All About Autumn!

To anyone who knows me, it is no secret that autumn is my favorite season. I know many people lovelovelove this time of year, and it’s no wonder why. The crisp cool air, sweaters & boots (and no winter coat), apple picking, fall baking, pumpkin flavored everything, all the smells. It’s pretty much perfection. And while I normally despise the summer months, this one has been quite delightful with its cool mornings and walkable evenings. And it’s gotten me even more excited for the full outbreak of autumn. What am I most looking forward to this year? Quiet weekends with my husband! Talk about a whole new world – it feels like since we’ve been together it’s been GO GO GO. Dates all the time, social events, getting engaged, wedding planning, social events, getting married, more social events. And now, we have no planned trips (well, except for a little one-nighter trip to Albany I have for a baby shower) until Thanksgiving! We’re excited to get into a routine, have our apartment in order (finally!), and take some nice long walks around the neighborhood. Baking, obviously. I have one specific fall baking magazine that has been my absolute favorite for the past two years. I still haven’t made everything in it – I’ve been making my way through the autumn produce. Our tiny apartment should have a nice, consistent aroma for the next few months. Seasonal crafts! Sarah and I have a plan to coordinate a decor calendar so we are prepared for each season. We’ll make time for frugal & creative crafting to make our homes as homey as possible. Fall Events like apple picking, pumpkin carving, movie nights and all the like with some great people. Since we don’t have a car and we live more in the city, going to an orchard is a real treat. Getting out of the city to see the autumn beauty is the BEST. Albany in October! Sarah and I will be making this trip through Western Mass for Ashlie’s baby shower, and in addition to being thrilled we get to throw this for her with her mother-in-law, we’re pretty pumped about the beautiful stops we’ll make along the way through all the beautiful foliage. I promised a beautiful maternity photo shoot with the mama and the baby’s non-biological aunts (meaning us, the friends). Autumn in Newtown, PA Serious goodness to come.  

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!

So many dresses!

Bridesmaids!

My dear friends Ashlie and Sarah both recently celebrated wedding anniversaries, and being as I was so involved in their weddings (and marriages, obviously), I wanted to share a bit on my life as a part of the wedding party. I also don’t have all our wedding photos back yet, so ours will be featured eventually, just not today.

I’ve been a bridesmaid 6 times to date (it’ll be 7 in a few months). That means 6 bridesmaid dresses, 5 pairs of shoes I’ve only worn once or twice, and a little less in my savings if we’re being honest . My viewpoint of a wedding has always been from up on the alter or in the first pew (including my own wedding just this past May). And none of this is to belittle those experiences – they were amazing. All of them. I’ve loved every bride I’ve stood by, each wedding has been unique and beautiful, and it’s all been worth it.

Being a part of something so beautiful on so many different occasions, I’ve learned a few things along the way; some things I feel I did well, others not so much. So to all those about to hit wedding season in life, here’s my slew of lessons:

1. Get over the bridesmaid dress issue. And we all know there’s always some sort of issue. It’s not your color, you have to get it altered,  it’s too expensive, one of the layers is inside out (this happened to a couple of my bridesmaids haha…not even sure how). Too often I (and others, this ain’t just me) make it about myself and get focused on my appearance on my friend or sister’s big day. And all I can say is get over it. The bride has a vision of how her wedding will look, and if she thinks these are the dresses to bring about her vision, then awesome. I have yet to be in a wedding where the photos aren’t stunning.

2. Be sympathetic to the huge life change the bride is going through. There were a few times I was very taken aback by friends going through these incredible emotional high’s and low’s. One day they’d be dreamy and excited, and the next her and her fiance are in a fight and she has more to-do’s than you’ve ever known a person to have. I’m not just talking about wedding planning, but life planning. For my friends, getting married meant moving out at the same time, committing to a new life in a new place, understanding your fertility and your cycle (which can be a challenge and a half for some) so you can begin family planning on your wedding night, and so much more.

3. Show your love along the way. Whether it’s a small gift, or an occasional card, or getting quality time with the bride throughout the engagement, be intentional about it. For my wedding, a few of my bridesmaids would send me a gift on the 30th of each month leading up to the wedding (because I was getting married on the 30th). It was incredibly generous. All the bride needs is your love and support. Try to show it in the way that she will best receive it (maybe learn her love language).

4. Offer to help. Even if your thousands of miles away, offer your time. It may turn out that you can’t really do much, but you never know. And all brides appreciate a bit of help.

5. Pray for the couple. Spiritual attack is real. Especially when you understand that this is your Vocation, and that this is how you will serve God in this life. The evil one does not want good and holy marriages. Knowing that marriage is an inseparable bond and a gift from God can put a lot of spiritual stress on the couple. And each couple has their cross. So pray for them.

6. The wedding week is a time to spoil the bride. It can be super easy to get caught up with your time with other bridesmaids or wedding guests in town, and to have the mentality that you’re on a vacation.  The truth is, the bride may have a bunch of last minute to-do’s, she may be under a lot of stress, or she may simply want to hang out with her friends! No matter what her situation is, be present to her. If she has an itinerary, follow it. If she has projects to do, help her. If she wants to sit and chat with you all, talk with her.

7. Connect with the right people. Throw a line to the mother of the bride. Offer her your help in any way you can. Keep in communication with all the bridesmaids. And when the wedding festivities arrive, show your gratitude to the families, show everyone that the bride has good taste and judgement in regards to those ladies closest to her.

8. Remember the little things. On the day of, the bride will not be holding anything. So make sure that all her belongings, if any, are accounted for. Make sure her and the groom have plates of food. Make sure they get some cake (other than what is smashed in their faces). Collect trinkets from all over the reception for them to remember. A friend did this for me and Kevin, and we have a box full of fun memories, including the favors I made and put work into!

9. Take advantage of all the moments with the bride leading up to the big day. If any issues arise with your friend, talk it out. Because once your girl is married, things will be different! Soak up all the girl time you can get. Enjoy the sleepovers, the late night talks, making plans on a whim. If you both value your friendship, it will only get better with time, and marriage will be good for it (as it’s good for the person). But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t enjoy her while you have her to yourself. 🙂

10. Be excited that one of your closest friends is becoming a wife! That’s it. Just be excited.

Now that I’ve given you all my wisdom (well…not all of it, that’d be silly), time for the fun showcase of Katie’s life as a bridesmaid.

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Now off to a bridal shower in PA for my dear friend Krista’s wedding that I’ll be in this November! Peace.

Home Alone

I love the movie Home Alone. I love its sequel even more. What I do NOT enjoy is actually being home alone. I can’t recall a single night of my life that I’ve spent entirely alone. Until this week.

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Growing up in a household of seven, there wasn’t much opportunity to experience alone time. And college was college. And post-college, it seems like I had 10 roommates at all times. That’s a bit of an exaggeration…but also kind of true. And if it ever got to be past 9pm and nobody was home yet, the unease would start to set in.

People have exposed me to too many (meaning less than 5) scary movies in my time for me to simply enjoy a night on my own. When I was 12, my cousins and I watched The Ring. None of us could pee alone for a week. Years later as a senior in college, my roommates had a night where we watched Saw. WORST.IDEA.EVER. Especially since that week just coincidentally happened to be some weird convention where people dressed up like the tricycle freak from that film. I refused to go anywhere alone after that. And then last year, my roommate began watching this creepy film with Daniel Radcliffe one evening (something with a lady in black), and not knowing it would be a horror film, I sat down to join. Regret to the max.

Now my husband is out of town for 2 nights, and I have to put on my brave face and learn how to sleep while home alone. So what exactly have I done to keep myself busy in the evenings?

Everything. I put on a Matt Maher playlist and got to work. I deep cleaned our bathroom, tub included. I reorganized the linen closet, under our bed, and the shelves over our toilet. I spent 25 minutes chasing a fly around the apartment with a bottle of febreze. I did the dishes. I took out the trash and recycling. I watered the plants. I consolidated some boxes still laying around. I watched some of Catching Fire (I couldn’t resist – Kevin’s not here). Skyped with a friend. Read my journal from Summer 2011. Watched and episode of Charmed (once again…husband out of town). And I read some of Harry Potter to put me in a happy place.

Did it all work? Well, Kevin comes home tonight and I’m still alive, so I’d say it’s a win.

One day I’ll be able to cope. Or just have 10 kids to keep me company.

Post Number One

I’ve come across some pretty awesome blogs in my time, and some that are so enjoyable I check back almost daily to see if there’s something new – especially Mrs. Dill over at adillightfuladventure. (I’ve been told there’s a feature that allows me to get notifications of new posts – but I like the anticipation and surprise too much.) I don’t want to place too high of expectations on my writings, but perhaps I have something unique to offer the World Wide Web that might strike some fancy. I’m not a professional writer (I somehow avoided most the classes that required writing papers in college), my husband corrects my grammar all the time, and as much as I try to keep a consistent journal…I always seem to have a 5 month gap somewhere. Even with all of that, though, maybe this will be the outlet that I give my attention to. No promises, but it’s worth a shot.

A brief summary on where I am in life at this moment…I’ve been married for one month and eleven days. I started a new job shortly before that. After the wedding, I moved in with my husband into our cozy (albeit, a bit tiny) one bedroom apartment in the Boston area. So in summary – new husband, new job, new home. So obviously that means new blog.

What can you expect to find here on this blog? Well, I like to exercise my creativity, whether it be in the kitchen, my balcony garden (sometimes struggle central), or arts & crafts. My husband and I are also pretty intent on being as frugal as possible, so maybe you’ll hear some tips & tricks on how to save money in an overpriced city. And you’ll probably just be exposed to the randoms of my/our daily life, for better or for worse.

Enjoy!

Milk & Honey!