Milestones

A year ago today Mr. Darcy and I donned fancy clothes and in front of our nearest & dearest, vowed to choose each other every day for the rest of our lives.

toasting

That was the best day of my life.

It has not been a carefree year for us. I look at this picture and remember how incredibly happy we were despite a year where we fought The Cancer, started a new job, bought a house, and moved all while planning the wedding. We thought that we were on an upswing after all that stress. And we were but it didn’t last long enough. Upswings rarely do.

The thing is- even though we have had a rocky first year, we as a couple are not rocky. Despite all the sorrow, we have done our best to navigate it with tenderness, grace, and humor. It’s often been downright brutal and we’ve fallen apart and put each other back together again and again. If there’s one thing I can say that’s good from all the bad it’s that we are stronger for our troubles. I would not wish anyone else by my side than Mr. Darcy. Even when we’re fighting, even when we’re lost in our own grief, and especially when we’re laughing. Marrying a guy who can make me laugh when I’m crying is among one of my smartest choices in this life.

This past weekend we got ourselves an anniversary gift.

otis sits

His name is Otis and he is a seven week old Australian Shepherd and Catahoula Leopard mix.

As we drove home with him, I cried. I was just overcome with how much I needed him. We both need something happy to turn our attention to and to love together. A salve for our wounded hearts. Enter Otis, the best present ever.

otis comes home otis sleeps

We’re hoping year two has less troubles and more joy. I think Otis might help with that.

I love you, Darcy. Thank you for being my person.

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It’s Not Really A Secret

Mr. Darcy and I don’t really celebrate Valentine’s Day. We get each other a card and have dinner together, nothing fancy. But last night I came home from dance and there was a roaring fire, candles lit, the table set with flowers, and a husband preparing me dinner. Please note that the only thing Mr. Darcy has cooked for me in our three plus years together is a grilled cheese.

I married a sweetheart. His sweetness is a constant truth but it still catches me off guard. I haven’t always picked nice guys to give my heart to. Case in point, the other day I was scrolling through the secrets on Post Secret when I came upon a postcard that made me stop and do a double take. There was a photo of two people mid-kiss with the text of the postcard cutting off half their faces. The cursive handwriting said something about wishing he could forget her so he could move on with his life.

The man kissing the woman in the photo is an ex of mine.

And then everything got complicated inside me. Because here I am, a happily married woman, feeling like someone gut-punched me as I look at the ex kissing his ex in a photo on a famous website. It’s so complicated, the story of me and this ex, I can’t even begin to explain it here. The cut-to-the-chase version would be: we were on again and off again over the span of 5 years and the last time we  were on again, he and the woman in the picture with him, were breaking up and he was (once again) proclaiming his undying love for me (as he was wont to do, even when he was engaged to her). But, here is his face with her face, kissing, with his words about being unable to move on with his life since they split (over 3 years ago). We all make wrong choices. Maybe his was cheating on her. Very possibly mine was ever giving that guy my heart.

I’m not supposed to care about this at all or feel like a complete chump for believing everything he said all those years when he’d come crawling back to me over and over with his professions of me being his one and only. But being married doesn’t erase my past and having ended it with him doesn’t make it not hurt. I started to question all of it and felt the fool. Not because I care about him pining for me but if he did, would that finally make all the shit he put me through mean something? Truthfully, I always thought that someday I’d find a secret on that site from him about me.

I haven’t spoken to him in years, not since right before I met Mr. Darcy. I believe that letting this ex go was a big reason I was able to be open to SEE Mr. Darcy when he entered my life. Like I’ve said, I have not always excelled at being available for good men. But I walked away from that toxic, tumultuous relationship that made me feel small and unworthy and twisted up inside and said aloud: I want more than this for myself. I want to build a life with someone who shows up, who is here with me every day in every way, who builds me up, not breaks me down. I wanted someone who would fight for me and our relationship.

Enter Mr. Darcy, stage left.

I talked to Mr. Darcy about all this over dinner the night I discovered the postcard. I was nervous to tell him I was hurt that the postcard was not about me but I didn’t want to keep it from him when it bothered me so much. But, true to form, he got it and wasn’t threatened by it. We actually had a thoughtful conversation about love, relationships, the past, and ego. And in the end, I was reminded again what an amazing man I am married to.

The ex used to say he was never jealous of the men I dated while we were broken up because no one would ever love each other like we did. In a way he’s right- no two loves are exactly the same- but in a big way he’s so, so wrong because I would choose Mr. Darcy a million times over him. Even when we’re a mess, we’re fighting, we’re annoying or boring each other, Mr. Darcy is my choice. The love I share with him surpasses every other love I’ve had. It’s the love I want to spend the rest of my life in.

Our Wedding Photos Are Here!

Our long-awaited professional photos have arrived. Woo! It was so fun to relive that magical day as we picked through these awesome shots. We can’t thank Heather and Jon from One Love Photo enough for being so wonderful to work with. If you are in Seattle and looking for photographers, we highly recommend them.

You can view the fantastic slideshow they put together- complete with two songs we used in our ceremony- and it’s almost like you were there except you don’t get any pie or ice cream. You can click here to watch it (will need Flash). Seriously, go watch it and come back and tell me what you think!

Otherwise, here are some highlights:

Other wedding sharing posts- – –

Sharing our vows
Sharing our When Harry Met Sally-esque reception video
On being wed
Our decor details

__________________________

Shout outs- – –
Hair: D’Arcy Harrison at Emerson Salon
Make Up: Sarah Swanberg
Bride’s Dress: David’s Bridal
Tuxes: Men’s Wearhouse
Maid of Honor and Officiant Dresses: eShakti
Venue: 1927 Events
Caterers: Skillet
Dessert: A La Mode Pies, Bluebird Microcreamery
Band: The Local Strangers
Day of Coordination: Amy Faulkner at Social Things
Photographers: One Love Photo
Hotel: Sheraton Seattle (groom), Hotel Andra (bride)

Love, Video-Style

Practically everything about our wedding is my “favorite” but this part has a special place in my heart. My dearest friend Dumpling was generous enough to put together the video below that we played during our reception right before the toasts. I had this crazy idea to have a When Harry Met Sally-esque video tribute and our loved ones were kind enough to play along. Many friends and family submitted little (and not so little!) video clips to Dumpling so he could painstakingly put together this gem. (Dumpling- you’re awesome and we love you!)

It means so much to us to have this to watch over and over and remember. We have very awesome people in our lives. Big thanks to those who contributed: Rae Rae & Run Run, Dumpling & Jersey Girl, my mom, Darcy’s parents, Jeni Angel, Jen & Rich, Dokey & Double B, Tomato & Andrew, Steve & Erin, Reets & Michael (from the Big Island), Carly (from the top of Kilimanjaro), Josh & Colleen, Bean & Eric (at the shore), and of course, my nephew Finn.

Vowed

The wedding ceremony was very important to us. We wanted it to be reflective of who we are as a couple- sentimental, humorous, and sweet. From everyone we’ve heard from, it was all that and a tearjerker. So many people have told us they cried during the entire thing which totally touches my heart. I remember looking out and catching a glimpse of Jeni Angel and Long Story Longer’s faces and seeing them smiling with tears in their eyes. Tomato says he cried from start to finish and he doesn’t even like weddings.

I apparently swore twice during the ceremony though I only remember the first instance. When I got up to Mr. Darcy and took his hands I said “shit” because I was so overcome with feeling. We all laughed. I guess I wouldn’t be me if I hadn’t slipped up like that. Me and my potty mouth!

I thought I would share the vows that Mr. Darcy and I wrote for each other so you could get a glimpse into the ceremony. It all seemed to go by so fast and all of a sudden Jenny Two Times (who did a great job officiating) was saying it was time to say our vows and we looked at each other like- ALREADY?! I love how they are both so us and how we said similar things without knowing it. (We didn’t know what the other was saying ahead of time but Jenny Two Times made sure they were balanced.)

Mr. Darcy’s vows to me:

My Dearest Sizzle (he used my real name of course),

Almost six years ago, I moved out to Seattle to make a huge change in my life for the better. I came here expecting to make a better career for myself, to learn and grow, and to push myself in new directions. I didn’t think that would come to Seattle and find the love of my life. I thought my chance for finding someone to spend my life with had passed. I was resigned to being a nerdy bachelor who doodled monsters for a living. Thankfully, the world has a way of giving us what we need most when we expect it the least.

Prior to meeting you, I wasn’t sure that Seattle was a place I could ever call “home”. Now, I can’t think of anywhere without you as home. Moving to Seattle to meet and fall in love with you is the best thing that has ever happened to me.  It may seem cliche, but I really do feel like the luckiest man alive when you smile and tell me you love me.

My love and admiration for you grow every day we spend together. The fun days. The carefree days. The hard days. Everyday you choose to build a life with me and I with you. Through all of the laughter and tears, you are there to rejoice and comfort me, to hold and be held, to kiss and be kissed. Knowing that I have you with me on the journey in life makes me believe that any obstacle can be overcome and every success celebrated in a superb grand fashion. Having you in my life challenges me to be a better person. It is a challenge I accept every day and pursue with all the energy I have. You have taught me to think outside of myself and embrace the world around me. I love the life we have built together – our home, our cats, the mutual support and kick in the ass we give each other when we need it. You are my best friend in the world. I know I can trust you completely and without reservation, and that comforts me in a way I can never truly convey.

Listing all of the things I love about you is a bit overwhelming, but here goes:

  • Your kindness and charm are like no-one I’ve ever met.
  • You have style and flair that most people envy. Your smile is infectious.
  • Making you laugh is one of my reasons for living.
  • I love your confidence – both the quiet and brash assuredness that you live your life with.
  • I love your thoughtfulness and attention to detail.
  • I love the way you challenge yourself to be a better you. And I want to be a better me just to keep up.
  • I love your compassion for others. You open your heart easily to those in need and it is stunning to watch.
  • I love that how engaged with life you are. You remind me of how beautiful the world is and how much there is to explore when I’m too busy looking inward.
  • I love that you can be carefree and dance at a moment’s notice.
  • I love to hear you sing.
  • I love sitting on a couch with you as you watch your favorite shows and I make fun of them.
  • I love looking into your eyes.
  • I love kissing you any chance I get.
  • I love your cats that have now become our cats.
  • I love all the things I’ve invariably forgotten to say about you.
 All that’s left say is:
  • For the rest of my days; I choose you.
  • I promise to treasure and nurture the love that you give.
  • I promise to show up, every minute of every day for our relationship
  • I promise to treat you with all the kindness, respect, and appreciation that you deserve.
  • I promise to make you laugh every chance I get.
  • I promise to play you in Scrabble any sunny day we can – and even let you win sometimes.
  • I promise to love your family and friends the way I love my own.
  • I promise to cherish every moment we have together – even when we are cleaning up Dash’s butt.
  • I choose you every day.
  • Thank you for being my person.
  • Thank you for choosing me.
  • Thank you for marrying me.
  • I’m all in. For ever.

My vows to Mr. Darcy:

I looked a very long time and had almost given up on meeting you, my Mr. Darcy, and yet here you are standing in front of me on our wedding day. You are my dream come true.

When we first met almost 3 years ago, you told me that you “grew up around women like” me- meaning strong, independent, opinionated (some might say bossy) over-thinkers. At first I wasn’t sure if that was a compliment or not but then I met your mom and your sister, saw the incredible love you have for them, and recognized traits I’d tried to downplay my whole life suddenly as assets. I was never sure if a man could handle me but it turns out you can. From our first date I knew something was different about us.

I used to think that wanting to get married meant I was weak. I was never that girl who dreamed of her wedding day. But I was so wrong. Saying yes to marrying you is the bravest thing I’ve ever done.  Loving you has made me more tender, more vulnerable, and more trusting. You have softened my defenses and I am stronger for it.

There are so many reasons why I love you. I’ve made a list of the highlights.

  • You are genuine, honest, and trustworthy.
  • You are hilarious. You make me laugh all the time even when I’m crying or mad at you.
  • You think I am funny which means you have excellent taste.
  • You could eat your weight in bagels yet you can’t tell the difference between zucchini and squash.
  • You are unflinchingly generous.
  • You look at me like I am the only girl in the room and tell me I am beautiful even if I just woke up from surgery, have a head cold, or a zit.
  • You are steady and thoughtful and easy-going.
  • You are wicked smart and it’s cute how you get all riled up during political conversations.
  • You love your family and have come to love mine.
  • You are loyal and stand by your friends.
  • You are an incredibly talented artist and are passionate about nerdy things of which I will probably never understand.
  • You always show up for me.
  • You will make an amazing father if we are lucky enough to be parents though you will probably worry way too much. .
  • You love our cats even though when I met you you were not a “cat person.”
  • You are a man of integrity and character, strong values and morals.
  • You will always try for the sake of our relationship even if it’s uncomfortable.
  • You are a total sentimental sap and even though I rib you for it, I kinda love it..
  • You work at our relationship with as much care and focus as you do those tiny little men you paint.
  • You protect my heart like a warrior.

I love you and this little life we have created and the journey we are on.  I wouldn’t want to be with anyone else- even when I’m angry at you, even when your farts stink up the place, even when the pungency of your morning breath almost makes me pass out. You are my person. You make me feel like the best self. Thank you for loving me just as I am.

Today, in front of our most beloved family and friends, I give you my heart. I promise to:

  • always be honest with you, even when it’s difficult
  • never stop working at our relationship or myself
  • make your dreams as important as my dreams so that we can share one dream for our future
  • stand by you in good times and bad, laughter and tears, health and sickness
  • strive to be open and let you see the real me
  • show up, even when I’d rather hide or run away
  • give you room to make mistakes and change
  • encourage and challenge you to be your most authentic self
  • offer you my unwavering support, encouragement, and compassion
  • make you laugh and smile
  • accept you for all that you are
  • respect and trust you
  • listen to you with my head and my heart
  • stand by your side as your biggest fan, loudest champion, and best friend

For the rest of our days, I promise every day to choose you.

***

Wed

So, I have a husband.

That still feels weird to say even though it feels awesome to have.

We have returned from our honeymoon, tan in spots, peeling in others, travel-weary, and happy. The cats have forgiven us and there are bills to pay and thank you notes to write. It feels good to be home and to settle into our married life.

The wedding was, in a word, beautiful. I’ve never felt more happy or more loved in all my life. Actually, the entire weekend was like that from the moment our friends starting arriving from out-of-town, it was a total lovefest. There was a minute on Thursday night when I stopped and looked at my house filled with so many of our far away friends and felt my heart almost burst. Then in dance class the next day, the morning of my bachelorette party, I thought it might burst again. My teacher dedicated the class to me and used one of my favorite playlists. At the end she asked everyone to “send love to the bride” and I can’t really describe the feeling of having a community of people smile and send good energy my way as I sat there blinking back tears of joy. As if testing what my heart can hold, the bachelorette party was amazing- lots of sharing and smiling and laughter and singing. I’m pretty sure my sister and I reviving our old “Morning Train” act will always be a highlight for me though it is closely followed by Tomato, Dokey, and I belting out “Weather With You” or Jenny Two Times and I busting out with “Love Will Keep Us Together.”

The rehearsal brunch was so sweet. It meant so much to have everyone in our wedding sitting around a table, just getting to know one another. I started tearing up just practicing the walk down the imaginary aisle at the run through so I knew I’d be in trouble on Sunday. The good kind of trouble though. There was this moment later in the day on Saturday as Mr. Darcy and I stood together in our house saying our good-byes as he was on his way to his hotel room and later I would make my way to mine. It struck us that this was the last time we’d see each other before our wedding and we were both emotional. It was sweet and sentimental and I can’t quite put it into words- I was just so grateful and so in love with him in that moment. Everything felt full of promise and joy.

I have so many favorite moments of the entire wedding weekend, I’ll probably have to make a list. But the moment I turned the corner of the venue while The Local Strangers sang a cover of Joshua Radin’s song “Today” is hands down one of the best moments of my entire life. I caught a glimpse of Mr. Darcy before everyone stood and as I attempted to walk slowly up to the front I was smiling like a total loon and crying more and more at every beautiful face I saw looking back at me. So many people I love! In one room! We’re getting married! I can’t believe this day has finally come!

All the feelings. All the good feelings, overcame me.

The groom.

The bride.

And then we became husband and wife.

*****

I will post more about the details as I feel inspired but I also don’t want to overwhelm you with more wedding talk. I feel like that’s all I’ve talked about for so long now.

(I did not use my phone the entire night so I only have some stolen photos from the event. We probably won’t get our professional photos for a while, so apologies for not posting more.)

Going on My Marry Way

I’m sitting here in my living room with light from the morning sun p ouring throughour big windows thinking about happiness.

Happiness has never come easy to me. Or if it did, it felt fleeting. I’ve put a lot of pressure on myself to Be! Happy! and mostly felt like a failure because I am unable to sustain the feeling. Does this mean I don’t love my life? Absolutely not. I just find it easier to not operate at that level. It feels way to tenuous and we all know how I like a plan.

But then I met Mr. Darcy and we’ve had all our ups and downs on our love journey, our engagement, buying our house, the cancer summer, and now in just a few days, our wedding, and I can say unequivocally that I have never been more content and happy with my life. It kind of unnerves me but in a really good way. It’s a new feeling, this feeling joy. Letting it stick around, allowing myself to trust it. I have struggled for so long to feel worthy of it.

The problem has never been the absence of happiness but rather the acceptance that I deserve happiness.

I’ve never been more excited about anything more than I am about marrying Mr. Darcy on Sunday. I shared my elation with you because I consider you my friends and even though I can’t invite all of you the wedding, having been here along this journey with me you have played a part in this happiness and for that I thank you. Your excitement at our union has been such a fun part of all of this.

I might not have time to blog again until after the wedding so I wanted to tell you thanks with heartfelt appreciation for your support. I’m about to dive headfirst into a whirlwind of activity, friends, family, laughter, togetherness, love, and, yes, joy. I’m choosing happy today and hopefully all the days that come after it.

I’m making my own happily ever after. Mark my words.

 

Love is Love is Love

I’m lucky. I get to marry the man I love. But in the midst of all my wedding joy, I can’t help thinking about my friends who do not have the right to marry the person they love. I know that a lot of people believe that marriage is between a man and a woman. I know that many people feel strongly about their religious views and don’t approve of homosexuality- think that it is a choice or that it can be “cured.”

For me though, we’re talking about people that I love who just want the same rights that heterosexual couples have. I do not think that my marriage is in any way diminished if a gay couple has the right to get married. In fact, I think it strengthens what marriage is- the ultimate expression of love between two people.

In this election Washingtonians will have the opportunity to pass Referendum 74 which would legalize same-sex marriage in the state. When I think about this referendum, I think about Tomato and his long-time boyfriend, Jenny Two Times- my friend who can officiate our ceremony but can’t marry her girlfriend if she wanted to, my bosses who have been with their partners for years, my cousin, my friends Matt & Scott, and countless other people who have touched my life. To me this referendum is very personal.  Denying the right to marry to same-sex couples is a violation of civil rights.

When people who are against same-sex marriage bring in the topic of children, I get even more upset. How many of us were raised by divorced or single parents? I do not believe that you need to have both parents to be “good” or that being parents means there is a man and a woman. Kids need love, direction, protection, and nurturing. It doesn’t matter if that’s two women, a man and a woman, or two men in my book. Protestors of gay marriage say that children will have to learn about same-sex relationships if this law is passed. To that I say, GOOD! Because there is nothing wrong with being gay! And you can’t make a person gay so stop being so afraid of talking about it. I liken that line of thinking to those who say we shouldn’t teach kids about sex because then they will have it. What? This is nonsense to me.

I hope come election day Washingtonians pass Referendum 74 and it is only the beginning of a tidal wave acceptance and fairness that will spread across the country. If you’re in Washington, I urge you to consider voting yes on Referendum 74 in this election.

And watch this video.

On Being Ready

When I was single, I used to curse my fate and wasted hours wondering why I couldn’t find someone to settle down with. For so many years I felt like not enough, an obvious outsider in the land of coupledom, the fifth wheel, that friend who was always going on dates but never really had a partner. But now that I am days away from marrying Mr. Darcy, almost three years into our relationship, I am glad it took me until I was 36 to find my Mr. Right and until I was 39 to get married.

You see, all that time I spent dating random guys (or as some would say “sowing my wild oats”), I learned a lot about myself, about relationships, and about love. So when I finally met Mr. Darcy, I was in a place where I was ready. I haven’t been bothered by any nagging regrets- did I live out my single days to their fullest? Why yes, yes I did. I have the stories to tell and the scars to prove it.

Every guy I dated before Mr. Darcy helped shape the woman I am today- for better or for worse- and I’m grateful for all of them, even the ones who broke my heart. Because in its breaking, I learned how resilient my heart is and it grew stronger every time. I have no regrets for the life I’ve led or the men I’ve shared it with. I even got lucky a few times and dated some really great guys who are now among my closest and best friends. In fact, three of them are coming to my wedding.

The other day as I walked through our old neighborhood, I kind of chuckled to myself. Six and a half years ago when I moved to Seattle, I wanted so desperately to fit into the scene there. The dirty emo hipsters with their tattoos and tight jeans and retro outfits, their late nights at bars and hangover breakfasts on Sundays. I wanted to be cool too. And maybe I was. Maybe I still am. But I realized then as I dodged smoking teens and street musicians and girls much younger, thinner, and hipper than I, that I’m so happy with my life. My suburban life with Mr. Darcy in a house we own, at jobs we like, surrounded by friends and family we love, the hope for a child alive inside of us, about to get married to one another. This is the dream I never thought would come true. It’s so much simpler than I ever thought and yet, more than I thought was possible for myself.

So many of you have been on this journey alongside me, reading my updates, and giving advice and support. It feels like forever ago and simultaneously like yesterday that I was lamenting my single life and my poor choices in men- so much so that my friends intervened with the Boyfriend Review Board. Remember that? Luckily Mr. Darcy (who was known as Bachelor #4 back then) passed with flying colors.

You guys? I’m getting married on Sunday. I can hardly believe this is happening to me.