Monday, April 29, 2013

What's in a name?

I'm following up this post which discusses 2 articles about married name changes and how we tear each other down about choices.

I noticed that in both articles the authors equate their identity with their name. That if they were to change their name, they would cease to be who they were and become someone different, and that this would be a bad thing. And it's perfectly fine if you feel that way. But not everyone does, and it is NOT ok to project your feelings regarding identity onto other people.

I was talking to a coworker recently about my name change, and he jokingly suggested I take the opportunity to change my first name while I'm at it. I scoffed, saying that I was too old to learn to answer to a new name. To which he replied "Ok, SPARTAN."

And he's right. After 20+ years of responding to Stephanie, I started simming as a flight controller, and learned to answer to SPARTAN. In fact, I might answer faster to SPARTAN now than I do to my actual name. A flight director barking your name or a space station failure have that impact.

I thought then about what that name "change" meant to me. How happy I was to pass my operator final, how proud to earn the right to sit in the front room and answer to SPARTAN. It's no coincidence that my name changes have come with new chapters... substituting SPARTAN when I became a flight controller; taking my husband's last name when I got married. I am not the same me I was in before these major events. Of course I haven't changed completely... but neither have I stayed completely the same. One day, hopefully, a couple small people will call me Mom. Does that name not have power? Does it not mark a radical shift in one's identity?

Jill Filipovic says "Identities matter, and the words we put on things are part of how we make them real."
I couldn't agree more with this statement. But from this, I draw the opposite conclusion. There is power in changing your name, to mark a profound change in your self. You could argue that being called "Mom" is not the same as changing your last name (and I agree), but in the context of giving order to the world around us, they serve the same purpose.

As I have said before, I support everyone's right to do what they want here. I'm not trying to convince anyone that the only way to represent a marriage is to take your husband's last name.  A Practical Wedding says it best:
Because really, names are just the containers in which we hold our identities—sometimes we find freedom in those containers changing shape, sometimes we take pride in them remaining steadfastly the same. But our names belong to us alone. My name is my name. I am the only one who has to live in it. I am the only one who gets to decide what it looks like, and what it means. You don’t get a say.
It's a little long for a t-shirt, though...

Friday, April 26, 2013

Name Change Adventures (#2)

(This morning I'm helping dock a Progress unmanned cargo vehicle in Mission Control. If you tune in to NASA TV, you may catch a glimpse of me at the Spartan console.)

Meanwhile, Name Change Adventures are continuing from Part 1.

Next up on my name change list was my drivers license, which is kind of the key to getting nearly all other name changes done since most require a photo ID. I left work early and went to Department of Public Safety (DPS- the Texas DMV)- they are open later on Tuesdays so I picked a Tuesday to slip out of work early.

I got there around 4:30 and there was barely anyone there. I checked in at the desk and the guy handed me a clip board with a form to fill out for a Replacement card. (I could NOT find this form online or I would have filled it out in advance...) By the time I filled out the form and refreshed Twitter, my number was called. I never even had a chance to open my Kindle! I took a new picture (not my best, although I guess a license picture never is, right?) and showed them my marriage license, plus my current Driver's License.

The lady was super friendly, congratulated me on getting married and chatted with me while she entered my info into the computer. Nothing like the nightmare DMV stereotype, but that could just be a Texas thing.

Unlike most states, you do not need to update your Social Security card first; here you can do them in parallel or any order. In fact, if I hadn't waited so long at the Social Security office, I had considered stopping at DPS on the same day. 10 minutes later I was out with my temp license (Texas gives you a paper license and your old license with the top snipped off, then mails you a new hard license).  

The stats:
What: Change my name on my Driver's License 
Time spent: ~15 minutes researching, 10 minutes at DPS
Cost: $11 (this is the replacement fee for a lost/stolen license too)
Difficulty: Really easy. Plus very friendly.

A week later I received my new license. Having a license in my new name is pretty exciting, but since all of my credit cards are in my old name I am still using/signing my old name on everything.

Next up? Changing my name at the bank and credit card companies.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Honeymoon Recap, part 1

We spent 15 days abroad on our honeymoon, visited 6 different countries, got lost a couple times, and had our first adventures as husband and wife.

We left Thursday, 2/21 and with the loss of 7 hours due to the time change, plus 11 hours in the air, we landed Friday morning. Our cruise left on Saturday so we spent the night at the Rome airport Hilton. This was so we could take a cruise-affiliated transfer to the port.

The port city of Civitaveccia is over an hour drive from the Rome airport, which is itself about 30 minutes from the city. We were worried about the logistics of getting there on our own with our giant suitcases and didn't want to miss the boat! (Legitimately they will leave without you and you have to find a way to their next port city...) We planned to take the train back to Rome after the cruise, since we had all day to figure it out. As it turns out, taking the train to/from the port is really no hassle at all (once you  know where you're going), and you can save about $200 for 2 people if you do that vs a cruise-affiliated transfer. Live and learn.
Alps from the plane.
Friday, after collecting our bags and going through the non-existent customs (if you had nothing to declare, you bypassed completely... I am beginning to think that the US is pretty much the only country that gives a damn about customs anymore. I have been many places, but my passport is basically just re-entry stamps into the US.) we made the short walk to the hotel. It was pretty early in the morning but they had a room for us. We checked in, grabbed some breakfast (or dinner? or... what's that meal you eat a 2am when it is also 10am?), and then passed out for several hours.

When we woke up, I was hungry again. (Surprise! I'm always hungry!) We wandered over to the airport and grabbed some pizza, then evaluated our options for evening entertainment. The hotel offered a free shuttle to Rome, or we could hop on a cab to nearby fishing town Fiumicino. However, as the concierge informed us, this is Italy and nobody eats dinner until 8:00... she thought that Fiumicino might be pretty dead in the afternoon/evening, so we decided to take the shuttle to Rome.
We wandered around for a little, peeked at some sights (above the Italian capitol) in the dark, and then found a restaurant.

We ate dinner, and then left, hoping to catch the every-hour-on-the-hour bus back to the hotel. Only as we approached the bus stop, we saw the bus driving away. Oh no, too late! Since we had an hour to kill, we wandered back through the city and followed a sign for Trevi Fountain.
While gazing at the fountain (with perplexing sculpture of pagan gods dedicated to a Pope?) we had some gelato, naturally. Then we headed back super early to the bus stop. The bus was just dropping some people off, but wouldn't let us on as he had to go sit somewhere for 20 minutes until it was time to pick up. Drat! So we decided to wander some more.

This was what you might call an error in judgement. We walked down to the Tiber River, then walked up what we thought was a parallel street to the one we just walked down. But no, it turns out that this street, which was in fact the old Jewish ghetto, went off at a wacky angle and let us out somewhere that was decidedly not where we thought we would be. Now 10 minutes before the last bus of the night, we started sprinting in what we hoped was the right direction (thank goodness it was) to catch it. After a good bit of running (and huffing and puffing... we were a tad out of half-marathon shape!) we got to the bus only about 3 minutes before it left. Whew!  Getting lost-ish in a foreign country, check! Running for our transportation, check! First married adventure, check!

Monday, April 22, 2013

Name Change Wars and the launch of micro-Feminism

(Whoops, accidentally published a draft post I was working on for next week. Pretend you didn't see that, read on in this one...)
Recently I got into a heated online debate about these two articles:
Why should married women change their names?
I die a little inside when women change their names.

Essentially both of these articles are telling women to NOT change their names, not until men are half of the name changers and hyphens are normal, or until name changing goes out of vogue, or simply because nobody should ever change their name. It's like the precursor to the Mommy Wars, where everything you do or don't do in child rearing is evaluated against some moving-target ideal and the pinnacle of feminism and "having it all." Apparently Mrs. HisLastName cannot "have it all" either.

The debate centered around what feminism actually means. Some, including myself, suggested that the goal of feminism should be to allow women the right to choose what they want: kids or no kids, stay at home mom or career mom, change their name or not or hyphenate or make up a new name...
Others argued that you don't really have the right to choose those things because they are not equally socially acceptable or common or legal (men cannot change their last name using a marriage license in all states, in some they require a court order). What we settled on is micro and macro feminism.

On a micro level, every woman should get to choose what to do in this case. Every couple should have the full range of options and choose what works best for them. And that has to include a wife taking her husband's name. It doesn't become less of a valid choice because it was once patriarchal institution.

But on a macro level, the full range of options is not equally available and equally valid. Consider that when we got married, about 80% of the checks we got were to Mr. and Mr. HisLastName or Daniel and Stephanie HisLastName, regardless of whether Stephanie HisLastName was going to ever exist. Consider that when my coworker and her husband went together to Social Security Office to hyphenate their last names, the worker tried to discourage him from doing it because "When you get divorced, she can use a divorce decree but you'll need a court order to change it back." Consider that recently in Florida a man was accused of fraud after he legally changed his last name to his wife's.

So, though the articles don't make it well, there is an argument to be made here. The only way to make it so that all choices are available and equally valid, is if enough people blaze the trail by making those choices now. And I get that, and for some people that might be enough of a reason in itself. But I'm changing my name. My husband and I decided what we would call our family. In the end it wasn't a political move, it wasn't a feminist decision or an anti-feminist decision. It was a personal decision. What these authors fail to realize is that this, like all other decisions people make, is NOT about them.Weep all you want about my decisions, but nobody is changing their name at you.

And that's where I always go back to micro-feminism. I have noticed that the root of the Mommy Wars is thinking that another's decisions are a referendum on their own. The knee jerk response, then, is to prove why your choice was better, which means putting down the other choice. But it doesn't have to be this way. By making the opposite choice from you, I am not saying your choice was invalid or wrong. I am saying it was wrong FOR ME. That's an important distinction. Rather than attack my decisions, you should be so glad that I made them! The most feminist thing of all is to support women to make choices that make sense to them. To to recognize that there are a million ways to be a woman, and a million ways to be a person, and that all choices ARE equally valid. Political activism matters, but so does each individual.

Want to join my micro-feminism movement? It needs a catchier name, I think. And maybe some t-shirts?

Friday, April 19, 2013

Wedding Stuff: Outfits

I blogged in bits and pieces about our stuff, but here's a few dedicated posts on where we got our things, in case you're looking for something similar.

My Dress:

Essence of Australia D1258 with lace up back
I like how the lace up back looks and I LOVED that I didn't have to worry about my weight fluctuating and making my dress not fit. I got my dress from a dress shop back in my hometown due to a recommendation from a friend of my dad's. Learn a lesson from me: do NOT put a plane ride between you and your dress. Scheduling my dress fittings while I was already home was an unnecessary stress, not least of all because the shop told us they would accommodate us on weekends (likely a lie to win our business, which worked) and then did not. Just forget it. Buy your dress where you live.

My shoes:
Poetic Licence Sweet Ending (they don't make these anymore, but I bought them on ebay). Super cute, but a little tall for every day wear. I loved having these funky shoes under my dress and a little flash of purple when I walked. But I was also really glad when I finally got to change into my comfy Brooks.

My jewelry:
Freshwater pearls/garnet necklace and earrings from the Texas Renaissance Festival. Fun story: I had my sister swap out the hooks for surgical steel because I am allergic to sterling posts. Unfortunately she did it with a spoon at the hotel (we forgot to bring pliers from home) and midway through the reception the earring fell off the hook. She repaired it with a fork, but it happened again a little later so I abandoned the earrings for the rest of the reception. 

Boys' suits:

Jos. A. Bank. We got a decent deal, and they even shipped them out to the different local stores for our 5 out of state groomsmen (in a total of 4 different states) for free. Plus, unlike the bridesmaid dress myth, they really can wear these again.

Boys' ties:

If it wasn't already obvious, I LOVED the green ties. All the ties came from BowsnTies. Dan's brother and SIL had a world of trouble trying to buy ties just before their wedding- they drove around to several stores trying to find matching ties but couldn't get more than 2 or 3 of any one style. Learning from their mistakes, I ordered ours from a website and well in advance. Highly recommended!

Girls' dresses: Alfred Angelo

 I wasn't that impressed with their customer service, the state of their sample dresses (most were torn and they had very few size options), their website, or their prices, but it was nice to have a national chain for everyone to order and alter at their own local store. I picked the color, but style and length was up to them. I actually kinda like the mix of long and short. (Although I worried it would be too cold and the two with their legs bare would freeze, and then it was a perfect 72 degrees.)

Monday, April 15, 2013

Weekend Recap 4/14

Saturday we went to the JSC Chili Cookoff. All you can eat chili and beer. Delicious! 
After a couple hours of grazing and chatting with friends, we headed to Ikea. We have really needed some dining room storage to put all our awesome wedding gifts in. My dining room table is white with a wood top so I wanted something similar for the cabinets. Unfortunately, white furniture is really hard to come by. We realized we really only had two choices- custom made or cheap stuff. We checked out the custom made option, but it was difficult to justify spending that much on a cabinet to match a table I bought from World Market. So we scoured the internet for cheap-y furniture, and figured Ikea was our best bet. 
We bought 2 of these tall bookshelves along with 2 sets of the glass/solid doors. Ikea furniture is hit and miss- some is really wobbly and some is pretty nice. These seem to fall on the sturdy side. But it did take the two of us about 3 hours to assemble the two of them.

They do look pretty great all stocked with stuff next to my Cost Plus table though, don't you think? And for less than a third of what a custom cabinet set would have cost.
I'm pretty much in love with my dining room. It's true.

After a morning of building and an afternoon of moving stuff around the house, we got started on eats for the week. For breakfast, I had been eating Eggo whole wheat waffle sandwich with nut butter for years. But on Passover waffles were a no-no so we were bringing eggs. Both Dan and I noticed that we were fuller and happier throughout the day with a sturdier breakfast, so last week we made an egg casserole. This week a similar one but with fresh tomatoes and some added spices in place of the sundried.
While I write, Dan is grilling some chicken for dinner. Hope you have a wonderful week! 

Friday, April 12, 2013

Weekend in Austin

Last Saturday morning we got up bright and early to drive to Austin. It's about a 3 hour drive from my house.

It was a really nice drive... did you know they raised the speed limit on the country highways to 75 mph?! Awesome. (I read a study once that said people will drive the speed they feel comfortable with, regardless of the speed limit. Well, I would drive 80 all the time, but a few speeding tickets have convinced me not to go more than 10 over the speed limit. However, when the speed limit was 75, 80 still felt like the right speed. Score one for the survey.)

Along the highway were tons of wildflowers... bluebonnets, but also some light pink flowers and some bright red ones. Pretty. We even drove by a couple people who stopped to take pictures in the flowers on the side of the road. (Which I still think is weird, even if the flowers were pretty... I mean people pee on the side of the highway all the time! Ew.)

Our reason to go to Austin was a Karate tournament. One of Dan's coworkers is a serious karate guy (he was a black belt champion back in Peru before he came to the US.) and he recently opened a dojo in the area. He teaches a bunch of children, but also has an adult class which Dan is in. This was their first tournament.
Here's some pictures of Dan in action (on the right):
After a long day of driving and watching the competition, we checked into the hotel, then went out with some of the other families for dinner.

Sunday we went to an awesome brunch spot. My bff Meg and I discovered this place on a weekend trip to Austin back in 2009 and I have been dying to go back. (Fun fact: we almost did the bachelorette party in Austin, almost solely to eat at this restaurant.)  Here's a couple throwback pictures of me and Meg:
At brunch :-)
Fun with self-timer at the State Capitol.
When Dan mentioned the tournament, I was sold. My motto should be "I'm only here for the food." The restaurant, Green Pastures, is in an historic home in Austin that was built in 1898. It is a regular fancy restaurant for dinner, but I definitely recommend their Sunday brunch.
Awesome food (this is one plate of the two I ate!)...
...and dessert...
Chocolate covered candied bacon!
...and all you can drink Milk Punch (aka adult milkshakes- milk, ice cream, bourbon and rum). Delicious!
Also awesome? Peacocks on the grounds, including not one but two completely white peacocks. This one liked to show off:
I won't lie, it's pretty pricey, but definitely a fun experience (plus it's like 2.5 meals if you stuff yourself enough- Dan and I never ate lunch or dinner, just had a snack around 7pm that night)  Make a reservation, and go earlier on Sunday... by noon, when we were finishing up, the buffet line had gotten long!

We also swung by the Texas Capitol building for a little exploring before our brunch reservation.
The floor of the Texas Capitol has an interesting inlay with the seals of the 6 countries that have governed Texas: Republic of Texas, Kingdom of Spain, Kingdom of France, Republic of Mexico, the Confederate States of America, and the United States of America.
(Texas' identity as a country-state is pretty fascinating. Dan and I were laughing during Revolution this week that every time you read/watch something post-apocalyptic where they discuss the new world order, Texas is it's own country. We don't know much about them in Revolution but in the show Jericho Texas was totally awesome! I'm not a secessionist by any means, but I do think that if the world ended tomorrow, I'd be glad to live in Texas.)

This weekend we are heading to the chili cookoff (which I wrote about last year) and then to Ikea to buy some cabinets for the dining room to house our wedding presents (which I wrote about in that same post, actually. Weird.).

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Name Change Adventures (#1)

So I haven't written about this yet, but Dan and I agreed awhile ago (about a year before we were even engaged) that I would change my last name if/when we married. It was not a decision we took lightly, but ultimately it was the best decision for our family.

I held off on doing anything until we were back from the honeymoon- didn't want to have mismatched identifications while I was out of the country, just in case. A week after the honeymoon I went on the night shift, so I decided that Friday morning when I finished my last overnight I'd head to the Social Security office.

If you haven't tried to go to the Social Security office lately, then you might be surprised like I was to discover they are only open from 9am to 3pm every day (and Wednesday only 9am to noon). Also, be prepared to wait. I know people have had mixed experiences, but based on the people I chatted with/overheard while waiting, 1-2 hours is a pretty standard wait at my local office.

I got there around 10am. You sign in at a kiosk and it prints out a little ticket with a number. Then you grab a seat and wait. And wait. I'm so glad I grabbed my Kindle on my way out for my shift the night before!

After about 30 minutes, they called my number (yippee!).... but when I got to the window she said she was just checking people in. Cue the sad trombone. There wasn't an option on the computer kiosk for Name Change, so I had to check Replacement Card > Other and they just wanted to know what the "Other" was.

Bummer. So I sat back down. And waited some more. After another hour, they called my name. Once at the window I handed over my Driver's License, Marriage Certificate, and completed form. (Here's the Social Security website's name change info and form) The form turned out to be unnecessary because she entered everything into a computer form instead. (But you might as well fill it out, just in case!) 5 minutes later I was done, with a receipt saying I would get my card in 2 weeks.

Even though I knew this was coming, it still wasn't easy to actually do it. The whole week before I went, I was trying to decide what to do. Take my last name as a middle name and drop my middle name? Drop my last name and keep my middle name? Drop them both, like my mom did? I felt kind of attached to my middle name (Rachel, for the record) even though it doesn't have any real significance. And I felt attached to my last name. In the end I decided 2 middle names was too long, and took my old last name as my middle name and dropped my original middle. Dan said we should name one of our kids Rachel, if I wanted to keep the name around.

One week later, my new card arrived... now, at least according to one government office, I am Mrs. Stephanie G. Perri!

I've appreciated the advice from the women who have gone through this before me, so I'm paying it forward... Here's the stats of Name Change Adventure #1:
What: Change my name with Social Security administration.
Time spent: ~20 minutes researching, 1.5 hours waiting.
Cost: $0*
Difficulty: Really easy. The form is straightforward and you don't need a lot of paperwork. It's tedious to wait, but once you're at the window it only takes 5 minutes and you're done!

Next up? Tomorrow I'm going to the Department of Public Safety (the Texas version of the DMV- why you always gotta be different, Texas?)

*I do have 2 certified copies of my marriage license, which cost $9 each and took about 10 minutes to obtain by walking into the county clerk's office. I wanted to make sure I was prepared- if I'm going to take time off of work to go to all these offices, I don't want to be turned away for being unprepared.
So far they haven't been necessary. If you mail in your Social Security card application, you have to send your original or certified copy of your marriage license with it, so it would be good to have a spare; if you go to the office they just look at it and hand it back.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Passover Recipe: Chicken Soup

Still no pictures, but we made the most amazing chicken soup for Passover this year, and I really wanted to share the recipe.

You will need a giant pot. My chicken stock pot is 18 quarts. I can submerge 2 full chickens in it. That's an important quality in a stock pot!

It started over a week before Passover. I was on the night shift, and Dan was home all day Saturday. I told him we should make a whole chicken for dinner (and several more dinners) so I could use the bones in my soup. He made a beer butt chicken, coated with Stephanie & Dan seasoning. It sounds odd but is SO delicious, we even got a special grill roaster for it (we registered for it on Amazon).

Anyways, after eating most of that chicken, I put the remnants in the freezer until soup day.

  • 1 whole chicken, in pieces
  • 1 carcass of roasted (or grilled) chicken (you can use 2 whole chickens if you don't have any leftover chicken bones, but I wouldn't recommend two carcasses)
  • 1 lb of chicken necks (my grocery sells them in a package, specifically for soup)
  • 1 lb carrots
  • ~4 stalks celery
  • 1 bunch parsley
  • A few sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1 white onion, quartered
1. Cut the carrots and celery into ~2inch pieces. Separate the chicken and make sure to remove any guts.
2. Dump all the ingredients in the pan. Fill the pot with water until it all ingredients submerged.
3. Bring soup to a boil, then reduce heat to simmer.
4. Leave loosely covered for ~2 hours. Taste at this point, if it tastes watery it needs more time. (It's impossible to overcook chicken stock, so don't worry too much about leaving it on if you think it needs it.)
5. Let cool a bit before you try to strain. We use this stock for matzah ball soup so we save the carrots and discard the rest of the vegetables. Make sure you save the boiled chicken for chicken salad, but you can toss the carcass and necks.
6. Refrigerate overnight. The fat will rise to the top and solidify. Scrape about 90% of it off before reheating and serving.

*If your pot is as large as mine, it will take awhile to boil and then a long time to cool. Though its mostly passive, this soup is a whole day project!
*HIGHLY recommend using the remains of a smoked chicken if you can. It gave the soup a bit of a spicy, smoky flavor.

*This made a TON of soup... enough to feed 20 people (2 nights of Passover dinner) with plenty leftover. Usually I stick some in the freezer in small batches and pull it out when recipes call for chicken stock.

As for what to do with the boiled chicken? I made this chicken salad (swapped out the mayo and instead did all 2% Greek yogurt) and brought it to Easter brunch with our friends. There are tons of combos you can use with chicken salad, so go crazy. I love this soup, but I also love that there's a chicken salad in my future!

Monday, April 1, 2013

Wedding Recap part 3- The Reception

After the ceremony, we went straight to cocktail half-hour and then reception.

Photography By Janine: Daniel & Stephanie &emdash; DanielStephanie-421
Announcing the bride and groom! Dan and I entered the wedding to "White and Nerdy" by Weird Al. Originally I didn't have anything particularly fun planned for our entrance and then three nights before the wedding I had Riding Dirty (the original) stuck in my head. Then it came to me! I emailed our DJ to get it added in and he said no problem. I didn't tell Dan, though. Surprise!

Photography By Janine: Daniel & Stephanie &emdash; DanielStephanie-434
We went straight from the entrance to our first dance, but Dan and I aren't very good dancers (just the awkward middle-school-sway here!) so we didn't really want to be all alone on the dance floor for a whole song. Rather than cut the song, I came up with the idea to bring the family/wedding party up to the floor halfway through.
Photography By Janine: Daniel & Stephanie &emdash; DanielStephanie-440
Then we could dance to the whole song but not have everyone awkwardly staring at just us for 3 minutes. We told the wedding party they didn't have to stick with their aisle buddy, they could bring their actual date up to dance. I really loved having everyone up there with us!
Photography By Janine: Daniel & Stephanie &emdash; DanielStephanie-454
After that it was on to dinner. As is traditional, we did a blessing before the meal. We had my two grandfathers come up- one did the Jewish blessing for the wine and the other for bread.
Photography By Janine: Daniel & Stephanie &emdash; DanielStephanie-455
We tossed around the idea of also having someone from Dan's side do a traditional Catholic blessing, but this worked out fine and then it didn't drag on too long.
My mom and I baked the challahs a couple days in advance and they came out pretty tasty! (We weren't really supposed to bring in homemade food but nobody asked and we didn't tell.. until now!)
Photography By Janine: Daniel & Stephanie &emdash; DanielStephanie-458
Dan and I were at the sweetheart table (so our wedding party could sit with their dates and other people they knew) and we ate, then got up and started making the rounds. Unfortunately we were too chatty and only made it across half the room before it was time to move on to the next event.

Next up the toasts. Dan's brother and my sister did toasts. His brother called me opinionated (Here I am saying "I have an opinion about that, too!") Photography By Janine: Daniel & Stephanie &emdash; DanielStephanie-482 
and my sister thanked Dan for making me nice and calm. That's sweet. :-/
Photography By Janine: Daniel & Stephanie &emdash; DanielStephanie-493

Cake time! I spent too many hours trying to get just the right color ribbon and the right cake topper for this cake. It turned out really good though, don't you think?
Photography By Janine: Daniel & Stephanie &emdash; DanielStephanie-466
Photography By Janine: Daniel & Stephanie &emdash; DanielStephanie-506

Notice my mouth is open too, when I go to feed Dan. I also smile when I'm behind the camera. I'm weird. Then it was time for the Father-Daughter dance.
Photography By Janine: Daniel & Stephanie &emdash; DanielStephanie-517 
Photography By Janine: Daniel & Stephanie &emdash; DanielStephanie-527I wanted to condense the ceremonial portion of the reception as much as possible, having been to a few weddings where that stuff drags on and you just want to get to the dancing! So, instead of doing a separate Mother-son dance, we just had Dan and his mom come up halfway through my dance with my dad and then we could move on to dancing.

Once the pomp and circumstance was over, I snuck upstairs to change into sneakers. I thought about having pretty reception shoes, but during Ali's wedding a few weeks before my feet were killing me from a whole night of not wearing supportive shoes so I nixed the dressy flip flop idea and went for running shoes. (Keep your eyes open for a Brooks sighting later!)

There was dancing....
Photography By Janine: Daniel & Stephanie &emdash; DanielStephanie-614
And more dancing...
Photography By Janine: Daniel & Stephanie &emdash; DanielStephanie-661
And, of course, the hora!
Photography By Janine: Daniel & Stephanie &emdash; DanielStephanie-694
Photography By Janine: Daniel & Stephanie &emdash; DanielStephanie-723 

I didn't do a bouquet toss (singles shaming!) or a garter toss (I didn't even wear one, they look itchy!). We just kept right on dancing...
Photography By Janine: Daniel & Stephanie &emdash; DanielStephanie-738
Photography By Janine: Daniel & Stephanie &emdash; DanielStephanie-754We also nixed the "Last Dance" and also the send off (which would have been silly since we were coming back to clean up and then riding the bus back with everyone else) and instead invited everyone up to the dance floor in a big circle during the last song for us to wander around and thank each person for coming. This is kinda a traditional Bat Mitzvah move, but it was a good thing because some people I saw for the only time during the whole reception right then.

And there you have our big, fat, Jewish, Catholic, nerd wedding!
 Photography By Janine: Daniel & Stephanie &emdash; DanielStephanie-396