A BLOG ABOUT A LITTLE BIT OF EVERYTHING

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Back: The First Days of the Semester

Brendan and I managed to successfully navigate our way through the first days of the semester. After over 15 weeks outside of the classroom, it's always a little strange going back: there's the struggle to wake up early, forgetting how to use classroom technology, and the process of learning all those new names. However, seeing the students and their first day excitement always puts me in a great mood. There is so much promise at the beginning of the semester, and I'm especially looking forward to the courses I'm teaching.

I'll be teaching at 8am five days a week this semester, as I took on some overload, and while this is new to me, I'm eager to see if I will be more productive when waking up early each day. Stay tuned.

The semester starting also means adjustments need to be made. I need to go to bed earlier and eat more throughout the day to stay energized. I need to figure out when I'm going to squeeze in those workouts. And finally, I need to reconcile that I don't have much longer to prepare for that fall conference.

Lately, I've found myself incredibly tired, hungry, and thirsty. Brendan sums it up: "My throat hurts, my stomach hurts, I'm tired, I have a mild headache." Such is readjusting to teaching. One may not think of teaching as a physically demanding job (certainly, there are more labor intensive jobs), but teaching requires being on your feet, talking (a lot!), and being really energetic first thing in the morning. It takes a lot out of you.

Thankfully, there is Labor Day, which always allows us to ease into the Fall semester. Brendan and I will be taking our first camping trip since April 2011 over this long weekend. Back in 2011, we went with some friends and used their gear. All this time, we haven't had our own camping stuff, until we were gifted it all as wedding presents. I'm looking forward to this fun reward for making it through my first week back!

Good luck to all of our teacher friends...we predict this will feel easier...in about 3 weeks. Hang in there!

<S, B, L&Z

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Backtracking: Our Wedding Ceremony

Once everyone was ready, it was time to go. We started almost on time, maybe five minutes late. 

Brendan designed our wedding program fans himself. The back listed the wedding party.



We did the seating of the grandparents and parents first, but my grandmother wasn't feeling up to going down the aisle, so it was Brendan's side only.




The groomsmen, groom, and officiant walked in together, while each of the bridesmaids walked down the aisle solo. This was a good solution to having an uneven wedding party. 



We didn't really intentionally plan the wedding for sunset, but it worked out nicely that way! 

We had a ring-bearer (Brendan's little cousin) and five flower girls (my little cousins), and they walked down the aisle to the viola and concert harp playing "Rainbow Connection" from the muppet movie. I picked that song for Brendan's mom because she watched the muppets with her kids when they were little. 





When it came to the kiddos, we told the parents what we had in mind, but let them pick out their own outfits. Everyone looked great, and no one had to buy anything specific. We had the kids sit with their parents after going down the aisle, because we figured they would like that better than standing in the heat. 


I had both of my parents walk me down the aisle to honor the role each of them has played in my life. I loved having them both there. 


It was really special to have our friends and family standing up with us. I really understood the true meaning of that during the ceremony. On my side, from back: Kelsey (friend since I was born), Lauren (college friend/roommate), Emily (friend since graduate school), Amanda (cousin), Annie (Brendan's sister), and Corley (friend since high school). On Brendan's side, from front: Justin, Bill, and Curtis (friend's since 2nd grade), Graham (my brother), and Cole (my friend since high school). 


I wanted to include our moms in the ceremony, but Brendan didn't want a unity candle. I came up with the idea to have our moms hold onto our rings. My Mom had Brendan's ring and Brendan's mom had my ring, so they could give them to us. It was really special and had a lot of meaning too. 



Ring exchange. I had something special engraved in Brendan's ring as a surprise. He didn't get to see it until after the ceremony. 

Our ceremony was religious, but also light hearted. It was a nice tone for us. 


And we really could not have asked for a more beautiful setting. 



Brendan and I both have MFAs in creative writing--fiction. We had two of our friends from graduate school, Erica and Michael, with MFAs in poetry pick and read a poem at our wedding. 



We wrote our own vows together and read each other the same vows. It was important to us to promise the same things. 


Finally, it was time for the kiss! 


I made a pretty crazy face here. I just couldn't believe we were married. 



We were so happy! It was time for pictures. As a gift to Brendan, I only scheduled about 25 minutes for photos (Brendan doesn't like taking them). Some couples take an hour or longer, but our photographer was great, and I had no regrets about our speedy portrait session. We really wanted to enjoy our reception with friends and family: that was our priority that day, and our photographer was super respectful of this. Our guests enjoyed cocktails and music by Angelic Strings while we took photos. 


Ushers (end) were Stephen (my cousin) and Aaron (Brendan's cousin). 




We had the cutest wedding party ever. 





And the best looking families too!





I don't know how our photographer did it, but she got everything we wanted super fast! 

All photos taken by Amy Kate Photography in Austin, TX 



Corley and Amanda bustled me up and Brendan grabbed a beer...we were married, and it was time for the reception...

Friday, August 23, 2013

Backtracking: Our Wedding, Getting Ready

The day of the wedding was such a whirlwind. While Brendan and his crew headed to Barton Springs, my mom hosted a Bridesmaid's luncheon at Chez Zee for the moms, bridesmaids, and me. Having lunch with my favorite people at my favorite place was a good way to calm things down. It was definitely starting to feel real!



We then headed to the salon, Blast Blowdry in Austin, TX for hair and make up. For the most part, we had the place to ourselves. Everyone at Blast was awesome. They did a great job and brought us champagne and were a generally calming presence.

Corley
Lauren
Everyone brought their bags and robes, which were my gift to all the bridesmaids (side note: we gave thank you gifts to 27 people, talk about a large wedding party!):


I felt SO tired, but Corley kept reassuring me the adrenaline would kick in. I think I fell asleep several times while getting my hair done. The week had just been so busy!


I felt very lucky to be surrounded by my amazing bridal party and the moms. The day with them was so fun, and probably the only time I'll have them all together at once. LOVE these girls.

Amanda, Corley, Lauren, Me, Kelsey, Emily, and Annie in our robes! 
Once we were done at Blast, we headed home to pick up my dress, which we thought might be locked in my mom's house. This really freaked me out, but luckily, we were able to get into the house through the garage and Corley and Amanda chilled me out.

At the Barr Mansion, the guys were getting ready downstairs, while we got ready upstairs. Brendan and I had not seen each other since the night before, and we wanted to keep it that way, so every time I went to the bathroom, I had to have a lookout team!

Amy Kate Photography in Austin, TX arrived to take our photos. Amy Kate was amazing to work with. We told her our main priority was enjoying the day, with not a lot of time focused on photos. She was very respectful of this, and even with limited time allotted for pictures, took so many amazing shots.






Upstairs, it was time to put on my dress.


At that point, my adrenaline really did kick in, as Corley had predicted. I was on cloud nine and kept saying "I can't believe this is happening!" Brendan and I had sent each other gifts, and his sweet card had made me so happy. (These 2 are my photos):

Brendan got cuff links with our married monogram (I took this photo at a later event). 

The solid strand of pearls is from Brendan, the other is my "something borrowed," a bracelet his grandfather gave to his grandmother when they were dating (maternal side). 
I had my something old (monogramed handkerchiefs from my grandmother), something new (the dress and veil!), something borrowed (see above) and something blue (panties). I even had a sixpence for my shoe. I got some help with the veil (a gift from Brendan's mom), and then I was really ready.





Outside, my little cousins (flower girls) and Brendan's little cousin (ring-bearer) took some photos. Some people couldn't believe we were having so many kids in our wedding, but they all did great, and it was really special to have them be a part of our day. I love all these kiddos!


Outside, the musicians, the amazing viola/harp and husband/wife team Angelic Strings, were playing, and the guests were seated.


It was time to go (and I was definitely ready to start). I was SO ready to marry Brendan...
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