Cheers to Three Years

Three years ago today I married an amazing man, in a hurricane, outside, in Maine. I flubbed my lines, my dress was weighed down with mud, my family and friends built bridges out of pallets and items found around the yard, people lost their shoes and ruined clothing – and it was amazing.

Because of the rain, we had to scrap the guestbook, the table favors, the slideshow and many other details but none of it mattered. Your wedding day isn’t about bows, ribbon, crafts or photos – it is about love, family, friends and moments.

I have too many favorite moments from that day and I hope I always remember them. I loved the moments Adam and I snuck away and I loved the moments we were surrounded by hundreds of people but felt like we were alone. I loved the laughter of our friends and family as we sloshed through mud and sang like we were trying out for Star Search. I love the stories people came away with that day and I love how much we still talk about the wettest wedding of our lives.

Three years in and none the wiser

I don’t have any marriage advice, we are still figuring it out ourselves. I do know I am my husband’s biggest fan (and that is saying a lot – he is kind of a big deal). I know I wouldn’t have achieved half of what I have in the past few years, without knowing he has my back. I also know a lot of my drive comes from wanting to make him proud of me.

I am happy to celebrate three fun years of marriage and I look forward to celebrating 4 years, 5 years, 30 years and 50 years too. I am lucky I found a man that makes me laugh, challenges me, catches me when I stumble, pushes me to be a better person, listens to me, inspires me and loves me as much as I love him.

Everyone says that it is good luck to have rain on your wedding day.. I prefer a different saying we heard from our wedding day:

A wet knot… is a tight knot

So Cheers to Three Years and Cheers to many, many more!

Picking Your Head Up

My head downPretty crazy week over here in my world. Our life just carried into the next chapter – Adam started Med School this week at UNE. We have quite a journey ahead of us. I am now the bread winner for the family and Adam is going to pour himself into school for the next 8 years or so.

I am so excited to move forward, especially after a year or two of a semi-holding pattern. But, being the control freak I am – all this change has me in a tizzy.

Adam is at school about 45-50 hours a week and has lots of studying to do when he is not. We traded cars, I handed over the keys to my Jetta that has done me good for the past 7 years and he handed over the reigns to his Jeep Wrangler (see you later good hair days). We are going to have to get used to a smaller income and the dogs are going to have to get used to not having someone home with them all day. Big week… big week.

So I have had an exhausting week between trying to run the dogs each morning, keeping up with housey stuff, a busy week at work and gearing up for the Beach to Beacon (10k that was yesterday). The most exhausting part though has been the roller coaster inside my head. I am a worrier, a planner and I can deal with ANY situation as long as I know what I have to deal with and right now… I am not in control of any of those things.

Picking my head up

By now you know I run but you may or may not know I joined a running group last winter. I can run a 12 minute mile for ever. I have done 3 half marathons and plenty of other long runs. 12 minute miles and I can just do it. What I can’t do is run faster. I get nervous and panicky when I run faster and I am terrified that if I run faster, I will burn out and not be able to complete my distance I am supposed to run.

With this running group, I have a coach. Our group’s running coach, Ziggy, is a true legend to Maine running and probably the sport itself. Going into this I thought he would tell me I held my arms wrong, my stride was too short, that I leaned forward too much – nope. The biggest advice Ziggy gives me at races, timed mile trials or 880 repeats is “Pick your head up Amanda!” I run with my head down.

I heard the advice and I tried a few times but changing your ways is difficult so I think I accidentally gave up.

Smoke from White Birch FarmI recently started taking horse back riding lessons again. Every other week I head up to White Birch Farm and have a lesson. It has been great and I have forgotten so much since last time I rode. There are hundreds of little things that I need to relearn and I need to get to know these horses, my instructor and the ways of this farm.

A few months in though and I already have had my biggest weakness pointed out (repeatedly), I need to pick my head up! I ride with my head down, pretty much looking at the horses head. If we pick up the pace and are trotting or hopping a fence, I will never make it – we will be running into the fence before I even look at it.

So I need to pick my head up

I have started picking my head up when I run and I have noticed a few things:

  • It is an empowering feeling to see what is ahead of you. It makes you immediately feel stronger.
  • You are taking on the road versus the road coming AT you. With your head up you are like ‘I will run over there and then up there’ but with your head down, literally you just see asphalt coming at you. You are almost playing defense on the road coming at you versus taking charge of where you are going.
  • It makes me a little sick, almost like motion sickness. I have to assume running with your head down versus up does something to your breathing. Right now I just now it makes me a little light headed but I think that will get better.

For horseback riding, by picking my head up it makes the horse know that I am in control of our situation. I am going to have an eye out and we are headed over this way and it is going to be cool.

In this next chapter of my life – I can keep my head down and internalize, over analyze every situation and make myself crazy (like I did this week). Or I can pick my head up and look at our future. My husband is getting to study to do something he loves. He is achieving his goals. I am acheiving my goals and we are going to have better lives because of it. Just like running and riding, I need to look ahead to where we are going and not drown in the details of getting there. There will always be ‘what-ifs’ but they will always work themselves out.

“I skate to where the puck is going to be, not where it has been.”
Wayne Gretzky

The Big Three on Relationship Advice

relationship adviceBeing all married up, I am certified to give relationship advice… aren’t I? That is what a lot of people think. Even people I just met will ask me for relationship advice. I don’t mind it, I actually kind of like it. I like people and I like hearing about people’s lives, so it is cool.

Each relationship has it’s own cast of characters, setting, introduction, intricacies and story but in my opinion, when you are looking deep into your relationship to determine if it is going to work – you have a lot in common with a lot of other people. In that inspection, I see a lot of similarities from ‘troubled’ relationship to relationship. I have seen it first hand, second hand and heard it in stories from people I don’t even know.

So as relationship advice goes, I would say these are the big three I dole out:

  1. Don’t pretend to be someone you aren’t – When two people get together, they bring two different histories and personalities together. Too often, one party molds into what they think the other person wants and in-turn they lose a bit of themselves. Acting, after awhile, gets exhausting. Be yourself, hold on to the things you like to do and that will will attract the right person.
  2. Don’t wait for the other person to change – On the reflection on the last point, be fair and don’t wait for your partner to change. It isn’t fair for you to expect them to change for you. You have to love someone for who they are and not what you think they can be or who you want them to be.
  3. Don’t be stupid – Listen to your gut or your heart – if something doesn’t feel right, it might not be right. Before you read their texts, emails, follow them after work, hire a PI – STOP! If something is making you feel that icky, you have a reason to feel that way. There is a good chance you are right or you may just be with someone you won’t ever trust and that probably won’t work very well either.

Those are the big three I see the most out in the relationship jungle. If you are there, know millions have been before you and made it to the other side. Those are also places I have been in myself. If you want to hear more about my stories, buy me a glass of wine and I might tell you someday.

I also know that with the end of many relationships, you feel like that is it… and you ruined it by not trying enough, being patient enough, pretty enough etc. etc. That isn’t true and in-time you will recognize that you did the right thing and when you are in the right place you will look back on this relationship as a teaching moment.

I think every single relationship we have (no matter how horrible) teaches us something, even if it is just showing us what we do not want.

Oh and no, I do not think I am some type of relationship expert. I DO think I want people to be happy with themselves and their relationships. Sometimes it takes the advice of a friend, a family member or a complete stranger to let you know it is going to be ok.

Photo credit: dev null


And if you are upset this post isn’t about Brody, here is a picture of him yesterday with a big old grin on his face!

Nobody Talks About Happily Ever After

Happily Ever After
Photo credit: disneyspeak.com

I was (am) a really big fan of the series Sex and the City (Affiliate link), especially in my twenties. I was so excited for the movie to come out in 2008… want to know why? Because at the end of the series, Carrie and Mr. Big finally end up together so finally we would see what happily ever after looked like!

Spoiler alert – you don’t get to see what happily ever after looks like in the movie (not really in the second one either). I left the theater so disappointed.

No one seems to talk about happily ever after. Every movie or series ends with the couple having their first dramatic kiss, or walking away holding hands, or maybe even walking down the aisle. But then what?

It is no secret that over 50% of marriages end in divorce and that many couples are opting to live with each other but not get married. Obviously there are millions of reasons for marriages going down the shitter but I have this one theory – that if no one talks about what happens after happily ever after we are helping set these new relationships up for failure. No one knows what to expect and then when the wedding is over, or the kids are grown, or the allure fades we panic because we don’t know what this is supposed to feel like.

The other day there was a teaser on the Today Show for a book on modern marriages. I was so excited! I am married and I am living in these modern times! I had already decided that I was probably going to buy it. Then the segment came on. It was for the book Marriage Confidential: The Post-Romantic Age of Workhorse Wives, Royal Children, Undersexed Spouses, and Rebel Couples Who Are Rewriting the Rules (Affiliate)… that isn’t what I was looking for.

Where is the book called like ‘So You Are Married and Happy’? I would read that one. Mind you, I haven’t read Haag’s Marriage Confidential but it seems a little negative and scary just from the piece I saw.

So what am I going to do about it?

I think I am going to talk about it. I think people in happy marriages (like mine) should be celebrated. I love my husband. No we don’t have children and don’t you dare ask me if I am pregnant… we may have children someday but right now we like being married and there is nothing wrong with that.

The other day my mother texted me that my father drove past her on the island and blew her a kiss. They have been married for 25 years. They are best friends and they are happy. That should be celebrated.

So I am going to do my part to talk about what happens after ‘and they lived happily ever after’ because we as a society should. If we let people know more about what a marriage is like, it could help other people feel more normal when they are uncomfortable. I will of course have to run a lot of this by my husband but I think he will be on board.

I am not a certified professional or therapist or life coach but I have a little first-hand, real-world, best of breed experience with marriage (2.75 years experience and counting) and I will use this little space I have carved out here online to talk about how a modern marriage can actually happen.

“I have been married 65 years, 66 in September, and I think that is a pretty good start” – A nice lady Adam met today

ps – If you have a story about living happily ever after I would LOVE to hear it and possibly share it. Just let me know!