1. This morning I checked my email and saw that one of the mom email lists that I am on from church sent out an email announcing that Jake and the Neverland Pirates will be doing concerts for the next ten days at Downtown Disney. So, I very quickly decided that instead of having a laundry day at my house, we’d be packing up and spending the afternoon swigging root beer and singing pirate songs. Isn’t that what summer is all about??? I’m really going to miss being able to do things like this on the fly when work starts back in ONE WEEK! It will be a real challenge to see how much of a “Yes Mom” I can be while working.
2. Although I’m going to miss being home, I think it’s time I headed back to work. I’m starting to get pissy with Chris about his work schedule, and that usually happens when I’m at home and he’s gone all the time. He was super busy at the beginning of the summer preparing for a big festival and several summer shows they have running, but the festival has come and gone and the shows are up and running, so his schedule should have slowed down. And yet… Ahhh, the any yet. And yet he is still busier than ever. He is working on building renovations for the theater with architects and engineers, which is a huge and very expensive project. But COME ON, MAN! We miss you at home! Come back and play with us!
3. My sister is officially full term in her pregnancy now. She’s due in two weeks, but according to her, she is going to deliver TODAY. She also said she was going to deliver on August 1, but that didn’t work out so good. And why do you think she is confident in her delivery date? Not because she is having contractions or because the baby dropped or because her doctor thinks she is going to go early. Nope. None of those things. She is convinced because this is the day she has CHOSEN. She will now WILL her baby to come out. Oh, goodness, do I love my sister. She cracks me up. But let me just say now that this baby is going to rock her planned, orderly, and scheduled life! And she is going to love every spontaneous minute of it!
4. SARAH GETS BACK TO TOWN TODAY!!!!! After an entire summer without my BFF to play around with, I am so excited because SHE GETS BACK TODAY!!!! Hooray!!!!! I have missed having her to get into shenanigans with! Even Bean has been asking every morning, “Does Say-wah get back today????”
5. I finished reading “Crossed” last night. It was excellent. I know I have said that I’m not a big fan of dystopian books, but the two series I have read this summer (“Matched” and “Divergent“) might have made me a believer. All of those books were the perfect blend of romance and adventure. Excellent for summer! I started my last summer reading book the minute I put down “Crossed” last night. Now I’m reading “Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet.” My Grandma recommended this to me last year, and it has been on my to-read list ever since. I’m so excited to start it. (To see what I’m reading, you can check out my GoodReads page. My user name is KatieMC. I update it every time I start or finish a book.)
6. I was in a training class all day yesterday on how to use technology in the classroom. That is one of my favorite topics ever. It’s actually what I did my Masters thesis on – how to teach using technology that students are already using. In my thesis, I designed this mock website that looked like Facebook, but was a place for students, teachers, and classmates to interact, discuss, and learn. So, yesterday I sit down at this training seminar, and what do you think the first thing we learn to use is? A program called “Edmodo” which is an interactive educational website with a Facebook interface. Seriously. It was my thesis project. I spent the morning thinking about all the millions of dollars I would have if I had copyrighted my idea and sold it. Boo. Ahhh, well.
7. I planned a mini-vacation for our family last week. I’m super excited. Chris didn’t have time this summer to take a long vacation (see #2 above), but after such a busy summer without him, I was adamant that we get away SOMEWHERE for SOME period of time as a family. So, I booked us a couple nights at a local resort here in Orlando. We’re going to play by the pool for a day, eat at all the touristy restaurants, and go to Disney World. It will be Gracie’s first time at the Magic Kingdom, and I think both kids are the perfect age to have a lot of fun. We’re going next weekend, which is the weekend before I go back to work and the kids go back to daycare. It’ll be a little summer send-off, and I couldn’t be more excited. Even Chris is ready for it. When I called him (at work, naturally…) to ask him what he thought about the idea, he didn’t hesitate at all before saying, “BOOK IT!”
8. A lot of you asked how I had a picture of Chris’s proposal taken. Actually, that is a snapshot of the video I have! When Chris knew he would propose in New York, he found a friend in the area and asked them to stand in the crowd on the night of the proposal and film it. I didn’t know Joe had been there until we got home from our trip and Chris gave me a video of his proposal for Christmas! And not only was it the proposal, but he had video footage of him buying the ring, getting his ideas together for the proposal, and even a photo montage of pictures from our entire relationship. I have been trying for YEARS to figure out how to share it on my blog, but the video is set to a Nora Jones song, which I don’t have the rights to, and so I can’t put it on YouTube, and it’s too big to post straight to my blog. It is quite the conundrum. Until I figure out what to do (and, trust me, we’ve been trying everything for years!), you’ll just have to trust me that it is the sweetest video ever!
9. My dad got an iPhone this week. He said it was the most exciting thing to happen to him in years. And I’m pretty sure he was serious about that. He has been waiting for a LONG time for his cell phone contract to be up so he could get one. He’s been texting me ever since. It’s pretty funny. I texted him a picture of the kids this week and got this text in response: “Is that a video? Because I can’t get it to play?” I responded, “No, Dad. It’s a picture. It won’t move.” Cracked me up. He’s a funny guy.
10. I am loving watching the Olympics at night! I don’t watch them during the day so that I can watch them with fresh eyes with Chris and Tray at night. It is so much fun! And those two guys are hysterical to watch with. Most of their comments are not appropriate for a family-friendly blog, but they are pretty entertaining. Last night I mentioned that one of the Lithuanian girls always looked like she was about to cry. “I think it’s her make up,” said Tray. “…and maybe her face.” Makes me giggle. You know what else makes me giggle? Watching the parents watching their kids. Did you see the video of Aly Reisman’s parent’s? Love it! The weird thing is that I’m doing that at home, too, and she’s not even my daughter!
This post is the second installment of a series of posts that tell the story of my seven year marriage. Hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed living it…
We got married too young. My parents knew it. His parents knew it. I knew it. Chris knew it. Everyone knew it. At our wedding reception, our first dance was to Elvis Presley’s Fools Rush In. “Wise men say, only fools rush in, but I can’t help falling in love with you.” That was us. Fools. Fools completely in love with each other. Fools who had grown up together – who were still growing up together. Fools who were too foolish to know that we didn’t know the first thing about being married. But fools who couldn’t take another step forward in life without having the other fool by their side. That was us. Just a couple of fools.
Though it surprises some people that Chris and I are still happily married seven years later (pools by our high school friends had us clocking out at two years…) the miracle to me is not that we are still married, but that we ever made it to the alter to begin with. Chris was what you would call a…let’s see…how can I put this delicately? He was a man-whore. Yes, a high-school aged, hormone crazed, charming the pants literally right off of girls, man whore. And I was in student government, youth ambassador at my church, and part of an abstinence education program in the public school systems. We were polar opposites from the very beginning, though I am happy to report that like a good barrel of wine, our flavors have married together over the years and we seem to be a nice, robust blend now. But back then, we were a whirlwind of drama that would make any teenage vampire/werewolf/wizard novel of today look like Sweet Valley High.
Even at the age of fifteen, I saw something in Chris. I saw that he went home for dinner with his Dad and sister every single night, no matter what was going on and that told me that he, like me, put family first. I saw him spend summers working with middle school kids at camps and that told me that he, like me, made giving back a priority. I saw him skipping classes but only so that he could spend more time building theater sets (which he would later do professionally for Broadway) and that told me that he, like me, was driven and focused. Even though Chris was a man whore whose high school parties were infamous for underage drinking and…everything that goes along with underage drinking…we actually had a lot in common. And we had the things in common that counted.
And so, I waited. I waited for Chris to grow up. And when he made mistake after countless mistake, I still waited because I knew that mistakes were just part of his growing up process and I could see that he truly cared enough to learn from those mistakes. And because I waited for him, he fell in love with me not because of what I brought to his life, but because I saw the value of what he brought to mine. I think that was my first lesson in love. It’s not about what one person does for the other person, it is about what you can do together for each other.
So, with that in mind, we graduated from high school with the scars of adolescent heartbreak on our sleeves and we headed off to separate colleges, agreeing to stay together until one of us found someone else. No big promises. Just the love of our high school sweetheart as the baseline for any other relationship to surpass. And over the four years we were in school, nothing ever surpassed what Chris and I had. We spent those years traveling back and forth to see each other every couple weekends. We sent love notes and spent God knows how much money on cell phone bills.
Our junior year of college, Chris and I took a Christmas vacation, just the two of us, to New York. Neither of us had ever been to New York before. I look back now at pictures from the two of us on that trip and we look like such babies. Like we had to take cabs everywhere because we may not actually be old enough to drive ourselves. That young. But isn’t that what they say? New York is for young lovers?
No? They don’t say that?
Well, they should.
We spent a week exploring the Big Apple like the two wide-eyed small town tourists that we were. On our last night in New York, Chris and I went to see The Rockettes in Radio City Hall. Classic New York. I was in love that night. In love with the lights of the city. In love with the sound of the Salvation Army bells ringing on the sidewalks. In love with the dancers in their soldier costumes. And in love with the boy who was sitting next to me. All was right with the world.
Chris would later tell me that the platinum band in his pocket set off the metal detectors as he entered Radio City with me that night. When the security guard patted him down and found the little red box tucked into his jacket pocket, he patted him on the back, gave him a wink and a big smile, and said, “Enjoy your evening, Sir.”
After the show, Chris and I walked down to Rockefeller Center and Chris asked if I wanted to ice skate. I squealed as we tied on our ice skates and took to the ice. As we skated hand-in-hand, Chris talked about what a great time he had had on our trip. He talked about what fun experiences and adventures we had had so far together, about fun things we’d done and crazy stories that build up only when you’ve been together since you were children. And then he stopped skating and turned to face me on the ice. Right there in under the lights of the enormous Christmas tree, he got down on one knee.
“The life that we’ve already shared together isn’t enough for me. I need more than that,” he said, pulling the ring box out of his jacket and holding the most beautiful diamond solitaire out to me. “Will you marry me?”
I said yes and jumped into his arms, just as the crowds of tourists looking down from above started cheering for us. It was, and still is, the most magical moment of my entire life.
The wedding would be over a year later on June 4, 2005. The doors of the church opened and there at the end of that long aisle, stood my groom. The love of my young life. And I remember thinking how fitting it was to walk down the aisle of a church where I had grown up and into the arms of the man that I had grown up with. He looked handsome. And terrified. And incredibly happy. And as I walked down that aisle, we never took our eyes off of each other.
Last week I asked my sister to guest blog on MC.Â She’s actually a really great writer and her perspectives on life, marriage, love, and family are so fresh and relatable that I thought you all would appreciate them, too.Â Ginny and her husband, John Michael, were married last April (see posts about her wedding here, here, here, here, and here) and since then have been living in southern Virginia where he was transferred through his job.Â It looks like they’ll be moving again somewhere this summer, but that is all up in the air right now.Â What I’ve loved about watching the first year of their marriage is how much they lean on each other for support through uncertain times, but at the same time they have both stayed true to who they are as individuals.Â I think that’s a lesson that any married couple needs to learn and I’m so proud of them for learning it this early in their marriage.
Hello. Iâ€™m Kateâ€™s sister, Ginny. Sheâ€™s spoken about me from time to time on here so I feel as though weâ€™re already dear friends. Or dear imaginary friends as Kate would say.
I was asked to write a guest post this week. And, as much as I love the idea of the spotlight, I hurriedly agreed. But then I sat down to write and nothing came to mind. I donâ€™t live an extraordinary life. And I donâ€™t do extraordinary things. And then I took a minute to appreciate the fact that Katie can write on this blog every day with entertaining and witty content about her ordinary day-to-day life. That sister of mine has talent, I tell ya. So, I thought Iâ€™d tell you a bit about my first year as a newlywed.
My lovah, John Michael, and I were betrothed last April in what Iâ€™d like to think of as the most beautiful wedding of all times. (We should go ahead and establish that Iâ€™m not modest.)
We had moved in together the year before, shortly after our engagement. John Michaelâ€™s job had just decided to relocate him to a small town nestled in the hills of the Appalachians to build a hospital for two years (heâ€™s a general contractor). Being completely in love and willing to do anything to avoid a five hour gap in our relationship, I didnâ€™t hesitate to move with him. In a span of exactly two weeks (the only notice we had to make the decisions!), I quit my beloved job, packed up our stuff and headed for the hills â€“ literally.
The first year in the small town was so wonderful and so awful all at the same time. The move was wonderful because when we left Atlanta we left all these unnecessary distractions. We no longer had to feel guilty about spending a night at home together instead of out at the latest hot spot with our friends. And we really were able to concentrate on each other and grow and settle into our relationship. I love the time weâ€™ve been able to spend together here.
The hardest part of the move however, has been finding me again. We moved here for John Michaelâ€™s job. The only people we knew in this town were John Michaelâ€™s co-workers. And John Michael was the only one contributing financially. Iâ€™d always been such an independent person in Atlanta â€“ successful job, lots of friends â€“ but here I was without any of those things to call my own.
But thatâ€™s the greatest thing about marriage â€“ youâ€™re never really alone. John Michael never once felt as if I was being selfish or unreasonable (though at times I probably was). He worked just as hard, sometimes harder, than me to carve out a life for myself. We joined a social group so I could find some friends for myself. From that wonderful group, I was able to find a job that I love. And now Iâ€™m contributing financially to our lives and I like that feeling. I even started my own company with Mary Kay so that I could always have my own business venture, no matter where we may move next.
So often in the first few years of marriage the â€˜meâ€™ gets lost in the â€˜weâ€™. And to a great extent it should. Youâ€™re no longer living for yourself, but as a couple. But, Iâ€™ve found that just because your priority is your marriage doesnâ€™t mean that you have to neglect to find happiness for yourself.
John Michael and I have another great move coming up in the next few months. And, like our last move, we arenâ€™t sure when or where weâ€™ll be going next. But, because weâ€™ve spent our first year of marriage establishing ourselves â€“ both individually and together â€“ I know the next adventure will be just as greatâ€¦. though Iâ€™d like to request somewhere without the snow.
This past weekend, Chris, Bean, and I drove up to our hometown for the wedding of one of my sister’s oldest, best friends.Â Even with everything that is going on, I wouldn’t have missed this wedding for the world.Â For as many friends as my sister has – and she has a boat load – no one comes close to the friendships that she has with Michelle and Evan.Â She’s known them since middle school and while the three of them have grown up and gone on to live very different lives, their friendship is never shaken.Â I’ve always loved that about them.
In fact, their friendships are so tight that somehow all three girls managed to convince three different boys to marry them within a few months of each other!
That’s Michelle (the bride) on the left, my sister in the middle, and Evan on the right.
Michelle’s wedding was beautiful.Â Both Ginny and Evan were bridesmaids (of course) and so they spent the day at the salon getting ready together.
This is Ginny’s hair.Â Isn’t that gorgeous?!?!
But as pretty as I always think my sister is, it was Michelle who really stopped the show.Â Which is exactly how it should be on your wedding day.Â Wasn’t she a beautiful bride?
What I loved most about Michelle on her wedding day was that she had two something’s borrowed.Â She wore the earrings that my sister wore on her wedding day…
…and she wore Evan’s veil from her wedding day.
I just thought that was the sweetest thing.Â And as they all came down the aisle, one right after the other, I smiled as I thought how wonderful it was that these women were still standing side by side after all these years.
Michelle lives in Australia now, where she met her husband, Max, while backpacking for a year just after college.Â I know my sister misses her more every day and being that far apart is really hard for them.Â But even that kind of distance hasn’t diminished their friendship.Â They Skype, they email, they send packages, and whenever there is the chance, they visit in person.
To me, that is true friendship.Â The kind that can withstand anything.Â I’m glad my sister has that in Michelle and Evan.Â And I’m so happy to have had a front row view of such a friendship.Â They are wonderful, strong women and I couldn’t be happier for them that they now get to experience their next big adventure as wives together.