Friday, August 31, 2012


It couldn't have been a happier weekend! Alex and Aly were married last Saturday, and I need to write everything down before I forget - although my friend Jeani assured me I never would.

Aly's mom, Lucy, made these flags. Everyone had them at the ceremony and waved them when Alex stepped on the wine glass. The "Mazel Tov!" was resounding!
After arriving from Michigan last Wednesday at dinnertime and spending Thursday running errands and other wedding preparations (little things like the marriage license), the girls arrived from Iowa and we had a wonderful family dinner. With wine. Lots of wine. And then some of the kids' friends came over, and it was like old times when they all lived at home - except with wine. And LAUGHTER! My stomach and face seriously were aching!

(I should preface this all by saying that the summer here has been horrible - no rain for 70-plus days, with temps in the 90's and 100's. It was a cool week (80's) leading up to the wedding with an increasing chance of rain - and we were planning an outdoor wedding at Lauritzen Gardens.)

We had a lovely bridesmaid / mom luncheon (thank you, Cari, for arranging such a great menu!), and while the girls had their nails done, I went to the hotel to check in and visit with family and friends. We had decided to stay downtown where all the fun was instead of driving the half hour out to West O. (Good decision!)

The rehearsal was at 4:00. It had sprinkled a bit during the day, so walking in the grass wasn't the easiest:
On my tippy-toes trying not to sink
I know there are incriminating photos of me somewhere in my Catholic schoolgirl uniform (with or without slide rule), so you know I'm not Jewish, but as this was to be a Jewish wedding, I'll do my best to explain some of the traditions.

After the rehearsal itself, Alex and Aly signed the ketubah, which is the marriage contract. The wording is beautiful, and the ketubah itself is a work of art. It was witnessed by both sets of parents. At this point, they were basically married.

We had a few minutes between the rehearsal itself and the rehearsal dinner, so we went back to the Embassy Suites and had time for a quick glass of wine with the fam before we headed the two blocks over to the restaurant. And oh - it had started drizzling.

The rehearsal dinner was a wonderful time; we met all of Aly's extended family, her family met ours, and our out-of-town guests were able to be there too. And at the end of the evening, we were joined by some of our in-town guests. (I love our friends!) The slide show was fabulous - Lucy had warned me to bring extra kleenex, and she was right. Seeing those two kids as little babies had me in tears. As did Dwight's toast:

As did MY toast. I apologize to everyone who had to wait for me to regain composure. But as I prefaced my toast, they were HAPPY TEARS!

As it did on our wedding day 31 years ago, it rained on Alex's and Aly's wedding day. (I know it's supposed to be good luck, but I think they just say that so the bride doesn't feel bad about it raining on her wedding.) But unlike Dwight and I, who got married in a Holiday Inn conference room because our outdoor wedding was ruined, Alex and Aly had the beautiful atrium of the botanical center:

One of my favorite parts of the ceremony is that Dwight and I both walked Alex down the aisle, then stood outside the chuppah.

The bridal party then followed, and then Aly was escorted by both her parents, who also stood outside the chuppah. The two of them then entered together, to signify the home that they will share. I can't even explain how it felt to look at Alex and Aly, surrounded by their parents, their best friends, and siblings, who were all in the wedding party. It was such a circle of love. And in the audience was everyone who loved them best.

Aly's mom, Lucy, made the chuppah cover. No one at the wedding saw this except the bride, groom, and rabbi, as it was embroidered in the center. I took this photo before the wedding, looking up:

No one saw this, either, unless you were under the canopy:

Time to stop blathering and just look at pretty pictures:

I love this photo!
The wine is a 2006 vintage, found by Lucy. It is the year Alex and Aly met.
The newlyweds!
Proud parents
MY groom!
My beautiful daughters
6/7 of the Harder kids. Missed you, Mick!
Mother-son dance (What A Wonderful World by Louis Armstrong)
Just one of the beautiful tables
The reception could not have been MORE FUN!!! The room was beautiful, the flowers were gorgeous, the food was delicious, and everyone was JUST SO HAPPY!!! Several of my friends have told me it was the most joyous wedding they had ever attended. I could not stop smiling! (And to be honest, I still am!) The Hava Nagila was everything I expected - and more! I knew Aly and Alex would be lifted up on the chairs, but I didn't know that they would first get Lucy and Kirk, and then me, followed by Dwight. It was incredible! (When Dwight sat down, he said that Alex said, "We're going to need some help here!") I am just glad for the sake of those boys that we both had lost some weight before the wedding!

All in all, it was a magical night that didn't end until about 3:30 a.m. Thanks to Kathy and Dave for sharing a bottle of wine with us when we got back to the hotel, and to the remnants of the wedding party who just needed some pizza because they hadn't eaten all day, to Lucy and Kirk for the gorgeous wedding, and to our boy and his beautiful bride for falling in love all those years ago. Mazel Tov!

(And thanks to Lucy and my brother Jeff for sharing their photos. While a few of the above are mine, I have relatively few. I will need to correct this before Erin's and Tim's wedding next summer!)

Monday, August 20, 2012

Have I been doing it wrong?

I bought some new socks the other week, and when I put them on, I noticed they were right and left-foot specific. Really? Maybe I've been wrong all these years...

It really has been awhile since I've posted, and it's not because nothing is happening. It's because too much is happening! I went to North Bend, Nebraska (the town so small it doesn't have a hotel) last week to play in the three-day State Senior Open. (Fremont, however, does have hotels!) My partner and I tied for third in the team event, and all I can say is thank goodness for Bev. I played okay the first day, and scored just a tad worse on each of the successive days. Bev, on the other hand, played lights out. The pro shop had such a limited selection of women's clothes that we used our credit to buy our husbands golf shirts. "We played so well in the tournament, Honey - here's a shirt for you!"

I haven't been neglecting my training even with all the craziness that is my life now. I only missed one run (really a run-walk, mostly walk) - a four-miler last week. Oh, and I cut a three-miler down to two because it was supposed to rain and I had to mow. (It didn't, I did). My long run for the week was nine miles, which I did on Sunday. The first six miles were really good, and then my body remembered that it has a disc issue. The next mile-and-a-half were pretty hurty, then it got good again, and then the last half mile was not so much fun. I came home and made lunch:

Leftover chicken with cilantro dressing, broccoli, garlic bread, lemonade, a plum, and DRUGS!
I haven't tried too many new recipes, something that I hope will change shortly. I am getting sick of everything I cook. Although I still do love my breakfasts:

Oatmeal with PB, brown sugar, and almond-coconut milk. And coffee.
PB bagel thin, cantaloupe, and juice. And coffee.
Lunches are by far my least favorite meal. Sometimes I just give up:

Most times I rummage and figure out something to do with leftovers:

Leftover salad and chicken in a tortilla with some buffalo sauce
And sometimes I'm even happily surprised, like when I cut up some garden cherry tomatoes and some baby cukes I got from a farm stand, mixed them with balsamic vinegar, a spritz of olive oil, and some freshly ground pepper. Nothing out of the ordinary there; in fact it's so common that we just call it Summer Salad. The surprise was when I cut the corn off a leftover ear I had cooked the night before and mixed it all together. Delish!

With some crackers and 2 mini-babybels
I made an old family stand-by last week for dinner. I can't remember where I got it, but if I had to bet, my money would be on Cooking Light from years ago. Or maybe Better Homes & Gardens. I would always make it when the kids were all home from college and I knew I had to feed a lot of people. It makes a TON, is good hot or cold, and it's pretty delicious. It has the imaginative name of Linguine with Capers, Olives, Tomatoes, and Feta. The recipe calls for a pound of linguine, but last week I used eight ounces, keeping the other ingredients the same.

I did try Halibut with Spicy Mint-Cilantro Chutney. Pretty delicious. Halibut is just so darn expensive; I wish I didn't like it so much!

And that brings us up to tonight's dinner: Turkey, Apple, and Swiss Melt. It was good with some baby carrots and apple slices, but it will be delicious this winter with some hearty soup.

And the number one reason I have been pretty busy lately:

To quote Emily, "Eeeeeeee!!!" The wedding is this weekend! Alex and Aly are coming home from Michigan on Wednesday, the girls are arriving Thursday, and the rest of the family on Friday. It will be a week-o-fun!

Don't worry - I'll tell you all about it next week!

Friday, August 3, 2012

Things that are keeping me from watching the Olympics 24/7 like I want to

This is how my life is right now
1. Alex and Aly's upcoming wedding! This was the whole reason I started this blog - to hold myself accountable so I wouldn't look gross in the wedding pictures. I actually feel pretty good about my progress. I am down 18 pounds and a bunch of inches. But who's counting? Oh yeah - ME!!!

Seriously. How cute are they?!
2.  And speaking of weddings, Erin and her Tim just got engaged! We have looked at two venues this week, one in Omaha and one in Des Moines. We're not even done with the first wedding and we're planning another for next summer. They are both such happy occasions!

Tim not only has good taste in women, but in diamonds as well!
3.  This half-marathon training plan: I am proud to say that I have not missed a "run" (and by run I mean walk/jog) yet. I was prepared to just coast last weekend as our friends were here from Chicago for the annual Member-Guest tournament at our club, but Kathy is an avid walker and didn't give me an excuse to sit around. We did a two-mile walk, a three-mile walk, AND a 7.5-mile walk. Go us! As a reward, we ordered some wine and peanut butter / bacon bruschetta with a honey / hot pepper flakes dipping sauce. OMG. 

4.  And since I mentioned golf... While I have been getting out there, I have been playing like absolute crap. The only reason I am mentioning it is that it consumes far too much time for such awful results. To take up even more time, I am playing in the State Senior Open in a few weeks - just because it's with girlfriends and I've done it for the past three years. I'll have to see how I do in the bottom flight, which I'm sure is where I'll be. So let's see: a game I'm not loving right now, that I'm PAYING to be humiliated in, and spending three days away from home the week before my son's wedding. WTF.

5.  Our Hotel for Wayward Cats. Emily is doing quite a bit of traveling this summer, so she asked if we'd watch Chloe and Charlie. As our two don't mind sharing their home with others we happily agreed. Omaha Chloe and Charlie are much nicer that Des Moines Chloe and Charlie. But still naughty:

Ours can't even get up here anymore. Nothing is safe with these two.
Because four cats were not enough, we decided to add one more. Erin and Tim brought their Martha home with them last week, and it turns out that Martha does not play well with others. She had Charlie cornered twice - and both times he was so scared that he pooped himself. Literally. Martha got to spend the rest of her vacation in the basement, but don't feel too sorry for her. She got the coolest part of the house, and had her own food, water, litter box, TV, and comfy couch.

6.  Pinterest. If you're on it, you know. I did find this little tidbit to help keep my feet moisturized and looking good. They are always so raggedy because I'm barefoot a lot, but this is a nice solution. Just cut the toes off a pair of socks that you don't like anymore, lotion up your feet, and put them on. Your feet don't get hot this way. You're welcome.

Thanks for the pedi, Emmy!
7.  A few months of craziness. As Dwight said the other week, "I feel so normal around you!"  And I wasn't even offended! My friend Nancy said I should say I'm "biochemically challenged". After playing around with different combinations of drugs, I think I'm fixed. Or at least not as broken as I was.

So here are just a few of the things I've been eating:

Just a chicken sandwich and cherries, but check out the cool bike dish towel I got from Aly and Alex
Look how beautiful our raspberry-infused vodka is! We are getting down to the bottom of last year's batch...
And my new favorite low-calorie mixer 
Mushroom, spinach, goat cheese, and tomato omelet
I needed something healthy: almond-coconut milk, protein powder, banana, peanut butter, and spinach
Ta-da! A green monster! (You seriously cannot taste the handfuls of spinach in here).
Lunch yesterday: whole wheat tortilla, 2 T almond butter, one sliced banana. And G2.
Easier to eat this way.
Breakfast this morning. Just mix these two together.
Seriously delicious. And filling.
Lunch today at Centro in Des Moines: a Centro salad with salmon added. I forgot to tell them to omit the onions.

So that pretty much brings me up to date. I have an 8-mile walk scheduled for tomorrow, and you can bet it will be early. It has been so god-awful hot here. When Emily called me right after my walk yesterday, I had to hang up because I was afraid I was going to pass out. I called her back once I was lying on the floor under the ceiling fan; I figured I wouldn't have as far to fall that way. She said she was just as sweaty after trying on Spanx at Von Maur.

Okay, time to watch me some Olympics!