We had completely perfect weather for it, with a breeze that let us sail for almost the entire portion of the trip in both directions, and just enough sun that it stayed warm without being too hot. We brought some wine and beer, and a few of the other people on the boat had cheese plates. It was my favorite part of a favorite week. If you have a chance to take a sail on the Onrust, I would absolutely recommend you do! It's run out of the Connecticut River Museum, which we unfortunately arrived too late to check out, and it's a lovely way to spend an evening.

The Jeffersons! (And Jeff's best photobomb yet!)

We grabbed dinner at the Griswold Inn, a fantastic historic inn right in Essex that has an enormous and tasty restaurant and a really fun bar. Emily revealed that her grandparents like their piano player so much that they hired him for one of their parties in New Jersey. He definitely had the whole bar singing! The Griswold brews their own beer and their food was excellent. It was such fun to sit at the head of the table with some of my favorite people in the world and just enjoy a moment of transition and love.

At home, we all enjoyed more beers and togetherness before calling it a night.

The next morning was one more swim in the sound (what a delight to be able to wake up and go swimming!), more board games, and pin the tail on the whale, courtesy of Cece's awesome painting skills.

This weekend was the most perfect weekend I've had in months. We've been so stressed with house renovations and wedding plans, and being able to relax in a house with our nearest and dearest for a few days on the shore was restorative. The last time I remember being this giddy with excitement was  at the US Open last August. We went in expecting to have a lovely weekend at the beach, but our friends are so incredibly thoughtful and fun that they surprised us with something a lot more special. Thanks, guys! You are really nine in a million, and we can't wait to celebrate Dirty Thirty with you over Columbus Day!

Thursday, August 3, 2017

A Perfect Vermont Weekend with Molly

Can you believe we live across the street from this amazing swimming hole?

This weekend, Molly came up to visit! It was almost exactly a year since our first big trip to Vermont, so it was great to be able to think back on everything we've done since then! We had a lot to do around the house, so I'm hopeful that she had a good time and we balanced out all our arguing about tile in two separate trips to Home Depot with a few fun swimming holes and trips!

On Saturday, we got up pretty early and grabbed McWhits to enjoy at King Arthur Flour, where we explored all their incredible baking wares and got coffee.

Afterward, we made our way to Strafford to check out the meeting house and Old City Falls, a gorgeous waterfall and swimming hole that was previously the site of the main Strafford town when it was first chartered in 1761.

In the afternoon, we headed down the road to Sweetland Farm, where Literary North was hosting a great poetry reading at Poetry and Pie. I was worried when we moved here that we might not be able to find as much of a poetry community as I had in New York, but there's tons of interesting work happening here and wonderful people to share it with.

In the evening, we did more work around the house (filled up a whole dumpster!) and made a big dinner to share. While we were eating cheese outside, we kept hearing this strange noise in the distance, something I could only assume was a dragon. We didn't think much about it, but on Sunday morning, we woke up to the same sound and saw a hot air balloon landing in the field across the street! It was pretty incredible to wake up to.

On Sunday we checked out another swimming hole, right across from our house, and then did a fair amount of house work and hanging about. I can't think of a better way to spend the weekend!

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Wedding Wednesday: Wedding Blogs

Oh, I miss the days of wedding bloggers! I started reading them in 2009, when my friend Allison got married. She was the first of my friends to get engaged, and I fell in love with A Practical Wedding and the community of smart women I found over there. I'm still in near-daily contact with many of them. It's one of the great joys of my life to have found such a brilliant community all through the power of the internet.

Today, though, no one is wedding blogging but me. I'm sure that's a vast exaggeration, and of course I know A Practical Wedding is still going very strong, but I haven't been reading it much in the last few years, and of course the women I met in 2009 have little reason to blog about their weddings now, eight years on.

I've been re-reading some older entries about marriage and wedding planning from some of my favorite bloggers. They don't, of course, all apply to us (one of the nice things about being an "older bride" as one of my coworkers called me the other day, is that I'm able to let go of a lot of things I know would have caused me stress a few years ago), but they're wonderful and comforting and a little bit of a blast from the past.

If you'd like to join me in a walk down memory lane, here are some of my favorites:

Better In Real Life - Lauren has always told it like it is, and reading her back entries has been such a joy. Now, I really appreciate her being honest about the moment when, upon entering their own wedding, they weren't sure what they were supposed to do, and how awkward it felt. Describing how we got engaged (and frankly, getting engaged) felt so awkward to me, and it's nice to know that I'm not the only one who isn't always sure how to behave in real life sometimes.

The Culinary Couple - Emily recorded their wedding planning process in such precise detail, and managed to make every bit of it sound joyful. This has been one of my favorite blogs for years and years, and the wedding planning posts are a wonderful way to get introduced to this wonderful family.

HitchDied - Robin is hilarious and approached wedding planning with a beautiful mix of empathy and hilarity. She also reviewed wedding movies, which was incredible, and then moved to South Africa after getting married and podcasted from there. I wish she still blogged, but I'm so happy to have her archives!

Let the Tide Pull Your Dreams Ashore - E and J basically have my fantasy life, and reading about all the details of planning this incredible wedding was fantastic. I secretly dreamed that our wedding would look just like this. It won't, frankly, but I think I'm coming to terms with that. Life doesn't often look the way we want.

Elefantitas Alegres - Kate actually blogs over here, but she started that blog after recapping her wedding on EAD. It's another one of those beautiful weddings that look nothing like ours, and I appreciate how candid and fun she was about planning, and about their life post-marriage.

Hey Shaelyn - PSYCH! Shaelyn didn't blog about her wedding (that I know about...) but she had this amazing knack for blogging about the coolest stuff in the world. Read it even if you're not wedding planning!