31 July 2009

Little Things

I'm happy to report that we are back to reasonable summer temperatures, so I will hereby terminate my whining mode.

In other random news, we discovered last night that George and I married without first sorting out our Starburst preferences. As it turns out, we are perfectly compatible! George loves orange, hates red and pink, and is ambivalent about yellow while I love pink and red, hate orange, and feel ambivalent about yellow. Bullet dodged. :-)

29 July 2009

We're approaching the melting point.

Yes, we broke the record today. Seatac Airport recorded 103F (39C). I'm pretty certain it was warmer than that here in Kirkland since the noon news reported 103F (39C) in Kirkland at that time, and temperatures tend to peak at about 5pm here. The news has just reported a high of 107F (nearly 42C) in Redmond, the next town over. Don't worry...they're predicting some relief tomorrow: 99F (37C). :-)

How are we staying cool? Yesterday, I found my way onto an air conditioned bus (only 30% of Metro buses have a/c) for a ride to Seattle and back. I also found my way to our community's pool. By the end of the day, I'd started and finished my first pleasure reading of the summer: Looking for Salvation at the Dairy Queen. George and I spent last night in a movie theatre with lots of kiddos watching Up and then enjoyed some nice cold ice cream. George has been staying cool during the day at work. Today, I joined him for the afternoon because temperatures in our house were hovering just below 100F (nearly 38C).

Giant sigh. We are so thankful that our wedding isn't this weekend!

On a side note, I had passport photos taken today...partly because I need them taken and partly so that I'll remember this day in the dead of winter. Passport photos are never glamorous, so I might as well be hot and sweaty. :-)

28 July 2009

Global Warming

If you don't believe that there is a changing climate on this planet, you're probably in denial. You're also probably not in Seattle.

Typically, we have cool and grey conditions through June with summer arriving around 4th of July. We live for July and August in Seattle; for a few short weeks, we experience sunshine and lack of rain with temperatures in the high 70's (20 C) on a daily basis. This year, however, summer rolled into the region in mid-May and has been giving us temperatures in the 80's (26 C) on the regular basis. I could count on one hand the number of times we've had rain or grey skies since then. This week, our temperatures are flirting with the highest temperature ever recorded at Seattle-Tacoma Airport, 100F (nearly 38C). Most forecasts call for a new record temperature tomorrow. Do I need to remind you about our extreme winter weather last December?

I'm not complaining. I can deal with the heat and even enjoy having a longer summer than usual, but that's not the point. The point is that, over time, this is not the climate of the Seattle area. Our climate is most definitely changing, and I, for one, think it's high time that we make monumental changes.

Be Thankful Every Day

George's mum has given us permission to share her reading from our wedding day (below). It was such an honor to have our mothers take such an important role in the ceremony uniting us as a married couple.

Be Thankful Every Day
by Patricia Harvey

This is a special day, when two are joined as one
I love my new daughter, Amanda, I’ll always love you George
Care for each other, be faithful till the end
Follow what’s in your heart, may you always stay best friends

It’s the start of your new life , as husband & wife
Hope the good days outshine the bad
May laughter brighten the sad
Know I’m here for you, to help or just talk to
Believe in each other
I’ll always be your Mother (Mum)

The day will be here soon, when you’ll have children to love
God will watch over you, love and comfort you
Pray for patience and wisdom, to give each other your best
I’ll always be your mother, it fills my life with happiness
My tears are filled with love, for you & Amanda
You are a caring son, I’ll forever be proud of you
Cherish Amanda, always share your love

It’s the start of your new life
Believe in each other and
Be thankful every day you have together

Pray every day
For Christ is always with you.
God be your comfort, your strength
God be your hope and support
God be your light and your way
And the Blessing of God,
Creator, Redeemer and Giver of life,
Remain with you now and forever.


14 July 2009

First Look at Professional Photos

Did we mention that Aaron and Meg of Evantide Photography rock? They do! They happily shot for 12 hours straight on our wedding morning/day/night, and they've managed to pull together a lovely collection of photos for a sneak peek on their blog in less than three days. I'll rave more about these two later. In the mean time, head over to their blog and check it out!!

13 July 2009


Some of you requested a copy of our vows and the heartfelt presentations our mothers gave. We'll start with my mom's words:

Musings by Janie Gildersleeve

Musings are defined as calm, lengthy reflections; the process of giving serious thought to something. Musings best describes my words for you today, George and Amanda.

You have decided that your love for one another is important enough to make a life long commitment. Take your commitment seriously. Cherish and honor your commitment. Make your relationship a life priority.

I challenge you today with two scriptures:

The first is Ecclesiastes 4:9 & 10. “Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their work. For if either of them falls, the one will lift up his companion.” Focus on and learn from the positive examples you both have in your lives. You, Amanda, have grandparents in their 61st year of marriage. Be patient with one another. Although you have been together for years, there will be many new discoveries in the days and years ahead. Grow personally. Grow as a couple. Keep romance alive. Be best friends. Be encourager's of one another. Gary Chapman, in his book The Five Love Languages, describes couple interactions and ways of relating to our spouse. Learn each others' love language....do you love to be touched?....do you more value a gift?....do you most appreciate words of affirmation or the gift of another's time?...what about being surprised by a chore being done without asking? I challenge you, George, to ask Amanda---as David often asks me----these three questions. What can I do to be a better husband? What can I do to make your life easier? How can I help you? Amanda, ask the same of George.

The second verse I give you as a challenge is Ephesians 4:26. It simply says, “Do not let the sun go down on your anger.” Don't be afraid to apologize. Likewise, learn to forgive. Communicate. Communicate. Communicate. Talk about differences and disagreements as they surface. Deal with them and don't let them fester. Also, celebrate and share your joys, successes and accomplishments. Work hard at your marriage but don't allow your marriage to become work. Steven Covey, author of 7 Habits for Highly Effective People, speaks of emotional bank accounts and how relationally we should strive to keep this account balance high. Deposits are made by acts of kindness and acceptance as well as words of praise. Make regular deposits in your marital bank account. George, Amanda continually praises you for your support of her and the kindnesses & respect you show her daily. You already have a head start on this account!

Amanda, you have always been my traveler. By your picture in the family room is a plaque that says, “Though distance may come between a mother and her child, the bond that holds them close will never weaken. The love they share will never be more than a memory apart.” Amanda and George, wherever you go, wherever life takes you, we will continue to make and share special memories. God bless your marriage. I love you both.

Love, Mama

Groom's View

Anybody who reads this blog regularly will know I don't usually post... OK, this would be the first time ever. (I have a draft ranting about the bathroom remodels somewhere, but I never finished it). Our wedding seems a suitable occasion for me to break my silence.

ALKS gave a good synopsis of events and will no doubt be posting some of the details, including some of the vendors who did an absolutely amazing job on the day.

All in all everything went perfectly (well, less a few hitches with transportation, but, shhhh, don't tell ALKS). The weather could not have turned out better, my concerns about crowds at the park getting in the way turned out to be totally unfounded, the limo and bus drivers knew how to deal with the circuitous route to Canlis, ...

While great, none of this stuff really matters... what is important is that ALKS and I were able to celebrate our commitment, our relationship, and our marriage with the friends and family who mean so much to us. She is a wonderful, wonderful woman and I cannot think of anything better than being married to her, and spending the rest of our lives together.

12 July 2009

Wedding Synopsis

I hesitate to review the wedding so soon, but I don't know when I'm next going to have the opportunity write about it. This morning, I was reminded that my summer exam is just more than 10 days away...so I need to concentrate on that starting tomorrow morning. In the mean time, here is a very general overview of our day:

Morning and Pictures

On Friday night, George stayed at our house with Pierre, Peter, and Heath while I stayed downtown at Hotel Andra with Denaye. From all accounts, the boys had a pretty smooth morning. They ran ahead of schedule and arrived downtown well before 12noon. Denaye and I had coffee and breakfast with my mom and George's mum, Pat, picked up the flowers, had our hair done, and had our make-up done. One o'clock arrived quickly!

On the way down the elevator, I was suddenly filled with emotion. George was waiting just a few steps away with his back to me, and I could not hold back tears any longer. We shared a tender moment, and then joined our wedding party for a walk through the lobby filled with our family. It was picture time!

My cousin, Kristi, took this photo from the lobby below during our first look:

First, we went to Kerry Park. It wasn't part of our original plan, but we couldn't pass up the best view in the city on one of the clearest days of the summer. I can't wait to see the photos!! After that, we went to Gasworks to take lots of pictures on the hill and around the equipment. By the time we'd been taking pictures in the hot sun for two hours, we were ready for a rest. On one hand, I wish I would have felt "fresh" for the ceremony, but I think the reduced nerves of having seen each other was worth it.


The guys took on their greeting role while I went to the limo for air conditioning and a lot of nerve control. This was, by far, the slowest part of the day for me. It seemed to take forever for 4:45pm to arrive! Finally, our friend, Theresa, signaled that it was time to line up...so, I joined the parents, lined them up, and prepared for the longest walk of my life. Really - the aisle was way too long. By the time I approached the chairs, I desperately wanted to break into a run...but I resisted.

Our friend, dive instructor, and real estate agent, Fred, officiated over the ceremony. Although Pierre tells me that a nice man in a boat drove by just after the start and yelled "don't do it," I didn't really see anything during the ceremony aside from George's eyes. Fred started with a nice message, which was followed by tender readings by our mothers. We asked each of them to prepare something as part of the ceremony, and they both came through with fantastic and emotional readings. Yes, I lost several tears. From there, George and I shared our surprise declarations of love for each other, said our I do's, recited our vows, and exchanged rings. It felt both unique and like we were joining a large club. I feel even more like that with our shiny new rings. Cool!

Our photographers, Aaron and Meg of Evantide Photography, took control to capture a few (undoubtedly fantastic) photos of the entire group and a collection of family photos. It all went smoothly and more quickly than I expected. In that time, though, the sky filled with beautiful clouds, so George and I called our grandparents and posed for an extra set of photos while everyone else went on to the reception cocktail hour.


We arrived at Canlis with just a few minutes to enjoy the final round of drinks and appetizers before sitting down for dinner. As usual, everything was fantastic. I was particularly excited by the surprise sangria and the short ribs.

The evening included soup (seafood chowder), salad (Canlis salad without egg), choice of salmon or filet mignon, and fresh pavlova. All of the food was delicious and enjoyed by the masses. We also had pinot grigio and cabernet savignon flowing. As always, Canlis provided superb service. No one had water glasses less than 100% full; the whole party was served within 5 minutes of each other for each course; and each table was served in its entirety at once. They really took care of us!

We had some spectacular speeches as well. Peter was the master of ceremonies, and he did a great job reading the crowd and playing to it. Both of our fathers gave speeches, along with Pierre and Denaye. I laughed a lot, cried a lot, and even put my hands on my face...so it was a great success!

Truly, I felt like the time between arriving at and leaving the reception was five minutes rather than five hours. Everyone told me that it'd fly, and they were 100% accurate. We did, however, get a chance to eat our dinner, so that was a real treat. Now, I just have to find a way for us to re-create having many of our friends in a beautiful room more often!

I'm not the one to ask for a neutral opinion of the day, but I thought it went off fabulously. Aside from not getting to spend much time with most people and having the day go by so quickly, I felt like George and I were really able to enjoy the day. I've been assured that marriage is different than dating or engagement, so I know we'll be in for some changes. Nonetheless, I also feel like we've been seriously committed for a while now, so yesterday was just as much about celebrating that commitment as it was about starting a new commitment.

I look forward to passing along photos and some of the details we included in our special day.

Pre-Wedding Week

We had a fabulous time on our wedding day yesterday, but more on that later.

The week before the wedding was full of friends, family, and the creation of the most amazing memories! It was great to spend time with our out-of-town friends and local friends, and I really enjoyed watching the two groups become friends in their own right. We also enjoyed introducing our parents to one another and watching them bond.

Since I can hardly begin to describe all that we managed to fit into the week, I'll just tell the story with photos (excluding our respective nights out).

Seattle summer:

A visit or two to the ceremony site:
A soaking wet hike:

Many good meals, good wine, and good laughs:
Rock Band fun:

Checking out bridges, buildings, and other engineered structures:

04 July 2009

Independence Day

Happy 4th of July!

Our day will be complete with burgers, apple pie (above), a visit to Pike Place, a trip to the airport, and perhaps some fireworks if everyone can overcome the jet lag.

As you can see, these two (George and Pierre) aren't having any fun at all hanging out together. :-)

03 July 2009


We've told many of you about how the squirrels in our neighborhood beg at our back doors. The other weekend George took a few photos through the back doors.

Proof that our squirrels beg:

02 July 2009

Bleeding Heart

Although most of our life, at the moment, revolves around the wedding, there are other things that also need our attention...like the garden. This morning, I was putting cow poo and mulch on our flowers, and I noticed our first bloom in the perennial border that Pat planted for us. It's a fuchsia, but at first I thought it was a bleeding heart.

I asked Pat to include a bleeding heart and a few other flowers from my childhood in our garden; I'm so glad that she did. Bleeding hearts remind me of my Uncle Wayne. When I was a kid, I spent time during the summer on the farm where he and my Aunt Sherry raised sheep. I remember going home from one particular visit with the start of a bleeding heart, though I never had success getting it to grow.

In July of 1996, Uncle Wayne passed away suddenly and unexpectedly from a heart attack. There are times in my life when his absence feels overwhelming. Over the past few months, I've been thinking about him and how his nieces were like the daughters he never had; he called us his "gurls." This has been a very special year for us with Kristi's wedding a couple of months ago and mine next week. Although the emptiness left by Uncle Wayne's death makes my heart ache, I'm so glad that Aunt Sherry is able to be part of our special days. Although it's the fuchsia, and not the bleeding heart, that is blooming, I still feel like Uncle Wayne is watching us from afar and smiling down upon us.

My mom assures me that the bleeding heart Uncle Wayne gave me years ago was a success and still lives and blooms at the west end of her house. So, apparently Uncle Wayne is watching out all the way from Ohio.

01 July 2009


Today was a monumental day in the life of our weddidng. First, I got a call from my dear cousin, Shannon, wishing me happy 10 days until the wedding. Woah!

Next, I finished the last wedding craft project: our just-in-case-we-forget-our-vows books (a few pages of white cardstock in between black cardstock, laced like the programs). It wasn't a significant project, which is why I left it to the end. Perhaps they'll find a place in our wedding scrapbook, since we'll each handwrite our surprise love declarations, but we could certainly get married without having made these little guys. It still feels really good to know that I've reached the end. We are soooo excited for the wedding that it's nice to have some light at the end of the tunnel!

Most importantly, George and I are now the proud owners of a license to get married in King County. That's right - with our signatures and those of our officiant and witnesses (following the declaration that we each take the other as husband/wife and following the three-day waiting period), we will officially be married.

Marriage is a fundamental right and, we believe, a civil right. Because not all people are afforded this very precious right, we appreciate it that much more. It was shockingly easy to procure the license; we just had to pay $64 and fill out a very basic form with name, address, parents' name, and a little declaratory paragraph. We hope that one day (soon), it'll be that easy for any individual to gain access to this very important right, regardless of gender or sexual orientation.