One Year Later

I innocently put Otis Redding on my Spotify tonight so I could slow dance with myself while cooking dinner. And now that the pot of quinoa is on simmer and I’m listening to the lyrics, I’m sobbing as I sway back and forth.

Slow dancing always makes me think of Mr. Rathroy. Even if he’s in the next room, a good slow dance song makes me physically miss him. The way his giant hand covers mine, the way I can turn off my brain and just follow him back and forth. Mr. Rathroy is a good dancer, and he chose to dance with me, forever.

First Dance Photo

Somehow, when I was 16, I walked into a summer school class and became the luckiest girl in the world. It didn’t matter that for 10 years I ran away, pushed him away, followed him to Africa, lost myself, found myself, and confused myself – he never lost faith in the possibility of me. He hugged me tightly every chance I let him. And when I finally stopped being afraid of what would happen if I didn’t let go, he really delivered.

Mr. Rathroy married me one year ago. Among a forest fire, a flood of tears, and a hundred of the people that we love most in the world – we finally made the forever that we had both always hoped for (though he hoped for it a little more obviously while I took a slightly more convoluted approach).

In this past year, I’ve learned a lot about myself and a lot about my husband. I’ve learned new ways to communicate, the art of patience, the beauty of silence, the importance of sharing responsibility, and the necessity for vulnerability. Every day I become more comfortable with the person that I am and more appreciative of the balance that Mr. Rathroy brings to my life. He is gentle where I am harsh. He is hilarious where I am high strung. He is reserved where I am extroverted. He is Wu Tang where I am Otis Redding.

He is so much more than I thought a person could be and he has made marriage way more awesome than I ever could have imagined. We’ve gotten the, “So how is married life?” question a lot in the past year and we’ve never come up with a very good answer. “It’s good. It feels totally normal,” we reply after looking at each other and shrugging. It doesn’t make for great conversation, but it’s the truth. I’ve never felt more comfortable, more at peace, or more excited about my daily life than I do with Mr. Rathroy. That’s not to say that I don’t have meltdowns about hating my body or confusion over my career or a deep hatred for weekly laundry and meal planning. It just means that I get to work through all of those things with my incredibly supportive, crack-a-joke-about-it husband.

One full year later, we are going strong on our wedding vows, and I couldn’t be more blissful about the “totally normal” married life we lead.

Wedding Ceremony

———-

Today, I choose you to be my husband
I accept you as you are
And offer myself in return

I promise to stand by your side
In sickness and in health
In joy and in sorrow
Through conflict and tranquility

I vow to support you in a lifelong pursuit of happiness
Both as an individual and in marriage
Knowing that through our union
We can accomplish more than we could alone

I promise to always make you a priority
And to love you as my partner
And my best friend, without reservation
All the days of my life

———-

Happy Anniversary, my love.

Sunset Wedding

The “Me” in Marriage

It’s been 7 months since I officially became Mrs. Rathroy and while sometimes I can’t believe the time has gone that quickly, it also feels like we’ve been married forever (in a good way). I’ve noticed that my grip on single Kelly has almost completely slipped away – stories from my life pre-Rathroy have seemingly been deleted from my brain to make space for new memories and stories that we build together every day.

But, losing those stories, along with my maiden name, threw me into a bit of an identity crisis. It’s bad enough that my new signature looks like Kindergarten scribble (no, I didn’t practice signing my married name before the wedding), but now I can’t remember what I used to eat or how I used to spend my evenings before I was a Mrs.

To be fair, I was in Germany.

To be fair, I was in Germany.

I spent some time silently panicking about “losing myself” in this lifelong relationship, and then I realized how silly that sounded. I was unmarried for 27 years and most of them were great. I did things like travel to Costa Rica and play beer pong and try to fix boys that “just needed to be loved.” Overall, a solid showing for my first 3 decades. But, if all goes according to plan, I’ll be married to Mr. Rathroy for like 75 years and I can’t even imagine all the stories and memories and personality traits that will fill all of those upcoming decades. I went through some pretty radical transformations in just the last few years, and I’m so curious about who I will become throughout the course of our lifelong marriage.

So, instead of wallowing in my attachment issues, I’ve started taking note of the things that I’ve already learned about myself since our wedding. I don’t know what it is, but something changes when you’re married. Maybe it’s the joint checking account or the perma-bling on our fingers or (more likely) something a little less tangible, but I’ve quickly learned that things are different now, including myself.

Wedding Ceremony Through Truck Window

1. I talk a lot. There are a few people that have always known this (mainly my ever so patiently listening mom), and I noticed that I babbled nervously around Mr. Rathroy when the romance first got real in Malawi, but boy can I talk. All the time. About almost anything. This is highlighted by the fact that my husband is extremely soft spoken in normal, daily life. He values silence, especially when the lights are off and he’s ready to go to sleep. Which is exactly the time that I have the need to discuss our weekly meal plan or the exchange rate to the Chilean peso.

2. I’m the boss. Maybe it’s because I’m the middle child, but I sure love being in charge of things. I’m a professional delegator and a die hard coordinator. And thanks to Lean In and their Ban Bossy campaign, I’m finally not ashamed to admit this. Though it doesn’t exactly help ease tensions with the Mister when going through a bathroom remodel or a garage reorganization…Thankfully, he fully supports my “leadership skills” and knows when to push back.

3. I love routine. There was a time when I thought I wanted a life of constant, unstable adventure. And while I absolutely need a certain dose of excitement to look forward to in life (a honeymoon in Patagonia, for example), I also really thrive with routine. Waking up at 5:30 every morning to make a smoothie never felt so easy and on Sundays, I bake granola. If someone had told me that about themselves 5 years ago, I might have cried for them. But now, my routine helps me focus, manage my expectations, and work for more when I get bored.

4. I’m really not that stubborn. Despite my boss-like tendencies around the house, I’ve really loosened up on the whole stubborn pride thing. If it’s important to Mr. Rathroy, I am happy to compromise (just don’t tell him or I’ll lose my bargaining chips…). Plus, my negotiating skills are at an all time high!

5. I need alone time. Not a lot of it, but without it I just start following Mr. Rathroy around the house and looking to him for my entertainment, thoughts, and general activities. Which, as you can imagine gets pretty boring for me and pretty annoying for him when he’s working in the garage or playing video games. Plus, it’s hardly healthy. But, with some alone time I reconnect with myself and my needs and it makes our interactions more appreciated and less demanding.

I’m staying tuned in with myself and taking notice of the small shifts that will eventually create a lifetime. I know marriage isn’t always sunshine and butterflies, and that sometimes I’ll still get pangs of nostalgia for who I was in my early twenties, but as long as I keep my eyes, my mind, and my heart open, I know that I’ll become exactly who I’m supposed to be.

Wedding Ceremony Site

And, as always, many thanks to Mr. Rathroy for walking softly by my side as I stomp through the unknown.

The Resolution Revolt

I’m not much for resolutions. Don’t get me wrong, I spent a fair amount of New Year’s Eves dreaming up the perfect resolution to make the following year, “the best year yet!” But over the years, as the motivation wained and the results stayed consistently unchanged, the word “resolution” has mostly lost it’s meaning to me. It’s a tradition. A mental ritual. An emotional trick in an attempt to float hope through the rest of the winter. But not a strategy to actually better my life.

The only photo we managed to take on New Year's Eve.

The only photo we managed to take on New Year’s Eve.

Lately, instead of resolutions, I’ve been trying to perform periodic self-evaluations. Anytime something is not quite right or I get a ping of discontent in my life, I try to adjust. Sometimes that means a new workout routine. Or trying something like Reiki. Or planning an adventure vacation. Whatever the adjustment, it tends to be a short term project in the beginning and often times becomes ingrained in my daily life as a healthy habit.

Going to Patagonia was one of the crazier adjustments.

Going to Patagonia was one of the crazier adjustments.

After an insightful co-worker read my post about successful friends, she asked if I had recently set any goals for myself. I quickly (and almost proudly) answered, “Nope.” I was feeling comfortable in life and was taking the opportunity to glide through the latest resolution round-up.

Strongly, she stated, “You should,” and explained that as she read my post, all she could hear in her mind was the song, “Is That All There Is?” playing.

Oh. My. God. I had written, edited, and published a pity party for myself and passed it off in my mind as being “comfortable” in life. The truth is, I am incredibly satisfied in all realms right now, and that has never happened before. I genuinely feel pure happiness every single day. So, maybe I’m scared to shake that up and risk breaking it. Maybe I’m exhausted from the whirlwind of fixing an old house and planning a wedding. Maybe I’m just getting lazy and allowing contentment to take the place of fulfillment. Maybe it’s the fact that 2013 was the best year of all time and what if it can never be beat? Whatever it is, it sounds like I need to re-evaluate my plans for this year.

Sometimes I can't believe it's possible to be this happy.

Sometimes I can’t believe it’s possible to be this happy.

I’m really proud of the work I’ve done on myself over the past year – mentally and physically. But I’ve used that hard work as an excuse to take a break from my evaluation process. So, fine. You got me, 2014. I officially submit my New Year’s Resolution for your records.

I, Mrs. Rathroy, resolve in the year two thousand fourteen to plan my next big adventure.

I have no idea what form it will take (fingers crossed for a trip to Southeast Asia), but I resolve to keep up those periodic self-evaluations, pinpoint and plan the next big adventure in my life (with Mr. Rathroy, of course), and experience it fully.

Now, does anyone have any suggestions?

Friends in High Places

Mr. Rathroy runs with a serious crowd. And by serious, I mean seriously successful. I’ve married into a social circle with people that get paid to do things like drive brand new cars, open new Disney resorts, and produce reality TV. Serious.

Our quick trips down to Southern California are probably more frequent than our bank account would like, but they’re always full of laughter, good food, lots of friends, and usually big life events. This past weekend was no exception as we attended a beautiful wedding (and paid for it dearly with hangovers) in Santa Monica. And even though the outline of our trip was similar to all the rest of them – same friends, same restaurants, same sunshine – by the time we got home, it felt like I had visited another world. A world where owning a home and having a decent job seemed somehow subpar. A world that ran on 75 degree weather and name recognition.

Grunion Gazette

Small things popped up throughout the weekend. Things that weren’t even pieces of new information but, piled together, created a fourth dimension that I never considered myself privy to. While perusing the local newspaper, almost every byline included a familiar name. Over a casual lunch, I learned about financing large-scale commercial real estate by a professional in the field. Even at the wedding, a Los Angeles County Supervisor was in attendance. I started examining the professional lives of our friends and became immediately insecure. Mr. Rathroy’s friends are famous. Whether they are locally known or voted onto the Forbes 30 Under 30 (true story), they are building legacies in the fields of journalism, business, politics, entertainment and more. And all of these people came to my wedding.

I make weekly meal plans and clean our baseboards and all of our extra money goes into our next home improvement project. I have anxiety over our dog and haven’t been to the gym consistently in 4 months. I own a house. I’m a wife. And I plant trees. That’s it. Not fit to be featured on the silver screen or to be fraternizing with such an elite southern California crowd.

As we headed back home, I felt the mediocrity caving in around me. How could my real life compare to the high level success stories that we basked in for the last 3 days? And I’ll tell you what didn’t help – that once we got home, we had to caulk our shower and do laundry like a couple of chumps.

But, while I tried to grumble about the boring chores and yearn for glamor, I noticed that all I really felt was happy. I tried to scold myself for a lame career or a small savings account, but I couldn’t. I was home. I was a wife. And I was happy. I’ll even admit that we were in bed reading our books by about 8:30 last night. And it was AWESOME.

I feel so blessed to be surrounded by such successful, vibrant people (no matter which city we’re in). It reminds me to set goals, to chase what I want in life, and to thank my lucky stars for the life that I have. Because even if my name is never on a byline or up in lights, I succeed every day as long as I choose to. And that’s a powerful choice.

Plus, I’m pretty much famous by association with friends like that, right?

In addition to all of the personal revelations and life choices, this weekend was incredibly fun. Sadly, most of the pictures I took were on my phone either at night or when I was 3 cocktails deep (or both), so they didn’t turn out great, but I had to at least share some highlights!

Claire Dinner

Veis Wedding 1

IMG_1467

IMG_1472

Veis Wedding 3

Veis Wedding 2

We were so excited to celebrate such a happy day with our friends. I’m so lucky to be surrounded by such inspiration and dedicated people!

Wedding Photo Sesh

A delightful request came in from one of my favorite bloggers (The Other Courtney) to post more of our wedding photos. And since I adore Courtney and I’m obsessed with our wedding photographers, I got really excited about the idea! I’m not sure why, but we haven’t even put wedding photos up on Facebook yet…I know, we’re the weirdest.

So, before I inundate you with all of the intimate moments caught on camera, I first have to brag about how awesome our wedding was. Every single one of our vendors kicked so much ass and made the day so easy that I take every opportunity possible to promote them. If you’re planning a wedding, or even planning to plan a wedding in your life, check these people out!

Venue: Forest House Lodge – even with a forest fire blazing in the background, I never once felt stressed about our wedding. This venue and its staff have perfected the art of coordinating and executing weddings and I want every single person I know to get married there. Plus, their ceremony site is to die for and I want their chef to cook for me every day.

Make-up: Rachelise Makeup Artistry – the sweetest gal in the world with an incredible talent to make you look like the most glamorous, beautiful version of yourself you could ever imagine.

Photography: The Goodness – I’ve been obsessed with these two for years and it was a dream come true to have them photograph my wedding. I’ll let the pictures convince you of their amazingness.

Lace Dress_The Goodness

Wedding Jewelry_The Goodness

Wedding Flowers_The Goodness

Getting Ready_The Goodness

Bridesmaids_The Goodness

Boys Getting Ready_The Goodness

Getting Ready 2_The Goodness

Groomsmen

First Look_The Goodness

Wedding Party_The Goodness

Dog in the Wedding Photos_The Goodness

Forest House Lodge Ceremony Site

Down the Aisle_The Goodness

Ceremony_The Goodness

Groom Crying_The Goodness

The Kiss_The Goodness

Friends Photos

The Girls

The Boys

Classic Truck

Reception_The Goodness

Reception2_The Goodness

Grand Entrance_The Goodness

Toasts_The Goodness

Cake Cutting_The Goodness

After this, it turns into a dark dance party full of friends. Is there any other way to end a wedding? Thanks to everyone that was part of the best day ever (even the ones that took the time to scroll through this insanely long picture post!). I’m the luckiest girl in the world.

Happy Wedding!

Up In Smoke – A Girls on the Grid Article

My latest and greatest has been posted on Girls on the Grid! They asked if I could write about, “how to keep your sanity when your wedding is threatened by wildfire,” and after I was done laughing out loud I said, “I can absolutely write about that!”

Because it’s an online lifestyle blog, the description of my nervous breakdown was shortened so as to keep the attention of readers, but believe you me there was some panic. And, as you’ll see toward the bottom of the article, the moral of my story was to have a bomb ass wedding venue complete with coordinator to keep you calm.

But, I would love to hear stories of how other people keep their sanity when it’s Bride v The Universe the week before the big day. I think I might have called it all off and eloped.

For the original article, visit Girls on the Grid! Also, I know that the fire that threatened my wedding was nothing compared to the blaze happening in Yosemite right now. 150,000 acres and counting…I’m sending lots of love to the firefighters that keep California safe every single summer.

————–

Smokey Ceremony Site

When you start planning your wedding for August in the Sacramento region, there are many things to consider. Things like: people will be transitioning back into the school year, your guests may have already used all of their annually accrued vacation time, the bugs will be out in full force. And of course, anytime I mentioned the date of our wedding, most people felt the need to tell me, “Wow. August. It’s going to be hot!” as if I hadn’t spent the last 27 summers sweating it out in Sacramento.

As soon as we booked our wedding at Forest House Lodge, in Foresthill for August 18th, I made this plea to the universe: “I know it’s going to be hot. I know we’ll have to keep our ceremony short and remind the bridesmaids not to lock their knees for fear of fainting. I know we’ll get a few mosquito bites. But please, just don’t let California be on fire.”

For anyone that has lived in California (or watched the news) for more than two summers, you know that about every other year, the entire state combusts under the pressure of extreme heat and its endless amber waves of grain (or whatever those fields of dead grass actually are). So you can imagine our surprise when, in the weeks leading up to our wedding, it was as if California flung itself into an early fall. We frolicked around Sacramento in the 85 degree weather and watched the 10 day forecast as it continued to deliver good news – the triple digits had expired in July! With a forecasted 91 degrees, we finalized our last details and went about enjoying the business of being engaged for the last few days.

And then, Foresthill went up in flames. In sync with Yosemite and 25 pages of other fires listed on the Cal Fire website, the state ignited. My first reaction was, “Figures.” I pretty much knew I had jinxed it the second I tried to bargain with that heartless Universe, and everything else had been going entirely too smoothly. Plus, what was a panic attack really going to do? Not put out a 12,000 (currently 25,000) acre fire, that’s for sure. I put on my best calm Buddha smile and only secretly checked the incident report online once a day. We had seven days and it’s not like wild fires are something new. They’d have it out way before our wedding date.

Except they didn’t. The only thing that fire did was quadruple in size every single night. It went from 5% contained to 45% contained to 31% contained. My incident report checks went from twice a day to twice an hour. They closed roads and issued air quality warnings and a dark plume of smoke arose out of the Foothills and settled over all of Placer County. With three days before the wedding, after poorly disguising my mania in an e-mail to our coordinator, she responded with details of the smoke, the safe distance of the fire, and a complete lack of worry from their end – the show would go on without a firey hitch.

And it did. Our morning arrival was greeted with dense smoke from Madison Avenue all the way up the hill, but by ceremony time, just like our coordinator said it would, the smoke rolled back and you could barely smell a hint of campfire. No one fainted from the heat and swatting at the summertime bugs offered a humorous break from the emotional ceremony. Even the never-before-seen August rain shower (yes, fire and rain on our wedding day) that immediately followed our ceremony provided for cute photos under an umbrella.

It seemed like California gave us a taste of its worst on August 18th but all it really did was make me enjoy each moment even more. Once I fully accepted that there was nothing I could do about heat, bugs, rain, fire, or any other natural aspect of our outdoorsy wedding, I was able to stop worrying about them and focus on all of the friends and family that braved the same natural forces just to watch me get married.

As much as I would like to take all the credit for being incredibly calm and enlightened during the fire storm of crazy that lead to our wedding, I couldn’t tell this story without giving my eternal thanks to Forest House Lodge. Every meltdown and malfunction was anticipated and solved without mention and I wouldn’t have trusted anyone else to execute my wedding with a wild fire down the street. Their confidence gave me confidence and somewhere in between primping in our private bridal suite and stuffing my face with pre-ceremony fried artichoke hearts, I forgot altogether that there was a fire. In my mind, I was a bride, and not a firefighter, and that was all I could have asked for on August 18th. And a new husband, I guess…

#Rathroy Wedding Weekend Update

Perhaps instead of laying around watching Netflix or learning how to do a sock bun this afternoon, I should have used my post-wedding sore throat and sniffles to update you on the crazy awesome wedding weekend that Mr. Rathroy and I just had.

So far, I’ve attempted to write about the event 15ish times. Turns out, there’s no way to do it succinctly. Therefore, I’ve included some highlights below until I can wrap my own brain around the fact that the greatest wedding of all time was actually mine.

The lead up was rough. Within about the last two weeks of the wedding countdown, there were 5 deaths that directly affected our guests (including one for each Rathroy), there was one emergency c-section (that brought beautiful baby Claire into the world), and there was a big giant forest fire.

These cute little guys line the streets of Foresthill. Ironic.

These cute little guys line the streets of Foresthill. Ironic.

Needless to say, it took a lot of meditating and a heavy dose of the always calming Mr. Rathroy to get to the big day without a nervous breakdown.

And suddenly, our friends started pouring in. They came from Long Beach, from Sierra City, from Seattle, from San Diego, from Ione, and from so many other places. They surrounded us and quite literally filled the streets (our street at least) with hip hop and laughter and I’m pretty sure they were still dancing on their way home two days later.

So many incredible friends.

So many incredible friends.

Our families greeted and mingled and got bossed around (by me) and smiled through all of it. They stood in the “no one saw that coming” heavy sprinkles to take post-ceremony photos and gave toasts and welcomed the formation of a new, bigger family.

People ate prime rib and made custom orders at the mashed potato bar. I scarfed down deep fried artichoke hearts and fried risotto. Mr. Rathroy sipped Johnny Walker Blue and we danced well past 1:00 a.m.

No one tells you how hard it is to dance in a corset. It's hard!

No one tells you how hard it is to dance in a corset. It’s hard!

We woke up in a smoke filled room (refer to the forest fire mentioned above) with new rings on our hands and chocolate truffle cake for breakfast. Okay, I was the only one that ate cake for breakfast…It was truly the greatest and most fun wedding I ever could have dreamed of. And because I still get a little weepy when I realize it’s all over and will never happen again, I’ll just show you some preliminary, iPhone photos stolen from all of my friends. As soon as The Goodness finishes up our photos, I’ll force you to look at those too.

Getting Ready

decor photo

Aisle

Ceremony

Party

Thank you to everyone for the support, whether you were actually there or sent your love through the magical internet airwaves. It was so incredible and I can’t wait to actually digest the fact that I am now, officially, Mrs. Rathroy.