a belated 3rd anniversary date.

We had no idea when we picked October 23rd as a wedding date that it would continually fall on an insanely busy week year after year... after year... after year. The past three years have been such an uphill battle to find time for an anniversary trip or heck, even dinner! due largely in part to a huge Halloween event that I've been part of organizing since the year we got married.
This has resulted in most of our anniversary getaways taking place in November or December & day-of dinner at 10 p.m. on the rug in the family room. Not complaining, because the later trip dates buy us time to plan & save, & those candlelit dinners on the rug are always the sweetest. However... I think this year was finally & officially my last year to participate in the Halloween event, so I am all sorts of excited for our anniversary next year. So far, we've managed to go to a different state for our anniversary trip each year, & we'd really love to continue this tradition. BUT! We'll see. Ha.
This year's trip is TBD, so we reserved Sunday afternoon for a make-up date for gifts + cards that suited both of our interests. (It's not that I don't think that Jared enjoyed Pride & Prejudice on the couch with coffee ice-cream & brownies, but I think Midol was making all the decisions that evening & we'll just leave it at that.) Once again, a beach picnic seemed like a SUPER great idea. It does every time. & then we got out there & it took five minutes & half-a-soul each just to get the quilt to lay down flat on the sand. I can handle almost every type of weather with a smile, but not wind. Maybe it's the long hair & my perpetual need to have chapstick on that makes it especially annoying to me, but GOOD GRIEF. The wind did die down, hallelujah, & we enjoyed a quiet afternoon with Beirut & the breeze, imagining how different our wedding would be now vs. in 2010. Which is both a hilarious & depressing activity, might I add.
I think it's appropriate to feel constantly overwhelmed by the present & uncertain (with a dash of eager) of the future as 25-year-olds... & we do. The further we get from our wedding day, the crazier it seems that we were both only 22. Twenty-two! Babies! I'm constantly feeling like I have to defend this decision while simultaneously not really recommending it. (Perhaps that's a post for another day.) Marriage has not been a fix-it for life's anxieties - In fact, some days it feels like we've simply added our burdens to one another's, doubling our task load.

But even at 22, when we didn't know much about the future or what the heck we were doing next, we knew that no matter what, it was going to be better to do it together. We saw each other's baggage & burdens & decided (by God's grace) to carry them side by side. Our love was bigger, & three years later, it's better than ever. I hear that's a trend with this marriage thing, though, so that's really exciting! It feels okay to not know what comes next because I know him, & I know him as a constant source of love, prayer & safety for the rest of my life. & as long as he's next to me, I am twice as strong to handle whatever is tossed our way. Love is somehow simultaneously the most delicate & the most durable creation that we can tether our souls to, & I am blessed to have this man as my anchor.
Jared Bethune, your love is my parachute. 
Thanks for being mine, & being mine so well. 
It is a pleasure to share this dance with you, my love.
love, yours


three year anniversary

It's somehow our three year (THREE YEARS!) anniversary today. I can't wrap my brain around that. Especially because it's the week of the busiest event at work (AKA, the place where I used to work, then quit in July, then have been working as a contractor for the last three months) & Wednesdays are just really terrible days to try to stop & soak up love-dovie-ness when you're both working full-time. So, with promises of a make-up date on Sunday, & a bottle of champagne, we are enjoying a little evening at home. 

I still want to wax poetic about my Jared, so considered yourself warned. As for this evening, I'll continue to sob my way through Pride & Prejudice - Watching this really seemed like a great idea since our wedding ceremony was filled with its soundtrack, but instead has just made this pms-ing wife turn into a waterfall as I relive that lovely day. Jared is literally down at the shop around the corner buying coffee ice-cream to go with the right-out-the-oven-brownies that I plan on burying myself into in 11.5 minutes. 

You guys, he lives with ^ this ^ every day. The man is a champion. & I am SO happy to be his wife.


the tale of a birthday that was almost bad but then was very good pt. 2

Jared drove a very sniffly, sleepy me up to Richmond the evening of my birthday, where Amelia had prepared an amazingly fall-filled intinerary of activities. First stop on Saturday morning was Charlotteville's infamous Carter Mountain Orchard for some apple picking. After a week of rainy days, it was a super foggy & super gorgeous drive.

It was SUCH a pretty, fall morning. Crisp, breezy, & oh-so-dramatic. It never rained, but the fog lingered on the mountain until about mid-morning. Even though I couldn't unclog my ears between the sickness & the elevation, I was in picture-taking heaven.

^ BFFs ^

Let me tell ya, I have never been so grateful for my Hunter boots. It was nothing short of a miracle that none of us fell while climbing through the rows of apple trees, shlepping our way through orange mud. Every few minutes, you could hear someone fall a few aisles over, which served as a reminder to watch your step & hold that camera above your head like your life depends on it.

After we picked our 10 lbs. of apples & made an obligatory apple cider doughnut stop, we rallied back to the car & spent a good 20 minutes try to get out of our boots & into dry, mud-less shoes without making a mess in the car. It's days like these that we look at each other & try to imagine what things will be like when we all have kids. We will not be going anywhere fast, that I can assure you.

^ You're the apple of my eye! ^

Our next stop was down the mountain at the Blue Mountain Brewery for lunch & a brewery tour. I'd love to tell you that I learned a lot about how to brew beer, but all I heard was "Science science science hops science science CHEMISTRY science science." I'll just leave that to the professionals.

^ Aren't they just the cutest? ^

We ended our fall festivities at Bold Rock Cider's... cidery? & did a tasting before doing a tour about the processes of cider-making. Jared, of course, was super interested since it's allz aboutz some juice pressing, & he's in the business of pressing juices. Again... A delicious experience. & oh so fall-y.

^ My younger sister & her friend just happened to be at Carter Mountain the same day as us ^
^ In which we demonstrate all the different ways you can pose with an apple? ^

My sickness didn't slow down over the weekend, but I'm happy to report that none of these wonderful people picked up my cold. I'm even happier to report that being surrounded by great friends & fellow 25-yr-olds made for a perfect birthday weekend. I'm so blessed to have been born in October, because every birthday is filled with autumnal celebrations & things like apple cider doughnuts. Cannot beat that. Huge thank-yous to my parents & sisters, Amelia, Andrew & my wonderful Jared for such a wonderful, memorable 25th birthday. LOVE YOU!

^ TO DIE FOR. & that's coming from a girl who isn't that into cake doughnuts. But holy moley. ^
Now that I have met 25 & looked it in the eyes, I'm more determined than ever to make it my year of motivation. I want to stop being intimidated by what others are doing (or not doing) or what they have that I don't & instead be encouraged to by their successes. To go out & get it done. It's gonna be good. It's gonna be great.

& lastly, my birthday has passed, which means that Halloween is almost over, which means that the holiday season is PRACTICALLY here. This is how my brain works. But hey, it's Monday so we all need a happy thought.


the tale of a birthday that was almost bad but then was very good pt. 1

"I think I'm getting sick."

I hadn't really processed what I was feeling until those words came out of my mouth. Jared turned around & warily up-downed me as if I had just told him that I was growing a tail. We just stood there for a few seconds, because after a pre-birthday celebration at my parents (pictured above) that included an amazing dinner, cute ginger niece, & crepe cake (CREPE CAKE, GUYS), there had been no indication of The Sicks. I didn't know anyone that had been sick. But there it was - that awful throat tickle, the clogged ears, those terrible chills.

So, sure enough, somewhere between 4 & 5 a.m. on my 25th birthday, I woke up feeling like death. & wouldn't it just make sense that the neighbors on the other side of our bedroom wall picked that morning to enjoy their biannual, ridiculously over-dramatized romp? Not kidding about the biannual or the ridiculously over-dramatized part, & you can't just sleep through that. Yaaaay, apartment living. *double thumbs down* Jared had to leave for work a little after 5 a.m., so he laid medicine out for me & left before the sun was up.

I reached for my first tissue of the day a couple hours later & slowly mosied myself out to the family room, where I parked my birthday tush on the couch surrounded by pillows & blankets & tissues. Jared had coffee waiting for me, so I poured a cup & reveled in how good it felt on my achey throat. Netflix, this coffee & I were going to have a really nice & slow birthday morning.

Somewhere in the middle of my second episode of Orange is the New Black, the handle of the mug I was drinking coffee out of just... popped off. Not really "just" popped off, as it had been broken off three years ago & been glued back into functionality ever since. It was a piping hot surprise - A surprise that landed on my arm, side, lap, pillows, couch, blankets... Everywhere. There was coffee everwhere. I sat there, stunned, for a couple seconds before I managed to grab all the coffee stained items & run them to the bathroom. I had torn off my coffee-covered pajamas before they could scald the right side of my body & realized in the middle of my tizzy that I was scampering around the apartment in my skivvies, carrying 5 pillows & two blankets.  I stopped in the middle of the hallway, staring at the neighbor's window that looks directly into our apartment. It's no wonder our neighbors have no respect for us. Defeated, I put a robe on & walked back to the couch that was still covered in brown splotches. "I guess coffee is the new couch." I said to the completely empty apartment. *badum cheeeeee*

Aaaaaand then I started crying. Crying because Jared is the resident stain-getter-outter & he wouldn't be home for hours, crying because my coffee was gone, crying because said coffee had burnt my shoulder, crying because I could see I was getting low on tissues, crying because 25 was already kinda freaking me out & this whole day of calamity seemed to be really bad juju for the year to come.

The coffee came up from the couch cushion pretty easily. I showered, which is always the #1 remedy to The Sicks & left me feeling a little better. As time crept by, my outlook seemed to improve the closer it got to Jared being home. He arrived home to me still on the couch, having finished OITNB (worst show acronym ever?) & moved on to Call of the Wildman. (Yes, of the "Live action!" variety. I wish I could blame being sick, but I really just love that show.) As soon as he walked in the door, it was like the day was starting over. We still had a weekend with friends to look forward to, he reminded me, & then he packed our bags & took me to get soup before we hit the road for Richmond. I'm happy to report that even though I remained sick, the weekend took off from there, because apparently 10 lbs. of apple in one day will keep the doctor away.

To be continued...

texts with jared

I'm working on my birthday post from ohhhh, last Friday? & I really thought the fact that I had edited the photos & written the text meant that I could get it all posted this afternoon... Then I realized that there's like 70 photos & I don't think any of us signed up for that... ME, especially. So, while I sift through images, enjoy this real life conversation that we had while Jared soaked up newborn goodness with his boss' newest little munchkin & I soaked up blogging at a coffee shop. 



I started writing birthday eve diary entries when I was little. Little-little, like 8. I searched high & low for my first little diary this afternoon, but I have a feeling that it was part of the Great Storage Purge of the Move to Norfolk 2012 This means it's either in the shadows of our bed's frightening underbelly or the caverns of our closet's oddly tall storage shelves, neither of which were worth the battle. I did find the journal I kept during the last year of high school, & read through my 16-going-on-17 birthday eve entry from 2005.
"This past year was all I expected it to be. And since it took me from high school junior to high school senior, it was all I could ask for. It was a year of growth. Mistakes. Reconciliation. Drama. Friends. Licenses. Laughter. Heartbreak. Memories. Boys (ugh). Observations. Arguments. Lessons. Good-byes. Realizations. Change. 

So really, it was all I needed it to be. Yeah, I screwed up pretty hardcore a couple million times, but I came away with so much from being 16. Sweet 16. Building blocks to the woman I'm going to be.

This coming year is going to be the toughest yet, with graduation and college on the horizon... and I can't wait to get to next year's entry. Imagine... I've got a lot to do. A lot of decisions to be made, a lot of feelings to forget, a lot of maturing to do. A lot to survive. A lot to live."
I'm a little conflicted about this birthday tomorrow. 

There's been a level of predictability to every year of my life. I always knew a little bit of what the next step was. High school, college, job, marriage. As a 90% Type A personality (the other 10% accounting for my inability to put shoes & clothing away), this is always the goal. But I have craved change & something -- anything! new for the past two years. Change that moves us away geographically, but also forward. Closer to babies, & home-owning, & career advancement.

It's funny, because reading back on Birthday Eve 2005 makes me realize that the next 4-ish were very similar to the year I'd just had. The drama, the mistakes, the laughter, the hardcore screwing up. However! Even though I knew college was happening, I had no idea that in seven short months, I would meet my future husband. Talk about drama. & that's my favorite part of looking back at 2006. Kelsey, the girl who was not going to get married until she was 30, fell desperately in love at 17. That. That was change.

So, as I sit here cozied up in bed on our second day of serious rain, I wear 24 like an old friend, because 25 is scary. I want so badly to publicly declare that I am the change I want to be in the world & that 25 is just a number & every year is the best year! But, I dunno, man. 25 feels big, & like my next birthday is 30. THUS! Conflicted. I want to move forward. ONWARD & UPWARD! YAY 25! But at the same time, it feels like it's okay to be 24 & still be working on the what's-next. I know. I know I'm ridiculous. (Mostly because I was terrified of 24, also.)

There are constants that will always remain - Jared, dark chocolate, Jesus, group texts, that first breath of fresh air when I walk to the car in the morning, families that love hard & laugh harder. I appreciate these things, & the fact that they'll be there even if I'm sitting in this exact spot this time next year. & in a lesson from 17-year-old Kelsey's book, who knows what surprise twist is a mere seven months away.

24, you were the year I spent inside my own head. & you were comfortable... So, so comfortable. You got a little itchy here at the end, but for the most part, you empowered me.  You were city-living & a little bit introverted... & somehow, the year I pierced my nose & dyed my hair brown. You pushed me forward & kept me grounded. You taught me to be still, to stop talking, to make slower judgements & to trust. You were the year of my "Just do it right now!" philosophy, which I hope sticks around because I AM! I am making big decisions, dreaming big & trusting. I know in my deepest thoughts that when I look back on you, you'll be the age that a new adventure began. 24, you were necessary for the good things to come, & you will always be my quiet year.

& so! C'mon, 25. Let's do big things together.