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 Day Before the Big Day

rehearsal day katie and ryan wedding

Oh my, how time flies. I can’t believe that we are approaching our one year wedding anniversary in just a little over a month. I promised myself that I would do a total recap of our wedding and I’ve only managed to give a one or two peaks into the beautiful day. 

But back to the wedding.  I love all wedding related topics – even a year after my planning is complete, I can be found going gaga over centerpieces, stationary, and stalking other people’s wedding photos. So other wedding fanatics out there, I hope you find entertainment in my recap. Otherwise, it will be a nice way for me to remember every element of June 2, 2013. 

The one thing I love about this blog is that it serves as a lovely digital photo album, a time piece for me to look back on in the years ahead for not only me but for our future children. I’m sure this blog will exist as a source of giggles and a way to make fun of their dear old mom while also showing them my true heart.

So, with that introduction, let me tell you about the day before our big day, otherwise known as the Rehearsal Day. 

Ryan and I woke up on Saturday June 1 with more nervousness than excitement. The wedding weekend was finally here! All the details and all the work we had been slaving over was finally coming to fruition! We were to be at the wedding venue at 10 for the rehearsal and to run through last-minute items with the venue. 

I was a nervous wreck. I can honestly say that I was more nervous on Saturday than I was on the actual wedding day on Sunday. I was nervous that none of the wedding party was going to be on time. I was worried that the terrible heat wave was going to put people in grumpy moods. I was worried people were going to be complaining about things. I was worried the musicians weren’t going to show. I was mostly worried about other people. It took me nearly all day to realize I should only be worrying about myself and Ryan. 

And of course, everything at the rehearsal went fine. Everyone was on time. Everyone was smiling. And some umbrellas and endless bottles of water helped the heat situation. I made these helpful schedules detailing the wedding weekend events in case anyone forgot anything or needed addresses or phone numbers.

wedding weekend schedule abla

I also pulled my bridezilla card and declared the next 48 hours to be complain free. (gotta use my powers for good, right?!)

Everything was happening so quickly. I had barely hugged my out-of-town bridesmaids hello before I found myself holding my dad’s hand and being directed at how to walk down the aisle. 

Cue the tears. I squeezed his hand and looked into his tear filled eyes and listened as he said, “ok, let’s do this!” Because my dad is the most adorable dad ever, we had, on his insistence, practiced our “walk”. Through happy tears, we did our walk down the aisle while I held my lovely bouquet made from ribbons from the packages received at my bridal shower. I forgot about everyone else and just focussed on my dad and Ryan. This was happening. 

wedding rehearsal with dad
hot wedding rehearsal
Rehearsal 1 Soon the rehearsal was over. The groomsmen and the bridesmaids said our goodbyes and went out separate ways. The men went to get their tuxes while the girls went to get their nails done. We’d meet up again later at night for the rehearsal dinner. It was fun time!

After getting manis and pedis all my bridesmaids and my mom had a lovely lunch together. While I was happily sipping on my mimosa and chatting with the girls my mom got THE phone call. As she sat directly across the table from me, she nervously answered the phone with, “What’s wrong Ryan.” 

I was in panic mode instantly. Why was Ryan calling my mom and not me? What could be wrong? Is he having cold feet? Did something terrible happen?

Turns out that our tuxedo rental company completely screwed up our order. Months earlier, in February we had spent an entire day driving around town selecting the tuxes. We settled on a grey suit with lovely blush ties. The colors looked heavenly together.

When the groomsmen arrived to pick up their suits. They were all given baby blue ties. Baby blue! A color that is not remotely close to the pale blush color we had carefully selected. They tried to pass off an awful bubblegum pink tie to Ryan. He was calling my mom to see if this was okay. I quickly stole the phone and ran into the hallway. I proceed to yell and cry. How couldn’t something this big go wrong in their systems? Here I was crying to my husband the day before my wedding. Over ties.

What made me the most upset was the complete blase attitude the tux company had over the entire situation. Yes, in the scheme of things, ties are not a big deal. But this is a company that is in the wedding business, they know all the stress, and time, and not to mention money that goes into every detail. After a few back and forth phone calls it was discovered that the suit company had 3 blush ties that we could use. We decided that Ryan, my dad, and Ryan’s dad would wear the blush ties and all the other men would wear ivory ties. In the end, no one but us would know the difference. 

The show must go on. I told myself that if this was the worst thing that happened then it wasn’t so bad. 

After our interrupted lunch we headed back to my house to get freshened up before the rehearsal dinner. It was a lovely evening full of fun toasts and gifts. We gave the groomsmen fun mustache beer mugs and I gifted the bridesmaids with the jewelry that they would be wearing at the wedding. I gifted the mothers with their own special jewelry. Everyone enjoyed winding down with drinks and telling old stories. I loved having this last intimate meal to celebrate with my closest friends and family before the big day. 

rehearsal dinner walsh family
bridesmaids at rehearsal

groomsmen rehearsal

dad and mom at rehearsal dinner

Ryan and I decided to hold with tradition and to not sleep in the same house or see each other before the wedding. He went and spent that night at the hotel that his parents were staying in while I went back to our house for a sleepover with some of my bridesmaids.

My girlfriends sat around with me and let me practice my vows in front of them. I couldn’t say them with a straight face. How was I going to do this tomorrow? We got rid of some wedding night nerves by taking a long walk around the golf course that we live on. At night, I lied in bed next to my best friend since seventh grade. We had grown up together and had helped each other through all our growing pains. Once she fell asleep I lied awake and cried happy tears.

Tomorrow was an end of an era and the start of something new and beautiful. 

Return next week to read about our actual wedding day including our vows, music, and more! 

What are your favorite things about weddings? 

xoxo Katie

 

Love Lessons

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Last Saturday morning Ryan and I were in the car, out for the morning running typical errands. We were in a rush to get a few boring but necessary tasks done before driving down to visit his family later that afternoon. We were sitting in silence listening to music.

As I looked over at Ryan I happily smiled to myself and thought how happy it made me to have him to share in the daily mundane, how even just a typical trip to the grocery store was now fun because we were doing it together. As my smile slowly turned into a little laugh.

Ryan turned over and asked, “What I was thinking about?”

What was my response? “Oh, just thinking about everything we have to do today.” I then critiqued the route he chose to take.

What?!

Why did I lie? Why did I hide what I was really thinking? Me, the girl who loves to talk about feelings, didn’t want to express her own? Looking back, I was being so cold.

I don’t understand why I didn’t express my love and gratitude to Ryan in the car that day. Or why on other nights when I miss him terribly I don’t express it to him. Is it because I just didn’t feel like it? That I didn’t want the back and forth banter of “oh I love you SO much” that can sometimes feel overused and artificial? Because I was lazy? Because I wanted him to say something like that to me first?

I know that every single one of those reasons is totally immature and selfish. I’m not perfect.

If there is one universal truth about marriage it is this: Marriage takes a lot of hard work.

In the busyness of everyday it is sometimes hard to remember that such little expressions of love can go a long way. Sometimes it’s just hard to take that extra step. In hindsight it seems unnaturally cold to not do so. Why would I not want to lift my husband up higher, to make him happier?

I’ve never been so sure of anything as I am for my love for Ryan. Yes, we are very different and have different needs. Hearing me vocally express my gratitude and love for him sporadically like that in the car make him smile his big charming smile and make his day. But in my head, I didn’t express it because I think, “oh he knows I love him, he doesn’t need to hear it AGAIN”. But no, he does need to hear it.

Thinking this over made me think of the 5 Languages of Love book by Garry Chapman. It outlines five ways to express and experience love  called “love languages”: gifts, quality time, words of affirmation, acts ofservice, and physical touch. Understanding yours and your partners can help your relationships communication and growth. You can take a 3 minutes test to find out you language. 

Unlike Ryan, I don’t thrive off of hearing the words, “I love you” over and over. Of course I love him and of course I like affirming words of love at times. But, I don’t need to hear it daily. Instead, I thrive off of little acts of service. For instance, my heart melted on Sunday night. I was upstairs working away in the office all afternoon. Around 7 p.m. Ryan came upstairs and surprised me with a cosmo in my favorite martini glass. He took me downstairs and said “why don’t you pick out one of your favorite romantic movies for us to watch together, it’s time for you to relax.” I fell in love a little bit more with my husband at that moment.

I love when he notices that I need a little help around the house, or when I come home and the kitchen is spotless, or he realizes we are out of paper towels and picked some up on the way home. It makes me feel loved because it makes me feel noticed and appreciated. It makes me feel like he is present. I need to tell him that.

Life gets busy. Ryan and I both do things that irritates the other. We both can be highly critical and end up wanting to pull our hair out. But wouldn’t those moments be easier to extinguish with a simple act of love? Wouldn’t they have less chance of turning into a fight or a grudge? Communication isn’t hard, just take the time to do it. Wouldn’t we both be happier?  Why not choose that?

I need to remember to vocalize those happy little inner thoughts that I’m having about Ryan. I need to show my gratitude vocally when he does little acts of kindness from me. I need to give him the love he knows how to best receive. How else can we expect our marriage and our love to grow?

We all need love. There is no doubt that it is complex. Everyone will have a different definition of what love is to them. So, my thoughts, even if I think they are little, or not that important, or silly, may make Ryan feels full of love.

Open up and share, love is all around, you just have to learn to give and receive it in the best way – a lifetime learning process.

If you haven’t already – go take the test and find out your love language!

xoxo Katie

 

 

 

 

 

Law School Widow

confessions of a law school widow

Today I am once again a Law School Widow.

Yes, that is the technical term for us women married to adult law students. Ryan heads back to Law School tonight and I go back to seeing him only on the weekends (except for Tuesday nights, which he has off!). I wrote about my experience being married to a law student back when I first started blogging. But after another semester under my belt, I’m ready to share more of the gritty details.

I knew exactly what I was signing up for. Ryan has been in law school the entire time we have been dating. To save money and to gain work experience, he works full-time at a DA’s office and then heads to classes at night. When we first started dating our life ALS (after law school) seemed so far ahead.

Now, we only have 3 more semesters (out of 8 total) left. The light at the end of the tunnel is getting brighter. We still have a lot of work ahead of ourselves after graduation though. There is studying for the bar exam, taking the bar exam (and hopefully passing), finding a job, and settling yourself in at the new position. We will probably be experiencing long hours for a long while yet.

Yes, I say “we” because when I married Ryan I vowed to make his dreams my own. We are in this together.

There are a lot of statistics out there that show how hard law school is on relationships. A large number of marriages end and spouses are left feeling compromised. They say to  imagine the normal growing pains one goes through in the first year of marriage and times that by 2. I try to ignore that hype.  And if I’m being honest, yes things can be very hard. There are fights, there are tears, there is confusion, and there is sacrifice.

I decided to pull together a con and pro list to share what life as a law school widow is truly like. I’m sure others can relate, whether you spouse or significant other is a student, in the armed forces, works long hours, or work away from home. Of course our love will always be stronger than these cons. I shouldn’t have to tell you that I admire all his dedication, passion, and work. But there are negative and this is an honest account.

cons

1. Disconnect

If I was going to give only one warning, this would be it. The disconnect is huge. Ryan and I can go 1-2 days only talking via text. Sure, texting is fast and easy but you can’t pick up on any emotional cues via text. You can’t make someone feel better after a tough day at work. You can’t share proper anger over a professor. You can’t hug or kiss or cuddle or give a look that can make the other feel instantly better.

It’s common for us to not share our daily happenings with each other. The big things, yes. But we miss out on each others daily stories about funny events or articles we may have read. Ryan doesn’t know what is happening around the house or what bills have been paid or what groceries were purchased, much less than I know what happened during his commute or how is head cold is doing.

His mistress that is law school could tell you more about his week than I can. And sometimes I simply feel ignored and he feels the same. The words, “you just can’t understand” are said frequently regarding his work load and schedule. And it is the truth.

We miss out on any connection. After a week of not sharing our lives with each other it’s hard to open up again. It’s hard to remember that funny anecdote you wanted to share on Wednesday. It’s hard to remember that this is my team-mate, that he needs me just as much as I need him. There is so much to catch up on and yet you don’t know where to begin. Life goes on whether or not you are together. It takes work to close the gap.

2. Re adjusting your social life

After a long week, we like to devote quality time on the weekends together. This gets hard because our lives are also busy with family and friends. We don’t want to turn down every invitation from others, but we do have to make time for our relationship as well. This time comes first for me because our relationship would suffer if I didn’t. It takes works and commitment. We plan special dates and weekends away and try to make our time together count. However, there are weekends where I’ll travel to see girlfriends or that he is locked up in the office all day studying. Things happen. You have to have enough faith in each other to know that we both want the best for each other.

3. High levels of stress and anxiety

Oh boy does this get bad! Like someone just threw a grenade into my living room and all hell has broken loose bad. Ryan is under a huge amount of stress at all times. And who could blame him? He worries about work, he worries about school, he worries about his TA positions, he worries about bills, he worries about the future, he worries about me and how I am with all of this. The worry spreads over to me and the gritty truth is that it’s exhausting. It gets tiring assuring that the right choice was made, that we are going to be okay, that I am dealing, that life IS good. And it is. This is a minor part of our lives. We will endure and things will continue to get better. But there are days where it feels like nothing is going your way, that you just can’t catch a break, that you just want to quit.

4. Being apart during the week

Of course this goes hand in hand with the disconnect, but on a much more minor level, I get selfish and wish Ryan was there to help with house hold chores. When he is home he’s a big help. He’s the one that always washes the dishes. He’s the one who takes out the trash. He loves to clean and I miss that oh so much during the week. I save our favorite TV shows to watch together on the weekends or a night off. I cook large meals (his lunch and dinners for the week) and get sad having to eat them alone and pack up the rest for him. Ok, enough pity party.

pros

1. Endless “me time”

Earlier this week, I wrote about how much I need quality “Me Time” and I do get a lot of that while school is in session. I can make as many friend dates as I want, spend time with my parents, go shopping, work out, or binge watch all my favorite girly TV shows and movies. I can take a 30 minute bath without guilt. I can wear my ugliest sweats and eat ice cream while watching Pretty Little Liars all week with no one to suggest other wise. I plan on making the most of this time this semester.

2. Easier to Budget

We are big in the saving mode right now – trying to pay down our credit card debt and add as much to savings. I work hard on our budget and honestly like having control of it. As the manager of our household I can be sure that we are staying in line with our financial goals and take that worry off of Ryan.

3. Ryan is following his dream

And what more could a wife wish for? I’m so happy that he doing everything he can to complete his goal. Last night he reminded me that, “no one actually ENJOYS law school”. But he’s pulling through, putting in his time. He worked full-time to put himself through undergrad and now is doing the same for law school. I’m beyond proud of him and am happy he has found a calling. Much rather have him working hard towards his dream than floundering about at home with me at a loss at what to do with his future.

tips

I have two tips for couples:

1. Communicate your expectations. Make sure you share your concerns and fears. Decide how time together will be spent. Delegate household chores and set up a communication schedule for when you are apart. Don’t hold any bitterness or grudges or they will escalate quickly. Compromises will have to be made, adjust as you learn.

2. Schedule dates This is a number one priority for us. If we don’t schedule dates we fall back onto watching TV and venting about money, bills, schedules, and time spent together. I try to support Ryan as much as I can by making life at home a vacation from Law School (when he can take it). We plan fun. Yes, money is tight, but I’d personally rather save up for a weekend trip rather than go out to eat once a week. Our marriage is not defined by law school.

law school widow

Please share your own experiences!

  xoxo Katie

 

 

 

Being Selfish at Chrismastime

MacDonald tree 2013

You know the saying, “The only thing that is constant is change”? Nothing is more true. We grow, we adapt, we change.

Except for one thing; Christmas!

No matter how much change you went through during the year, no matter how old you get, Christmas is always waiting for you in December with the same traditions to comfort your soul and to make you feel like a kid again.

That is until you get married.

Yes. I’m giving you permission to judge. I’m even calling myself out. I’m being a big selfish baby.

If you’ve been around these parts for the past month, you know how much I love Christmas. We also all know that marriage is all about compromise. Ryan loves Christmas almost as much as I do, so this shouldn’t be a problem, right?

But no matter what anyone else will ever tell me, my family’s Christmas day and traditions are the very best ones out there. None will ever compare. I don’t care if you tell me your family brings in real reindeer and offers magical reindeer rides. Or that you have 7 Christmas trees in your house, or that you fly to a gorgeous chalet in the Alps and celebrate like royalty, or that at your house you can eat as much of your favorite holiday food as you want and actually lose weight, or that Santa is actually your dad and you go to his workshop in the North Pole every Christmas eve and help. Nope, not going to change a thing.

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My family Christmas is still better because it is ours. It is my family, the loves of my lives. It is the only Christmas that I have known. It has defined what this holiday season so all about for me. But that is changing.

Okay, before you start judging me even more and thinking I’m a total selfish B, please know that we are splitting Christmas and I’m very much looking forward to sharing Christmas with Ryan. I’m looking forward to celebrating with his family for the first time and to trying something new. It’s just HARD.

To you, my Christmas may sound pretty ordinary. My brother and his wife – who I see about 3 times a year, if I’m lucky, travel up to PA this weekend. On Christmas Eve, my family always goes out to our favorite local pub for a fun dinner followed by a night of games, drinks and music. We still wake up early on Christmas morning, eat some baked oatmeal and attack our stockings like we are 5 year olds. We then slowly open our gifts in front of the tree. One gift at a time, taking time to oohh and ahhh over each thoughtful gift. By 11:30 it’s time to head to the kitchen and do the final preparations for our mid day dinner for about 14 guests. We pour the wine and Amaretto and try to stay calm. It’s that fun kind of stressful though, right mom?! After the dinner, same menu for the past 30 years, we gather around the piano with drinks for some happy Christmas sing a longs. The night ends with us having some leftovers, eating too many cookies, and enjoying some laughs over drinks and toasting with Buttery Nipples. The day is special because it is ours. Because it is tradition. Because it stays the same.

This year, we are moving our mid day dinner earlier in the day so that Ryan and I can promptly leave and head down to his family’s Christmas celebration 1.5 hours away. I’m excited to see his own family traditions and celebrate with my new family. I’m sad to miss out on the singing (my favorite) and the relaxing evening and simply being together with everyone. Give and take, isn’t that right? Tis’ the season?

Why am I being so selfish? Because I’m proud of my traditions because they define me so much. Because it is stressful to have to pick and choose. It’s stressful because someone will always be hurt – be left out. Simply put, I don’t like too much change. Christmas is about family, and we have two now, mine and his.

But, really there are three. Because, what about our new family. The family that is just Ryan and I?

ryan and katie tradition

We need to start our own holiday traditions. My goal this week is to be sure to carve out some time to celebrate Christmas in our own way. To remember we are our own family. We hold the power to combine both of our traditions and make something totally unique to us. The definition of our holidays is written by Ryan and I, and I can’t wait to discover what that is. I’m sure it will be simply magical, considering how completely crazy we both are over the spirit of Christmas.

Bonnie and Maggie, Christmas puppies

Oh and don’t forget about the Christmas spirit of the dogs too!

How do you handle sharing Christmas?

  xoxo katie

 

Body Issues and Balance – Newlywed Weight Gain

It’s time to be honest. I’ve packed on a few pounds since saying “I do”. I’m a little embarrassed because I’m the healthy eater – the gym lover – the just say no to bread and dessert girl. But, I haven’t been saying no lately.

It’s not terrible , roughly 8 pounds, but my jeans are too tight, my face is puffy, and I just don’t feel healthy. The term “letting yourself go” makes me roll my eyes. I’ve always been body conscious. I generally watch what I eat and put in my time at the gym. I know what works for my body. When I’d put on a few pounds in the past 5 years, I knew exactly what I needed to do to get back into my skinny jeans. But for the past five months, I just can’t seem to find the motivation.

As it turns out, mine is a familiar story. Research shows that the average newly married woman piles on about nine extra pounds over five years compared with a single woman. She is also exercising less.

This common weight gain, known as “the newlywed spread” hits in the similar fashion as that pesky “freshman fifteen”. Like that big transition to college, hello midnight pizza and binge drinking, that causes weight gain in freshman, newlywed weight gain is all about the shift in lifestyles and relationships. Since the wedding, I struggle to balance “me” time and “we” time. If Ryan wants to sleep in on Saturday morning, it’s far too easy for me to say “yes” whereas before I’d be attending my 8:30 a.m. kickboxing class. (and please note that Ryan and I do go to the gym together, just not as often as I should). Our time together is so limited, so I find myself choosing couch time with Ryan over treadmill and weight time for me.

Marriage has also influenced me in picking up a new hobby – cooking. Before marriage, I could live off of veggies, fruit, chicken, and pretzels. I now love finding new recipes to find and making Ryan happy with special treats and making sure he is well fed for his 13 hour days. Long gone are my single dinners of green bean. I can’t resist eating the same food that I’m spending all this time preparing and cooking. I’m cooking and eating creamy pasta dishes and desserts that I would never even imagine eating before. When Ryan goes back for seconds, I think, “well, why can’t I have seconds too?”

Looking back, transitions and weight issues have always gone hand in hand for me. I did gain the freshman fifteen. I couldn’t resist the ability to eat anything whenever. Not to mention, I never touched alcohol before college and then it became the norm almost overnight. After adjusting to the transition, I lost the gained weight the summer before my sophomore year by eating in moderation and working out.

My weight problems snuck in again when my life during senior year when I was preparing for another major shift – living in the real world.

I aspire to be an open book on this blog, so I will be brutally honest here.

I was under a ton of stress trying to finish my creative writing thesis. I had no idea what I was going to do after college. I felt like I had zero control over my life so I took control of my weight  to the point of developing a border line disorder. I survived on plain ice burg lettuce rice cakes, pickles, and carrots. Instead of battling my fears of life in the real world, I decided to make myself model thin.

Ignoring my worried friends and parents, I continued this way of life after my college graduation.  I cut myself down to a mere 500 calories a day and also spend an hour a day on the treadmill running my heart out trying to burn off double the calories I consumed. I got down to a sickly 116 pounds on my five foot eight frame and it did not look good.

I was not happy with my life. I had no idea what was in store for me. My boyfriend was still floundering away in college and I was using my expensive English degree working at a vintage clothing store and as a nanny. I was not living the life that I expected. I thought I wasn’t good enough and strived for perfection. Somewhere deep in my twisted mind I thought that “perfecting” my body would make me a better person. It was consuming my life.  I remember bunching up any skin on my hips and thinking “if I could just cut this off”. I was addicted. I was addicted to losing weight and exercise. I was lost in my own little world and had zero self-awareness of how I was treating my body, not to mention my soul.

As I moved forward with my life I began to outgrow my addiction. As I got more settled into adulthood, moved to beautiful Annapolis, got a fun job, and began to accept life more, I started to maintain a more healthy weight. I let myself enjoy food. I ran because it kept me healthy and was a good source of therapy. I learned how to eat and exercise in moderation and I learned how to care and listen to my soul. A year later I was at a healthy weight and living a happier life.

I’m not reliving this hard time in my life to say that I’m scared of slipping back into this unhealthy lifestyle, I’m writing this because it made me aware that I fully understand how transitions and weight gain/loss go hand in hand. I understand that I have to be mindful. I can’t imagine ever going back to the lifestyle of my 22-year-old self but it has taught me that I have to be careful with my choices. But it has also taught me that this shift in weight has a lot to do with brain chemistry.

During my “Nothing tastes as good as skinny feels days” I was miserable and felt worthless. I strived to be perfect in any way that I could. Now, 9 years later, I’m the happiest I’ve ever been. I’m content with my life and my body and excited for the future. Research shows that when you relax into a deep attachment to a mate, you have increased levels of oxytocin, the chemical in your brain that promotes bonding, maternal instincts, and arousal (oh hey!). This chemical will make you want to nest and bond with your loved one rather than follow-up your Pilates class with a 4 mile run.

This is why it’s the norm for waistlines to expand, mostly in women, after the honeymoon. I’m simply happy sitting at home with Ryan, building our home. I no longer feel the desire to turn my body into something unrealistic. I see thin girls and think that while it would be nice to know what it’s like to not have my thighs touch, I know that my body will never look like that.

But, there is a difference between unhealthy expectations and living a healthy lifestyle. I mentioned last week that I’ve been in a little bit of a funk. I’m also recovering from being sick and frankly I miss my almost daily “therapy” sessions at the gym. I’m ready to jump back in to my routine of being a warrior at the gym 4 days a week. I need to re-center and do what makes my mind healthy. I need to find healthier recipes to make at home.

Just like I had to learn in my early twenties, it is all about moderation. I have to learn to balance my happy nesting time with my “me” time. There is no doubt that this will lead to even more high levels of that “happy drug” Oxytocin. Let’s find out!

How do you balance living with a partner and maintaining a healthy lifestyle?

xoxo katie

Weekend Wrap Up – September 9

Another busy weekend is under our belts. Is it just me or do you feel like once the Fall season starts everyone starts getting in a hurry to do stuff? Is this the beginning of the race toward the holidays? Maybe it’s just me – but I’m already ready to sloooooow things down a bit.

Saturday we had the annual MacDonald family reunion at the Phillies game. We started with some tailgating fun. One of the best things about being married is combining your family and friends.

I had all intentions of taking some great family shots – but when I pulled out my camera realized it didn’t have a memory card in it! ooops! #fail! So the only shots I have from the day were taken on my phone.

phillies tailgatingI’m not really a sports fan at all. Meaning I watch zero spots and couldn’t care less. I look at each sporting event I attend as a way to play dress up. And boy, do I love myself some sequins. So, I got to have fun in this red sequin Phillies tank. What really matters was the time spent with my new family. Ryan is the big brother. He has two kid brothers – 18-year-old twins. It’s nice to spend some time with them and his parents and meet more of his extended family.

It was a beautiful day with a spectacular sky.

phillies game

phillies

On Sunday we went to our favorite local spots – Moondancer Winery. The wine isn’t spectacular but the views are beautiful and there’s always free live music. I always say yes to a view with live music!

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winery maggie  We park ourselves down with a cooler of goodies, chairs, and a blanket and simply enjoy being outside. We both fell asleep – win! DSC_0886  We park ourselves down with a cooler of goodies, chairs, and a blanket and simply enjoy being outside. We both fell asleep – win! DSC_0886 DSC_0888We snacked on some cheese, dip, and a bbq chicken pizza from the wineries brick oven pizza. It was a perfect day. Maggie was feeling it too.  We snacked on some cheese, dip, and a bbq chicken pizza from the wineries brick oven pizza. It was a perfect day. Maggie was feeling it too.  DSC_0892 DSC_0894 DSC_0896 DSC_0883

Everyone else seems to be rushing right into Fall – only talking about pumpkin spice this or that, but I want to hold on to these warm days and green views a little bit longer.xoxo katie