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

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


 
 
  

 

 

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
 

 

When Your Best Friend Gets Married

Our Fourth of July weekend included fireworks of another variety – those of LOVE!

Okay, enough with the cheesiness. But my best friend got married on July 5 and the holiday weekend was full of wedding festivities and fun! Are you ready for a picture heavy post? This is a short wedding photo recap of the wedding weekend. I hope to share more with you soon!

The wedding was held at the gorgeous Farm at Eagle’s Ridge.

Saturday was a beautiful, warm but not too hot, sunny day. The venue is an old restored farm-house and farm on immaculate grounds with a fully renovated barn, corn crib, and 1800’s stone farm-house. There are a few glistening ponds and lovely areas to meander around and to enjoy the countryside.  It was such a beautiful and perfect wedding.

I know how much work and stress Kay Marie put into her day, but the wedding day went by as if it was all effortless and natural. She was a beautiful and calm bride and I was so honored to stand by her side as her matron of honor. 

On Friday, July 4 we woke up bright and early to unseasonably chilly weather and rain for a morning rehearsal. We stomped around the muddy grounds and I cried a few tears watching the bride walk down the aisle with her father in the rain. Better to have rain on the rehearsal day then on the wedding day, correct?

After the rehearsal the sun started to shine and we enjoyed a lovely rehearsal lunch in town. Here are all of the bridesmaids ready to spring into action with the bride! Bridesmaids at Rehearsal Day Lunch

After the rehearsal lunch all the girls headed back to my house for an afternoon of baking cupcakes. On of the bridesmaids graciously offered to bake ALL of  cupcakes for the 180 guest wedding. After opening some awesome bridesmaids gifts we got started on baking! wedding cupcake baking wedding cupcake prep

After the cupcakes were baked and all nicely iced and decorated, it was time for everyone to get some beauty sleep.  We all met again at 9:45 am Saturday to get beautified at the hair salon. Who doesn’t like to get pampered with mimosas in hand? wedding day mimosas at the salon christy wedding day hair  getting hair done for wedding

Once we all had beautiful updos done we headed over to the venue to get our airbrush make up done. airbrush makeup for wedding

And now it was go time!!! I’ll let the rest of the pictures do the talking for themselves. I can’t wait to see the professional photographs, but until then my personal photos and those taken by Ryan will have to do!

beautiful bride Bride and Matron of Honor Wedding matron of honor and best man ww26 groom waiting for his bride back of wedding dress vows first kiss first kiss at wedding day ryan and katie at wedding ww39 ryan and katie wedding guests first dance   first dance barn wedding matron of honor toast father daughter dance rustic wedding signs bridesmaids father daughter dance lovely bride and groomxoxo Katie

Marriage is Like a Seesaw

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This coming Monday, Ryan and I will be celebrating our first wedding anniversary. To celebarte we’re taking a long weekend up in the beautiful Finger Lakes. This will be our second trip to the region this year and I can’t wait to relax by the water, drink wine, and reflect on this past year. And boy what a year. Somedays it feels like our wedding was just a month ago. Other days it feels like I’ve aged years since I was the anxious June bride.

One year ago I took one of the biggest risks of my life. I committed myself to my best friend and to love him unconditionally for the rest of my life.

No doubt love is a beautiful thing. Falling in love is the easy part. The part that is magical and makes your life feel like a fairy tale. Staying in love is a choice. Don’t hate me, but I don’t believe in soul mates or love at first sight. I think love is a decision, a constant piece of work and intent action. And sometimes it is hard.

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Of course I am no expert on marriage or love and these are simply my reflections on my relationship.

I love Ryan in a way I never knew I could love someone, and I’m amazed at how much our love can change in just one year. We have fun, we laugh, we smile, and we are certainly silly together. Yet, their are days when I can’t stand him. (as there are days when he can’t stand me either!) Some days he is just the man who leaves the dirty peanut butter knife in the sink and who scrubs the bathrooms spotlessly (never enough thank yous for that one!) There are days when I simply want to be alone. Those days when the idea of talking to anyone else or sharing the couch and bed with someone make me want to runaway. 

Then other days, and these days are far more plentiful, I wake up smiling, happy that I get to live another day as his wife. Beyond grateful that our joys are doubles because they are shared. He is my teammate, my conspirator, my built in best friend. We make each others heartaches endurable, we make fun times more fun, and we make the love we see in the movies seem trivial to what we have.

One of my favorite phrases to think is, “I’ll be right here”. No matter what, ever day, I’ll be right here. Always the number one priority. That is a promise I make. That is a choice I continue to make. 

Over the past year I’ve come to see love and marriage like a seesaw.

Ryan and I chose each other as partners on the seesaw on the playground, we were best friends and could think of anything more fun than sitting facing eachother on the playground, having a blast every day. We each took our designated seats, smiled at each other and thought, “This is going to be fun!” We were both excited for the joy and the thrill the seesaw would bring us as well as the fact that we got to have this fun together. 

Who doesn’t love the seesaw?  You have that butterfly feeling in your stomach as you’re flying up and down and sometimes you get that thrilling bounce, where you’re popped of the seat at the top, when you partner decides to make that day extra fun for you. It’s full of unexpecting surprises. The speed, height, and fun you will have lies in the hands of your partner. You have to trust him to do what is best for you, or simply be content with what he brings to the table. 

Like marriage, both partners have to put in equal work. The seesaw will go nowhere if neither or only one partner is doing all of the pushing. Even on days when you’re tired and just want to play alone, you still must put in the work to make the seesaw work efficiently. And even on those days, I bet you’ll be happy you chose the seesaw over a solo day on the swings. Once you see the smile of your partner as he soars to the top of the seesaw a day spent alone is unimaginable.

It isn’t always thrilling. It’s fa fact that while on a seesaw one partner will always be up while the other is down. Such is life. You can’t be equals 100% of the time. But just when one partner helps the other get up to the top, where the views are splendid and the work is easy that same partner will come down and help the other rise to the same bliss. You work together to acheive a mutual happiness. Giving love is always better than receiving love.   

Currently our seesaw is in pretty good shape, being only a year old and all. As it ages I understand that the highs and lows will only increase. But I truly believe the highs will always outshine the lows. There is nothing that fills my stomach with butterflies than the expectation and hopes of what the future holds for Ryan and me. Yes, marriage and love can be scary but jumping on the seesaw with Ryan is a choice I won’t regret. As my heart grows so does my choice to love him more and more. 

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xoxo Katie

 

 

“Blind” First Look and Wedding Gifts (wedding recap #4)

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I only have a few days left before celebrating our one year anniversary and these wedding recaps may have to spread out after June 2 as I have more to share and document for memory’s sake. So if you’re not one for wedding and sentimental talk this week may not be your week at my blog, or ever really since I’m the most sentimental person I know.

I’ve shared my wedding theme and details, my dress and number one wedding dress advice, and my last wedding post recapped my rehearsal day, mini disaster and all. Today I wanted to talk about the moments leading up to when we said “I Do”. 

Sunday June 2, 2013. I woke up bright and early on my wedding day, a ball of nerves. I was worried about the weather above all else. There was a 85% chance that it was going to rain. My entire wedding was outside….

Me, the bridesmaids, and our moms all went to the salon at 9:00 a.m. to start the beautification process. In between checking the weather on my phone every 5 minutes, I got my hair done and my air brush make up applied and sipped Mimosas. As our wedding was on a Sunday we had the entire salon, which was a Victorian mansion, to ourselves. It was a lot of fun.

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As we drove to the venue it started to sprinkle, just a tiny bit. I crossed my fingers that this was all the rain that would be happening that day. 

At the venue we girls quickly ate our lunch and then started to get dressed. All 5 bridesmaids and my mom and Ryan’s mom got dressed in about twenty minutes.

gettting ready 

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Then it was my turn. It took about 30 minutes to get three people to strap me into my gown. After doing some final touches we ventured outside to take some fun bridesmaid photos.

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Luckily no rain yet! I tried to focus on everything that was going on, but everything was so overwhelming, I just kept smiling full force, through my nerves. 

After getting some gorgeous bridesmaid photos we were ushered inside and sequestered into the “bride’s house” on the property. (There was a bride’s house and a groom’s house on the property, very cool.) Ryan and the groomsmen were arriving soon and we had to be out of sight to avoid the faux pas of Ryan seeing me before the ceremony. (I wanted to follow all the traditional rules). 

We poured some Mimosas and I tried to relax while we waited. Weddings are a lot like holidays, a lot of rushing around to just sit and wait. And be anxious. 

mimosas right before the wedding

After I practiced my vows, had some girl talk, and checked the weather five hundred more times, Ryan’s Dad came and escorted me outside for a special pre ceremony meeting with Ryan, where we wouldn’t actually see each other.

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Since we decided to follow tradition and not see each other before the ceremony, we found a way to have a romantic rendezvous where we could hold hands, exchange love notes, and give each other that little extra piece of private encouragement before saying “I Do” in front of everyone. We were both highly nervous, not about our commitment, but about being the center of attention. 

The “blind” first look was perfect for us.

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Ryan’s normally gruff and non sentimental father tenderly walked me up a hill toward one of the barns on the farm. Ryan was hidden away inside of the barn while the photographer set me up on one side of the large barn door. Once I was situated, Ryan quietly made is way out of the barn and to his side of the door. I blindly reached my hand over and we gave each other an encouraging squeeze.

I felt his energy and his love and after all of the stress of the day and worry about the weather, I was instantly reminded that this was what it was all about. We exchanged our notes, shed some tears, and had a perfect moment. 

Our awesome photographer caught the entire experience on film. 

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Ryan and I then went back to our separate houses and finished any last wedding prep. During this time my maid of honor delivered my wedding gift to Ryan and Ryan’s best man delivered Ryan’s gift to me. Wedding gifts are just one of those  traditions that have lately gotten way out of control. When we first started wedding planning we decided that our vows and commitment were gift enough (also the honeymoon!). But we still wanted to exchange heart-felt gifts that were under $40 each. 

Ryan gifted me an adorable necklace with a heart and key pendant that has an engraving that says “My Heart Is Locked To All But You”.

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I gifted Ryan and pocket watch engraved with “I Will Love You Til The End of Time” as well as a journal that I had kept over the last three-month. In the journal I had written Ryan a letter/entry for every day from March 1 – June 2.

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groom gift pocket watch

They were both perfect.

As I gushed over the thoughtfulness of my husband, my friends alerted me to the fact that the string quartet had started to play and the guests were finding their seats.

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It was time to go. I was going to be getting married in the next hour! The sun was shining and there was no rain. We were going to make it through the ceremony! We weren’t going to have to scramble and move everything inside the tent. Thank goodness!

I had to remind myself to breathe as my mom and maid of honor helped me down the stairs.

My mom and I had a final moment together before she was whisked off to start her walk down the aisle with her father. We shed some light tears over the fact I was wearing the necklace my Nanny (her mother) gave me. It was a delicate gold chain with 5 pearls. She gave me one pearl of each year of my life, she passed when I was 6. We were both wishing she was there.

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After she left my dad arrived and I held on tightly to his hand.  The day we had been waiting for since December, and since I was a little girl was happening. (also the sun was shining and there was not a drop of rain!). Let’s do this! 

…to be continued. 

xoxo Katie
 

5 Tips To Stay Stress Free While Wedding Planning

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Wedding season is officially upon us! Exactly one year ago I was in a constant mode of anxiety and excitement, jumping through many hoops and putting out many fires. Yes, last May I was deep in the final stages of wedding planning. As I survived and enjoyed a very lovely and beautiful wedding day, I thought I’d share some tips with brides to be on how to stay calm and less stressed in the weeks leading up to your wedding day.

There’s no doubt that the time surrounding a woman’s wedding day is equally one of the most stressful and exciting times in her life. After a quick 6-month engagement, my husband and I got married last June. It was a beautiful day but I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that I endured my fair share of stress and anxiety throughout those 6 months.

Stress and bride are two words that inevitably go together. No matter how carefully you plan or how organized you are, there never seems to be enough time to get everything done. You feel like you’re riding an endless emotional rollercoaster as you deal with the stress and the pressure from vendors, money, family, the wedding party, and all of the upcoming change.

Here are 5 tips to help brides stay stress free during wedding planning:

1. Learn To Delegate Tasks
Weddings take A LOT of work. Do not feel like you have to take it all on by yourself. This was hard for me. Too often I felt like no one else would do it as good as me or that I’d be bothering people by asking them to help. Wrong and wrong! Once I got over it, I realized a lot of people were willing to help.
Split up tasks and delegate small jobs to bridesmaids, your fiancé, family, and other friends. They’ll be happy to be a part of executing your big day!

2. Schedule Date Nights (where no wedding talk is allowed)
Be sure to schedule in some alone time for you and your fiancé. Go out, have fun, let loose, and force yourself to not talk about the wedding. This will help the two of you to stay connected and learn to lean on each other – remember, the big day is about the two of you and the celebration of your life long commitment and love for each other! It’s supposed to be fun!

3. Get Organized!
This may sound like a given, but being truly organized with to-do lists and spreadsheets will help you remain put together and not question if you are forgetting anything important. Even if you hate lists – now is the time to start making them! There are hundreds of tasks, items to remember, and budgets to make. I found it helpful to break down the wedding day tasks into categories and make separate folders with their own lists and spreadsheets for each category. Think: Caterer, Florists, Decorations, Music, Wedding Party etc. This helps to not feel so overwhelmed by the magnitude of things to do.

4. Take Care Of Yourself
Schedule some “me time” and be sure to use it to relax and take care of yourself. Continue to exercise and eat healthy, book a massage, shop for the honeymoon, and get enough sleep. Do any activity that makes you feel relaxed and human. It’s easy to lose yourself amidst all of the stress.

5. Lastly, remember, only you will know if something little goes awry
I get it; I worried painfully about every last detail. I spent so much time designing and selecting every element of my wedding – from the flowers, to the centerpieces, to the escort cards, to the tuxes and dresses. Panic attacks woke me up in the middle of the night on a regular basis. The idea of one of my table settings to turn out not exactly as I imagined drove me mad.

In all honesty, no one else will ever notice or care if something small goes wrong. People are there to witness your love and to enjoy a good party. At the end of the day no one will remember most of the small details.

I nearly died when I discovered our tux rental place had messed up our order and did not have enough of the blush ties I wanted each of the groomsmen to wear. Tears were shed. In the end, the groomsmen wore cream ties and looked just as lovely.

People are going to remember how much of a good time they had and how beautiful you looked, not what shade of white paper the table settings were printed on.

Your wedding day is a day set aside to celebrate you and your love. Once you get as organized as you can, try not to sweat the small stuff and to enjoy every moment. A tremendous amount of pressure is put on weddings, but it’s only one day out of your entire life. The day is going to go by in the blink of an eye, be present in the moment and enjoy the specialness of the day.

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This post was originally published on Married To The Game

xoxo Katie