The Reception

I ended my last post with looking back on my brother’s wedding ceremony a month ago (to get caught up see: The Wedding).  After the ceremony we left the Moseng house and headed to the Sons of Norway downtown Poulsbo. Luke and I carpooled with my in-laws and arrived quickly after most of the bridal party.

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Everything looked wonderful just as we had set it up the night before (see The rehearsal). The head table was decorated with a full yellow table cloth  and crocheted runner. Mason jars lined the head the table prepped for placing the bridesmaid bouquets in. The table was set with an eclectic collection of tea cups and blue glass plates.

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Each yellow monogramed napkin was folded in it’s place. As we settled in I saw the MC/DJ was setting up by the favor table prepped with crates full of mini jars of spiced apple jam. People were beginning to fill into the guest tables and mingle looking at family pictures, signing the guest book, and writing adviced cards.

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Guests began to line up for coffee punch in glass cups, hot coffee, or tea.  Once drinks were served the line for the create-your-own snack at the trail mix bar grew quickly.

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When all the guests arrived, the wraps, sandwiches and fruit salad were laid out and once again a food line began to form. Once the bride and groom had arrived the fun began. Sparkling Cider was poured for all guests as Stina’s father, her sister, and my brother’s Best Man Andy gave toasts. Following Matt and Stina had their first dance then Stina danced with her father and last my brother danced with my mother.

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Then all married couples were asked on the dance floor. During a basic waltz the MC called out numbers if a couple had been married less than that number they were asked to leave the dance floor. Luke and I knew enjoyed our 45 second dance then twirled off when “one” was announced. The last remaining couple had been married more than 60 years and Stina gave them one of the bridal bouquets.

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After this the traditional folk dancing began. All the Moseng siblings and their now spouses danced together. Then the Moseng parents joined in another couples dance.  Last it was our turn.

Stina’s mother Lisa came to the mic to instruct us as all were welcomed on the dance floor to learn a few Norwegian folk dances. The first dance was basic, taught to the first graders but by the third or fourth dance the number of steps had increased dramatically. Although there were many mistakes and moments of confusion it was a great way to meet other wedding guests and share in the local and family culture. After trying to do a “Grand March” through the many people on the dance floor the folk dancing ended.

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Stina and Matt of course also did the bouquet and garter toss. This was my first wedding other than my own to not be in line for the bouquet. One of my cousins got the garter at my wedding and this time his older brother got Stina’s.

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The plates were then cleared and Matt and Stina went to cut the traditional European wedding cake. White cake with raspberry and bavarian cream filling was served alongside refills of coffee and tea. The dance floor was opened once again to classic slow dancing and swing music.

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Slowly the non-relative members of the bridal disappeared to decorate the couple’s car. As dancing continued Stina and Matt talked with friends and family guests. Those who traveled from Oregon began to leave having a long day and a car ride to get home.  My family wandered out to the terrace overlooking the waterfront on this beautiful sunny Washington day as Stina and Matt got ready to leave.

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We all gathered outside in the parking lot prepped with bubbles to shower the newlyweds as they left for their honeymoon. When Matt and Stina arrived at his CRV we all pitched in to clear the windshield of Oreos, the sun visors from rice or glitter, the inside of the car from balloons filled with glitter (among many other things). Every window was covered with writing and of course there was a string of cans tied to the back bumper. After a little frustration trying to clean off the car they were off to catch a ferry ride to their hotel for the night.

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Luke and I had a red eye flight to catch that evening back to New York so we took some time to say goodbye and thank you to the bridal party, Stina’s family, and then our own. We headed back to the hotel with Luke’s parents, changed and packed for the airport. Then we left for Seattle for one last night in Washington (see Little Norway and the Emerald City ).

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August 3rd was a beautiful day and it was such a wonderful wedding. Every detail was noticed and appreciated. It takes a lot of work to pull all the the pieces together but with everyone working together the day went pretty smoothly. I was so glad Luke and I could be there to celebrate in such an important day in my brother’s life.

Our First Vacation

We moved to Corning New York the week of Thanksgiving and since then we’ve stayed here. So it has been almost 6 months since we have seen any of our family face-to-face. But we are very excited that today we are headed back home!

My brother is graduating for college (yay!).  Fortunately my brother’s college is less than an hour away from my in-laws home. We decided this was our chance to spend time with almost all our family (both Halvorsons and Greenes) and celebrate and we do have a lot to celebrate.

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The Halvorson side minus grandparents

The Greene side minus grandma and Luke's bro

The Greene side minus grandma and Luke’s bro

This is our first true married vacation together (unless you want to count the honeymoon). So it has taken some work to figure  out responsibilities in order to get us ready to travel from coast-to-coast. I think ahead about all the little details including seeing what the weather will be like, writing and packing cards, and planning out outfits based on the activities we have going on.  Luke on the other hand focuses on the big picture, the travel plans themselves, and is completely comfortable throwing clothes in a carry-on bag the morning of the flight.

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There is nothing wrong with doing things differently it is why we are a great team. But my goal is to make sure we don’t assume the other person took care of something before leaving only to realize neither one of us did as we our on our ride to the airport.

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We are excited and anxious to be back in the northwest and to see some of our closests friends and family. The past few days leading up to vacation felt like they dragged on. But we are finally here! With snacks, movies, and books packed for the flights we are ready to take off. So I will see you all in a week. By then I’ll have plenty of pictures and stories to share. 🙂

A story definition of self-judgement

A few weeks ago I had one of those days that sent me into a stressed, frustrated fit.

Luke and I had taken time to relax most of the weekend and now it was time to get some business done.

Unfortunately nothing seemed to go right. We both had our independent  “tasks” to accomplish. But due-to elements I have no control over I ended up needing Luke’s help on my “independent” tasks and he needed my help for his.

Also, I am one of those “work first play later” types. I’d rather get work done during the day so there is time to relax in the evening.

But at 10pm I was still doing prep-work for the coming week and Luke was working on banking paperwork. At this point my tolerance for what was out of my control disappeared. When I saw the clock I got angry. Thinking about what was still left  to do, my hope for a few minutes to relax before going to sleep was gone.

It took me a long time (and some help from Luke) before I calmed down. When I did I recognize  I was mostly upset with myself.   It did not matter that the pattern of how events occurred during day were out of my control-I somehow still found a way to accuse myself for the day’s problems. I felt as though I had failed.

Why? Because that is what I do: I judge myself. I determine my worth and evaluate my success by my own internal and flawed standards. And once this introvert succumbs to those feelings of failure/inadequacy all self-confidence deflates. I find myself paralyzed; kicking myself while I am down. I point a finger and ask “how could you?” or “you should know better” or “you should have/could have done better”.

This is just one story definition of how self-judgment prevents me from having a proper perspective of myself and events around me. I find myself feeling the need to apologize for what is not my fault. Then it takes conscious effort to recognize it is not my fault, that the day was a success, and that my self-worth is not based in my accomplishments/or lack there-of.

Like I said before, I am my harshest critic.

Are you seeing a better picture of why it is important for me to become judgment-free?

Do you also suffer from put-yourself-down-itis?

Becoming Mrs. ______________

It is interesting, in American culture, once a woman becomes engaged it is all about preparing for a wedding.

It is only after you get married the government asks: “are you sure?  . . . is this relationship worth the red-tape?”.

I don’t question the decision to get married. But the weight of what I consider to be a permanent legal change did not hit until I had to fill out piles of government paperwork. (I even learned to bring a personal profile of all my legal documents with me places to show proof of my name change.)

For those of you who are/will be engaged soon, let me give you a heads up on the legal stuff required after you get married to become Mrs. ___________:

1.  Your officiant has to sign and deliver the marriage certificate to the country clerk within 10 days after the wedding. Then you can file for copies which includes having your paperwork notarized. Once you pay the fee and mail off the paperwork you wait.

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2. Eventually you receive copies (more than one is helpful) of your marriage certificate. You can then file to change your last name with Social Security. This  requires another form, another fee, copy of your marriage certificate, and your passport/birth certificate. Then you wait again.

3. When your new social card comes you can go to the DMV! At the DMV you need your social, copy of marriage cert., your license, and of course the name changing forms. You take a new photo, pay another fee, and wait.

4. When you will get your new driver’s license  you can apply for a new passport! For this you need copy of your marriage cert., your old passport, new passport photos, the name changing forms, and another fee.

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So yes becoming Mrs. __________ on Facebook is the easiest thing you will do.

You don’t know how many times I became confused as to when to write/sign my maiden name and when to write/sign my married name. (Let’s just say I had to fill out some forms more than once.)

For any women the journey of adjusting to a new personal identity, becoming  Mrs. _________ is greater than the legal name-changing saga. Every piece of paperwork in the name-changing process or new piece of mail addressed to a Mrs. ________ is a reminder of a permanent change in social and lifestyle status. After four months of marriage I am still asking myself: who is Mrs. Amanda Greene ? What is or will be different about my identity or roles as Mrs. Greene over when I was Ms. Halvorson?

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Although my name changing process is finally over my  journey to become Mrs. Greene, to adjust to the meaning behind the name-change, has just begun.

For those recently married: any thoughts to share on adjusting to new roles/identity?

Any other newlyweds find it takes awhile for the name-change to sink in?

Dispelling Marriage Myths

Although I like to think of myself as serious minded and realistic, I cannot ignore the fact that media affects me and what I believed about marriage. I know I definitely fit into the category of “newly wed” but there are some media-induced myths about being married that I’d like to dispel.

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1. You can still feel lonely

Although your spouse does “complete you” they are not your  “everything”. Luke is not my co-worker, student, girl-friend, parents, or God. As we are still adjusting to a new area most weeks he is the only person I have a conversation with that does not end in “thank you and have a nice day!” So yes, sometimes it can get lonely. Sometimes I wish our conversations would go deeper than talking about taxes or planning out our meals (and sometimes they do). But I would be abusing his role in my life to treat him like and expect him to be everyone and everything to me.

Can you imagine the pressure I would be putting him under to fulfill more roles than he was meant to? (I’m pretty sure he did not vow to that). He is my husband and that is very important to me, but opposite to what the media portrays, his role in life is not to succumb to my every whim. Although I am less lonely than I was before he was apart of my life, he is not “all I will ever need in the world”.

2. Your personal problems and insecurities don’t go away.

In fact they are highlighted by how you interact with and treat your spouse.  It amazes me that in the most unexpected moments the lies I believe about myself (you know the ones in your head “I am   . . . ” “I have too little/too much” . . . “I will never be” etc.) get in the way of clear communication. I can easily misinterpret an attempt at encouragement to be an expectation on how I need to live my life!  It is true, we make each other better people-but it is exactly that make, it doesn’t happen automatically or easily, it is what we choose to do.

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Because in reality your spouse is a mirror/window into your self. And Yes! sometimes that can be scary. Honestly: if you don’t like facing your problems and insecurities-don’t get married! The positive thing is that you have someone who thoroughly knows you and  has committed to love you who will help you work through those issues.

Well there is more I’m sure where this comes from.

But now it is your turn:

Those that are married-you find this to be true for yourself?

Any stories about relationships you are willing to share?

Any advice for the newly-wed on other myths that need to be busted?

What the Fridge tells Us

I love to stay organized.

I always have a monthly calendar, an organizer, and sticky notes to put on my computer, bedroom mirror, or car dashboard. If someone begins to list more than 3 steps or ingredients to me-my hands start itching to find pen and paper (just ask my parents or previous roommates).

Luke loathes making lists, and only will if he is absolutely overwhelmed. Otherwise the lists can make him feel overwhelmed. He makes fun of how excited I get when I receive pens and sticky notes in my Christmas stocking.

But when we got married and Luke started his new job I knew we needed some way to stay organized. The answer: the fridge.

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    In my search for organization I went to Target and found whiteboard calendars from a division of Mead called organizher.

I bought a weekly calendar that we keep on the freezer door. I told Luke this is the one he should look at. On it I will write Home, or Out so he knows if I am driving him to work/taking the car for the day (did I mention before that we currently share a car). I also list what days/times we plan to exercise or any important events during the week.

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Also every Sunday night we decide on our home-cooked dinners for the week and write them out on the weekly calendar.  We have made a few favored repeats in the last few months but still enjoy changing it up and seeing new recipes works.

Then on the fridge door is the monthly calendar. I told Luke this is the one he doesn’t have to look at. Here I write down holidays, big events, and my blog schedule (yes I confess I have on of those too).

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We keep a green super sticky Post-it Notes pad for a grocery list on the freezer door. If there are any events we have tickets to or have a flyer for we are apt to stick that to the freezer door with a magnet. My favorite magnet is one from a friend of Pikes Place Market in Seattle.

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Also, on the side of the microwave we keep a list of business or serious talks we want to have. That way we can plan when to talk and feel prepared going into the discussion.

But I think Luke’s favorite form of fridge-communication is seeing my blue mixing bowl on top of the fridge. This means baked goodies, usually muffins, for breakfast.

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The current baked treats are carrot-apple oatmeal muffins.

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What does your fridge communicate?

Do you post an emergency contacts list, your children’s drawings, pictures of friends or family, notes/reminders to roommates, letter or word magnets to spell out funny poems or messages?

Do you own any fun or funky magnets shaped like fruit, sushi, or vintage pictures with sarcastic sayings?

Please feel free to share pictures.

I miss my old life

I miss my old life  . . . but l enjoy my new one

It’s funny what you think you’ll miss versus what you actually do. When I was eighteen away at college I missed my friends, my house, and my parents. But this is a whole different type of homesickness. I miss my old life.

I had a very full life in SoCal.

But before I get started: This is an interactive blog: click on any picture/logo and/or words in orange to find out more

I miss:

Coffee talks with friends at Coffee Klatch or  Classic Coffee

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Hosting prayer time and events with college students from Life Pacific College

Going out to eat for a weekly catch-up with my parents

Knowing all the street names and not having to get directions

Going to get Korean BBQ in LA at O-Dae San and Yogurtland with our LPC friends

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My jobs at ELS La Verne, the writing center at Azusa Pacific University, and  tutoring

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Working with and learning from the international community

Calories being posted on every menu when you got out to eat

Going to get my mani-pedis with my mom

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Easy access to my comfort foods: Thai Curry and Mexican Food

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Getting snacks from Trader Joe’s

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Finding excuses to get a The Cake Mamas‘ cupcake

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Yet I remember also what I do not miss:

How chaotic my life schedule was

How much I struggled working around or with Luke’s night shifts

Not getting enough time to myself or with God.

The constant noises: trains, helicopters, airplanes, neighbor’s dogs, ambulances and police cars

The lack of any semblance of routine

My stress level with school, job, dating, or just balancing it all

Not being spiritually fed

Struggling to find time for hobbies or exercise

The blistering hot days and asthma inducing smog

The traffic

(no need for pics of those )

A lot of the things we did not enjoy about the LA area and our place in life we kept in mind in praying for our next location. So to end this on an encouraging note:

What I enjoy about where I live now:

A great church where I am being challenged on Sunday mornings Victory Highway

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A rented-home to ourselves

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A routine that includes Luke having a regularly scheduled salary job

A guarantee that I can see Luke each day

No traffic

No loud neighborhood noises

Clear and crisp hair

Hiking and camping locations close by

Several big and small lakes to explore or kayak

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I’m looking forward to posting my own picture that look like this in the fall

Hills and rivers running through town

Finding time to exercise at the Ymca

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Finding time for starting up old hobbies (like blogging) or learning new ones

Getting enough quiet time alone or with God

Good sushi Tuna II, Chinese Corning Class, and Indian food Thali of India close by

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Most of all we are enjoying the adventure of being on our own, knowing that we are exactly where we are meant to be