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


 
 
  

 

 

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. 
  

The Last First Day of School

Today is a big one. Today is Ryan’s LAST first day of school!

While all the mom’s were posting pictures of their cute kids headed off to their first day of school today, I couldn’t resist posting Ryan headed off to his first day of his last year of law school. Hallelujah!

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The last year. Still letting that sink in.

So begins another year of only seeing him on the weekends. Of being a constant cheerleader and a wizard-like budget maker.

 

When you’re in the depths of law school, with an overly anxious student that also works a full-time job and adds on Moot Court, and research and TA positions, and law journal, you think law school is going to last your entire life. It’s easy to get lost in the darkness and forget that this is going to just be a short period of your life. 

I’ve written about being married to a law student here and here. It’s tough. Many people are telling us these will probably be the toughest years of our lives. There’s still a lot of unchartered territory ahead. Two semesters, bar exam prep, taking the bar exam, and finding a job. 

As a couple, I think our biggest anxiety comes from the unknown. We are stuck in this “in between” patch of our lives. We have no clue where we will be living next year. Where he will get a job. How we will be paying off the excruciating amount of student loans. We’ve put things off. In our home, the phrase “After law school” is used as commonly as “coffee”. 

We made the most of this summer. Worries were but aside as much as possible and we unplugged and made each other a priority.

This past weekend you would think we’d do something fun and exciting to celebrate our last few days of freedom. No, we were out running errands, buying new shoes, hitting up Costco, and doing laundry, cooking meals for the week, and cleaning. Boring old married stuff. But I cherish doing those every day things with Ryan.

People warned me about marrying a law student. They said that the marriage would come second. That many marriages barely make it.

But I can’t imagine married life any other way. This is all I know. We’re a team. I’m happy to be married to a man who is passionate about his dream and is still supportive of mine. I don’t know how Ryan does it, how he slaves away at his job and also manages to put 100% into law school and still get amazing grades and accomplishment. Yes, I’m bragging. 

Sure I dream of the day when Ryan can come home at a reasonable hour, when we won’t be stressing about every bill, and when Ryan will be fulfilled in a career that he has worked hard for. But,  I like to think that these stressful days of pinching pennies, of saying yes to another dinner in while watching Netflix and no to a Saturday night out, of making the most of our time together will only strengthen our marriage. As cheesy as it sounds, love does win sometimes. 

I just need to remember that in the coming weeks when I’m feeling lonely and lost and like no amount of love can diminish Ryan’s stress and anxiety and like the days are longer than the weeks. We’ve got this! We’ve got this! We’ve got this! 

xoxo Katie

One-Year Anniversary Gifts – Paper

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On June 2, my husband and I celebrated our first wedding anniversary. Since I’ve decided to take the slow and easy approach to blogging this summer, I haven’t gotten around to recapping our Anniversary celebration in the Finger Lakes – that day shall come, but today I’m sharing our one-year wedding anniversary gifts!

Our way of celebrating was to take a long weekend to the Finger Lakes, aka wine country in NY. The trip was our main “gift” and way of honoring our anniversary and celebrating our love. However, we still wanted to commemorate with small gifts to each other as well. We decided that we will gift each other small anniversary gifts each year and following the traditional gift rules.

According to tradition, the first year wedding anniversary gift is to be made of paper. (You can view the traditional gifts for years 1-100 here).

We also gave each other a $50.00 budget max. 

I began thinking about what paper gift to give Ryan a few months ago. Tickets to an event? A nice framed photo of us? Restaurant gift certificate? I had already done the journal for our wedding. I wanted it to be heartfelt, sentimental, have meaning to both of us and also be of some use. Once I figured out the perfect gift, I simply couldn’t wait for Ryan to open it. It was going to be perfect for him. 

When it comes to opening gifts, Ryan has the patience of a 5-year old at Christmas. As we were packing up the car for our roadtrip he kept begging to open his gift now. He couldn’t wait.  Meanwhile I was anxious that my gift was not going to stand up next to his. He had told my best friend what he got me and she kept telling me it was “SO perfect!”. 

But wait we did. We opened our gifts on the eve of our anniversary, sitting on our deck overlooking the lake while sipping local wine. As soon as Ryan opened my gift he started laughing and said, “I can’t believe this! Open mine! Now!'”

If we need any other evidence that we are perfect for each other, the fact that our handmade paper gift were basically the same says it all. 

We both gifted each other artwork that incorporated the song lyrics of our first dance song, Michael Buble’s “Everything”.

Ryan contacted an Etsy shop and had this adorable print customized for me. The tree is made out of paper with the song lyrics printed on it. It was simply perfect! 

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For my gift to Ryan, I designed a large canvas with an excerpt of the song lyrics printed on it. We’ve been discussing a new gallery wall to go above our bed and I designed this with that wall in mind. 

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Great hearts love alike!!! 

What did you give for your first year anniversary? Do you follow the traditional rules?

xoxo Katie
 

 

Recognizing Love as the Real Deal

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How people fall in love always amazes me. It’s like a birth of a new child. All of  a sudden there is this whole new element present where there used to be nothing and you nurture it and watch and grow as it takes up residence in your heart. It’s as simple as it is complex. Love is simply present, out of no where, and changing your life all the same.

My brother met his wife in late Spring of 2009. They moved in together in June, were engaged in November, and were married the following March. It was a whirlwind romance to everyone viewing their love from the outside. He first introduced us to Veronica during our family beach vacation at their home in Wrightsville Beach, NC. I admired her courage, meeting her new loves entire family in a bikini. They moved in together that same week, and I couldn’t help but to think he was being a little foolish. And please let me say that I love Veronica dearly. She instantly felt like she belonged in our family that very week and I received a sister I never had. She’s one of the sweetest and humble women I know. But, from the outside, I didn’t understand why they were moving so fast. 

When their fastness was questioned, my brother replied with a confident, “It is what it is.” 

I had no idea what that meant. It seemed like a callous “whatever” statement. A way to brush me off. And rightly so. No one else has any business with any one else’s love life. 

The intrusion and questions continued as they quickly spun forward into a quick engagement followed by a beautiful wedding 4 months later. People questioned their motives, the word “pregnant” passed between hushed conversations. Who was anyone else to judge? They simply could not wait to be married, to start their lives as a unified couple. 

At that time in my life I couldn’t imagine loving someone THAT much with that much urgency. I didn’t believe it was possible. For me at least. And yes, I still hoped to one day get married, have a family, and to feel love. I simply couldn’t even picture that future for myself. 

I’m the type of person that could be alone for an entire weekend and be perfectly content by myself. I wouldn’t get bored or feel terribly lonely. As a child I’d play for hours by myself, making up elaborate imaginary stories. I can go on long solitary walks. There are certain movies and TV shows that I wish to watch by alone. I need silence to read and write, to really escape from my current reality and get absorbed in the story or my thoughts. I value my “me time” and I used to have inner dialogues with myself that I”d never dream of sharing with even my best friend, thinking no one else would understand.

I think you know where this is going…

I truly knew Ryan was the one I wanted to spend the rest of my life with when I invited him along to my family’s beach vacation.

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These vacations are sacred ground to me. I let very few people into that arena. However cliché it sounds, the beach is a spiritual place for me. I could catch waves, swim out past the breakers and float on my back for hours, and take long meandering walks by myself all day. This is where I refueled, connected with myself and dreamed. These experiences belonged to me. They were all my own. 

But with Ryan I couldn’t wait to share each of my special moments with him. I couldn’t wait to have shared experiences and to create new ones at my place. 

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When I met Ryan it felt like when you get caught off guard in the ocean by a breaking wave and are pulled under the current. At first you can’t breathe and you panic. But soon enough under water with your hair floating magically around you and the salt water rushing through your finger tips feels like where you are meant to be. It’s quiet yet alive, and you can’t imagine being up out of the water in the cold air ever again. 

We fell in love fast and hard. I simply couldn’t imagine a world without him in it. 

I could feel my friends’ judgement and that’s when those familiar words slipped out of my mouth, “It is what it is”. He is my love. Once I knew it, I couldn’t live without it. 

Soon enough we were engaged and then married six months later. The ocean still remains a spiritual getaway for me. But now I have something even greater. I have a love that is ours. It feels like an exciting secret, an inside joke that can be told with a simple smile. Our own place that I can retreat to anytime I want. It’s as complex as it is simple. It simply is. 

xoxo Katie