Oh, beautiful Quebec

I receive all of the promotional emails from Fairmont since Kevin and I stayed there on our honeymoon (the Chateau Banff Springs and Fairmont Lake Louise), and my heart aches every time I see a photo like this…

Chateau Frontenac

Their hotels are so phenomenally gorgeous and make me feel like a Queen just looking at them.

Kevin and I have been to Quebec together once on a pilgrimage when we were dating; we stayed in Montreal at a retreat house next to St. Joseph’s Oratory (so.awesome.).  We had plans to go up to Quebec City to the shrine of St. Anne (and to see Le Chateau Frontenac), but it snowed multiple feet of snow…so our plans were thwarted. Our trip was by no means ruined – Montreal had much to offer. But we really hope to go back to Quebec once more while we’re living in New England.

Magical snow storm in Montreal

I would looooove to stay at the Chateau – chances are it won’t happen anytime soon because of $$$$ but it will still be a treat just to even see it in person. In my French class in high school, we read this random book about bears and it kept referencing Le Chateau Frontenac, and so, I feel like I’ve always been destined to go. And St. Anne is my patron Saint, so to go to her shrine would be so great! We’ve been thinking we might go for a long weekend at the end of April for my birthday, but every time I get an email like this, Kevin and I have exchanges like this:

“UGHHH MY HEART!” “Let’s just do it…now!” “Maybe we should just spend Christmas alone in Canada!” “When is the soonest you can take an extra day off?” “Why do we not live in Canada?” “Do you think we can afford-…okay, never mind.”

Until then, yield to bear… 🙂

 

 

 

The Joy of Community

The past two weekends were ones of great joy. The first weekend, one of my closets friends, Emily, came into town from Arizona with her husband, Ted, to celebrate their one year anniversary (October 4th). I was so grateful for the time Kevin and I got to spend with them: a Friday night gathering of her close friends still here in Boston, Saturday morning mass & brunch, Saturday evening at a friend’s engagement party, and Sunday afternoon when they visited to see our apartment.

 

It’s great to see both of them just so in love and thankful for a great first year. And although I miss her soooooo much, I couldn’t wish anything more for her than to be truly happy. One thing she said to me was that walking around Boston didn’t make her wish she still lived here; she enjoyed the city but wasn’t torn about living elsewhere. What this trip really made her long for, though, was the people. It’s tough coming back and having such effortless and beautiful friendships only to leave again.

It’s a hard thing for anyone; I’ve experienced many close friends leave Boston one by one, and whenever they return I’m able to see their joy of being around their community and the difficult moment of leaving (not to say that they haven’t all cultivated beautiful lives elsewhere – they most certainly have!). Yes, we still consider ourselves one community, even with all the growing members via marriages and babies. And it doesn’t die out, but only grows stronger with time as it matures. Being a part of the universal Church allows us to keep growing together, though it might look different with each passing year.

This past weekend, Sarah and I drove out to Albany, NY to co-host a baby shower for Ashlie with her mother-in-law. Ashlie & Josh lived in North Dakota for three years (Josh is in the air force), and they recently relocated to Penn State where they will be for about a year and a half. It is soooo much closer than ND, but still not the easiest to get to. So the Albany trip to Josh’s parents’ home was a real treat. Seeing her eight months pregnant was truly amazing! In just one short month we will have a new life entering our world, and it could not be more wonderful.

 

We stayed for just one night, so there wasn’t even a moment to feel sad about leaving as it was so quick. But I’m thankful for the short 24 hours we did have as I’m not sure when I’ll get to see them next and meet little Dill! I try to take these moments in; I try to really be present to them. It can be so easy for me to focus on the long stretches of time we’re apart. But God grants us these small events (more often that we ever could have dreamed of back in May 2011!) as a reminder of his goodness, and that as long as we are in communion with God, we are in communion with one another.

Will I be sad the day God calls Kevin and I to leave this city? Possibly all the way to Minnesota, possibly somewhere else? Absolutely. It’s not that I have a desire to live in Massachusetts forever, though. We look forward to building a home for our family in the place that is right for us. But this is my spiritual home where my faith grew. This is where everyone comes back to, in a sense. This is where our community reunites. This is where I still have beautiful, strong friendships. So I tryyyyy not to think much about that next step (though I do a poor job at it). It’s clear this is where we are meant to be at the moment, and I’m happy with that.  As a few of us liked to say back in the day, “Lord, it is good that we are here…and it will be good when we are there.”

A feast to start the month off right!

A feast for one of our favorite Saints and for the beginning of our favorite month! On me and Kevin’s first date, we spoke of our favorite Saints and why they were so important to us. It was well-known from the beginning that I had a special place for St. Therese (along with most of the Catholic world!) and Kevin felt very close with St. Patrick.

It was actually under an image of St. Therese that we met! At a young adult gathering at a friend’s apartment, Kevin was inquiring to some ladies about their love for St. Therese (pointing to the painting) – I forced my way in there, did my thing, etc.

After dating for a few months, dear Mother Olga suggested each of us pray to the other’s favorite Saint each day in a special way for the other. So Kevin bought for me a medal of St. Patrick and a medal of St. Therese for himself, which we both wore from that day forward.

Engagement!

Our engagement also took place at the feet of a St. Therese statue at my home parish in PA. It was a beautiful full circle (and she was there on our wedding day!). Soooo…Kevin and I are quite fond of her and super grateful for her intercession in our lives and, more specifically, our relationship.

I had the joy of visiting the National Shrine of St. Therese outside Detroit this past Easter when I visited my close friend, Elise. It was super beautiful and peaceful, and I just cannot talk her up enough. She is true to her promises, that little one. She does so much for us up in heaven, and I’m grateful to have such a powerful intercessor by my side!

So for our celebration of this beautiful day entering such a glorious month, Kevin and I enjoyed a little feast of our own. A nice autumnal meal if you will. Cider-Dijon glazed pork chops, hot spiced apple cider, and homemade pumpkin ice cream (dairy-free!). A delicious evening indeed! Happy feast day!

Day of Rest

Ever since senior year of college, Sunday’s have been my absolute favorite day of the week. In learning to enter into the [new] Sabbath, the day is greatly enriched. It started out simple, but even four years ago, I think my heart really got it. It was the day of rest, the day to celebrate our Lord’s resurrection, and the day to be in community. And our community at the BU Catholic Center really demonstrated the beauty of the day, whether or not people realized it. The Catechism, which answers most my questions when I go looking, says, “The institution of the Lord’s Day helps everyone enjoy adequate rest and leisure to cultivate their familial, cultural, social, and religious lives.” [CCC 2184]

Sundays

Leaving college, I began a more routine way of life, which is a great thing for me, personally. And Sundays  continued to be similar in heart, though the community aspect was different. I still relished it where I could, and tried to explore how to best live this day. Fast forward to married life, and the Sabbath has just gotten even better.

Being together every weekend has been a blessed adventure, and we’ve both taught one another different ways to truly enter into the Sabbath. For instance, Kevin has really helped me to see the value in not working on the Sabbath. Now, I’m not just talking about not going into the office, or not doing homework. I mean no work. No big projects around the apartment, no shopping, no serious life planning (ie: budgeting, travel plans, etc.). This part is the toughest for me as I always feel I have something to do, but it also really sets the day apart. I now understand what it means to work for six days and to rest on the seventh. My Saturdays have become busier with chores, errands, and miscellaneous work, but it makes our Sundays truly great. And in a way, I feel like I’m able to glorify God more with my six days of work and one day of true rest.

What’s even better, though, is that our Sundays are by no means a lazy. We would both have a hard time enjoying our day if we felt it was a wasted day. It’s filled with Mass, homemade brunch, nice long walks, prayer, a well-prepared dinner & dessert, time for reading or watching something together, and just good quality time with one another. That may vary a bit, but that’s the gist. It’s also nice to have a day to enjoy the clean and tidy apartment after the work has already been put in. And we try to incorporate community (outside of Mass) where we can. The Sabbath should be celebrated with people, it’s a day to nourish our friendships. 

Each Sunday, we find we appreciate  the Sabbath more. We love what it does for our souls, we love what it does for our marriage. We’re still very much learning what it means to enter into the Sabbath: to celebrate the resurrection, the fulfillment of creation, and the day of rest. And I’m sure when our family grows, how we celebrate Sunday will evolve, and we’re so excited!

 

A Canadian Honeymoon

Canadian Honeymoon

WARNING: LONG POST REGARDING BEST HONEYMOON EVER

Planning our honeymoon was an adventure. It took us a long time to figure out where to go as we (well, more like I) had our hearts set on Europe. We initially had planned out our itinerary for 4 days in Portugal, and the main attraction there was Fatima, then we’d stop over in Rome and see a good friend who is studying in seminary there, and then do a week in Ireland driving all around. I worked so hard to make this work, I planned out every day, where we would stay, how to get the best rates on travel…and duh, it was like 5x more than we could afford. When we finally came to the realization that this honeymoon was not going to happen, we actually felt a lot of peace. Mainly because we admitted we were trying to make it a pilgrimage. It would have been an awesome pilgrimage, and one we’d like to take one day, but maybe our honeymoon was not the right time.

We love Canada – we’d been to Montreal on a pilgrimage together after 6 months of dating. My parents had honeymooned in Canada, and my brother was about to as well. And for some reason, maybe God’s will, it felt so right. All the pieces came together (a lot of it has to do with my parent’s generosity), and we were ready to go! Let me take you on a tour of the best honeymoon of all time (I’m a bit biased)..

Part One: Whistler, BC (two days)

Atop Whistler Mountain

Whistler, BC

Whistler is essentially a small, luxurious, resort town north of Vancouver. And it was perfect. We stayed in my parent’s timeshare, Club Intrawest, and what an amazing experience. The hotel was beautiful, just what we wanted. It was a short walk to the main village. The town was close to empty. We had our pick of walks and trails and restaurants. I would recommend this place to anybody looking for a nice getaway. Since it was early June, not everything was open, but it didn’t make much of a difference for us. The beauty alone (combined with perfect 60-70 degree weather) sufficed.

Part Two: Vancouver, BC (three days)

Vancouver, BC

What an interesting part of the honeymoon. Kevin’s not much of a city person, and although I can certainly enjoy wandering around cities and finding cute coffee shops, this was unique. The evening we got in, the front desk lady at the hotel suggested we take a stroll down this one street leading to the harbor. Well, we did. And I don’t want to offend anyone, but it…umm, it wasn’t our scene to put it simply. So our initial impression of Vancouver was…not the best.

View from Kitsilano (I think)

We were determined to make the best of it, though, and the next day was actually pretty good! A nice city market can really do a lot for me (it was my favorite part about living in London besides the pubs), and we spent most of the day on Granville Island. There was lots to see and the market was huge. It had so much to offer, and turned the inspiration wheels for Kevin. Afterwards we went to the Cathedral for confession and mass – really beautiful! And then off to the pier to see FlyCanada – a 20 minute imax experience showcasing the beauty of Canada. I did get a bit sick, but it was stunning, nonetheless.

Granville Island

That was definitley the highlight of Vancouver as the next day turned out to be a really big fail. Everything we tried to do got thwarted somehow or cost exhuberant amounts of money. We joke that Vancouver is the place where they take your money. When we asked two separate concierges for cheap eateries, both sent us to restaurants with entrees no less than $20 (whattttttt?!). Overall, we had an enjoyable time. Would we go back? Probably on our way to Whistler.

Part Three: Lake Louise, AB (one day)

Lake Louise from the Chateau where we stayed!

GO HERE GO HERE GO HERE. First, let me say how spoiled we were. We totally splurged and stayed at the Fairmont Lake Louise AND they upgraded us to a suite. Speechless were we. Amazing service. Amazing view. Amazing lake. We could just sit on that lake for hours staring, and time would not have been wasted. We tried hiking a trail, but there was lots of snow getting higher up, and…bears. We didn’t see any, but the area was on grizzley watch. We did, however, get up in the morning to watch the sunrise over the lake. We didn’t see a super clear sunrise due to the mountains, but it was still stunning.

LOOK AT THAT WATER

Unbelievable.

Part Four: Banff, AB (4 days)

Once again, spoiled. Through the generosity of my parents, we stayed at the Fairmont Chateau Banff Springs. Talk about the life of luxury. That place is a castle, and in this most romantic way. You could spend a day just exploring the hotel itself. The view outside our window was Bow River and the Rocky Mountains. There’s so much to say about this part of our trip. One thing you should know is that apparently in early-mid June in this part of Alberta, you have daylight from 4:45am to past 10pm. So that’s one of the reasons we have so much to say – it felt like we did about 4 different activities per day!

Hello, Canada!

Chateau #2!

Town of Banff – what a cute place. So quaint. Just walking around this was great; we found our absolute favorite restaurant, Bear Skin Tavern – I think we actually went here 3 times. They have the BEST pizza. They also kept giving us coupons to come back, so we did. There’s the town Starbucks, obviously, where I got my wifi on. It’s just a super cute place that made our trip even more of an experience.

Love!

Johnston Canyon – our first hike in Banff, and it was lovely. You’re walking alongside the river (with railings for a large portion of it cause your essentially on the edge of a cliff) for a couple miles? I don’t know. But it brings you to this stunning waterfall, and I love waterfalls. A very refreshing hike about 30-40 minutes from town.

Vermillion Lakes

Vermillion Lakes – ahhhhhhhh GORGEOUS! It’s right on the edge of town, so super close, but you can drive/bike/walk in a loop around them. We stopped one evening there during the golden hour (Kevin’s favorite time of day), and it was simply breathtaking. If it weren’t for the million mosquitoes (that always seem to favor me over Kevin), we would have sat there forever.

Look.at.that.view.

Top of Sulphur Mountain

Sulphur Mountain – so worth it despite my hidden (not so hidden anymore) fear of heights. We took a gondola to the top (you can hike, which Kevin did one afternoon during introvert time, but it was evening and we just took a quick trip). The view at the top of Sulphur is wonderful, but you can walk across it to the peak of another mountain and you just keep going higher and higher and higher and the view keeps getting better and better and better. We were super blessed with perfect weather everyday, so needless to say it was phenomenal. Oh my gosh. I kept wanting to stop cause of the height, but Kevin gently pushed me to keep going and I’m glad he did.

The Pro

Horseback Riding – this one I have to laugh a bit. It was a unique experience, Kevin loooooved it, I just had a super rogue horse. There was a group of eight of us, and we took a two hour trip around some beautiful land and up a smaller mountain. Objectively – awesome. Seriously. But my horse kept wanting to eat everything in sight. And I did not like having to continuously kick my horse and then have him get mad at me and start shaking his head furiously. We did see a coyote on this trail, though, which was cool.

One of my favorite views!

Such beauty

Tunnel Mountain Drive – another one of my favorites. When you stop along here, you feel like you’re overseeing all of God’s creation (well, not all of it, but a good part). Stunning. We went back twice cause it was just too beautiful. It’s a simple drive from Banff, and you just pull off the road at points and take in the beauty.

The lake all to ourselves!

SO MANY SHEEP. EVERYWHERE.

Lake Minnewanka – a nice spot (very big lake). Not my favorite, but still glad we went. It looks like a great spot for summer water activity, but was pretty empty when we went. One notable thing about this area, though – ALL THE BIG HORNED SHEEP YOU COULD EVER WANT TO SEE. Not joking. They were just chillin’ everywhere. Didn’t care who they blocked, who took photos of them – they were just doing their thing.

SO MUCH BEAUTY

So much peace :)

Moraine Lake – this was my top rated spot in the Rockies. We almost didn’t go cause it was our last night in Banff and it was about an hour drive away, but we are SO SO SO glad we did. We got there around 9pm and it was almost deserted. The moonrise would happen at about 9:45pm, so we wanted to stay for that. We walked up a bit and just overlooked pure goodness. It’s a glaciel lake, so it was still partly frozen just like Lake Louise, but I think that added to the beauty. There was a perfect reflection of the 10 surrounding peaks in the water. We just sat in awe for a while. This was the most worth it drive ever.

The Final Stretch

Our final night

(We did then go to Calgary, which I won’t really mention. Sorry to all the Calgary lovers out there, but umm…didn’t do much for us. We watched Harry Potter in our hotel room.) The entire honeymoon was just so refreshing. A perfect way to enter into our marriage. It was perfect too in that we had plenty to do, but it was also relaxing. And I’m so grateful we were able to take two weeks. It really allowed us to enter into it and feel removed from our everyday lives. It marked a distinct start to our marriage and we loved it. I would encourage this trip to anyone! If ever there are questions on how to plan the perfect trip to Canada, we’re HAPPY to help!

How it began!

As an excuse to tell this story of how Kevin and I met, I’ll be joining the link up at Camp Patton, which she’s revived via facebook 🙂

January 2012 was a very interesting time of life for me. Seven months out of school, having a particularly tough time at work, recovering from some personal life things, but also experiencing great consolation from my recent Marian consecration. It was a Wednesday afternoon, and my boss calls me out of the blue with a promotion opportunity…in Philadelphia. Annnnndd let the 2 months of craziness begin.

January 2012 - living up the single life
January 2012 – living up the single life

My soul experienced so much in this time of interviewing, discussing things with my boss (who would still be my boss if I moved), discerning if it was the right move, etc. What I ultimately wanted was to do God’s will. And whatever the outcome was going to be, I wanted it to be a stepping stone towards my Vocation. So I had a very distinct prayer (since the more the process got drawn out, the more I wanted to go to Philly). I prayed that if God were to keep me in Boston, he would also show me an abundance of potential spouse material…or bring me to a convent. 

It was Friday, March 9th, 2012 when my boss sat me down and told me that, for a number of reasons, I’d be staying in Boston. I’m not really sure what I felt in that moment – there were a lot of emotions. But at least I knew. That Saturday, March 10th, was a funny evening. There was a social event for the Catholic Young Adult Group I was a part of (but had been somewhat absent from for a few months previously, due to all my life stuff) taking place at the apartment I had lived in the summer previously. I decided to go. This is the time of life my former roommates like to call the period of “75 suiters” – a real hoot cause believe me this is not territory I’m familiar with. That night began an interesting episode that I’m sure God had a few laughs at. I’ve never had a prayer answered so literally. Bottom line: I met Kevin that night. He was charming, he made me laugh a lot, I found out he had recently moved from Minnesota and was studying realist art, he was a former seminarian (check), and he was currently in a swing dancing class with my roommate and friend. 

Cleaning St. Francis Chapel during Lent 2012 - ran into Kevin just before and he joined!
Cleaning St. Francis Chapel during Lent 2012 – ran into Kevin just before and he joined!

So naturally, I met my roommate the following Monday at the end of her swing dancing class  “to catch a ride home.” And I convinced her to invite him to any social things we’d be having. And I started attending the young adult group again. And I signed up for swing dancing lessons.  Just before May rolled around, I was trying to see where God was leading me in a number of situations, this being one of them. And from the advice of the dear Mother Olga, I decided to pray the 30 day novena to St. Joseph for the month of May. My intention was just for my Vocation of marriage, if that be God’s will. I tried to have a detached heart from what I was feeling, and let God guide me.

Kevin, Anne Marie (now Sister Anne Marie!) and I at the Eucharistic Congress, April 28th, 2012
Kevin, Anne Marie (now Sister Anne Marie!) and I at the Eucharistic Congress, April 28th, 2012

And a crazy month it was. I could see God’s hand in everything, through the joys, the tears, and the decisions he was asking me to make. And on St. Rita’s feast day, May 22nd, Kevin called me (said he had been to multiple daily masses around the city that day to try and find me in person haha) and asked me out. Very direct and to the point. I hesitated for a brief moment out of utter shock, then said, “yeah!” (my typical response to Kevin’s big questions). So when we hung up, I walked into the kitchen and dramatically collapsed on the floor overwhelmed with so many things. (Meanwhile, there are 5 women and a baby getting ready to eat a steak & corn dinner wondering what just happened.) 

Swing Dancing my way into his heart ;)
Swing Dancing my way into his heart 😉

I was soon reminded that the novena was NOT over, though, as some crazy events occurred over the next eight days that I will not go into. It was an intense time, even looking back on it still, but God made it clear that with all the good things he was presenting to me, had to make the decision and that He would bless it. Saint Joseph had worked some powerful intercession, and on May 31st, at the Mass for the feast of the Visitation (one of my favorites), I stood next to Kevin and already sort of knew I was standing next to my future husband. (And exactly two years following the end of that novena, we’d be up on the altar uniting ourselves in the sacrament of Holy Matrimony.) 

As Kevin would say, “Romans 8:28.”

Happy Birthday Husband!

Happy birthday to my most wonderful husband! This is the third of his birthday’s we have spent together: year one we had been dating for just a couple months, last year we were engaged, and this year we are married! God is so good. Each year has been beautiful, and I’ve tried to show off my gift giving skills each time. This year I went for some literature that appeals to his heart:

Kevin's Birthday 2014
Kevin’s Birthday 2014

I got him a book on the North American martyrs – he has a real heart for these Saints; not only do they give him inspiration for greater holiness, but they also give him a world of inspiration in the artistic realm. He would love to do some paintings of these men some day. (And if it meant we spent some time extended time in Quebec, I wouldn’t hate it.) So naturally, I also got him some Canadian maps since he loves to do all the research and reference one possibly can when learning about something (and for our grand road trip across Canada that will eventually happen – we’ve hit up the east coast and west coast, now for everything in between). Then finally, I got him The Little Oratory, a book about bringing prayer into the home.

I’m so thankful for this wonderful man! He makes every day better! Saint Maximilian Kolbe – pray for us!

For those Long Car Rides…

Montreal Road Trip 2013

Over the past year and a half, Kevin and I have taken many trips to PA for wedding related things, holidays, to see my family, etc. From this, we’ve finally settled on the fact that it is just so much more economical to rent a car for the weekend than to buy two flights. Because for SOME reason, the airline industry thinks it should cost more to fly Boston to Philly than Boston to Phoenix (true story – I flew to Phoenix for a wedding for less than your average weekend home to PA). And what’s even more exciting is that renting the car at the week rate (7 days) is only $25 more than the 3 day rate! So we get some car usage for a couple extra days in Boston (helps with grocery shopping and such). 

With all this car time that is so foreign to us on a regular basis, we’ve invested in lots of talks for the road – primarily Lighthouse Catholic Media. Believe me when I say these are a worthy investment (and I mean, they’re only like a $3 donation at most parishes). And it’s been especially fruitful to listen to some marriage and family ones as we were engaged and now newly married! Let me share a few of my favorites: 

1. Raising Amazing Children by Matthew Kelly: gosh, if you’ve never heard this man speak, go do it! We buy a CD of his every time we see one, they are just that good. This was the first talk we listened to while engaged, and got us really pumped for kids. Some of what he says seems to us like a no-brainer, but it just might be a Catholic thing. Other things, while they may seem simple as he says them, struck us so profoundly. 

2. What Every Couple Should Know About Marriage & Prayer by Archbishop Fulton Sheen: what a wise man to listen to. He’s got a calming voice (but not too calming!), and gives great insight into deepening love & commitment in marriage. One of many of his talks on the subject.

3. Changed Forever by Father Mike Schmitz: this guy this guy this guy! He is the Chaplain for the University of Minnesota Duluth, so Kevin knows him well. And you cannot help but be 150% engaged when listening to him. And this one especially brought tears to my eyes. It’s on Baptism, and really hits on the deeper meaning of the sacrament and what it means to actually be a child of God.

4. The 7 Levels of Intimacy by Matthew Kelly: this one might be my favorite; it has incredible advice for building better intimacy, not just with a spouse, but in all relationships. Truly a talk that touched us on many levels.

5. For Better Forever by Dr. Gregory Popcak & Lisa Popcak: very beautiful & practical; they offer great wisdom from JPII and his Theology of the Body, connecting it to the everyday.

We bought a few more recently, so next time we have a long drive I’m sure I’ll have more to add to this list!

Weddingness: Part II

See part one here.

Friday, May 30th. The day on which I became a wife! I have to tell you, it was relaxed.com. The morning was beautiful – the family hung out by the pool, played some games (as is their way). The rest of the bridesmaids came over around 8:30am, and joined the gang. 

Katie and Kevin Wedding (62)

Everything felt very natural and peaceful, something I had prayed for. My dad and I took a few minutes to practice our father daughter dance (obviously it was Celine…), and then the hair/makeup ladies came over and got things started! Emily’s husband, Ted, showed up with Starbucks drinks for everyone, a generous touch to the day. And when our photographer, Meg Brock, arrived in the afternoon, we were all ready to get things started. I’ll admit, it was a bit surreal and kinda odd to change into a wedding dress in front of everyone, but Meg was great. All of the bridesmaids were beautiful, and Denise did a fabulous job with the bouquets. At 3pm, the shuttle came by and we were off to the Church! 

Katie and Kevin Wedding (50)

Waiting in the gorgeous bridal suite at St. Bede’s was probably the hardest part, since it involved just simply sitting there. But the bridesmaids prayed over me, which was beautiful, and then Meg called me out so that Kevin could give me a little gift. We didn’t see each other, but were standing around a corner from one another. Before he gave me the gift, we held hands and prayed together. Soon after, it was time to begin! Kevin pro-cessed in with the priests (followed by groomsmen & bridesmaids) to a beautiful song, written for the Bishop of the Duluth diocese. It is played at their ordinations, and it also played at Kevin’s father’s funeral 4 1/2 years ago. We were very grateful to the Bishop for granting us permission to use it for our wedding.

Katie and Kevin Wedding (177)

Katie and Kevin Wedding (225)_2

Walking down the aisle with my dad was an experience – mainly because my dress was FAR too long (alteration lady didn’t want to hem it cause of the detail at the bottom), so I essentially hopped down the aisle trying to avoid tripping on the fabric. There’s absolutely no way for me to put into words how incredible the Mass was. Being up on the altar with with my beloved, Kevin, those holy priests, our amazing wedding party. Everything was powerful. I could not stop laughing…I’m a huge weeper in life, yet when really big things are happening to me (and people are awaiting my reaction), I can’t seem to cry. At all. And that’s fine, Kevin cried for the both of us (and that man never cries). It was beautiful.

Katie and Kevin Wedding (256)Katie and Kevin Wedding (244)

I’m a huge fan of the readings we chose. Jeremiah (JER 31:31-32a, 33-34a), Revelation (REV 21:1-6), and John (JN 2:1-11). All of them carry the theme of new things. In Jeremiah, he is speaking of the new heaven and that “I will be their God, and they shall be my people.” In Revelation, it’s very similar, and it has one of my favorite lines of “Behold, I make all things new.” And then the Wedding Feast at Cana…gosh, what a phenomenal passage. The new wine. We thought these readings worked very well for us. We look forward to heaven so much, and strive to do all we can to get there. Our marriage is a big part of that. It brings with it many new things; WE are new through it. Father Seth gave a great homily (I wish I could remember some specifics of what he said…alas, I could only retain so much from the day).

Katie and Kevin Wedding (350)

Katie and Kevin Wedding (396)

And there were a few particularly beautiful parts. During the preparation of the gifts, the song “10,000 Reasons (bless the Lord)” played, and it was so moving. It felt very heavenly. And I saw both of the parish priests peeking in from the sacristy (made me giggle). After communion, we were able to pray to Mary, and at the same time, Kevin’s brother took some flowers to the Saint Joseph statue in remembrance of their father. After Mass, it was quick photo time.

Katie and Kevin Wedding (421)

Katie and Kevin Wedding (428)

We took the [now party] shuttle with some champ to Tyler Park (in between church and reception venue), and this is where I was most impressed with Meg. We had very limited time (Friday weddings tend to be more of a cramped schedule), but she did it all. We got awesome photos of the wedding party, me and Kevin, just groomsmen & Kevin, just bridesmaids & Katie. And we hit up several places in the park. I have to say…you know those beautiful pinterest photos where the couples in the middle of a cornfield and you’re like “I WANT THAT PERFECT MOMENT”? What they do not tell you is the struggle that comes with it. The ride to the venue consisted of everyone searching through my dress removing the FLIES that somehow got stuck in EVERY layer (and there were a LOT of layers). We also found…a wood tick. UGH. Pictures are beautiful, but it came with a price. I had to strip down at the winery and my dear Emily searched me for ticks. That’s what bridesmaids are for, right? As they say, all’s well that ends well. 

Katie and Kevin Wedding (463)

Katie and Kevin Wedding (551)

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Also, who can forget the time my dad gave a toast in Latin? He wanted to impress the priests and all the the BU/Minnesota Catholics in the room, so he had asked one of Kevin’s groomsmen the night before to translate something into Latin for him. It was super funny and awesome. And then he sat down…without telling the crowd what he actually said. Bob’s the best. 

One thing that was important to me was playing wedding songs of all the people that I had been in the wedding for. So we played songs for Kristen & Jamie, Keith and Jenan, Emily & Ted, Sarah & Javi, and Ashlie & Josh. It was beautiful seeing them dance to their songs again! And then…the moment I’ve been waiting for my entire life happened. The DJ played Celine Dion “It’s All Coming Back to Me Now” – the greatest song of all time that I’ve forced all of my friends to get used to and love over the years. Whenever it’s just the ladies, we almost always have a Celine jam session and do some weird interpretive dance. And that’s what happened. All the ladies who know and love me put their best Celine forward. And it happened. It was true fulfillment of years worth of dreaming. (Also, the DJ told me he’d never seen anything like that before and asked if he could play it again later on haha.) 

We had such a blast. I can’t possibly describe the joy that was pulsating throughout the room. All those beautiful people. Me and Kevin – MARRIED. There were so many amazing moments, and when “Shipping up to Boston” came on later in the night, I literally thought the floor was going to shatter. No joke. And our final song was Coldplay’s “Charlie Brown”. If you’ve never heard it – listen to it. Maybe you’ll understand why Kevin and I listen to it at least 4x a week to remind us of the awesomeness of our wedding. 

That’s more than enough for a blog post, not nearly enough to capture it all. But the wedding was all we hoped for and more! God is good! Amen!

 

 

Weddingness: Part I

Alright. The time has come. I now have wedding photos in my possession (hoorah!), I’ve had time to reflect, and I’ve enjoyed 2 full months of married life! So how did it all go down?

The months leading up to the wedding were such an interesting time of life. It felt similar to my last semester of college – leaving something beautiful for something [hopefully] greater. There was my bachelorette party in Vegas (yup, that happened), my bridal shower in PA, a little bridal shower brunch in Boston, another bachelorette night of fun with my roommates, random nights of happy hour or taking advantage of time with friends before transitioning into marriage. It was a joyous time.

Vegas with my ladies :)
Vegas with my ladies 🙂

I took off work the entire week before the wedding, and the first big event was a family weekend in Hilton Head, SC. We’ve been going to Hilton Head for 20 years or so, and my parents bough a house there several years ago. It’s a beautiful place and we love it. It was the first time my entire immediate family (plus my older brother’s new wife) had been there together in YEARS. So it was the perfect opportunity to enjoy some quality time together like we used to. That meant of course the beach, ultra-competitive miniature golf, Giuseppe’s pizza, nighttime scene-it, and some more beach. A lovely time was had by all! As excited as my parents are for grandkids with three of us married now, I think they’ve been trying to soak up as much time with us as possible before that happens.

Family
Family

I flew back directly to PA Monday night, and the next morning things kicked off with my hair trial appointment (a super awkward time – I’m just no good in those situations). Then it was right to the Philly airport to pickup three of my bridesmaids – Sarah (Boston, MA), Elise (Detroit, MI), and Ashlie (Grand Forks, ND)! It meant so much that my friends would come a few days early to just be with me before the big day. Meanwhile, Kevin had arrived Tuesday morning, but went to the hotel with 2 of the 4 priests con-celebrating our wedding (all the way from Duluth, MN; all of them were seminarians with Kevin in college). They came over for dinner that evening to enjoy some fine delicacy (aka CHICK-FIL-A). I had only met these men once at a Duluth ordination right after Kevin and I had gotten engaged – so it was so beautiful to have them now in my home!

Wednesday morning, bright and early, I picked up another bridesmaid, Emily (Tempe, AZ), and a groomsmen from the airport. The ladies and I spent the morning at Pat’s Colonial Kitchen (my favorite breakfast place in Newtown), and they generously wandered in the rain as I gave them a tour of the land (of course I showed them the Newtown Theatre – oldest running theatre in America)! When we all left BU, we had high hopes of staying friends for life, but with everyone spreading out all over the country, we thought our best bet for all being together again would be a 5 year reunion. As God would let it happen, 4/5 of us have gotten together over 7-8 times (with 4 of those times being ALL of us) in 3 years! Such a gift.

Pat's Colonial Kitchen!
Pat’s Colonial Kitchen!

Tuesday and Wednesday were such odd days. They were truly beautiful, but it was odd in the sense that I didn’t feel like this big, heavy thing was approaching. It was just as if my best friends came to visit my hometown, and I was their happy little tour guide! Wednesday evening, Kevin’s family arrived from Duluth and came over for dinner – his brother, mom, and uncle. It was so wonderful to have our families meet for the first time in a relaxed environment.

Thursday is when things got REAL. Real in the sense that everyone else started arriving, we were dropping things off where they needed to go, checking people into the hotel, getting ready for the rehearsal…a whirlwind. But it was all SO GOOD. It was so surreal that it was happening, but it brought so much joy. The rehearsal went smoothly (except for that beginning part where the church was locked…), and being up on that alter was a crazy feeling. Immediately after the rehearsal, we went down into the lower church for our holy hour. Best.Idea.Ever. All four priests were available for confession, which many people took advantage of. And just being in front of the blessed sacrament the night before our wedding with all these people we loved from all parts of the world…there are no words.

At the Winery
At the Winery

After adoration, we went up to the main church for Mass (it was Ascension Thursday), and once again…I’m speechless for the love I experienced. The Minnesotan priests [unexpectedly] concelebrated, and the Monsignor at my parish welcomed Kevin and I in front of everyone, thanking us for our witness. It was a heavenly joy. I’m really big on heaven. Like, I’m super excited for it and think about it often. And there’s many moments in life where I’m just like, “yup – this is a taste of what’s to come.” It tends to be in community for me – all of us together experiencing great joy, with the focus being on our Lord. Love it!

Following mass was our open rehearsal dinner at my house. Kevin and I wanted this to be an open event, since so many people had traveled so far to be with us. So everyone came over, Father Drew blessed the bar, and the festivities began. What a night to remember. My friends have always meant the world to me, and to physically have them in my home, the place where I grew up, I just cannot fully communicate the beauty. Everyone had a blast (I mean, it was a Krouchick party, so people expected nothing less from Bob & Helene – my parents). My siblings each gave a toast, one including a hilarious slideshow. And the floor was opened up to anyone who wanted to say a few words. People were funny, touching, loving, emotional, everything and more. It was such a gift to Kevin and me. We gave our thanks as best we could, and everyone continued the fun.

Men of God. Our four wonderful priests from the Duluth Diocese!
Men of God. Our four wonderful priests from the Duluth Diocese!

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At the end of the evening, Kevin and I stole a moment upstairs just to be present in the fruits. Both of us just felt so loved, so grateful, so humbled, and so ready for what was to come. Neither of us could have imagined a better entrance into our wedding day. The Holy Spirit was truly present. From what I’ve heard, the days surrounding your wedding can sometimes seem like a blur looking back, or even while in the midst of it. I have to say, I felt completely present able to enjoy it. Such a grace. Even looking back, it’s so fresh in my mind. I’m give thanks to God for allowing me to live fully in those moments. And it only got better the next day…!

See part two here.