Six weeks to go!

August 28, 2010

Our big day is almost here!

You should be receiving your invitation in the next day or two. (It’s the real thing, not a save-the-date card.) That handy little card directed you here for more information. Check out the updates on each of these pages to find out everything you need to know.

The most important stuff is here:

  • If you’re staying in a cabin or are in the area Friday night, join us for a barbecue near Owen Cabins 11 and 12 beginning at about 7 p.m. We’ll provide buffalo and veggie kababs and soft drinks. Feel free to bring something to share.
  • If you’re wondering what to wear to a wedding “in the woods,” Jeremy wants you to know he’s not wearing a tie or suit coat. That means you don’t have to either.
  • Baring a blizzard or torrential downpour, the ceremony will begin at 4 p.m. on the western bank of Lake Jenny Newman. Walk from your cabin or park in the Owen Cabin area and head to the shore. If the weather is unfit for an outdoor wedding — and I mean really unfit — we’ll be inside the Mallet Lodge, just up the hill from the swimming pool. Follow the signs.
  • The reception will follow at the Mallet Lodge until 9 p.m.

I grew up enjoying everything that Nebraska state parks have offered and Michaela grew up always wanting to be a journalist. I’ve continued to enjoy the parks and I want everyone to be able to enjoy them for a long time. Michaela has been a journalist for all of her professional career and a member of UNITY: Journalists of Color, Inc., an organization that supports minority journalists.

Instead of registering for gifts for the wedding and having people throw us countless showers, we are asking that gifts be made in our names to the Nebraska Game and Parks Foundation and/or UNITY: Journalists of Color, Inc. This is very important to us. It’s our chance to make an unselfish donation to two causes we believe in. We have two households worth of junk we’re trying to get rid of and we don’t need more dish towels or a sterling silver tea set. The contributions can go a long way and we hope they can be a lot more personal than going to a department store, printing out a registry list and picking out a spatula or CD rack.

We have already had many people find this idea perplexing and hard to believe. Please know that this is our wish and this is our chance to make the difference we want while having the wedding we want.

Cottages and Shoes

July 26, 2010

Today we made a few big strides in preparing for our wedding. This afternoon I booked our cottage on Lake Superior in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. The Superior Shores cottage (#11) is right on the lake and the resort is close to Porcupine Mountain State Park which is in the Porcupine Mountains area. The area looks very beautiful and in the fall it should look awesome. There are a few small cities close by that should provide us with shopping and dining needs, but the rest of the time we should be pretty secluded, hiking and enjoying the hundreds of waterfalls in the park.

We also bought real nice waterproof sandals that should last us a long time. I hope they do, we spent a lot on them! They’re Keen brand and they fit really well around the foot and still feel like wearing a sandal. We’ll debut the shoes on our trip to the Niobrara River later this week and then maybe wade around in Lake Superior or under a waterfall on the honeymoon.

Last week I bought a seven dollar pair of water socks from Wal-Mart. After not finding Michaela’s size, we went to one of those fancy outdoor stores and were mesmerized by the real nice and expensive ones. The fact that they’ll last a long time and are much more comfortable sold us on the upgrade.

Check back soon for more details on our upcoming wedding on October 9, including a preview on just how ‘green’ it will be.

Ringing Endorsement

June 14, 2010

What a day! Eight weeks flew by and today, our wedding rings arrived by mail.
Back in April, Jeremy and I went on a hunt for ecofriendly wedding rings. We started out looking at fair trade gold options. Then, we got to thinking about other materials. Neither of us is into flashy jewelry and Jer didn’t love the idea of wearing a metal ring at all.
SO — when we found Simply Wood Rings we both knew we were in the right place. We picked rings made of Kauri wood, native to New Zealand and the Pacific Rim.
When I got home, a box with Jeremy’s name was sitting on the table. “Why didn’t you open your package?” I asked. “Look at who it’s from,” he said with a big grin.
WOW! They’re already here!
They’re gorgeous!

To make things even more exciting, we went for a walk at Cunningham Lake, then to Whole Foods for some Peanut Butter Brownie Gelato. YUMMY!

Hopefully we’ll be writing more often in the coming weeks. My friends keep reminding me the wedding is less than four months away. 🙂

Distracted by real life

February 24, 2010

For three months we’ve been too busy living our lives to write on this page. I think that’s a good sign. 🙂 We’re having fun, working like a couple of dogs and making time for new adventures.

I made Frybread for the Norman’s for the Christmas Eve appetizer contest and they were nearly all eaten up. We got snowed in at Joan and Marty’s over Christmas and had a wonderful time. The Little Drummer Boy will probably make me cry for the rest of my life (it was my Dad’s favorite carol). But Jeremy was right there with a hug and a sleeve to dry my eye.

We’ve been to games (hockey, basketball and volleyball) and to St. Louis for fun. We watched my Colts lose in the Super Bowl. And Jeremy got the chance to wonder “where all that (emotion) came from.” He was the best friend and companion one could have wished for on that drive back — I was really bummed and it was REALLY late with bad weather. And he somehow made it fun.

And we celebrated Jeremy turning 29 — that’s right, we’re getting “old,” according to Paula and Sam. We went to dinner in a tea room at Mt. Fuji Inn. I’d never been, but it was the perfect pick. (That was all Jeremy.) He got a Wii Fit for himself as a gift and we’re being reasonably diligent about working out. Next weekend we’ll celebrate my 29th birthday at the MIAA basketball tournament in Kansas City. He’ll be working and I’ll be resting, shopping, visiting friends and working on the scrapbook about my dad. (Hotels always have those big tables. It will be perfect.) He says: “Hopefully I’ll be able to take you to dinner.”

Then, sometime hopefully very soon afterward, spring will get here and we’ll try our hands at a vegetable patch.

For those of you curious about the dress — I’ve set up shop at Joan’s house (THANK YOU!!!!) and the pool table made it super easy to finish cutting the pattern pieces. Now, all I’ve got left to do (wink) is the sewing.

Thanks for the hugs

November 23, 2009

My dad, Michael William Saunders, believed that everything happened for a reason. I’m starting to wonder if he also thought it was OK for him to walk on to the Spirit World because he knew I’d found my match and his family has welcomed me with open arms.

Thank you all for your love and support — and for the food, flowers and hugs — since my dad’s sudden passing on Wednesday (1-19-54 ~ 11-18-2009).

It is a comfort to know that he went quickly. But I miss him. And there are so many things I wish we could share with him. He would say that he’ll be there in spirit. But I wish I could see his face on our wedding day, instead of his empty chair. (And hear the excitement in his voice, like they day we told him about our engagement.) I wish I could see him smile and coo whenever Jeremy and I welcome a child into this world. And I wish we could have gone to see a Colts game. Or even a Cardinals game. So many things left undone. But thankfully, not left unsaid.

He liked Jeremy so much and talked often about how happy he could tell we are. And when he learned Jeremy was a Cubs fan, he joked, “that can be overlooked” if he took good care of me. He loved being a grandpa to Janice, my niece, and to “Little Man,” my stepsister’s son. And I know he would have done the same for any grandkids that come in the future.

I wish he could give me a hug and help take away some of this hurt.

Please forgive me if I cry out of nowhere the next time I see you. Or if I don’t seem quite like myself. But I was a “Daddy’s Girl” and this is going to be a long road.

Update on my trip to the ER

November 11, 2009

A couple weeks ago I explained how I was experiencing really bad stomach pains and how it suddenly turned into hives and uncontrollable shivering all over my body that forced me to go to the emergency room. After that incident and after a few tests from the doctor, they confirmed that I am, in fact allergic to all mammal meat.

It’s very strange and very rare (no pun intended). I looked all over the internet and couldn’t find very much valuable information about this ailment, but I do have a letter from the doctor confirming that it’s true. I tested highly allergic to beef, pork and lamb. Since chicken, turkey and fish don’t bother me, it can be assumed that I’m just allergic to mammals.

One of the first tests I had was a trip to the allergy clinic. They did some skin tests where they pricked the surface of my skin with samples of beef and pork. They also pricked me with histamine and with an empty needle to use as controls. Only the histamine caused a reaction, so they assumed then that I wasn’t allergic to beef and pork.

The doctor wanted me to collect an ingredient list of other things like spices that I may have eaten on days I got sick. Despite this and the negative results, I was still pretty sure that it was beef and pork that was making me hurt. After gathering a list he had me get a blood test that tested me for a few spices and veggies, as well as beef, pork and lamb. The three meats came back as highly positive from the blood tests.

Now the doctor wants me to come back for a free visit and consultation so he can figure out why his skin tests ended up wrong. I’ll probably do it soon so I can help science! Maybe my allergy is so rare they’ll start paying me for these tests!

So far, not eating mammal meat has been fairly easy. There’s not too much I really miss yet. I got some turkey sausage and turkey bacon to eat at home, but I will miss having those things at a restaurant with breakfast. Nothing beats a well-cooked breakfast at a trashy diner.

I don’t mind turkey burgers, or even veggie burgers and I’m not a big fan of steak anyway. The other day I fried some tofu and used it in fajitas.

It’s just a very weird thing to be allergic to and it’s very difficult to try and explain it to people sometimes. I hope the allergy doctor can give me more information on this. I want to know how it happened, what my body actually does when I eat meat and if it can get worse. It progressed really fast and I wonder what would happen if I ever accidentally ate mammal. I was prescribed an epinephrine pen just in case I go into anaphylactic shock.

I know it seems strange that I would accidentally eat mammal meat, but it almost happened last week. At a basketball game I worked they served Godfather’s pizza in the media room. I ate two slices of what I thought was cheese pizza. The first slice seemed fine, but when I bit into the second slice I got a pepperoni in my mouth. I spit it out and threw away the pizza. I can’t remember if the first slice was plain cheese or if it had a few slices of pepperoni. Godfather’s likes to hide the pepperoni under the cheese. Nothing happened the rest of the day.

Other things to worry about are cross contamination on things like grills. When I go to Pepperjax Grill I order a veggie rice bowl and they always offer to clean the grill off for me first. They probably assume I’m a vegan and don’t want any animal matter on my food. I watch them clean the grill off and it’s rather disgusting the flakes of meat and grease they scrape off it. Of course, that’s all just delicious flavor to meat lovers.

Meat allergies are pretty rare. I never heard of them before and I can’t really expect restaurants to be careful for them. I think I’ll try and start my own advocacy group to get food producers to put on labels exactly what meats are in their product. I’ve heard of people eating chicken noodle soup with beef broth in in. Tonight at the Mexican restaurant I ate at I asked them to make sure they clean the grill off before they cook the chicken for the fajitas Michaela and I shared.

It’s official

November 3, 2009

Jeremy is indeed allergic to mammal meat. Not just beef, pork and lamb, but as the letter from the clinic says: also squirrel, rabbit, venison and buffalo.

Not to worry, he can still eat birds and fish. (Duck, anyone? We’ll meet you at the HyVee Chinese buffet at 50th and Center.) And it will be a good reason for us to try frog legs. (Who’s up for an amphibian for dinner? Not sure where to meet you for that yet.)

“I’ll be alright,” he said. “It’s just weird that it happened to me. I’ll miss it every once in awhile.”

Going without breakfast meat for nearly a month has been tough for him. But it’s better than an EpiPen injection with breakfast.


November 2, 2009

On Friday, all data-related actions of my cell phone inexplicitly ceased. AHHH! I tried to be chill. And really, being on furlough for Friday helped because I could just use my laptop to get online. But, back to work today with no data on my phone bothered me more than I imagined possible.

I tried EVERYTHING I could think of, to no avail. I was really thinking I’d have to buy a new phone or something. So, after work tonight Jer and I ran errands, including a stop at the Verizon Store. I was prepared for very BAD NEWS. But the whole time Jeremy kept telling me not to worry about it. “It can’t be the phone because the applications still open.”

Let me tell you all, for the record, he was right.

The woman at the store had to call someone who could reset the servers on Verizon’s end and then it worked.

It works! It works! And to celebrate we went to Dairy Queen and got two medium Blizzards for $3.90. (Thanks to a fabulous coupon from last week’s paper.)

The moral of this story is: I should have told him what I was worried about earlier.

Our spot

October 31, 2009

We found it! On Sunday, Oct. 25 (yeah, we’re a bit behind), Jeremy and I went out to Platte River State Park to scope out a site near the bulk of our reserved cabins. The original plan pales in comparison.

From the eight reserved Camp Owen cabins, there’s a great view of a wooded field leading up to Jenny Newman Lake. Who knows what the color will be like next year, but the view on Sunday was breathtaking. We’ll provide detailed directions later on.

View of the lake

Lake Jenny Newman

From the cabins to the lake

A view of the path from the Owen Cabins to the lake

We were right about the color when we decided on fall, that’s for sure.

We’ve made a lot of progress in the last two weeks. Bushel baskets in just the right size, and the perfect ribbon and the paper punches I’ll need to give the favors our own DIY flare, all on sweet discount at Michaels last weekend. (Gotta love those coupons!) And the theme has emerged to help us tie everything together. I wonder if Jeremy ever thought he’d go to Michaels twice in the same month. 🙂

Now, I’m off to get as much of my To-Do List done as I can while Jeremy works football and volleyball. Tonight, we’re both working the hockey game. It will be hard for me not to cheer.