Bright colors, loud music and gold jewelry everywhere- it couldn't be anything but Sejal's Wedding! I was so honored to be invited to Sejal's weekend wedding affair. Events started as early as Thursday with the actual wedding taking place on Sunday. While I would have loved to attended all of the events- Tommy and I just made the events on Sunday. And it did not disappoint!
Above: Brielle Guerra and Emi try to convince Sejal to not get married! Brielle is seven months older than Emi and just 1/3 of the triplet madness!
Above: The stage is set for the ceremony. There was nothing about this that wasn't over the top.
I learned SO much about the Indian culture. Most importantly, Indians are not nearly as rude as I thought. It really just is their culture. Also, the entire day ran anywhere between one to three hours late! Once I embraced it, I really started to enjoy myself!
Above: This is the barat. Basically the groom's parade. Two city streets were blocked off and a boom box lead the freightened horse down downtown Des Moines. No candy was thrown! But lots of Indian people jumping up and down!
Above: My handsome husband at the parade!
Above: More crazy Indians! I think the pink hat signifies family, but I am not sure about that.
Above: The forgeous Mindy Guerra served as the only white bridesmaid. And is she said "I finally iknow what it is like to be discriminated against." Tommy said he even noticed people glaring at her. I thought they looked gorgeous- you know, for a white girl! Mindy was supposed to dance in he barat but opted not to. She said she didn't know how to dance. Sammy,Sejal's brother, told her to watch Aladin to learn how!
Above: The BEAUTIFUL bride, Sejal, greets the groom, Jayesh, at the front of the temple hotel and gives him this garland.
Above: After seeing his bride, Jayesh is hoisted on to the shoulders to celebrate! So crazy- and it was only 945 am at this point.
A series of traditions went on after this. Here are a few thoughts from a white girl:
1. During the ceremony several chairs were pulled up on the stage like they didn't have it counted out before. Weird, right?
2. Part of the tradition is for the bridesmaid to steal the grooms shoes while the mother in law is washing his feet. Also, if Sejal's brother grabbed his toe, he had to barter with him to get away from him. So literally, in the middle of the ceremony, the groom is pulling money out of his pockets to pay people. Its al starting to make sense, right?
3. During some parts of the ceremony, Bridesmaids left the stage and went into the crowd to get items out of their purse
4. It was totally legitimate for the guy in the front row to have his cell phone ringer on, answer it during the ceremony, and walk to the back of the room to talk.
5. Of the 500 or so people there, about 480 people talked to the people next to them through the entire thing. The 20 who didn't were the white people there. I always thought Indian people were rude but that is really just their culture.
Above: Sejal enters the ceremony.
Above: During the ceremony they served yogurt! Yum!
The beautiful couple!
My camera died at this point. The chef had the meal ready so while the ceremony continued people left to go eat lunch.
After lunch Sejal and Jayesh went to the temple near Granger to bless the vows. Then dinner started again at 6pm 930pm. It was so awesome! Tons of dancing, food, tradition. It was great. We sat at the only white table (and Tommy- who as considered white for the purposes of this wedding). We were the butt of all the jokes during the reception. They would say something in Indian and all look over us and laugh. Regardless, we got served first which was great since dinner was served 2.5 hours late!
As we left the wedding Tommy and I agreed- it was the best wedding we had ever been to! Those Indians sure know how to party!
I'm thankful for the long upcoming weekend which is bound to be exciting. I'm going to try to take off work early tomorrow to pick up Emi and head to Clear Lake. I'd love to stay up there the whole weekend, but on Sunday I have my first Indian Wedding to attend. Its an all day affair including a Groom's parade and buffet. Its a good thing it's a three day weekend!
I'm also thankful for Sushi Dinners with my husband. We get this from Haiku near Drake. So delic!
Lastly, I'm thankful that I hired my backyard work out and it looks fantastic. I'm almost embarassed to show you the before photos, but you have to see them in order to appreciate the after.
We still have a few things to do, but needless to say, it has come along way!
50% Real Estate
20% Family Law
10 % Mediator
10% Guardianships & Conservatorships
5% Estate Planning
5% Misc (litigation, juvi law, criminal law, business law).
When I serve as a mediator (a mutual third party) I work with two other family law attorneys and their clients to resolve their divorce and child custody issues. A professional problem solver if you will.
Here are ten things I have learned throughout the course of being a mediator:
1. 99.9% of all divorces can be traced back to infidelity or financial issues or both.
2. If you risked your family's future and your financial future on a fling- I will have little to no respect for you. And I'm not afraid to tell you that. And if I'm your mediator, you just paid me lots of money to tell you that you're dumb. Really dumb.
3. Many people enter marriage with the intent of it not lasting a lifetime.
4. Some people live with heartache for decades.
5. Some people live with anger for decades. And they lose all rationale from it.
6. The legal system- its not fair. And one should never, under any circumstances, let a judge decide the future of their children. And most judges would agree with the later part of this statement.
7. At the end of the divorce process many people think "well, if I knew it was going to be like this I would have just stayed married to them."
8. There are some attorneys out there that I wouldn't trust my sister's ten year old cat who I don't really like (The cat- not the sister) with.
9. Some people will pay hundreds of dollars an hour to ramble on about something that is in no way important. To anything.
10. When I entered the profession I though it'd be 90% attorney 10% counselor. I'm 90% counselor and 10% attorney.
Little did I know when I signed Emi up for daycare at Sherry's that I was also signing her up for 3 big brothers. Sabastian, age 4, (not to be confused with the lobster from the Little Mermaid), Jayce, 22 months, and Carter, 14 months have taken Emi on as their little sister according to Sherry. In particular, the boys will all be playing together and hear Emi make a noise. The boys drop what they are doing and run over to Emi and find her pacifier and a rattle to entertain her. So precious. Sherry tells me Emi will just smile at them and laugh. That's my girl!!
It reminds me when my mom was watching Emi and my nephew, Anthony. One morning I walked in with Emi in her carseat with my cell phone an keys sitting on her legs. Anthony rushed over to Emi to give her a kiss. When he saw my personal items sitting on Emi, he immediately grabbed them, glared up at me and scolded "That's too heavy for Emi, Auntie Dawn!"
As I dropped Emi off this morning at daycare and drove away I felt so free. I kept dreaming of all the errands I could easily run without Emi, but no places were open except my office. And then 15 minutes later when I arrived at work I missed her. A lot.
On aside, Caprice came over to take some pictures of Emi over the weekend. I have yet to get them posted on the blog. Emi was pulling some major attitude on Caprice when Caprice said to me "Woah! That look she just gave me is a nasty look I've seen your husband give before when I was taking your pictures and he thought my idea was stupid." What is sad is my mom said Emi gave her he same look before too! Now Emi had to have learned that somewhere! And I haven't heard anybody say those were my dirty looks!
Emi and I survived her first day of daycare. My mom and I were so busy on Friday. When I spoke to Sherry, Emi's daycare provider, she said that Emi was "as good as gold." Of course my mom and I already knew this. The important lesson that we learned was while we were slaving away missing our little Emi, she wasn't missing us at all. That's good right?
Emi has always been a little chatter box. But now she is so interactive it is great. Emi laughs so hard when I pretend eat her fingers and toes. She also thinks its funny when Tommy pretends bump foreheads with her. She, however, does not find it funny when Tommy pretends to eat her fingers or toes or I pretend bump foreheads with her.
Emi really is a mix of both Tommy and I. She defiantely has more of his facial features. And she is quite laid back, which is also Tommy. But she is chatty and smiley like me.
In the picture above. Emi is chatting daddy's ear off about something. We are not sure what but she does this every morning. Its so animated! One of the highlights of my day. I think it is a highlight of Tommy's day too because he always beats me out of bed to go get her out of her crib.
Did the Easter Bunny arrive late to the Takekawa's? No, that's just Emi in her bunny towel!
I opened up my computer and saw my girlfriend, Laura's, post that said "Thankful Thursday." I initially thought "Oh, Laura. She is all sorts of whacked on her schedule with that three week old baby of hers." Then I sat there. And I counted. And I yelled out to the nearest coworker "Is it Thursday?" I don't think I ever got an answer- and I am thankful for that.
I am thankful that my girlfriend, Kimber, is at the hospital right now living hell experiencing the miracle that is child birth. I am also thankful that she doesn't mind when I tell everybody that she is having a boy and naming him Alexander or Amari (Ari, for short, of course). For the record, Kimber does not know what she is having. And if it is a boy, she assures me that while Alexander is a great name, that is not the name of her child.
I am thankful that my girlfriend, Andrea, and I got to have coffee together this morning. I'm also thankful that Emi still knows who her mama is. Sometimes I feel a little slighted by her when she doesn't care whose arms she is in and is happy to be passed around. I cherish the moments that she insists to be held by me because they are few and far between. And this morning, she had one of those moments.
I am thankful that I picked up Andy Cohen's new book and have actually read the first two chapters already.
On another note, tomorrow is Emi's first day at daycare (Sherry's house). I am thankful that I have found a wonderful person to watch her. I didn't know exactly how I would feel about this day. Monday was supposed to her first day of daycare, but because of a little slip and fall injury by my father and a trip to Mason City Hospital, my mom and dad will not be home tomorrow to hang with Emi and my work schedule will not permit for me to have her with me tomorrow. Luckily Sherry will be watching her tomorrow for me. (For the record- my mom says the fall was not that bad and that Mason City hospital is hard for money so they are holding him overnight. And for my attorney friends- the fall was his fault so keep churning the other work.) Today while I was at work with Emi who was tired and just wanted to be held by me, I was frustrated. I wasn't being a good mom to her, and I couldn't get enough work done. I was wishing I did have her at daycare because what was the point of half ass taking care of her and half ass doing work? Now, as I packed up everything for her to take to Sherry's, and wrote about everything there is to know about my little girl, I am nearly in tears thinking about taking her to daycare. I know she will have fun. I know she will love it far more than the days at mama's office. But I do not think Sherry would be appreciative of all the phone calls I would give my mom checking up on Emi. I'm just going to miss her- a lot, but I am confident she will be a much happier child being at Sherry's than being with me while I work, right?
The worship leader at church on Sunday morning lifted a prayer to the Lord that went something like this... "Jesus, thank you for accepting us for who we are. We know we aren't the perfect housekeepers, or not the most perfect parents, but we come to you..." Quite frankly, I stopped listening after that. I thought well my house is actually very clean right now. And my child, well she is more than perfect and she is laying on my shoulder smiling at the entire congregation behind her. And having the perfect child would make me, well, the most perfect parent, right? And on top of that, I was the perfect employee because I had already put in three hours at work that day (did I mention I was at the early service?!) Oh, and I was also the perfect daughter because not only had I worked 3 hours, but I also stopped by the store and picked up flowers and a card for my mom and was taking her out to brunch. Oh, and Tommy and I already had plans to go to WalMart to by lots of groceries so there would be plenty of food to eat next week. Now, please don't get me wrong. I am not saying I am not need of God's forgiveness and acceptance and love.
I got home from work today at approximately 630pm. Even though I had worked 3 fulls days already this week, I was already behind. Oh, and did I mention that my daughter was in her third outfit since 2pm? Then as I walked through the door I noticed that my kitchen floor could easily been mistaken for Emi's sandbox, it was that dirty. She was hungry, and there was no clean bottle in sight despite the fact that we probably have ten thousand of them. Oh, and my husband, well, he had picked up chinese because not only was I not cooking dinner (again) but in my trip to Walmart on Sunday, I had failed to really pick up anything (despite the fact I spent over $100).
So as I did two loads of laundry, mopped the floor, washed the bottles, boxed up the leftover chinese so I could serve it tomorrow, and finished the work I had brought home I thought about the prayer from Sunday. How in three days could that much have changed? So I prayed and it went something like this... "Jesus, thank you for accepting me for who I am. I am not the most perfect housekeeper or employee (yes, I'm pretty sure some of my work did not get done due to some celebriy gossip reading and a little ineffective multitasking with Emi at the office) or cook or wife. And thank you, Jesus, for trusting me with the most beautiful and perfect child in the whole world. Amen"
I am so excited to share how I have experienced these lessons lately because even though you are not going to believe it, these stories are absolutely true!
A few weeks ago my mom and I went to visit my grandma and decided to stop at Jaarsma's bakery in Pella. After picking out our items my mom handed the employee her debit card. The employee turned the card over and saw the card was not signed. She asked to see my mom's id. My mom likes to carry her debit cards in an unzipped pocket of a random jacket without her id. I do not know whether this is because she likes to keep her life interesting by always looking for her debit cards or if she keeps her debit card separate from her id so when she in fact loses her debit card, said individual will not also have her id. Regardless, my mom did not have her id. The employee said to my mom "Well, I will accept it this time but just so you know the next time you come in you must have your id or we will not accept your card."
As we walked out the door I said to my mom "Yah right- like she is going to remember your face the next time you're in and not accept your card!" Then my mom replies "Actually, I was here a few months ago and went to pay with my debit card. The lady looked at the name on the card and said 'Oh, Pauline Van Wyk, I think I have one of your credit cards in the safe in the back.' So I think she will remember me the next time I come in." My mom had been there several months prior and left her credit card there. This lady had remembered that she had my mom's card and went and got it out of the safe. Did I mention this was months later! Amazing.
The second time I experienced this lesson was a few Sundays ago. One of my biggest pet peeves is people who have to tell me they are something in order for me to know. If you have to tell me you're smart, nice, thoughtful, friendly, a christian in order for me to notice- this is not a good sign. I'm generally an observant person. I should be able to catch onto these things without you telling me.
It was Sunday morning at around 10am. Tommy and I were at HyVee enjoying a nice breakfast together (the one on Mills Civic, of course, because that is the best HyVee in the metro area). Oddly, my phone rang and said "mom's cell" but there was a man with a heavy accent on the other side of the line. Figuring this was some weird interception of cell phone signals, I was getting ready to hang up when I heard ".... you know this number." I said "Yes,this is my mom's phone." The man said "I have her phone. Do you want to meet me?" I said "okay, but where are you?" He replied "I'm on my way to Lutheran Church of Hope in West Des Moines." This was perfect. We were just a mile or so away. So Tommy and I finished our breakfast and headed over to the church to meet the man. As we met outside the church I said "Where did you find this phone?" He replied "Well, I was driving by this car and suddenly I saw something fly out of the car. I pulled over and found this cell phone on the side of the road. Somebody must have thrown it out of the car." I immediately knew his story was a bit off. My dad wasn't in the car so it was not possible that the phone got thrown out of the car and it was more likely that the phone flew off the roof of the car. Regardless, I thanked the man and we went our separate ways.
I called my sister and said "when you see mom, let her know I have her phone." Sure enough my mom had been out in my sister's driveway searching for her phone. Apparently, my mom had placed the phone on the roof of her car. Driven from her house approximately 3-4 miles at speeds greater than 60 miles per hour before losing it off her car. She noticed the man pulled off the side of the road. My mom routinely gets phone calls of people complaining about her driving (she drives a Drive Tek car has the number written on the side). She immediately started searching for her phone and getting ready to pretend she was going to handle her crazy employee who was out there driving crazily.
That man could have done many things that day. He could have ignored the fact that he saw something fly off of or out of her car. He could have found the phone and threw it away. He could have sold it. But he didn't. He sought out its owner and saved my mom from what could have been a very bad day. (On aside, this is not the first time my mom has lost her phone off the roof of her car only to be retrieved later on the roadside, but that story is for another day).
Its nice to know that there are still some people out there who go out of their way to make somebody's day better.
I had a quiet but wonderful Mother's Day! I woke up around 430 to Emi talking to the Owls in her crib. I got up and got her bottle ready. I thought about going back to sleep around 5am but I wasn't that tired. On Saturday, I had gone to Oskaloosa to visit "GG" a/k/a Grandma Vos, or Great Grandma Vos to Emi because she is in the hospital with pneumonia. I'm glad I went to visit her, but that means I did not get anything done on Saturday. I decided since I was up and not tired on Sunday morning I went into the office with Emi to get work done. Emi entertained herself so nicly while I worked. I got al my work done by 8:15 so we headed to Starbucks, HyVee for a last minute Mother's Day gift and were even 15 minutes early to church.
Church is a big treat to Emi. A whole new batch of people to smile and talk to! After church Tommy, Emi and I took my mom, dad and Anthony to Chips for brunch. If you have not been, I highly recommend. For the price ($17 a person, kids under 5 are free!) you really cant beat it! Lots of options!
Tommy gave me my Mother's Day present which as perfect! He vacuumed and washed my car. There had been a few breast milk spillage incidents that had not really been cleaned up effectively. Added to the fact that I eat crispix cereal every morning in the car, which apparently only half of which eventually makes it into my mouth, it was quite messy!
I hope you enjoyed your Mother's Day as much as I did!
Emi and her cousins with GG!
GG says "Now I've never had a great grandchild that looked like this!"
Also, on Saturday I went to Tony's "Blast Ball" game. The only indication that a baseball game was going on was the fact that the kids had matching shirts on!
Tommy holding up a pair of shorts while at TJ Maxx: "Should I get these?"
Me: "Are you sure you want to get white? Tommy: "Yah, I like white."
Me: "Okay, just be sure not to wear them while you're having your period."
Anthony to me while I am walking in the house: "Hi, Auntie Dawn Oh, Emi is here! I love you Emi!"
Later in the day, he insisted that my mom, Emi and him sit on one side of the booth together and I sat on the opposite side. By myself.
Me to Laura, a coworker: "The bosses don't know you're white."
Laura: "What?! What do they think I am?"
Me: "Native American."
Laura while laughing hysterically and in disbelief "What?!?!?"
Me: "Let's not tell them. They seemed so proud when they told me they hired a minority."
Mom: "How'd your day going?"
Me: "Ugh. Fighting over cattle sold in 2004 and an alleged 64 acres in a Guatemalan rain forest."
Me: "Just another day, Mom."
On a completely unrelated note, Tommy and I took Emi to her first Farmers' Market on Thursday at Valley Junction. As we walked through the market I overheard people whispering "Look at that gorgeous baby!" I'm such a proud mama!
(Editor's Note: Today has been one of those days that happens once a month week where it seems nothing goes right, you let the little things get to you, and you just don't enjoy your day. With that in mind, here is in my Thankful Thursday.)
This Thursday, I am thankful for my husband. Why?
My husband has so much confidence in me. For example, when I suggest we hire a cleaning lady he says "No, I think you can do it yourself, honey!"
My husband thinks I am the best mom in the world. For example, when I suggest he read to Emi and rock her to sleep he says "No, honey, you are so good at it! You do it!" In fact, my husband thinks I am so great as a mom he reminds me "Emi seemed to digest your breast milk better than this formula you should have never stopped breast feeding."
My husband never forgets to compliment me. Just this morning he said "Wow, honey! Your acne sure is looking better these days!"
My husband is so sweet. Tonight when I suggested that he give me a neck massage or rub my feet he said "No, Honey. You should go to one of those massage places they do a better job than I do."
Okay, Okay. Now I really am thankful for my husband. After all, Emi is half him:
(I had to post a better photo of her. That photo I posted earlier this week for 3 months made her legs look super huge. This is better!)
And on Monday, when I was sick, Tommy did do a good job taking care of Emi and I. In fact, as we went to bed that night I said to him "Honey, you do a really good job of cleaning up vomit."
About once a day I turn to the closet person to me and say "Isn't Emi just so beautiful?" Some days I am just at a lost of words for how wonderful she is.
On Saturday, Tommy and I did the unthinkable. We woke our perfectly sleeping baby. See, she had been sleeping during most of the day. When she was awake, Tommy and I were out with her and didn't feel like we spent good quality time with her. Emi woke up with a smile and her face said "Hey! Thanks, Mom and Dad, for waking me up to hang out with you! This is fun!" Seriously, this girl always has a smile on her face. It is so amazing.
Here are some pics!
If my Grandma Vos saw these pictures she would say "Oh Wow! She definitely got the Van Wyk legs!" :-)
On another note, even though labor was over 13 weeks ago, its funny how different noises can take you right back to that misery. My computer had a low battery and the indicator made a noise similar to what the blood pressure machine did when my blood pressure was so low. And then my sister chimes in... "You lose!"
Here are Ten Things I'd like to do in the month of May:
1. Buy and Read Andy Cohen's new book. (Right now my dad is either rolling his eyes or he doesn't know who Andy Cohen is and once he googles it then he will roll his eyes). I'm a sucker for pop culture and reality tv.
2. Settle all (4) my trials that I currently have set for this summer.
3. Get my landscaping done outside and open up my pool! Woohoooo... who's coming over for a pool party?!?!
4. Invest into my daughter's future.
5. Buy a new house. I kid, I kid. Kind of....
6. Host Emi's first play date with my girlfriends' babies (Kase and Alexander ???).
7. Make ham balls with my kitchen jewelry mixer. Weird, right?
8. Plan a vacation.
9. Rock my Emi in my new recliner I bought that Tommy bought me for Mother's Day!
10. Clean the inside of my car.
I'll check back in with you in June and let you know how it goes.
This morning on my way into work I decided to drive thru McDonalds and get myself a foutian soda, Dr. Pepper being my choice this morning.. Of course you may be familiar with the fact that McDonalds now have all soda for $1 (added to the fact they have a drive thru- which is a must if you have a baby). With tax my tab came to $1.06. I could only find a dollar and a quarter and when I handed it to the McDonald's employee I said "Please donate my change to the Ronald McDonald house. Surely you're familiar with the little drop box they outside the drive thru window.
As I pulled up to the second window I watched in my side mirror for the man to stick his hand out the window and donate my change. And I watched. And I watched. It never happened- he totally pocketed my donation. What a jerk. (I considered going inside to tell the manager but then I felt like stingy for only donating $0.19). I picked up soda and drove off. And as I took a drink of the Coke that they served me, I thought to myself "What ever happen to good customer service?"
As I continued my drive to work, I thought "Did I used to have better customer service to my clients?" I'm quite certain I did. Let me tell you what happened.
I graduated from law school eager to change the world. I got my first job (which was more fortunate then many of my classmates who did not) and shortly thereafter got my student loan bill in the mail. Somehow over the course of the three years of law school I had failed to amortized my student loan debt to realize what my monthly payment would be. Then I worked at my job for a few months and realized that my legal assistant was getting paid more than me. And she was working less. Oh, and she didn't have a student loan payment. And then I represented my first client and found out that people don't tell the truth leave out important pieces of information. And I found out I cared about my client's case more than my client did. And then I found out that not all Judges interpret the law the same. And on the days where I seemingly moved mountains for my clients, I got emails from them telling me they didn't want to pay me. And each client is a new name- same problems.
So that's what happened to my customer service skills. What's your story?
Last night I was reading to Emi when I got to the end of the book and my darling daughter was still awake. I thought about getting up to get another book, but I thought best not to disrupt her even more so I decided to tell her the following story:
It was Fall 2003. Mommy lived in Lawrence, Kansas, finishing her final year of college. Mommy lived in an apartment with a friend. Daddy knew Mommy's neighbors so often came over to Mommy's neighbor's house. Daddy than realized he recognized Mommy because we shared a mutual friend, Mommy's roommate from her first year of college.
Daddy kept coming over to Mommy's apartment because Mommy's roommate was a blond with huge boobs that she always failed to cover up because he thought Mommy was a real catch. Soon Daddy asked Mommy out on their first date.
Daddy and Mommy went to California Pizza Kitchen at the Plaza in Kansas City. Mommy and Daddy sat in the first booth in the restaurant where we ordered spinach and artichoke dip as an appetizer. The waitress served our dip with multicolored chips.
The conversation was getting quiet so Mommy looked at the chips, thought for a moment and looked at Daddy and said "Do you like white chips or brown chips better?" What Daddy heard was "Do you like white chicks or brown chicks better?" Needless to say, Daddy had quite the look on his face. We soon realized we weren't talking about the same things.
And the rest is history....
I'm quite sure Emi laughed during this part of the story, but I'm also sure she was laughing because Tommy and I still nearly have tears in our eyes from laughing so hard every time we are reminded of this story.
Here is a pic from Emi and I this past week. What a doll!