3 Years of I Do

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Dear Ryan,

Three years ago we promised our lives to each other. We had only been dating a year and a half, yet we know that we wanted to share our future. They say marriage is one of the biggest risks you can take, but I had never been more sure of anything in my life. 

This past year has been one of major growth for our marriage. Having a baby together will do that.

Those same people that say marriage is a huge risk also say that you need to work on your marriage after a baby enters the picture. Once again, I disagree. 

Raising a baby together has only strengthened that promise we made to each other three years ago.

This past year you witnessed me at my very lowest points and decided to only love me more. The immense support you showed me during my pregnancy and as I transitioned into a mother made my love for you grow daily. I would have been so lost without you by my side, encouraging me, laughing with me, and learning with me.  You are the best father to Wyatt. There is no one else I’d want to (or could do) parenthood or life with. 

Although this has been a year of many ups and downs, our marriage has benefited by growing stronger and I’m so excited for what comes next. 

Thank you for all that you do every single day to make this marriage work. Thank you for waking up with me each morning and deciding to say “I do”, no matter what the future holds. 

Love you always,

Katie

The Bar Exam

Well, it’s that time! What the past four years have been leading up to. 

Ryan headed up to Harrisburg last night and today and tomorrow he will be taking the two-day Pennsylvania Bar Exam.

He’s been studying tirelessly everyday since May. I know he will do great, but we appreciate any extra positive thoughts!

I’ve taken some time to study with him and have  briefly looked over his bar prep information and I can’t believe all of the information he needs to comprehend and remember. It’s all over my head and I’m so proud of him for all the work he has done. 

This is basically what our dining room/living has looked like for the past two months.

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I’m excited to celebrate with some much-needed drinks (for him) and our family trip to the beach. This will be our first time together as a couple where he won’t be studying!

I’m looking forward to seeing what it’s like to be married to someone who doesn’t carry flash cards with him everywhere he goes.

Go, Ryan, Go!
 

Celebrating 2 Years of Marriage

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Today marks two years since Ryan and I have been married. June 2, 2013 was a hot day with a 70% chance of showers. I was a nervous wreck, checking the weather on my phone about every 3 minutes. I was so afraid that the rain was going to ruin my perfect outdoor garden wedding and force us to move the ceremony into a sparse and dark tent. 

But the odds were in our favor. The sun shined as I walked down the grassy aisle with my dad, beaming from ear to ear. I’ll never forget the way Ryan looked at me that day. His eyes showed the hope we both shared for our future and I felt safe and very lucky. 

The rain did eventually come, in the most serendipitous of ways. After the ceremony we had a chance to take photographs in the sunshine and then literally 2 seconds after Ryan and I were introduced into the tent for the reception it started down pouring. It was the kind of rain storm that makes you want to hide under the covers. We shared our first dance under cover with a circle of our loved ones surrounding us while the storm brewed outside. An hour later the sun shown again and dried up all the rain. 

Although the weather worked out for us on our wedding day, that’s not always the case. Rain will come. Thunder will bellow and lightening will strike. There is no planning for the weather, no matter how prepared we feel and no matter how many devices we are equipped with.

Ryan and I have witnessed our love grow as we weathered a few storms and learned to enjoy the view of a couple of thunderstorms. No matter how bad the storm, the sun will always shine again. 

Ryan,

My love for you grows every day. Right now is a very sunny time in our lives and I think this third year or marriage will be one of our most brightest and memorable. Sure, there will be some dark moments as we tackle all of the changes coming our way such as starting your career and parenthood, but the joy and power of the sun will always outshine the darkness.

Marriage is truly an adventure and you are the best side kick. I can’t wait to see where this next year takes us and to watch our family grow once Baby Mac arrives this September. As I said to you on our wedding day, let’s do this! 

Love always,

Katie


 
 
  

 

 

2014 A Year in Review

Another year come and gone. I feel it’s important to reflect back on what the past year has given us, before we start anticipating what we may receive in the new year. I had fun looking back at 2014 via my blog.

 I wanted to thank each and every one of my readers. You don’t know how much I appreciate your comments, thoughts, and support. Thank you for following along on this adventure with me!

2014 was busy. Sometimes it felt like we were never home. We took multiple weekends away to Philly, DC, Annapolis. And a few more trips to Avalon, Scranton, Gettysburg, the Finger Lakes, and a big trip to Jamaica. I celebrated the shower, bachelorette party, and beautiful wedding of my best friend. 

I watched less movies but read 29 books. I tried countless new recipes and finally mastered my half broken oven and didn’t burn every cookie I baked. We powered through another school year for Ryan and I grew to appreciate my job more. We experienced disappointment and loss and debated what our future would hold. Ryan accepted a new job for after graduation. 

We made family time (both our little family and our extended family) a priority. We learned to love with bigger hearts through our mistakes. And through it all, we kept our hearts full of hope. Although this year did not hold any huge milestones, I feel the little ones, the ones full of simple moments of joy and hope, are the paving stones to our future. 

So here’s a look back at our 2014:

January

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In January we celebrated a simple New Years Eve where I decided to make my word of the year be “Respect”. I vowed to value my personal choices and opinions and to schedule me time throughout the year. 

While we were surviving one of the snowiest and coldest winters in PA record, I learned that I really need to Stop Apologizing so much and was also very brave and did my very first vlog

February

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In February we survived more snow and cold and battled some cabin fever. I survived by doing lots of baking and cooking and reflecting on everything love related. (In honor of Valentine’s Day). I shared some love lessons I’ve learned since becoming a newlywed as well as what my favorite romance movies have taught me about love. One of my most favorite posts share “Why We Work” as a couple.

I also reflected a little bit on the weirdness of blogging

March

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In March I attacked my closet and addiction to clothes and did a massive clean out. We celebrated with friends for St. Patrick’s day and I longed for warmer months.

The celebration continued as I wished Ryan a Happy Birthday in this letter (my most read post of all time) and followed that celebration with me turning 31. Ryan and I had a getaway in Annapolis, MD and I shared 31 things I’ve learned in 31 years

April 

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My mom underwent some surgery and it pushed me to take some pressure off of myself when it came to this blog. And I haven’t look back since. I discovered where my inspiration comes from and decided to only post when I felt like it, not 4-5 days a week like I used to.

This month I did a lot of bridal shower planning for my best friend and spent time with family. But I did manage to write an article in Defense of English Majors like myself, interview Ryan, and share a blast from the past, talking about growing up in the 80’s and the 90’s

May

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In May I threw my best friends “Love Birds” themed bridal shower. One of my decorations was this Tissue Paper Garland that I shared a DIY video tutorial for. I also celebrated my Mom’s on Mother’s Day and shared some of the best advice she has ever given me. 

I discussed my Fear of the Unknown as Ryan wraps up his third year of Law School and we begin to think where we will be living next year. And along the same lines, I shared how I think Marriage is always Like a Seesaw. 

June

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This summer I took a big break from blogging to enjoy the season. After such a long winter I wanted to do nothing else but sit outside and read and bask in the sun. 

We celebrated our first wedding Anniversary in the Finger Lakes region of New York and I made this video highlighting our first year of love

Next I honored my Dad on Father’s Day and praised the merits of summer. before heading off to celebrate my besties bachelorette weekend!!!

July

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On July 5 I was was Matron of Honor in my best friend’s wedding! So much fun!

Then I finally got around to sharing our anniversary trip recap and photos and also got deeper with a talk about the role Social Media plays in our lives.

As I prepped to go on vacation to Jamaica I dived into some body issue talk

August

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JAMAICA BABY! It’s safe to say that this family vacation, recapped here and here, was the highlight of my 2014. We spent a week at a resort in the beginning of August. 

After returning to real life, I celebrated my one year blogging anniversary. The rest of the summer was filled with fun day trips and time with friends before Ryan headed off to his last first day of school

September

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September was good to us. Maggie turned 8 and I celebrated by sharing 5 ways she makes me a better person. We had a great weekend at my best friend’s lake house in Scranton. And then we then had a beautiful weekend at the Jersey Shore I love the beach in September, followed by a weekend in Annapolis and DC with my best friend from college.

I also discussed how being a newlywed isn’t always unicorns and roses. And, I made a point of celebrating the small things and trying to take life one day a a time. 

October

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October was a big month!

In October I was excited to start a new series: Recently Read and Think Positive Mondays.

We also celebrated Pop-Pop’s 89th Birthday as well as surprised Ryan’s mom for her birthday.  I discussed books a lot with another blast from the past  and talking about my love of real books over e-books (that’s backed by  science!)

I also took a girls’ trip to NYC for a weekend and to see Beautiful.

But most importantly we celebrated Ryan accepting a job offer in Wilmington after graduation! 

November 

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 November seemed like a slow month, as we crawled into the busyness of the holiday season. We threw Ryan’s parents a surprise Anniversary party. I talked about making time to do what you love every single day. For me it’s reading and finding quiet time. I questioned my identity in relation to my hometown and where I live. I wrote Ryan a Love Letter of Gratitude and also expressed gratitude on Thanksgiving

December

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This December was one of the fastest on record for me! We selected our Christmas tree, got it all decorated, and had it crash into our piano a few days later. Which made me write this post comparing Christmas Trees to Marriage. We saw Tedeschi Trucks Band in concert and did Karaoke and dancing in Philly for a good friend’s Birthday and I discussed more books

An increase of violence in our nation and in our small town had me reflecting on community, neighbors, and trust. 

We baked and decorated hundreds of cookies, sang our hearts out, and celebrated Christmas to the fullest. Family came in town for a week and we had a lovely family Christmas. 

Once again, thanks for being a good friend and following along! I hope you’ll join us for 2015!

Happy New Year!

Sentiments on Marriage and Christmas Trees

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Ah, The Christmas Tree.

I can’t express how much I love our family’s Christmas tree. The tradition. The memories. The emotions the memories bring.  The ornaments that each hold a little story. Ornaments from my childhood and ornaments from way before I was born from my Pop-Pop’s family. The adventure of going to the farm to pick it out. The way it lights up the living room. Filling us with those warm and fuzzy feelings. 

But damn, it can be a bitch to pick out and set up. Raise your hand if any work regarding your annual Christmas tree has started a minor argument or eye rolls or looks of resentment between you and your partner? 

We trekked out to a farm to pick out our Christmas tree on Black Friday. Or I should say, farms. We went to three different farms before we found “the one”. We lamented over size and price. That one was too bushy at the bottom, that one has a huge bare spot at the top, this one is outrageously overpriced, and that one isn’t full enough. 

Once we get home we struggle to get it perfectly in the stand. I hold the tree by the trunk while Ryan lies on his stomach trying to screw the base into place. It’s always crooked on the first try. Teach me your skills if you can perfectly set you tree in the stand on the first try. So then we try again and one of the washers gets dropped into the bottom of the base. Out comes the whole tree and we start over from scratch Then we get it “pretty good” but then argue over an inch or two to the left or to the back. Then we have to twist it so the prettiest angle is facing out front. By that point it’s crooked all over again. 

Then comes the lights. We work swiftly as a team only to realize that we started with the light cord “plug in” at the top rather than the bottom and have to start over again. I try to drape the lights perfectly over the branches rather than rush it. We’re eye rolling at each other’s “methods” and are both ready to scream, “Just let me do it!”

But then it is done. The tree is perfectly straight. The lights are draped evenly. We plug it in and step back to look at our masterpiece. Standing arm and arm we take a sigh as we let the beauty of the tree wrap us in farm and fuzzy feelings. That night we enjoy our usual TV consumption while under the glow and scent of the Christmas tree. It’s heavenly. 

We snuggle up in bed, happy with ourselves and our holiday spirit. Then comes 6:30 a.m. and I’m woken by a loud crash. Thinking Ryan broke a breakfast plate I yell downstairs asking if he’s okay. When I get no reply, I realize he has already left the house. Panicked, I rush down the stairs and find our perfect Christmas tree lying on the ground. Countless irreplaceable and antique ornaments shattered and water everywhere.

I cry. And then start picking up the mess. I call Ryan and he turns around and comes back home and helps me. We’re both agitated, frustrated, and sad. In total it takes two hours to clean up the mess, to un-decorate the rest of the tree, and find a way to make it stand upright again. 

I’m heartbroken over the ornaments lost. They are memories of my childhood, of traditions, and family members. They are only things. But they still hurt. My Christmas spirit was low for a bit. I went out and purchased a new stand. We spent another night assembling the tree in the new stand but left it undecorated for a few days. I simply didn’t have the heart. The tree was a monster, glaring at me from the corner. Taunting me and I just didn’t want to deal with it. 

Then on Sunday, we turned up the Christmas tunes and redecorated the tree. And all is well, Christmas spirit is restored. And it got me thinking and reflecting  (like this season is meant to do): the Christmas Tree is a lot like a marriage. 

These holiday traditions, the ups and downs, are what brings us together. We put up with each other’s quirks and work as a team to make something that will never be “perfect” as good as we can for us. Our marriage, like a live tree, will never be perfect. It is wild, untamed, in need of trimming, and pruning. In need of love and care and affection. Through the yeas we accumulate memories and traditions and adorn our marriage with them. Sometimes we fall and sometimes we break and sometimes we have a little trouble standing upright. Our hearts become shattered. But we overcome and we move forward. Through tears we pick ourselves up and keep pushing. Together.

Although the tree felt like an annoyance this year, we knew that it was in our best interest to set aside our hurt and make it into something special again. In that way, the Christmas tree is like our marriage, a symbol of something for the two of us to gather around and appreciate and respect. A ceremonious element of our lives to look forward to. To gaze at together and to bring us the warm feelings only the two of us comprehend.. It represents our imperfect love, that Christmas tree. And most importantly it brings us hope, much like marriage vows. 

And also, as this sentimental metaphor proves, full of a lot of SAP! 

But when else at Christmas time is it appropriate to be overly sentimental?

 

 

 

Love Letter of Gratitude

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November: A month of thankfulness. I don’t think any of us really thank our partners enough. As this month reminds us to be extra thankful, I thought I’d pause and write a letter of gratitude to Ryan.

Dear Ryan,

These past few months have taught me that love is always changing and always growing. But most importantly they have taught me that love is always there, even when I can’t always see it.

Last month I was feeling lonely in marriage. I mean that in the best of ways. Let me explain. There were nights when I was home alone and feeling the pressure to hold it all together. To not let you show how hard it was to be apart.  There were times when I took on the weight of all your anxieties and fears. The ones that sometimes crush your spirit. My heart felt the need to pick them all up for you, to help lighten the load on your heart, to make you happy. Without thinking twice I picked up all your anxieites and worries as if they were my own. “Isn’t that what marriage is about?” I thought to myself.

I catologed all those worries and lined them up side by side like books on a bookshelf. Thinking they were all organized and like I had a plan. They were all nicely lined up on that shelf in my heart, leaning against my own anxieties, my own fears. The ones I kept to myself because I didn’t want to overflow your already full plate. The ones I was afraid would distract you from focussing in school and your dreams. I thought that by being strong for you, by taking on your burdens, I was showing you how much I love you. 

But that shelf in my soul was getting so very heavy. It began to break with the weight of all those burdens. And then came that Sunday when despite by attempts of bravery, they all came tumbling down on top of me. Suffocating me. Making it hard to breathe. 

That day I showed you a part of me I usually keep hidden away. I felt so unhinged yet heavy at the same time. Yet you read my tears like the words to your favorite song. You knew. With no doubt you understood my fears and my worries. How could I forget that you know me so well? How could I forget that we were a team? How could I forget that you’d never expect me to carry all that weight? You held me close and whispered, “We can be strong together.”

So Ryan, I need to thank you for reminding me that I am not alone. I’ll never be alone. That sometimes I can get lost but that I will always be found. 

 I need to thank you for always making “us” a priority even when you are running on zero sleep, are working on 3 different projects for school, are prepping cases for work, and dealing with family crises. Thank you for putting us first. Thank you for pancake breakfasts, for always bring me coffee in bed on the weekends, for listening to Taylor Swift’s 1989 on repeat in the car for the past 3 weeks. Thank you for putting up with my moods. Thank you for cleaning the whole house when you had a vacation day on Veteran’s Day. You could have slept or watched TV but you chose to scrub the kitchen and bathrooms. Thanks for always making me laugh. And thank you for sharing my dreams.

I’m one lucky lady. Thank you for loving me and thank you for letting me love you. 

 

 

 

When Marriage is Hard

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When is marriage hard? Always. 

I think we are usually ashamed to admit when marriage is tough. I know I am. 

It’s not like I didn’t know this before diving into marriage. It’s not like I want to throw the towel in. It’s not that I don’t believe in marriage. 

I wouldn’t trade in my marriage for anything. Even on the days when I have red moments and all I think I want to do is be alone. 

But the fact is, marriage is hard. It’s one of the biggest risks you will ever take in life. Putting together two people from two different backgrounds for life with two different ways of dealing with conflict – it’s kind of crazy right? But with that crazy comes an unfathomable beauty….that sometimes gets lost in dark times.

Ryan and I have a hard time while he is gone at school and while under a lot of stress.  The past couple of weeks I have broken down to a girlfriends about marriage troubles. Every single one said she had been there. Here, I thought I was the weak one. That I was all alone in my troubles. There is comfort in knowing that we are not alone and I think we can all learn from one another. 

So,why don’t we share our hardships?

The moments where we feel unheard, misunderstood. When we just want to be selfish and not put the spouse first. When the other person surprises us and we feel like we don’t know them at all. 

It’s so much easier to share the good. To brag about your perfect weekends and the over the top romantic gestures. Sometimes you want to show everyone that you are OKAY and la-di-da ain’t love GRAND!

Truth: Ryan and I fight.

Of course we fight about countless stupid things that all cohabitating couples fight over:

The fact that there are 6 pairs of his shoes in the front entry way and I nearly break my neck carrying in the groceries. We fight that I don’t properly rinse of the dishes before loading them in the dishwasher. We fight when it takes 30 minutes to choose which movie to watch after a long Saturday. He wants to kill me when I leave 6 empty water glasses on my bedside table and I will scream if he squeezes the middle of the toothpaste tube again!

The silly things like that we usually end up laughing over. But there are the bigger issues too. The big choices, the dreams we sometimes have to sacrifice, the times when money is tight, sleep is nill, and hopes are squashed. The fights that lead to us asking ourselves, “Are we making the right choices?” The days that end in a big fiery ball of fury where every wrong word is said and you don’t think you have any more tears to cry. 

When you are stressed and feeling down, who is the first person you generally vent to or show anger towards? The spouse. Ryan and I are both guilty of pushing each other away in times of stress and sadness. Life is an ongoing lesson and I’m forever grateful to have Ryan as my co student for this education. But like all good students, we make mistakes along the way. 

Marriage brings out the worst and the best in me. It’s only been a short time, 1 year and 4 months, but it has taken me on an amazing journey. We’ve both changed since marriage, and for the good. I’m more humble, giving, selfless, loving, and hopeful because of my marriage. The crazy emotions in marriage are the same ones that make it absolutely beautiful. 

After the darkness descends, I always look at Ryan and know that although every choice we make may not be the best, I made the right choice in marrying him. We choose each other. Every day. Even when it’s hard. Especially when it’s hard.  

Love can do amazing things, but that doesn’t make the dark days any less numbered. 

It’s okay to admit marriage is hard. There should be no fear in sounding as if you have any less love for you spouse in doing so. 

As I grow older, the more and more I learn how small this world is. Let’s share our stories and grow together. If you are going through tough times, even ones that last a day,  you are not alone.