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the best piece of wedding advice i received

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September 30th, 2015 · Print Print


Yes, yes, I know, there’s a lot of wedding advice on the internet.  From favors to registries to dress and decor, the internet is chock full of ideas for making your wedding day incredible.

But the best piece of advice I received had nothing to do with my dress or the ceremony.  It wasn’t about the prettiest invitations or the perfect Pinterest-worthy shots for our photographer to capture.

It was this.

The day of our wedding, one of my best girlfriends told me to focus on remembering the day.  To take in the experience, the way that it feels as you live it. 

It sounds really silly, but six years after our wedding, sometimes it’s hard to separate my actual memories from the photographs.  The photographs are mementos that I look through every few months: I could tell you every shot, from the one above (my favorite) to me walking down the aisle with my dad, to the wide-angle scene of our brightly lit tent against the night sky.  The photographs are easy to recall anytime I want; they are permanent.

My memories, though.  Those I worked to capture. 

Everyone always says that your wedding day goes by in a blur, but I worked hard to slow down that blur.  To focus on the moment I was in, instead of getting wrapped up in the excitement of trying to experience everything at once.

Do you know what my favorite memory of our wedding is?

For our first dance, Chad and I picked a slow, romantic song.  We planned to dance by ourselves to that song, and then invite everyone up for the next (faster) song, to get the party going. 

But somehow there was a miscommunication between us and the band, and midway through our slow song, the band invited all our guests to join us on the dance floor in the middle of our first song.  That special moment that was supposed to be just ours?  Suddenly we were packed onto a dance floor with well-wishing guests, following the band’s instructions.

And then, in between the first dance and the next song, while the band took a short break, apparently, someone told them that they’d made a mistake. 

So they decided to fix it. 

By starting the second song (a fast, rock song) and telling our guests not to come onto the dance floor, because Chad and I wanted to dance by ourselves.

Yes, seriously.  In front of a hundred and fifty of our closest friends and family, our band told everyone to stay off the dance floor so Chad and I could dance to a rock song.  By ourselves.

I can’t even type this story without feeling a little mortified.  Chad and I are not dancers — sure, we have fun in big groups and we goof around in the privacy of our own home, but having a hundred and fifty people watch us bop around is the stuff that nightmares are made of. 

But what choice did we have?  We were already standing in the middle of the dance floor.  As the music started, we frantically gestured for everyone to come join us.  The guests were (rightly) confused and stayed firmly in their seats. 

After what felt like an eternity (while I, in my wedding dress, tried to bust out some dance moves), a table of my college friends joined us on the dance floor.  Once they did, the rest of the party followed, and the moment was over.  It turned into a memory, right then and there.

And you want to hear something crazy?  That was the biggest snafu of our wedding: it was both mortifying and completely, unpredictably random.  And it is one of my favorite memories from the whole day.  I can’t tell the story now without cracking up — when one of us is in a bad mood, Chad or I can bring up our first dance and we both fall apart laughing. 

It was mortifying. 

It was amazing. 

It was one of the moments in this life that I’ll never, ever forget.

So, good or bad, my wedding day advice is to remember the experience itself.  To focus on the experience, instead of whether everything is perfect. 

Because, who knows? The imperfections just may become your favorite memories of all.

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the more things change…

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September 25th, 2015 · Print Print


A few weeks ago, Chad and I were getting rid of a bunch of our old iPhones, and in the process, I stumbled on some photos from a few years ago that I hadn’t seen in a while.  (This one became a #fbf on Instagram, and both Chad and I get a little teary seeing snaps of our sweet dog Calvin, who passed away last year, back when he was healthy.)

And that photo above?  That’s me, in 2013.  It was taken a few weeks before I got pregnant, and in a lot of ways (although I didn’t realize it then), that photo is the “before” to everything that came after. 

In the month after this photo was taken, my whole life changed.  Right around this time, I quit my law firm job to start my own practice.  Two weeks later, I found out that I was pregnant.  I was thrilled and excited about both, but together?  At the same time?  I was blindsided by confusion and uncertainty.  I questioned my decision to quit a job with paid maternity leave (a benefit that far too few women in this country receive) almost every day.  We had a mortgage and a baby on the way, and I’d just taken a stable, well-paid job and tossed it out the window. 

If I had known that I was about to get pregnant, I probably would have talked myself out of taking that leap.  The fear of losing a stable income with a newborn would have been too much.  I would have stayed put, on the track that I was on. 

In a lot of ways, the last few years would have been easier if I’d done that.  But I would have missed out on so much.  All of the excitement and challenge of building my career in the last few years.  All the skills and experience that I’ve gained, but would have been too afraid to reach for.  I would have taken the safer choice, a choice that I thought would have been for the benefit of our son.  But, you know what?  Taking that risk turned out to be the best decision I’ve ever made. 

Every once in a while, in life, you’re lucky enough to see life changes coming from a mile away.  Most of the time, though, they sneak up on you and hit you out of nowhere.  Only afterwards can you look back and realize that everything suddenly changed. 

And that’s what I see when I look at that photo. 

A girl who was just on the edge of something, with no idea what. 

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bear’s favorite books: one year update

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September 10th, 2015 · Print Print


When I wrote about Bear’s favorite books when he was six months old, I mostly focused on some classic books that I loved to read with him.  Our little guy loves curling up with a book in mama’s lap (and I love it too!) but at six months, I’m not sure it was really possible to distinguish between “his” favorite books and mine.

Fast forward eight or so months, though, and it’s a totally different story! He points at pictures and can pick out a specific book that he loves from a stack, and reading has become one of his favorite things to do. It’s less reading to him, now, and feels more like reading with him, which makes it even more special for both of us.

So I thought I’d write about a few more that we’ve enjoyed! We’re still primarily reading board books (the thick cardboard-stock pages that a baby can’t fold or rip), but we’ve just started introducing paper books in the last month or two. It’s still a challenge to make sure he’s gentle with them, and most of our copies have a tear or two already, but he’s learning!

This time around, I wanted to focus on a few more under-the-radar authors.  Here are some of Bear’s favorites!


Kadir Nelson: Chad picked up our copy of Baby Bear when he was on a work trip for very obvious reasons — how was he supposed to resist a book called Baby Bear? But when we read it for the first time, it was completely clear to me that he’d stumbled onto a treasure. The book is about a bear lost in the forest trying to find his way home, and the story is so beautiful that it’s more like reading an illustrated poem than a children’s book. And Bear loves it — when he was a baby, it was one of the first books that he had a “favorite page”! There’s a page where Baby Bear meets a salmon, and Bear would always grab the book and kiss the salmon! It was so adorable, and one of my favorite memories of reading to him so far.

Nelson’s second book, If You Plant A Seed, is maybe even better. It’s about a rabbit and a mouse that plant a garden, and what happens when they’re approached by some birds and have to decide whether to share. The illustrations are breathtaking, and I say that without a whisper of exaggeration. Bear calls this the “Grow! Grow! Grow!” book and it’s the first book he ever referred to by name. Of all the books in our nursery, this one is my personal favorite right now.

Giraffes Can’t Dance: Oh my gosh, you guys, this book is so cute. It’s about a giraffe who’s too self-conscious to participate in the Jungle Dance, and it’s darling. This book is exactly what’s great about books for kids — it has sweet characters, a lot of vocabulary words, fun illustrations that Bear can point to, and a sweet, meaningful message. We have the board book and have probably read it a hundred times.

Little Blue Truck: This is another really sweet story, and one of the first books that made us realize that Bear was really absorbing the stories we were reading to him! We read this book every day for weeks, and suddenly, out of the blue, he started pointing at the birds on every page. It was like a light flipped in his brain, and he could point to the birdies! And then, a few weeks later, he knew most of the farm animals on each page.  It’s crazy to watch them learn right in front of your eyes!

One Yellow Lion: This is Bear’s most recent favorite. He loves the fold-out pages and all the animals, and it’s great for teaching counting, colors, and vocabulary. Some of the learning-oriented books aren’t as fun for parents as they are for kids (yes, kiddo, it’s amazing, but I already knew that alligators are green), but he loves them. I couldn’t write this list without including it!

The Teddy Bears’ Picnic: This is an old book of mine that Bear has fallen in love with. (Want to know how old? It comes with a record of Bing Crosby singing the song that it’s based on.) It’s a really sweet story that Chad and I sing to him as we read it, which he loves. If you don’t know the tune, you can hear it on YouTube! Technology is crazy.

Finally, I have to round out this list with some classics! Goodnight Moon, Brown Bear, and Pat The Bunny are a few other well-loved favorites that you guys already know about, but that Bear has been really into at this age!

Whew! That’s a much longer list than his six-month update. I was a big reader as a kid, and I’m really happy that Bear seems to have inherited that from me. If you guys have any others that I should try, please let me know. I usually order a few books a month for him so he always has new stories to explore, so I’d love to hear your favorites!

Photo Credit: Kate Robinson




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