Going to the Chapel…

I’m so behind on posting what’s been going on in my life. I went to New York City for my SIL’s bachelorette party, we celebrated Christmas and New Year’s, Finley turned six months (probably skipping that update since she’s almost seven months), and there were other both fun and mundane events. Maybe I’ll go back and share those moments, and maybe not.

However, I most definitely wanted to document Erin and Dan’s (my sister in law and now brother-in-law) wedding. It was an amazing weekend!

Brody and I flew out the day after Christmas. That was a whole debacle; in short, our second leg of the flight was delayed by three hours before we even left Madison, but luckily Delta found us a different flight which got us into Baltimore two hours earlier than we were originally supposed to arrive. Amazing!

Finley stayed at our house with my mom and sister. While we would’ve loved to have brought her, it didn’t make sense. Brody and I were both standing up in the wedding. We briefly considered bringing my mom along, but then we’d be paying for another ticket and another hotel room. Plus, it would all disrupt Finley’s life and would pretty much suck for my mom. So although it was hard on us as parents, it was best for Finley.

We met Brody’s mom and Bridget and JP in the Baltimore airport, picked up our rental car, and drove to Easton, Maryland where the wedding festivities would take place.

Thursday night, after dropping off our bags in our rooms, we met everyone who was in town already in the restaurant/bar area of the hotel. We ate, drank, and chatted with friends and family. It was the night I drank the most out of our stay there. It was the only night I needed to pump and dump.
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Brody enjoying a “hot nut”

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Not sure what I’m doing here…

Friday morning, Brody went to a coffee shop to do some work while I relaxed in bed and read a book (American Wife if you were wondering). I met Erin and my MIL for lunch at this cute restaurant. Having only eaten a banana, Larabar, and cup of grapefruit slices, I was starving. I ordered an Italian sandwich with a cup of the tomato bisque soup, both of which I housed. My MIL commented how much I eat and how small I am – I took it as a compliment 🙂

The three of us walked back to the hotel and met up with all the ladies (bridesmaids, friends, and family) who wanted to get their nails done. Initially I was only going to get my nails done, but my feet were in need of some love, so I splurged and got a pedicure as well.

The rehearsal began at 4:30pm and went smoothly. Erin and Dan asked Dan’s aunt and uncle to officiate the wedding, and there was also the hotel’s event coordinator there to help.

The rehearsal dinner was at an Italian restaurant in Easton. The owner shut down the restaurant for the party, and it was cool to have the whole place to ourselves. Brody and I both had a pasta dish with chicken, roasted red peppers, and artichokes in a cream sauce. It was so yummy and rich. One funny moment of the evening was when Brody stood up to thank Dan’s family for hosting the dinner and to congratulate his sister and Dan. Instead of saying “Erin,” however, he said my name. Ha! This has happened before, and is an easy mistake to make with both of our names starting with vowels. Brody didn’t realize his error initially, but everyone else did. We all got a good laugh out of it.

After the dinner, the party moved to a bar. With a full belly of pasta, it was difficult to drink; nothing sounded good. Plus, the bar was very crowded. I think Brody and I called it a night around 11pm. I wanted to be well-rested and not have icky looking skin the next day for the wedding.

WEDDING DAY! The bridesmaids all met in the lobby and walked to the salon. One of the bridesmaid’s husbands was in charge of picking up bagels and orange juice (and champagne of course), so we snacked on those while getting our hair done. I was hoping to do a low side bun thing, but surprise, surprise – I didn’t have enough hair, as it’s still falling out in clumps. (When does that stop????). She ended up pulling it half up and curling what was down. It looked nice, and I was happy.

Back at the hotel, the bridesmaids and my MIL met in the bridal suite to be with Erin as she put her dress on. She had shared a picture of the dress when she found it months ago, but it was even more spectacular in person. The layers of lace and the beadwork made it so elegant.

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Erin putting on her dress

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Putting on the final touches

Dan and Erin chose to take pictures before the wedding, so they had their “first look” before the ceremony. We then took pictures with the families and the bridal party.

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The navy dresses were from J. Crew, and the purples pashminas were gifts from Erin

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Action shot of Erin and some of her bridesmaids

It was then time for the ceremony. Dan’s aunt and uncle, who live in London, did an incredible job. They have officiated weddings before, but I’m sure this one was so much more special. They used the word love as an acronym as their theme (I’ve sadly already forgotten what each letter stood for) and shared personal stories from their marriage.

Post-ceremony was a cocktail hour, which I missed most of due to pumping, and then the reception.

My FIL gave a fabulous speech: he was sentimental (even got a little choked up) but then also had many people on their feet clapping and laughing when he said he had never imagined his new son-in-law would have less hair than he does. The night continued with a great dinner (crab cake – my second of the weekend), drinking, dancing, and spending time with friends and family.

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The happy couple’s first dance

Sunday morning, Brody, myself, JP, and Bridget, drove back to Baltimore to catch our respective flights. We arrived on time in Madison at 4pm and were greeted by my mom, sister, and Finley. I knew they were planning on bringing Finley but kept it a secret from Brody. He said he had a feeling they’d all be there, but it was still so sweet to see him rush down the stairs to see her.

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A picture my sister took as they all waited for Brody and I in the airport

I am very lucky to have a SIL who I would be friends with even if we weren’t related. The man she now calls her husband is also such a great person – Brody and Dan got along from the beginning. I foresee some joint family vacations in the future!

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Reunion via a Wedding

I had a really great weekend, and I hope you did too!

A high school friend got married, which means…informal HIGH SCHOOL REUNION!!!

Every time I get back together with high school friends in a big group, it feels so good and I have so much fun. It’s just easy – that’s the best way to describe it. We all decided to plan an annual summer reunion now that the weddings are winding down.

The reunion began on Friday when Rena came in to town. She lives in Ohio now – way too far from Wisconsin!

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Rena and Finley

Finley and I met Rena and her sister at Karben4 (supporting Appleton natives). The three of us shared the super board which had a variety of meats, cheeses, and dips and later finished with dessert.

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Chocolate tarte from Karben4

I don’t have a picture to prove it but I celebrated International Beer Day with a Lady Luck, a red ale. It was delicious.

Susan, a best friend of mine and my maid of honor (5 years ago!!!!), arrived Saturday afternoon with her husband. Along with Rena, they stayed at our house Saturday night. Susan had to finish getting ready for the festivities, and she had a little mishap.

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Susan and her black plastic covered bangs
Apparently when you set a hot flat iron on black plastic, it melts, adheres to the flat iron, and then sticks to your hair. Whoops! We all had a good laugh but luckily it came out.

My other high school friends stopped by for a drink before heading to the wedding. I miss these girls!

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High school friends (and Fin) pre-wedding

The wedding was in Edgerton at a place called Over the Vines. This was a beautiful venue for a wedding, and all of the details Bree and Nate put into it – wow!

The ceremony was outside and was sweet and informal. The bridesmaids wore coral dresses and cowboy boots and the groomsmen had tan suits with coral accents. The weather was perfect and made for great photo opportunities.

After Bree and Nate made it official, it was cocktail time.

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A group selfie to show off our mason jar mugs
Aren’t these glasses awesome? Personalized by the guests themselves. What a fun idea!

We took time from catching up and drinking to snap some pictures.

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Besties

The reception was held in an old barn on the property. Again, I cannot stress what a gorgeous setting it was for a wedding! You know what else was gorgeous? Bree and Nate.

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The happy newlyweds

We all had such a wonderful time, and thankfully have weddings that bring us all back together.

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High school friends together again

You may have noticed I didn’t mention Brody or Finley in my wedding recap. That’s because they had their own date at home. This was the longest I had ever been away from Finley and obviously the longest Brody had ever been alone with her.

Brody did awesome and had a wonderful time. Finley even smiled at him for the first time. We had both been nervous about the bottle situation (I’ll write about that in a future post), but she took the bottle at both feedings with no crying! I gave Brody his space to do his thing and only looked on the wifi video monitor a few times to see if she was sleeping.

I did very well being away from her. While I missed her and Brody, it was liberating to be an individual for a while again. There was only one moment where I felt some anxiety being away from her. This also makes me feel much more comfortable about leaving her with a babysitter next weekend while we go to the Great Taste of the Midwest with Bridget and JP.

Yay for weddings!

Questions:
What was the best wedding venue you’ve ever been to?
Mamas: How old was your little one the first time you left him/her for X hours? With a babysitter? Overnight?

Maryland – Eats and Drinks, Part Two

Yesterday was GO, GO, GO! Obviously I missed Jenn’s WIAW, but when choosing between living my life and blogging, I will always choose the former. Plus, last night Laura hosted Wine and Recipe Night, which is always so much fun. Expect a good recipe or two in the next couple days.

Now on to wrapping up my food experiences in Maryland…

A local who was handing out wine samples at the liquor store suggested The Narrows for the best crab cakes around. Once everyone arrived, we walked over and were seated right away. I really wanted the crab cake dinner which came with a choice of potato (I love restaurant baked potatoes!) but they were out of them. Instead I ordered the crab cake from the “light” part of the menu; this came with a salad, a very large crab cake and asparagus. The crab cake had barely any fillers – it was almost all crab! I tasted great, but unfortunately, due to the red wine and the conversation, I can’t say I truly savored it.

Crab cake dinner at The Narrows

The next morning all ten of us ate at Holly’s. We were loud, likely obnoxiously so to other customers, and had fun catching up without alcohol. Although the scrapple enticed me (to be read with heavy sarcasm), I went with a classic: two eggs, bacon, and toast.

Holly’s for breakfast

Isn’t Mason so good cute with his mohawk? Tina and her husband might be one of the best looking couples ever, so it makes sense that they’d produce beautiful offspring. I took this photo after breakfast outside of Holly’s.

Tina and her adorable son, Mason

Lizzie and Mike (and their families) went all out for their drinks and food: open bar and heavy appetizers. Their signature drink, Dark and Stormy, was refreshing. The best apps included the crab or lobster (not sure which one) bisque and the marinated artichokes.

Amy, Kristen and I enjoying cocktail hour outside after the wedding

We sat down for dinner and had to restrain ourselves from digging into this amazing salad until being welcomed to dinner and saying grace.

Salad course: Caesar salad

By the time the servers presented the entree, the sun had set, hence the crappy photo. Due to the wine, Dark and Stormies, heavy appetizers, and Caesar salad, my belly was full. But like the good eater I am, I ate the crab-stuffed shrimp and vegetables and left the steak and potatoes.

Main course: steak, crab-topped shrimp, vegetables, and potatoes

For dessert, they had a Viennese dessert bar with mini cheesecakes, almond cakes, chocolate-covered strawberries, and various other goodies. Servers didn’t cut the cake until 10:30pm, so when they walked around with slices, I gladly accepted a chocolate slice with buttercream frosting. My friends and I decided the frosting was incredible; it was light, fluffy and not overly sweet.

And that concludes my dietary adventures in Maryland. Kind of…I just remembered I may have stayed up to wait for Papa John’s. Yup, two slices of pizza at 1am. Gotta end a weekend of indulgences on a high note, right?

See you again soon!