Tag Archives | marriage

Anniversary

beaming

A year ago today, I married David in an apple orchard.

Was it the best day of my life? I hope not. I hope my life is long, and full, and shared with my wonderful husband and the family we’re making together. I hope there are so many more best days. September 1, 2012 was pretty damn magical, though.

My first year of marriage has been challenging. David and I dealt with the rigors of grad school, stressful yet rewarding job situations, moving to a new apartment, and a difficult pregnancy this year. Although in some ways I wish our first year as newly weds could have been more laid back, the external challenges really knit us together in ways I couldn’t have anticipated.

stolen beer and sunsets

We were together for five years before we got married, had lived together for three years, and had weathered some Big Things in our shared time. I didn’t expect marriage to change me so much, or to change my relationship with my partner in such concrete ways. But it has.

I know how to be vulnerable without entirely surrendering my sense of self now. I know how to identify and articulate the things I want and need. I know how to make space for another person in my life, a person whose needs sometimes come before my own. I know what it’s like to pursue my goals, knowing that there is a person who supports me every step of the way. I know how to love another person fiercely, even when I am cranky, even when I am angry, even when it means doing things I really, really don’t want to do. I know how to be someone else’s champion, to push him toward his dreams, to hold him back against burn out, to put my goddamn iphone down and actually listen to him when he is talking even if he has told me this story before (this last one is still hard). I have a deeper understanding of both selfishness and generosity. I know how to make one very special man laugh until he cries.

If I’ve learned all that in the span of just one year of marriage, what things can I learn in 5 years, 10, 50? I look forward to finding out.

hugs that can't wait

Marrying David made me better. A better partner, absolutely, but also a better person. And that’s not just because David is awesome (although he is) but it’s because I care a whole hell of a lot about my marriage. I put time into it. I reflect on it. I actively work to make it stronger.

At our wedding, I walked down the aisle staring at David the entire time, moving toward him with a magnetic thrum in my core. When I reached him, I hugged my father briefly, shoved my bouquet into my sister’s arms, waved at my mom, and then flung myself at my almost-husband. David, always a rule-follower, whispered to me, terrified, “Are we supposed to do this yet?”

“I don’t care!” I sobbed into his shoulder, half laughing, half crying, up on my tip-toes. His arms instantly circled around me in the tightest hug.

And then we got married.

laughter and tears

croquet

be excited!

kisses & smiles

the luckiest

Photos:

 All photos in this post were taken by our wedding photographer, Kate, of KNG Sommers Photography. I cannot recommend her enough; she is bad ass. 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 (having an instagram hashtag was a last minute idea on my part, and it was one of the very best ideas I ever had).

Posted by on September 1, 2013 in Personal

The Ghost in Our Lives

My husband has three weeks of graduate school left.

He has worked so hard, and I am so proud of him, and that is not what I’m going to talk about right now. That is for later. That is for when the stage has been crossed, the diploma received. For when beers are in hand and confetti is in the air. The congratulations, the gratitude, the overwhelming swell of appreciation and admiration are for the finish line.

And right now is for me.

David has been in his graduate program for two years, and I am exhausted. His pursuit of higher education is the ghost in our lives. After working brutally long days implementing the Affordable Care Act in our state, David comes home and wrestles the ghost. The ghost always wins.

Class just one night a week doesn’t sound so bad, and maybe it isn’t. Except that it is. Because on weekends he is at the library. Other nights he’s working late. There are papers to write. Projects to complete. The ghost is always there.

David started school less than two months after our engagement. A year later we cut our honeymoon short so that he didn’t have to miss a class.

I know that his friends and family miss him. He only gets to see them rarely, now, and part of the whole reason we moved here is precisely so that he could see them more. He tries to be present during the brief times he is with them, does everything he can to leave the ghost behind, to talk and laugh and listen. To connect. It isn’t like that at home. After the first year, we tried to implement “Husband and Wife Mondays” where for one night a week graduate school was not on the table: no studying, no homework, no stressing about the lack of former. It didn’t last.

I am talking strictly about the ghost, here. David has been amazing. He is dedicated to school and to me at the same time. I don’t know how he manages it. I don’t know how he has room inside of him for all of it at once. He has taken so much care to make sure I know that I,  us–our marriage–is still priority number one. But that reassurance is the most he can do, because the ghost rattles its chains, swallows him whole, steals him away.

Oh, there were shining moments. Our honeymoon–though short–was a precious oasis. There have been date nights, and dinners out, and concerts caught. In January we celebrated our annual Stay In Bed All Day day. We closed the door on the ghost, locked him out, and spent the day in our pajamas playing board games, drinking whiskey, making out. But the day ended, we opened the door, the ghost came in.

And it is exhausting to be the One Who Is Not Doing. I’m not the one who went to class, who studied constantly, who wrote essay upon essay upon essay. But I am the one who cleaned the house, made all our meals, ran the errands. And sometimes I didn’t. Sometimes I didn’t clean the house, or cook, and we were cranky and survived off junk food until I got it together again. Sometimes I was selfish. There are things I wish I’d handled with more grace. Most of the time I remembered that David wasn’t going to graduate school to punish me. Most of the time I remembered, but sometimes I forgot. I woke up when he was already out the door for work some mornings. I went to sleep alone before he came home. I wrote him notes and stuck them on the fridge and loved, loved, loved to find a note from him in return. Between sleeping and exchanging notes, somehow whole months passed. I did my best to comfort him when things were hard. To be his champion. I am the one who shouldered my husband, who chose when to push him to do more and when to persuade him to do less. Sometimes, I chose wrong.

It is hard, and it is lonely, and it is exhausting to be the one who keeps it together. The one who waits. The one who is standing still. But worth it. Graduate school is a choice we made for our family, for David’s fulfillment, for our future. We sacrificed a lot, but we gained a lot, too. We rely on each other. We express what we need. We are partners.

In three weeks I will celebrate my husband’s enormous accomplishment. Today I celebrate my own. This ghost has haunted me, too.

honeymoon2

Us, on the last night of our honemoon.

Posted by on April 4, 2013 in Personal

Still Cooking.

So, I could start this post off by apologizing profusely for my absence. I’m the worst blogger, sorry I never update, blah blah blah.

Or I could just skip all that and get into it.

Here’s some stuff that’s happened since last time:

1. David and I are getting married. I KNOW, RIGHT? We’re deep in the forest of wedding-planning with approximately 4 months to go until the happy day. I am artsing and crafting all over the place. I am weeping over caterers. I am keeping a running list of songs to play at the reception. And I am loving the hell out of my fiancé. Planning a wedding is one of the most enormous, exhausting, exhilarating things I have ever done.

2. David is in graduate school for his MBA (Masters of Business Administration).

3. I am still working for the state if Minnesota (39 hours per week, y’all) and still loathing every moment of it.

4. I’ve cooked some pretty damn amazing things in the last year.

5. But maybe not quite as awesome as what David made me for dinner tonight. This was his first Saturday off since January and he probably won’t have another one until the wedding (September 1, 2012!) We really took advantage of every moment.

We slept in until 8:00am (for people who normally get up around 5:00am, this was heavenly) and went grocery shopping first thing to get it out of the way. It was supposed to start raining later in the day, but the morning–although cloudy and crisp–was clear. We headed to the park to play catch for an hour.

Afterward, we came home and watched some TEDtalks on food systems and agriculture (we are food people. Um, clearly) while drinking beer and working on wedding arts and crafts.

Yes! (A quick aside; bear with me).

In the interest of saving money while simultaneously indulging my inner craft-whore, I decided to make all of the decorations for our wedding reception!

I’m making paper flowers out of book pages (David and I are also book people) and using paint chips swiped from hardware stores to make garlands. Here’s a sneak peak:

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ANYWAY. Around 3:30pm we packed up the art supplies and spent the next four hours making dinner. Actually, David spent the next four hours making dinner, and I kept him company and documented things on Instagram. Here’s how our evening went, start to finish:

Lamb shank stewed with caramelized onions, prunes, and garlic, topped with mint and served with an Israeli couscous with quinoa, parsley, shallots, and toasted pine nuts.1

Recipes adapted (rather loosely) from:

http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/emeril-lagasse/pine-nut-and-preserved-lemon-couscous-recipe/index.html
http://www.seriouseats.com/recipes/2011/12/fall-apart-lamb-with-prunes-recipe.html

Am I the luckiest, or what?

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  1. We didn’t realize this until after the fact, but this is basically the Lamb Stew with Dried Plums that Katniss is so obsessed with in THE HUNGER GAMES. She is correct; it’s freaking amazing.
Posted by on April 22, 2012 in Food

belated blogging: where the hell did the last two weeks go?!

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Blogging is hard. Apparently, you actually have to be self-disciplined and make a commitment to consistency. No one thought to mention that when I started talking awhile back about starting a blog to document this transition. Thanks, guys.

SO MUCH IS GOING ON. It’s crazy.

I can’t believe it’s already midway through September! David and I leave for Minnesota in 13 days. THIRTEEN DAYS. I’m really beginning to feel the enormity of what we’re doing. This decision certainly was not made lightly, but in the initial stages it definitely took on a dream-like quality. As we made our plans we talked about our freedoms and fears and spent a lot of time being cozy and confiding in one another. In a way I felt as though we were in our own private bubble, and that all of the changes were happening within and between us. Now I find that as we’re hurtling closer toward our departure date everything has become external. We check things off our To Do lists and suddenly our private hopes and dreams for the future are becoming grounded in reality in a way that is both exhilarating and terrifying. I can honestly say I never imagined myself moving to Minnesota. But I can also say–just as honestly–that there’s no where else I’d rather go. I always have been and always will be every bit an emotional romantic, and this is no exception: I want to be where David is and nowhere else.

I haven’t just spent these past two weeks in deep existential lovey-dovey thought, however! Initially I had plans to write separate blog posts about all of the things I’m about to mention. I even drafted a few paragraphs and saved them along the way! But time is truly quicker than I am. I thought it better to give you the rundown than to surrender myself to the undertow! So, as Inigo Montoya would say:

Let me s’plain. No. There is too much. Let me sum up.

David and I were back in Massachusetts over Labor Day weekend because my wonderful friends Dan and Niccie got MARRIED. Tied the knot. Got hitched. I was so, so happy to be there. Congratulations to you both, and thank you so much for letting me share the day with you!

That trip also served as an opportunity to say goodbye to some of my extended family members. Chances are I won’t be back in Boston for any significant length of time until next summer, which feels a little bit strange.

David and I have both given our notice at work, which was a huge weight hanging over us. I feel so relieved now that it’s over with! I’m essentially in charge of finding my own replacement so I’ve been combing through resumes and fielding phone calls for most of the last week. I have this week to really wrap things up as far as projects I’m working on, and then a week to train whomever Pamela decides to hire as my replacement.

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I bought my last ever monthly metrocard (and then lost it and had to replace it, but whatever) which was an unexpectedly poignant moment for me.

I’ve been making the rounds, saying goodbye to friends, getting things done. This Saturday David and I are having our Goodbye Party at the Beer Garden in Astoria! If you’re in the city I insist that you stop by.

I also got my hair cut. Now, here’s the thing. When we first, first made the decision to move to the midwest, David asked me what I would most miss and regret leaving behind–family and friends being the obvious answer and therefore excluded. “My hair dresser,” I replied instantly. I didn’t even wait a beat. I’ve been getting my haircut by Melissa at Devachan for the last three years, and I am not at all exaggerating when I say that this salon changed my life. I’m so upset about the fact that she won’t be able to cut my hair regularly anymore that I actually can’t think about it. Luckily there is apparently a former Devachan stylist who now works in Chicago, which is a totally reasonable 8 hours away from Minneapolis. So it looks like I’ll be getting most of my future haircuts in Chi-town. But whenever I can swing it, Melissa, I’m running right back to you! I’m bound to visit NYC every now and again!

We still have a lot of packing to do, and tonight, I think, we’re going to map out our drive from the East Coast to the Mid West! (Midwest? One word or two? These are the things I need to learn, along with being able to identify the Great Lakes and accepting the fact that the Twin Cities are urban as opposed to suburban. I’ve got my work cut out for me!)

Posted by on September 7, 2009 in Personal