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

New Parents Love Letter

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Dear Ryan,

It’s 2 degrees outside (but feels like -7) and we are snuggled up at home with our sweet baby boy. Donned in our rattiest mismatched pajamas (they are the comfiest ones), we are sitting side by side on the couch where I am pumping breast milk and you are watching The Universe (even though you did say I could catch up on all my shows this weekend ahem). Wyatt is napping contentedly and we smile as he farts loudly in his sleep. 

There is no other way I’d want to spend my Saturday night. 

Earlier today we finally hung the gallery wall that we have been talking about for over two years, did laundry, and threw out some old junk. For once we actually used a Saturday to get something other than sleep and staring at the baby accomplished. I’m proud of us.

After I’m done pumping we are going to bake some cookies for Valentine’s Day. I’m sure I”ll dance around and sing Mickey’s “Hot Dog” song in my goofiest voice. You’ll laugh and say you love me. We’ll then settle down for a very grown up dinner of burgers and fries before getting Wyatt settled in for the night. Once he’s asleep there is a glorious bottle of wine waiting for us. Earlier in our relationship we would have drunk the whole bottle while we chatted about everything and watched some serious TV. Now we’ll be falling asleep at 9:30 after one glass. 

To most, that may seem like a boring way to celebrate Valentine’s Day weekend. But I repeat, there is no other way I’d want to spend my Saturday night. 

These days life is messy but oh so sweet. These small moments together are what I know I will treasure years from now. I take hundreds of photographs but none of them can capture what this life means to me. It’s hard to measure this type of happiness.

One thing is for sure, my definition of romance has changed.

Romance is the way you always take the baby and let me sleep in on the weekends. I never knew an empty and quiet bed could be so wonderfully lovely. 

Romance is the way you always clean up the dishes after every meal.

Romance is watching Wyatt’s face light up when you come home from work.

Romance is the way you are trying to change habits that drive me nuts, like moving your shoes out of the front hallway so I don’t trip and break my neck every morning.

Romance is how your last words at night are no longer “I love you” but “Wake me up if you need anything” even though I never wake you up when I’m up with Wyatt.

Romance is how there is no one else I can sit for hours and talk about every little thing Wyatt does.

Romance is hearing you read Brown Bear Brown Bear over and over again and never getting tired of it.

Romance is not rolling your eyes when I show you 15 photos of Wyatt that would look identical to most people and ask you which one is best. Daily.

Romance is how I find myself even more in love with you each and every day that we spend together as a family. 

My heart has been divided between two men yet it has never felt more whole.

Now let’s sneak up stairs and get some sleep!

Love, 

Katie

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


 
 
  

 

 

How We Found Out I Was Pregnant

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In the winter for 2014, when we first started trying, I concocted an elaborate way to tell Ryan we were having a baby. I secured the perfect spot in our living room to set up a small video camera, where Ryan wouldn’t notice it.  I purchased two father parenting books and an “I Love Daddy” onesie and planned to calmly sit him down after work on the couch and present him with a random present. 

I smiled to myself as I thought about his reaction and how we were going to capture it all on camera to share with our child one day.

Of course I naively thought getting pregnant would happen with a snap of our fingers. We all know that wasn’t the case. And this surprise for Ryan was never brought to fruition. 

Every month that I received a negative test the dream of that reveal got more clouded with bitterness and cynicism. The baby books and onesie got buried and nearly forgotten about in our spare bedroom closet. 

During the Christmas season of 2014 I kept my spirits high, hoping for a miracle (or just some good news after having an HCG done). On Saturday January 3, I took a pregnancy test.

Another big fat negative.

I allowed myself some time to be sad but then we had two parties to attend. And we partied. I had quite a few drinks at both of these parties, since I thought I wasn’t pregnant and because I was sad that I was not.

On Sunday January 4, I took another test, (because I’m crazy and love peeing on sticks) and hopped in the shower while the test processed. When I stepped out of the shower I half haphazardly glanced over at the text, knowing that it was going to be another negative. Then was such a routine for me now. Even though I had little hope the test was positive I still continued to take them. 

But….it wasn’t!

There staring back at me was the text line and a very very very faint second line. I couldn’t believe it. My heart stopped. I couldn’t breathe.

I ran downstairs in my towel, dripping wet and screaming.  

Ryan was mentally preparing to call 911, he thought I fell in the shower or something.

I held the test up to his face and screaming “Oh my god Ryan. Look! LOOK! Look!”

He grabbed the test out of my hand and squinted hard at the second line. (I can’t tell you how many times I had him peer at crisp white tests, begging for his eye sight to see something there that really wasn’t there.)

We screamed, hugged, and ran back upstairs together.

Complete disbelief led me to take about 6 more tests that day.

Even though I knew it was scientifically impossible I wanted to see the second barely there line get darker that same day. I took a clear blue digital test and lost faith when the words “NOT PREGNANT” stared back at us. Way to mess with our minds, clear blue! But we knew those test were less sensitive then the First Response ones. I was so terrified of having a chemical pregnancy (early miscarriage).

Hugs, tears, and exclamations of love were said over and over.

We sat side by side in bed stuck in a state of mutual exhilaration and shock, while my hope that this was true and my cynicism battled each other in my head. A few hours later hope won and we decided to share the news with our parents. 

I packed up a onesie I bought last winter that said “What Happens At Grandma’s Stays at Grandma’s” and a pregnancy test in a Christmas gift bag and we drove over to my parent’s house. I told them that we had to drop Maggie off for a bit because we were going to run errands and get some dinner. 

They had no reason to believe otherwise since they knew of my negative test I received a mere 24 hours ago. We pulled up and I put on my best poker face.

I presented the bag to my mom and said “Here is a late Christmas present, it hadn’t arrive in time to give to you on Christmas!”

She happily started ripped away the tissue paper and then she saw the baby onesie. Her face of recognition is one that I will never forget. With tears in her eyes she half whispered, “You’re pregnant? No? You’re really pregnant?” There were hugs, shrieks, and more tears. It felt so surreal, this is a moment I dreamed about for years.

Later, although we tried to wait to tell Ryan’s parent’s in person, we called them up and delivered the news. More shock and excitement. It was nice to see them in person a few weeks later, but I’m glad we decided to call them up and do it that same day.

It was an amazing day! I soaked in as much happiness as I could even though my heart was still full of anxiety over it not being true. We found out so very early at 10 days past ovulation. I spent way too much time on google reading terrifying things. (This symptom of pregnancy still hasn’t gone away.)

I didn’t want to get my hopes up. I didn’t want to let in too much love, only to have it taken away a few days later. It was both a scary and beautiful time.

Thankfully my fears were put aside when I received a positive blood test back from my doctor on Tuesday. 

* a note for potential moms: I did not receive a positive “PREGNANT” clear blue digital test until 14 dpo, even though I was in fact pregnant. The tests are that much more sensitive.  

Nothing will ever measure up to the emotions we felt that day. So much joy. 

After a year of heartache our dreams had come true. We were going to be parents!

Some days I still can’t believe it’s actually happening. There is nothing in the world that I have wanted more than this. I can’t believe that in just 24 more weeks a brand new little person that has never been in this world before will grace us with their presence, someone we have yet to meet but that I love with all my heart.

xoxo Katie

 

 

 

Happy 30th Birthday, Ryan!

Tomorrow is Ryan’s 30th Birthday! We’ll be busy celebrating with family, so I wanted to share his annual Birthday letter today:

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Dear Ryan,

Happy Birthday my sweet husband! Aren’t you lucky, a Saturday for your big 3 0!

This year I’ve watched you grow so much.

As you closed out your twenties, I witnessed you getting more patience and confidence and take the fast track to accomplishing your dream of graduating law school and working hard at your job. I never thought I’d be able to take on another person’s dreams and goals like I do with you. I’m honored to stand by your side and fight with you. And in return you stood by me through lots of tears this year as we worked together to become parents.

Your 30th year is going to be so eventful! Graduating law school! Quitting your job! Moving! Taking the bar exam! Starting a new job in a new state! And finally, becoming a father!

One of your most favorite things to say is, “I’m just taking it all in”. 

This year there is going to be so much to take in!

You’ll be saying goodbye to law student Ryan and hello to lawyer Ryan and daddy Ryan. I can’t wait to see you growing into those new roles. 

It’s funny how for years finishing school and parenthood seemed so far in our future but now that it’s upon us it simply feels like our life is overflowing. Like this is how it was always meant to be. We are surrounded by so much change, energy, and life. And I’m just going to sit here with you and take every last ounce of it in. 

This is going to be a year to remember and a great kick off to you joining my in the thirties club. Life is good and I hope to keep celebrating all the moments, big and small, with you. 

Happy Birthday, Ryan! Cheers to another year of you!

xoxo 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?