What a year. For many, 2020 will be viewed with negative thoughts and feelings. For many, 2020 was filled with fear, disappointment, and sadness. People missed out on seeing their friends, visiting family for the holidays, going to the movies, and even enjoying a lovely dinner out with their spouse. No one knows how much longer we must live in isolation, with a sense of dread hanging over our heads. We haven’t seen the sincere smile of a stranger since March, as we’ve spent the last 9 months hidden beneath masks or behind closed doors. For many, 2020 could not be over sooner.
For Matt and I, 2020 brought us our first child, a curious and independent baby boy. It goes without saying I’m sure, but I never planned to have a baby during a pandemic. I imagined strangers commenting on my growing bump, laughing with family and friends at baby showers, and welcoming my parents and in-laws to the hospital to proudly meet their first grandchild. We expected to bring our sweet boy to meet family in California or along to dinner with friends. We hoped for playdates with my dear friend’s baby boy who was born in March. I even dreamed of Matt and I walking the aisles at Target picking out Christmas presents together, commenting on how much fun the baby toys were and how excited we were to wrap them.
Instead, Matt and I spent the last two months of my pregnancy in seclusion, praying we did not catch COVID. We spent four days at the hospital during my induction and birth, and no one visited. When Luke was admitted to Masonic Children’s Hospital, Matt went with him the first night, while I stayed home alone, fearing that if I saw family or friends I could bring the infection to the hospital. After we brought him home, no one held him but Matt and I for the first month. We had no professional photos taken. Friends and family did not come over. We made no travel plans. Other than our parents, our family has not met Luke. We did not peruse the toy aisles to pick out presents.
All that said, Luke has been the greatest joy. While for most, 2020 will invoke feelings of grief and anxiety, it was the best year of my life. I could not imagine waiting a second longer to meet our sweet little boy. Not only was this the year Luke was born, but it was the year he learned to smile, the year he began giving us kisses, and the year he started reaching for us to hold him. It was the year Luke started babbling, the year he discovered how to army crawl, and the year he tasted ice cream. Every morning when Luke gives us a big gummy smile, I am filled with love. I hope that in the next months or years, Luke is able to share his smile and love with more people.
So tonight, when most of the world will be wishing 2020 “good riddance,” I will think of the year with love and delight. It wasn’t perfect, and it certainly brought its challenges for us and the rest of the world. But it also brought Matt and me the sweetest blessing we could have ever hoped for. I will forever be thankful for this year and all the wonderful memories.
Thank you, Sweet Boy, for making your dad and me parents this year.
Hello! It’s June 16, 2019, which means Matt and I have been married for a little over six months. I had planned to post last weekend, but we got tied up with life (we bought a house!). So today will have to do.
I’d like to take this opportunity to make my first post on the wonderful blog Matt set up for us and write a little something about our wedding. I know wedding posts usually occur right after the wedding (and not six months later) but since our blog was not in existence until only recently, six months later seems as good as time as any. This is also a reminder that we are six months away from the Christmas shopping season!
A Bride’s Perspective
When I woke up on December 8, 2018, I wasn’t nervous; I didn’t have cold feet nor did I question whether I was doing the right thing. The only thing worrying me that morning was how to quietly leave the hotel room (that Matt and I were sharing) without waking Matt. For some reason, the goom gets to sleep in on his wedding day. I put on my pink flannel pajamas, grabbed my suitcase and wedding dress (which was hiding in the closet) and headed down a floor to the bridal suite.
Not long after I got to the hotel room, my bridesmaid Courtney arrived, looking seasonal in her red and green flannel pajamas (can you sense a theme?). Bridesmaids Kelly and Emily followed suit, and Hannah, my maid of honor, arrived with a hot chai tea latte and champagne (for mimosas, obviously). After my hairdresser and makeup artist arrived, it started to sink in. THIS WAS MY WEDDING DAY.
I wish I had posted this closer to the day, because some of the details have already escaped my memory. Some things I do remember:
I was nervous, not to marry Matt, but because I wanted everyone to have a good time! How often do you plan a party for 200 people? I wanted it to go down without a hitch.
I had to take Dayquil because I was recovering from a horrible cold. Matt also poked up to our suite to borrow my Dayquil. I was much sicker than him if anyone asks.
Courtney brought a ton of snacks for us to eat throughout the day. I barely ate, but I did willingly have a mimosa. I’m pretty sure my mom had her first mimosa ever that morning too.
One of the groomsmen texted one of my bridesmaids that they were watching Spongebob with Matt. My mom didn’t believe it. I believed it, because I know my husband.
I don’t think we had any major ruffles getting ready. I didn’t forget anything and my bridesmaids were all ready to go. Of course, I found out later that TWO of Matt’s groomsmen forgot their tuxes and had to go home to get them. Go figure.
The plan was to be ready for our first look at 12:30 p.m. As I’m sure happens every wedding, we were behind schedule. When it was about time for our first look and everyone’s hair was done, I slipped into my wedding dress with the help of my mom.
Our plan was to have the first look across the street at a park off of Kellogg. The snow was fresh from snowfall the night before, so we hoped it would make for a great spot for outdoor winter wedding photos. I could see the park from the hotel room window, so I watched as Matt and the photographer got in place. From what I could see from the window, he looked SHARP. Then, it was my turn.
Our second photographer helped gather up the train of my dress and we headed down to the lobby. As we walked outside, I was reminded that it was winter in Minnesota (I think it was 20 degrees). We crossed the street and I vaguely recall a few passing cars honking their horns and cheering (I was a bride after all!).
I started to approach the spot for our first look. Matt’s back was turned, so he couldn’t see me. The photographers straightened out my train and told me to go ahead and tap him on the shoulder. I walked towards my then-future-husband, give him a squeeze, and he turned around. I’m not sure if we laughed or started to cry, but I do remember sharing a big, warm hug.
I then took off my shawl and gave Matt a full view of the dress – including a twirl to show off the back! I think he approved. We took couples photos as quickly as possible then took photos with our wedding party outside. Kudos to our wonderful friends who all braved the cold with us so I could get my winter wedding photos.
Next, we all headed to the church. Matt and I are both big fans of Christmas (really, who isn’t?), which is partially why we chose a December wedding. This meant the church was decorated perfectly for the season and our wedding.
Before the ceremony, we also had a chance to take pictures with our good-looking families.
The ceremony was next – I’m biased, but I think it was perfect. I came down the aisle with my dad to Pachelbel’s Canon, and thankfully, Matt was waiting for me at the altar. We started the ceremony with a classic Christmas hymn, Joy to the World.
One of the most memorable things to me about the ceremony was our Pastor’s sermon. He managed to incorporate THREE Harry Potter quotes and a story about climbing. Neither Matt or I had any part in writing or giving him ideas for the sermon, so it was a complete surprise. Of course, if you know anything about me, you know that adding some Harry Potter flare to the ceremony was PERFECT and completely memorable.
You know how the rest of it goes – we exchanged traditional vows (completely memorized by both of us!) and shared a kiss. One kiss didn’t seem like it totally sealed the deal to me, so just to be sure, I jumped forward to give Matt a second kiss while we were at the altar. I knew we were for sure married after the second kiss!
After the ceremony, we headed out with our wedding party to Mears Park to take winter photos with Christmas lights. In the bus ride over, I distinctly remember my bridesmaids feeding me Cheez-its and water to keep me fed and hydrated. We also had champagne – Tyler hit me with the cork when he opened the bottle.
When we got to Mears Park, it looked perfect. The sun had set and the Christmas lights were out in full force. With our wedding party, we had a second round of outdoor photos. (A little secret – I had ditched my heals by now and was wearing boat shoes – my feet were freezing!).
Next, it was off to the reception!
One of my favorite parts of our wedding day was the cocktail hour – which we didn’t even get the chance to attend. I was particularly excited for guests to attend our cocktail hour though because I put together a playlist of music from the Harry Potter movies to play in the background. When we got to the hotel, I could hear the music from our cocktail hour and the mood was perfect!
While the guests finished up cocktail hour, Matt and I got a special sneak-peek of the ballroom! It looked better than I could have imagined.
We then snuck into a room next to our ballroom to scarf down a few appetizers whiles the guests were seated. At this time, Hannah and Courtney also had to bustle my train, which was a bit of an ordeal because my train was rather large and there were a lot of ribbons and buttons to match together. They got it all figured out and we prepared for the grand entrance. Sticking true to our Christmas theme, Matt chose “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree” as our grand entrance song.
For dinner, Matt had steak and I had chicken with an extra side of Gouda mashed potatoes. I ate everything. In between bites of mashed potatoes, I remember looking across the room to all our friends and family, who also seemed to be enjoying the evening. During dinner, we instructed the DJ to play only Christmas music which fit in well with our theme.
After dinner, Matt and I had our first dance as husband and wife. We danced to “You Make it Easy” by Jason Aldean. I really wanted a country song, and this song came out about a year before our wedding. When we heard the lyrics, we both thought it was a great fit. We practiced our dance ahead of time, so we through in a few twirls and dips for fun, but I do not consider myself a dancer.
Finally, the dance floor was open for business at 8:00 p.m.! I loved seeing our friends and family all have a great time, and Matt and I certainly danced a lot. One of my favorite moments was dancing to”Cupid Shuffle,” a classic dance song amongst us millennials. We also had some late night snacks brought out – a hot chocolate bar (complete with Baileys), pretzels with cheese, and pizza.
Around 9:00 p.m., our photographer asked us to take pictures with him outside because he had a surprise for us. He told us that our DJ, who knew we loved snow, had rented a snow machine! Our photographer set it up across the street and wanted us to take a few pictures in the “snow.” It was a great surprise, and it was nice to step outside with Matt for a few minutes. One piece of advice I remember getting was that the day would go by so fast that you will want to stop and take a few moments to just enjoy the day with your spouse. Matt and I got to spend a few minutes outside taking pictures in the snow – it was perfect.
We went back inside after our surprise snow pictures and got to enjoy the rest of our reception, including a warm cup of hot chocolate. Near the end of the night, I was surprised to see a big group of our friends and family still dancing. Our DJ played “Lean on Me” as we all got in a big circle, put our arms around each other, and sang and danced together. It was a great end to the night and a reminder of how lucky Matt and I are to have such amazing friends and family.
The next day, Matt and I departed on a cruise in the southern Caribbean. I won’t bore everyone who made it this far with those details, but you can check out this awesome video (below) Matt made of our cruise! We had a great time and even got a little tan.
Thank you to everyone who attended our big day or who have supported Matt and me throughout our relationship and marriage! I took the time to write out this blog post in hopes of capturing a few of the details I remember from our wedding day before they slipped away. While writing it, I was reminded of how special everyone made it. We couldn’t have asked for a better day, and I couldn’t have asked for a better husband.
“Domain expired” read the email. Our wedding long past, the website domain we bought for the big day “KristinandMatthew.com” was expiring. My mind ticked trying to think of how I could put this to good use. Not many people have a web address consisting of only their first names. A blog? Maybe.
I’ve always liked the idea. You lose so many little details when recalling a trip or event by memory alone. I wrote a blog for several days a few years ago documenting my trip to Hawaii with a college roommate. It was tedious posting every day of the trip but going back and reading it years later is a joy. You forget so many fun memories if you don’t write anything down. Even pictures and videos don’t seem to bring back all the detail and feeling that your own narrative does.
Kristin was lukewarm on the idea. “What would we write about?” she asked. It was a fair question. Our lives are not any more or less exciting than anyone else we know. Still, I liked the idea of cataloging what may seem like mundane details of our lives for later reading. I wonder how many adventures or fun moments with friends and family have slipped our memories.
While Kristin will likely need some more convincing, I can’t think of anything else to do with a web domain too perfect to let expire. A blog it is. Wish us luck.