Two Years

KellyDavidBW497 (1)A few weeks ago I pulled up a slow song on my phone and hit play. I coaxed David up off the couch and asked him to dance with me. We revolved slowly in the center of the living room, amid a sea of baby toys and burp cloths, in pajamas and unwashed hair while Penny napped in the next room. And in the beginning it felt goofy and we grinned. But as the music went on we relaxed into each other’s arms and slowed to a sway. By the time the song ended I had my eyes closed and my face nestled into David’s shoulder, and I felt the same wild, quiet joy I felt during the last dance of the night on our wedding day.

Our lives have changed so much, even in the last year. We are parents, and the birth of our daughter transformed our lives. We do a lot of negotiating, a lot of planning, a lot of cleaning (and yet–never, ever enough cleaning). Every day is a delicate balancing act as we learn how to care for our daughter, care for each other, and care for ourselves. A friend describes the first few years with young children as the “business years” of marriage, and I can see the truth in that. There is a lot more responsibility, now. A lot more to manage, and a lot less time.


But the romance is not gone from our lives. We snuggle up on the couch and binge-watch Orphan Black together. We sit on our small balcony with cold beer and blow bubbles, watching them float over the railing and burst on the tree branches below. We sit at bars and lean in close together over a plate of calamari, our knees touching, our faces flushed with wine. Thank god for babysitters. We send saucy text messages and leave little love notes on the fridge and the bathroom mirror. We kiss every single day.

Marriage is a choice, and I always choose David. I choose him when I am tired. I choose him when the week has been long and my temper is short. I choose him when I am jealous and scared and annoyed. I choose him when I need someone to talk to, or someone to make me laugh. I choose him, always, to be my partner. To be the person with whom I pay the bills and fold the laundry, and share in all the other minutiae of my daily life. He is my partner, my co-parent, my love. He is–quite simply–my most favorite person.

His generosity and depth of feeling impress me every single day. He makes me want to be the best version of myself, and loves me even when I am the very worst. He encourages me to take care of myself, to find and pursue new challenges and passions, to stake my claim. His support is such a precious gift; I try to be aware always of its worth.

Everyday after work I drive into downtown Saint Paul to pick Penny up from daycare. We wait outside in the sun for David to leave the office and walk over to meet us before we all get in the car and drive home. When Penny first sees her Papa, her face beams. I can almost see her heart thumping as her whole tiny body wriggles and radiates with joy. As he gets closer, she stretched out her arms and kicks her little legs until he takes her up and holds her at last.

I know exactly how she feels.

aisle walk


orchard kiss

magical makeout

the luckiest


 All photos in this post were taken by our stellar wedding photographer, Kate, of KNG Sommers Photography. I cannot recommend her enough; she is magnificent. If you’d like to see more of our wedding photos, I have a ton shared on FB, or you can search Instagram hashtag #vansantwedding.

Posted by on September 1, 2014 in Personal

Papa Speaks: On Being Sick

Note: “Papa Speaks” is the tentative title for what we hope will be a recurring feature on this blog: updates from David. Here, he’ll write about food, family, and whatever sparks his interest.  No one ever likes being sick. It always throws you off whatever you were in the middle of–whether it’s a streak of […]

Posted by on May 5, 2014 in Personal


It is three days after Penelope’s birth, and we are home in our apartment for the first time. I am hiding in our bedroom alone, stuffing fistfuls of the white down comforter into my mouth, my whole body shaking violently with sobs. I feel myself breaking, cracking open. Out in the living room my mother-in-law […]

Posted by on April 30, 2014 in Personal

Quest for the Perfect Pizza Dough: Take Two

Last spring I began a quest for the perfect pizza dough, and the first recipe I tried didn’t cut it. I had every intention of getting right back in the kitchen, but pregnancy destroyed all my ambition. So that’s how I find myself a little over a year later finally getting around to pizza dough […]

Posted by on April 27, 2014 in Food

Papa Speaks: The Year of 30

This spectacular image of Pen–when she was just a few days old–sums up the past 12+ months for me. As they say, a picture is worth a thousand words…tired, wired, mired…

Posted by on April 18, 2014 in Personal

Sunday Mornings

When we were dating, David and I spent Sunday mornings at his Brooklyn apartment in our pajamas with the New York Times, coffee, and a box of crunch mini donuts. Spending all morning reading and getting crumbs all over the bed (it’s ok; Sunday is also laundry day) was fantastic, and I wasn’t about to […]

Posted by on April 8, 2014 in Personal

Date Night

The first time I was away from Penny was two nights after she was born. We were still in the hospital and she had been crying incessantly for what seemed like hours. I refused to let her be taken to the nursery, so David and I took turns trying to console her and attempting to […]

Posted by on March 8, 2014 in Personal


In the beginning Penny was jaundiced and lost 13% of her birthweight after leaving the hospital, so we were putting in regular appearances at the pediatrician’s office. Bleary-eyed and sleep-deprived, I held my daughter so a lab technician could prick Penny’s heel and draw blood to test her bilirubin levels. “Name?” asked the lab tech. […]

Posted by on March 6, 2014 in Personal

Penelope Mae

About halfway through my miserable pregnancy David and I were lying in bed, and he made up this song: Penelope Mae You are not a kittay You are a babay COMING SOON It became our mantra for the remaining months: coming soon, coming soon, coming soon. Penelope did not come soon. She came late. I […]

Posted by on March 1, 2014 in Personal

The Home Stretch

I am 37 weeks and 4 days pregnant. There are 17 days left until my due date. I really thought I would update this blog a lot more throughout my pregnancy, but it just hasn’t happened. A lot of things have fallen by the wayside over the last 9 months, and I’ve struggled to come […]

Posted by on December 23, 2013 in Personal