Monday, August 30, 2010

I am now..

a double-digit runner! Saturday I ran 10.7 miles around Kansas City. And it felt surprisingly good. My favorite part was passing a group of obviously very well-trained (I could tell because their shorts looked more like underwear) runners who yelled "keep it up girl" as they ran past me. My stomach treated me better though my calves were sore to the touch for a few hours. I still get a migraine every time I run long. I owe my life to Imitrex.

a wife of one year. Shea and I celebrated our first anniversary this weekend. The wedding day cupcakes were still amazingly delicious complemented by wine given to us at our engagement by our friends Carolyn and Jim. I made Shea an Adventure Book (from the movie "Up") full of programs, ticket stubs, matchboxes, receipts and cards from our three years of dating, engagement and marriage. He got me Love and Respect, a book I have been wanting to read together for awhile. But the card that went with it was my favorite. They always are.

a big fan of Glee. I have resisted this craze because we have too many other shows via DVD to watch and not nearly enough time. Imagine if we watched real TV. My friend Jo lent us the first season, and this weekend we watched. and watched. and watched.

excited for K-State Football! First game is next Saturday but first we'll be attending Purple Power Play on Poyntz where the entire town comes together for a pep rally and fireworks. Then tailgating and kickoff! I love college football, love the way my hometown turns purple. For the first time since high school, I'll be attending every home game. Bring on the Cats!

officially a graduate student again. We had our first class last week. If someone paid me to be in school for the rest of my life, I'd be content. As long as every class I took didn't deal with research methods and data sets.

learning to dance. We had our first official dance lesson last week, too. I wish there was a bar where I could do the tango because really seems to be my forte. 

Friday, August 27, 2010

a year with you

Dear Ginnny,
A year ago we had a lot on our minds. There were people, programs, vow books, photographers, red shoes and cupcakes to worry about. Every single worry and frantic trip to Michaels/The Container Store/Sam's Club was worth it because that day was the best of my life thus far. There are far too many days when my heart aches to do it all over again.

However, after being your wife for one year now, I am blessed by the simple things. Falling asleep on your chest. Sharing a bowl of popcorn. Trying a new restaurant. Learning to tango and foxtrot. Your predictable "drive safe" instruction whenever we part. Saturday morning pancakes followed by a long run and the farmers market. Making cookies, mountain biking and baseball games.

I love that we have no drama. That when the world is spinning around us, our marriage is the unmovable core. It's definitely been a crazy year. We moved to another state. Attended weddings and a funeral. Became landlords. Adopted a kitten. Explored a new city and started new jobs. Found a new church and new small groups. Went from a modern condo to an apartment with a lot of character. Left our friends to find new ones.

Almost everything has changed. In this year, I have learned that we're still us no matter where we live or who we are friends with. I've learned we're even stronger in our marriage when we're surrounded by positive, encouraging people who share our passions and values. I've learned that although I love downing a bottle of wine with you while watching endless episodes of Dexter, I'm super excited for our next steps in life no matter what God has in store. I've learned that following our own passions provides an incredible opportunity to cheer from the sidelines.

It was a year of changes, learning, adjusting and a whole lot of fun. Thank you for choosing me every day.

I love you with all that I am and will ever be.

Your Ricee

Thursday, August 26, 2010

part four: reception

We danced to our first song, That's All by Frank Sinatra, immediately after our entrance. It worked out well instead of trying to do it while everyone was already eating and chatting.

We had an appetizer buffet because I'm not a large fan of sitdown dinners. The food is never as good as what you pay for and the reception lulls itself into a food coma. So we stuffed appetizers (delicious) down our throats and started to make the rounds. The toasts were great and appropriately included K-State apparel.

I danced with my dad to Cinderella by Steven Curtis Chapman. (Click at your own risk. Tearjerker!)

We danced. And danced. And danced. The DJ even extended his time by 45 minutes because our group just kept on dancing. Especially my mom. Isn't she cute?

And then we drove away, and it was all over faster than I wanted. Everything didn't go exactly as planned despite my charts and graphs. But I can honestly say that not one of them mattered. What they tell you is true - all that mattered at the end of the day was Shea and I. Husband and wife.

Read the rest of the story: part 1: it beginspart 2: red shoes, part 3: the big day

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

part three: the big day

The morning of the wedding I got up early and sat at my parent's kitchen island to write. One of the special things we wanted to include in our wedding were letters. During our dating and engagement, I wrote a letter to Shea and hid it in his suitcase for every (almost weekly) business trip. Shea proposed to me through a series of letters. And that morning, we both got up early to write how we felt in the hours before we said I do. During our unity ceremony, we placed the letters in a wooden box that now sits on a nightstand until it's opened on our 25th anniversary.

Another one of my great memories from the wedding was sitting on my back porch with my closest girl friends. They told stories, laughed and just hung out.

After hair and makeup, we all met at the church I grew up in to get ready. We started to put on my dress; team effort!
Most pictures courtesy of Donnert Photography.
Check them out, they're cool.

Only to realize that a crucial "privacy patch" was missing. My superstar friend Johanna raced to her car and up the street to the shop who steamed my dress. Bridesmaid Edie, who is a gentle and quiet spirit, was on the phone with the store: "I don't care if you can't find it! We don't have it, and this wedding starts in one hour. FIND SOMETHING."

I got lost in my Black-Eyed Peas lyrics until Johanna came back, patch in hand. And the perfect day resumed.

We ate snacky things for lunch and I drank Gatorade until I got nauseated. I didn't expect the nerves at all. But I was shaking.

Shea and I originally didn't want to see each other before the ceremony. But slowly through the planning process, we realized the timing wouldn't work for us to still respect our guests' time. I never regretted the decision. We had our first look at the chapel across the street from our church complete with a a grand, red carpeted staircase. The emotion that was threatening to show itself all over my dress and make-upped face got to come out then and not in front of 300 people.  Instead, completely raw, unreserved emotion.

And of course followed by tons of pictures.

We spent more time planning the ceremony then we did the reception. And I think it showed. We wrote our own vows and then said the traditional ones.

Instead of a candle, we combined soil from Minnesota and Kansas. Both our dads work with agriculture, so it  worked. Plus it gave my dad something to do as he sifted the soil the night before the ceremony.

We had this CS Lewis quote read by my Grandma and this wedding poem by Robert Fulghum read by Shea's grandparents. Our friends sang this song. We danced down the aisle to Walking on Sunshine, and as cheesy as it sounds, I have never felt more alive.

After a shower of bubbles, we drove away in an old Cadillac complete with charming driver. We were lucky that our very close family friends (really, just family) are professional photographers. The hour between the ceremony and reception was ours to laugh and smile.

We arrived at the reception site to find our wedding party in their own holding party room feeling quite toasty!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

part two: red shoes and a bursting heart

We worked really hard to make our wedding a Shea and Sarah one.We used a polka dot theme for our save the date and invitations. We designed and wrote our own program - newspaper style.

My most favorite decor touch though was red shoes. First, I decided I wanted to wear red shoes because we were using red accents with our black and white theme. Then I asked the bridesmaids to buy red shoes. Then my mom wanted to wear red shoes. Eventually we included a card with the invitation inviting our guests to wear their "ruby slippers" to our Kansas wedding.

Our amazing decorator incorporated this into our cake display. (See the shoes?!)

After a day of golfing for Shea and nails for me, I met Shea back at the reception site to construct our candy buffet. I had my first freak out after realizing no one had made my ribbon bouquet for the rehearsal in one hour. I know, super important. My mom was too busy and stressed to do it and deal with my frantic and totally misplaced tears. But magically (magically she got a call from my mom) Ashley, my personal attendant, came to the rescue.

The rehearsal was the first time I saw everyone that had arrived. Everything did not go perfectly. People were late. People were huge jerks self-centered. People talked during the instructions despite my best only-child glare. The musicians couldn't all be there. We forgot the flower girl basket. On the upside, I loved my Anthropologie dress.

As we drove away, I was ready to fight frustrated but was quickly redeemed. I have never felt so loved as I did at the rehearsal dinner. It was the unexpected, completely amazing chapter of the wedding week. We had a Kansas themed barbecue and sunflower dinner. My favorite.

My dad gave a speech followed with my mom. They told the stories of me trying to convince the school board that I should not have to drop orchestra, Spanish or journalism because they required me to take gym especially something called "Net Sports." They talked about when I returned a few years later to convince the same school board that the high school's Indian mascot was racist. Or five years later when I sued my university in federal court for First Amendment violations.

Then Randy, close enough to be a father, talked about how I don't just participate, I lead. He had examples I had even forgotten. He talked about my influence in his kids' lives. How everything Layne did was because I had done it. Next to me was Layne, who gripped my hand as the tears poured down my face.

There were friends who remembered coffee shop dates chatting about boys. Shea's friends who talked about his habit of labeling kitchen cabinets or his antics at work. Layne and Chris who remembered our countless mac and cheese lunches. The speeches went on for hours, and I thought my heart would burst from my chest.

All good things come to an end, at least for the night. We drove back to my parent's house to pack our wedding night bag and then get Shea to the hotel. I commented as we drove home that my car just felt funny. We went inside to organize and came back at midnight so I could sleepily drive Shea to the hotel.

And my car would not start. Not even a sputter. My dad averted disaster and drove Shea to the hotel, as I resumed panicking and chowed down a melatonin pill.

Monday, August 23, 2010

part one: it begins

There are times when I come to those moments. The ones where it hits me that this moment is the one I've talked about my whole life. I remember in high school just wanting to know my future last name so that I knew when I met him. I remember convincing myself in college that it was OK if I ended up single - think of all the good I could do in the world with all my free time!

Then suddenly I was trying on white dresses. Picking out flowers. Getting rings sized and cleaned. Having showers, a bachelorette party and "let's all tie ribbons on tubes of bubbles" parties. The comments I had made my whole life like "when I get married," "when I meet my husband," or "my wedding" - it was actually happening despite the fact I still felt 10 years old inside.

Sometimes I panic that I will forget the details, how I felt in certain moments, what people said. I keep saying "we need to write it all down" before we forget. So that's what I'm going to do this week in honor of our one-year anniversary on Sunday.

Wednesday night was actually one of my best memories of the whole weekend. It was one of the few, stress-free moments I got to spend with my parents - just being their only daughter. My parents had been taking dance lessons and after practicing their learned dances along with our father-daughter dance, Shea made sure my parents knew the electric slide.

Shea also got his first look at my parent's basement. Now being a true relative, though a few days shy, he was allowed to enter this dark land, where my mother bans all others.

Thursday night we got to spend time with friends before the craziness began - most of them driving eight hours from Minnesota to be there. We grilled at my parents house. Ate smores. Eventually headed to my old college bars where the wedding party was shocked to find $1 beers. Thank you, college town.

I went to bed that night knowing that the next two days would be fun, but really failing to understand how amazing they would be.