Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Speaking Out Against Family

I've been thinking a lot about this subject as my friends and I walk through the process of leaving and cleaving. While it's a spiritually loaded sentiment from the Bible, it's a concept that I think everyone deals with to some degree or another. When you join your life with your partner's life, you become a baby family in your own right. So where does that leave your respective families? Especially if there is friction?

Questions such as these are at the front of my mind:
When is it appropriate to speak out against family? For racism? For homophobic remarks?
When do you cut family out of your life?
What are healthy boundary lines?
Should spouses have to choose between you and parents?

We've all probably heard stories or have our own examples of the racist father(-in-law) spouting jokes over turkey. Or the sister(-in-law)'s biting remarks. Whatever the issue is, it can cause a real wedge in the family. I wonder where the line is between peacekeeping and standing up for what is right. When I married into my husband's family, his grandmother told me: "It's your job to help keep this family together. You have the power to keep it together or break it up." While I agree with her that family should be kept sacred and honored, I only agree to a point. There are circumstances where I would feel warranted in making a break.

I tend to have a very black and white view. If I think you're wrong, I'll let you know know and what's more, I'll tell you what I think is right. As I understand this tendency more, I've been trying to employ more diplomatic means. The idea of speaking the truth in love applies here I think. If you can speak the truth, but do so in a loving way and then the other party still wants to part ways, then perhaps you've done all you can do. As a matter of conscience, I don't know that there are other options.

I probably have more questions than answers regarding these situations (which vary widely from one family to another). However, I don't think we talk about these situations outside of common jokes about the in-laws or putting the fun in dysfunctional. I want to know what wisdom you have to impart. I want to know what you've been trying and what's been working.

Have you had to cut off family? Set a firm boundary? Or maybe just speak out against an injustice within family? How has being married affected your decisions to do this?

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Heritage Photos to Heritage Wall

Our collection of heritage photos meant the world to me at our wedding. While I had physical copies of all the photos, I made sure that I scanned them and eventually ordered prints for myself.  I had a vision for how to display them, so I began collecting frames as I saw them on sale at Michael's, Home Goods, and Target.

I love how each picture dates the couple and expressions.  Let's meet the family:
Mr. Palindrome's Parents

Mr. Palindrome's Paternal Grandparents

Mr. Palindrome's Maternal Grandparents

Mr. Palindrome's Maternal Great Grandparents

Mr. Palindrome's Maternal Great Grandparents

Palindrome Bride's Parents

Palindrome Bride's Maternal Grandparents

Palindrome Bride's Paternal Grandparents

Palindrome Bride's Paternal Great Grandparents

After framing each photograph, I laid them out on the floor and arranged them loosely based on family ties.
Some experts lay a piece of butcher block under the frames and then tape the paper onto the wall.  Then they nail hangers right over the paper, thus ensuring exact placement.
I am a "this looks close enough" kind of gal.  So I just used my hand to approximate distances and it worked out pretty well.
I love how the mixed patinas of the frames make them look original.  I also like the asymmetry of the collection as a whole, yet it still feels balanced.
Did you collect photographs for your wedding?  Are you planning on incorporating them into your home decor after the wedding?

Friday, November 19, 2010

Friday Finds - To the Brits

I may or may not have gone on WoW spotting trips when I studied in England.  Since I'm happily married now and he is on his way to be, I could find no other inspiration this week than the impending royal wedding. I went cheesy and touristy too.  At the pub down the street from my flat they had Cheese Night every Saturday (basically American 80's Night!).  The round about sign invitation is probably my favorite, though I really enjoy the irony of the telephone booth ipod case (which I think would make great wedding party gifts!).

TGIF! (or more appropriately, GSTQ - God Save the Queen!)
Clockwise from Top L:
CB Sew - British Red Phone Booth Gadget Case
The Blissful Baker - British Themed Cupcake Toppers
Alive House - Union Jack Pillow Cover
Doodle Love - Love Roundabout Wedding Invitation

Monday, November 15, 2010

Honeymoon in My Hometown - Hampton Roads

You may have taken summer vacation to Williamsburg and been forced to appreciate colonial history, but the area has a ton to offer in the way of romance and activity for a honeymoon close to home.  Here are my personal suggestions if you're headed to the area for your honeymoon (or anniversary trip, or even babymoon trip?).

Where to stay:
Stay downtown and enjoy the waterviews!  Hop on the water taxi to explore downtown Portsmouth, or hop on the highway to enjoy any of the 7 cities in the area.  We stayed there on our wedding night and received excellent service. 

Stay at the Virginia Beach ocean front and enjoy waking up to the sound waves and 'gulls.  The boardwalk is just steps away, and plenty of restaurants are within walking distance.  

The Founders Inn & Spa is lovely and very hospitable.  The surrounding campus of Regent University is also beautiful and stately.  When we ate at the Founders Inn after my graduation, the food was delicious.  Sunday brunches are the talk of the town.  Head to the spa for a little extra luxury.

What to do:
Interesting bits of military history.

Well curated museum and interesting collection.

Musicals, speakers, the symphony, comedians, and military tattoos.

Virginia Aquarium
Animals and an Imax theater - satisfies your inner kid!

Old Cape Henry Lighthouse
Great views of the beach and surrounding area.

First Landing State Park
Extensive trails, camping, etc.

Naro Cinema
Great old theater, reasonably priced concessions, interesting films.

Busch Gardens
If you're a coaster lover, like me, this is a must!

Colonial Williamsburg
You just may appreciate it more this go around!

Where to Eat:

Chick's Oyster Bar
Hang out on the deck, pick shrimp, enjoy life.

The Bier Garden
No picture, just trust Palindrome Bride. Order the spatzle.

Start with the she crab soup, you won't be sorry.

The Williamsburg Winery
Eat at the tavern and enjoy some Virginia ham with a lovely table red.

Have you been to Hampton Roads?  Would you consider a local honeymoon?

*All photographs sourced from the accompanying links to each location.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Palindrome Then and Now

I've been thinking recently about what I thought marriage would be like.  My dreams.  My reality.  My expectations from high school are deeply contrasted by my current expectations.

My relationship thoughts have largely been shaped by my faith.  When I was in Jr. High, I was counting down the days until I turned 16.  My parents had promised that I could date at that age and I figured I'd have a high school sweet heart, go to college, marry that sweet heart, and have babies - just like my parents.  Awwwwwww.

Around the time I turned 16, our church got swept up  into the "I Kissed Dating Goodbye" movement.  It may sound crazy to some, but the main idea was a throwback to formal courting where the gents initiated, parents chaperoned, etc.  Needless to say, I was never asked out in high school.
The summer I was 16, our youth group visited an orphanage in Mexico.

I thought that college would be my ticket to my MRS.  I had (actually still have) strong desires to be a mother.  I think I'm just hardwired this way.  So I made a plan.  I'd meet a nice boy at Bible study my freshman year.  Sophomore year, we'd hang out more, become best friends.  Junior year, we'd become more than friends.  Senior year, we'd be engaged and I'd plan a wedding for the weekend after graduation.  Ha!
At Palindromaid S's (and Mr. Palindrome's!) graduation with my MRS plan gone to crapola.

Now, I see that love doesn't follow my plans.  I realize that my high school and college dreams didn't reflect what I truly wanted.  The thing I wanted most was to meet a man who would challenge me, be my companion, love me, and love building a family with me.  The path and timing wasn't the most important thing, but I focused a lot on that in my love immaturity.

Our love story started in college but unfolded over the next 5 years.  We moved a combined total of 11 times during that time, sometimes in opposite directions.  It wasn't my ideal path, but it was my dream.
Mr. Palindrome and me circa 2006

How have your thoughts about relationships matured since high school?

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Corn Dogs, Lambs, and Colas Oh My!

Cola and I both got the corn dog platter.  This platter supposedly had 4 mini corn dogs on it.  When the platters came out with 4 full size corn dogs EACH, we just about died.  After reviving ourselves we talked shop about weddings with readers, hubbies, and relatives.  Then us North Carolina gals tried to talk the Colas into moving to the east coast!  The mountains, the beaches, the history, the long summers, the baseball, the jobs, the affordable housing!  Seriously, the state government should put us on their payroll because I think we were pretty convincing.  After lunch we grabbed a quick picture overlooking the stadium. We couldn't have coordinated our lovely autumanl sweaters even if we had tried!
 Lovely reader, mcnetn3, Cola and Lamb
Photograph by Mr. Cola

Thanks to everyone who made it out to the meet up!  Let's try to do it again near the holidays!

*Sorry for the sun flare, if I knew more about editing, I probably could have fixed it better.  Oh well, Cola looks extra angelic here :).  And to the lovely reader whom I couldn't match with a handle after the fact, I've learned my lesson and I'll be writing those down during lunch from now on!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Real Life Palindrome Style

I really enjoy when bloggers I follow give some insight as to what their life is like outside of their blog.  I like the snippets of what you eat, favorite movies, etc.  I also feel like I owe you a juicy secret.  Not some secret like, "I'm addicted to Mountain Dew" (I'm not anyways, but I consider it to be a bad secret).  I'm talking about the juicy kind of secret that makes you think, "Wow, she covered that neuroses pretty well!" 

My secret is that I have an obsession with toe nails.  It's an unhealthy obsession with unhealthy toe nail hygiene.  I trim my toe nails to the quick once a week and clean them out religiously.  I NEVER cut the cuticles on my toe nails.  I will cut them anywhere in our house that is convenient to me, much to the chagrin of Mr. Palindrome who constantly yaps at me to keep track of the clippings.  I wish that the nail obsession stopped at my own two feet.  However, it extends to everyone whose toes I see.  Summer is the height of my obsession, as I look at everyone's toes sprouting from their sandals.  Irregular cut nails? I want to file them.  Corns? I want to buff 'em.  Long? Oh, please for the love of all that is good in this world, please let me cut them!
While I have contained this urge with strangers, those closest to me cannot escape my homicidal toe nail bent.  As children, my Dad would cut our toe nails after our Saturday night baths.  When I was old enough, I cut my own and my brother's.  Until I left for college, and even when I returned home from breaks, I would still cut my brother's toe nails.  Now I cut Mr. Palindrome's.  Sometimes I cut them while he sleeps so that he won't fidget. 

When I see my toe nail cutting handy work, I feel a deep sense of accomplishment and pride.  It's irrational.  I know.  The ends of beautifully groomed toe nails totally justifies my crazy-clipping-while-you-sleep means though.  Besides that, I deal with Mr. Palindrome's ear cleaning q-tip obsession, so I think we're even.

Tell me a secret/real life obsession of yours!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Palindromes Featured on Elizabeth Anne Designs

I just heard from our coordinator, Pavaune (of Invited Events), that our wedding was featured on Elizabeth Anne Designs in the local Richmond blog section!  Some of the Palindromaids are featured about half way down in our photobooth :)
Check out the entire post here.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Weddingbee Meet-up with the Colas in Durham!

Hey Y'all!  My southern lingo is improving, and now it's time for me to show off my southern hospitality as we welcome the Colas to the area!  Mr. and Mrs. Cola are visiting this Saturday and we'll be meeting them at Tobacco Road in downtown Durham to show off our fun city, ball park and local brewskies!  Join us for lunch and bring the SO!

Tobacco Road Sports Cafe
280 South Magnum Street
Durham, NC
Saturday, November 6, 12:30 pm