First Week of Married Life

I’m sitting at the kitchen table right now eating a sliver of dark chocolate and catching up on my emails — finally back to my usual routine. Something is different, though. Instead of being in my parents’ home at their warm oak table to do my writing, I am sitting at Robert’s cherry one. I am also learning to quickly correct myself from saying things like “Robert’s table,” “Robert’s living room,” or “Robert’s home,” to ours. So right now I am sitting at our kitchen table, about to write a little blog post about married life.

We’ve been married for 11 days now so I can’t really tell you all of the ins and outs of marriage, but I can tell you that yes, it has been different than being engaged. A question I have gotten since the moment we said “I do” is, “Do you feel different now that you’re a married woman?” At the time it felt the way it does when everyone begins asking you if you feel a year older on your birthday. No, obviously I don’t, is what we all think when we reach the anniversary of our birth. Not much changes from year to year unless it’s a milestone birthday like say, turning 21 and being able to sit at a bar. I digress.

Screen Shot 2018-10-03 at 11.07.06 AM.png
Saying our vows
Screen Shot 2018-10-03 at 11.06.39 AM
Our first moment as husband and wife. 🙂

The day of our wedding was wonderful, but there wasn’t a major change in my relationship with Robert right that second. Sure it felt good adding a wedding band to each of our hands, but then we focused on having a nice time together on the dance floor and visiting with loved ones. The big change came after the wedding — I finally moved in with Robert!

I had stayed at his place a lot in the past, but I never moved all my stuff in or called it my own. When he first purchased his home I helped him decorate some, but I didn’t think of myself in the equation a ton. We painted the walls a few different shades of gray and got dark wood finishes for his bedroom set and side tables. I thought it was all beautiful, but very masculine. It’s been fun for me to move in and add little homey touches that make me feel comfortable too now. My favorite pieces are fluffy blankets and our little pink and blue Kate Spade vases, and I am sifting through wedding photos to add some nice frames to the mix.

It’s been fun making his our home a little more cozy, and the main thing I think I’ve learned so far is that there are a lot of sports on TV. Like, not only is football on 3 days a week, but each game lasts several hours, and on Sunday they have 3 games in a row. THREE! What?!  I knew that Robert really liked sports and watched them a decent amount, but I usually spent some of that time with my friends or family, so didn’t pay a lot of attention to how much is actually on TV. Luckily I am more invested than I used to be, as I have a fantasy league to look after — and I really want to win this year.

Tonight we are going to be making a Blue Apron meal, courtesy of my sweet friend Kirsten! One of my favorite date nights is spending time together cooking (well, me reading the instructions and Robert doing most of the chopping and mixing) and getting to catch up over homemade food. I’m super excited about evening 11, and can’t wait to write my next update. It feels good to be back. 🙂

September 22

It’s so funny how much web traffic I got on September 22 and 23. I guess a lot of you guys must have known our wedding date! If you’ve ever gotten married, though, you also know just how crazy the time leading up to the wedding is, and then the week or so after.

I am finally back and have lots and lots to write about! I’m excited to share some of my stories about wedding planning, offer advice on what I’ve learned through the experience, and most of all, share what it’s like being a newlywed! So far it’s been really great and so much fun, but it’s also been a lot busier than I expected. I can’t wait to share more with you all! In the meantime, here are a few pictures our photographer, Katie Nesbitt took.

Krista_Previews_007.JPG

Krista_Previews_001.JPG

Krista_Previews_008.JPG

Stop Making Excuses

Something humans do a lot is try to rationalize and make sense of the world around us. This often includes other people, and the dating world. Analyzing dating is such a fun thing; in fact, I often do it on this blog and really look forward to hearing about new situations so I can try to get into someone’s head and figure out why they behave the way they do.

One thing I’ve seen over and over again in the dating world is people trying to make excuses for others’ behavior. Whether it’s giving them an excuse to misbehave, or trying to justify their actions, there is sometimes too much forgiveness for someone who just isn’t the right fit for you. Today I want to target some of those examples and help some of those struggling with this to realize they don’t have to know why someone is behaving inappropriately; instead, just find a person who will treat you well right off the bat.

desk.png


Example 1:
You’ve been talking to a guy for awhile and he is chronically “bad at texting you back.” 

Whether it’s game day or he’s working, I think about 95% of millennials have their phone with them the majority of the day. I know there are the exceptions to the rule, but if someone really likes you they’re going to want to connect with you — or at least make you feel secure with the amount of time they are willing to give to you. If you’re seeing him on a regular basis and he’s bad at texting you that’s one thing, but if he just isn’t stepping up to the plate to make plans and doesn’t connect with you on your phone, move on. There are a million reasons he might not be texting you, but all of them are irrelevant if he’s not going to give you the care you want and deserve in a relationship.

Example 2:
He isn’t romantic and doesn’t seem to speak your love language. 

This is a little more complicated. Have you talked your guy about this? You definitely don’t have to have the same love language as someone to make a relationship with them work, but to have a healthy and fulfilling love life you might have to put extra work into figuring out what makes your partner feel loved. If you’ve had conversations about your heart and don’t see a real effort being made to change that have actions to back up the words that are being said, take a step back and reevaluate. Actions speak volumes louder than words, and it’s very important to be with someone who prioritizes taking care of your heart, mind, and soul. Changing behaviors and being more aware can take time — so be patient — but it also takes a lot of hard work and effort. You’ll know if your partner isn’t putting work behind their words, but if they are, that is an amazing quality to have in a significant other.

Example 3:
You’ve been dating for awhile and he’s still too scared or broken to commit. 

If you’re looking for a relationship but the person you’ve been seeing isn’t, chances are the timing isn’t right for you two. I typically don’t buy in to “timing” being the sole reason for a relationship not working out — I think if someone cares about you with all their heart they can make things work despite having a lot of other things going on in life — but there are people who genuinely won’t work because of when they meet. This doesn’t mean y’all won’t be together in the future, but don’t hold out for that. If you want companionship, don’t waste your time with someone who isn’t ready unless you’re really actually fine with waiting for them. People can be unpredictable, especially if they are living in a confused state of mind and trying to figure themselves out. Step away and revisit the relationship if the opportunity comes up again, but in the meantime keep your options and heart open to what the world has to offer.


These examples are fairly general, and I think many of us could at some point relate to something similar. My point in this post is to stop wasting your time in the dating world, and start dating smarter. When you take care of your heart and mental health while shopping around for a partner, you are increasing your dating stamina and making room for the right person to step into your life, rather than exhausting yourself with all the wrong people. This makes the dating world a lot less painful, confusing, and frustrating, and allows you to cut out a lot of the games that are often started when playing the field.

Strong (adj.)

Today I would like to dissect what it means to be “strong.”

This has been a word used to describe me by so many people since I graduated college, got POTS, and went through a number of difficult trials, but it still feels kind of funny when I hear someone throw this adjective next to my name.

Dictionary.com defines strong as,

“Mentally powerful or vigorous,”

but it doesn’t offer any tips on how to be strong or what kind of trials make you strong.

I was made strong. I didn’t choose to be strong and I am in no way admirably resilient. Before getting sick I was used to a fairly comfortable life, and never in a million years thought of myself as tough or someone who would face trials well.

Almost 4 years later, though, and here I am. I had a choice to make when I got sick. I could take what the doctors said, admit defeat, and recognize that my life would never be the same, or I could fight for the best life I could possibly have. I quickly chose the latter. This involves keeping an open and optimistic mindset, being incredibly dilligent with my doctors appointments, physical therapy, and diet, and finally — learning how to rest.

When I first got my diagnoses I asked through tears whether I’d ever get better. The nurse laughed and told me I wouldn’t and my mind immediately went into a dark abyss, thinking about a long life of dizzy spells, fainting, and feeling miserable. I was incredibly lucky to have my incredibly encouraging mother with me, who followed me to the parking lot and said the nurse didn’t know what she was talking about. She said I needed to take each day as it came to me, and think positive thoughts. To this day I believe this is one reason I am slowly getting better and have been able to make peace with my new life.

I’ve had POTS for three-and-a-half years now and haven’t had a week off from going to visit some sort of doctor. I typically have 2 physical therapy appointments and either acupuncture or a massage to work on managing my chronic pain, as well as regular visits to my cardiologist, neurologist, and endocrinologist. I go to the gym 5 days a week — even when I am feeling awful — because the worst possible thing for a POTSie to do is get deconditioned. This involves a short 30 minute recumbent bike ride, as I could easily faint if I am in an upright position. I get B12 shots every other week since I am deficient in it and B12 seems to be a link to chronic pain. Then I have to take a lot of time to rest so that my body can settle down a bit. I get worn out incredibly easy, and a trip to the grocery store turns into a long ordeal because of the recovery time afterward.

Lots of POTS patient develop adult allergies, so I can’t eat many of my favorite foods anymore. I have given up nightshade vegetables (Potatoes are my favorite food and I miss French fries dearly!), gluten (Now I am the butt of so many jokes), and I really limit my dairy and sugar intake. I don’t drink coffee at all, partly because I can’t have caffeine, and partly because I just can’t have coffee, period, and I don’t drink alcohol at all anymore. The coffee is definitely a million times more difficult.

Screen Shot 2017-02-26 at 10.04.46 PM.png

Lastly, I have had to learn to listen to my body and rest. This is such a hard thing for me to do, as my mind is incredibly active. Anyone who knew me before I got sick knows I love to work and play, so sleeping and rest were never really a big part of my vocabulary. I joke to my friends that I’m just catching up on all the time I missed in my life before, but it really is a difficult thing for me to wrap my mind around. I always have a million and one things I want to do and write about, however my body isn’t very kind to me. Writing hurts after ten minutes, and the dictation software I have used is grueling. I can’t sit at a desk chair very long without having a lot of pain in my shoulders, and some days I can’t stand without feeling dizzy. Sometimes all I can do is rest, and I’ve learned that it’s okay to spend time listening to podcasts and watching HGTV when I really can’t do anything else. Yes, I would much rather be working and making a living for myself. I wish I could live in New York and write for a magazine, I wish I could have a paycheck to save for a new car or fun wardrobe, but that’s just not in the cards for me right now. Right now it’s my job to focus on getting better, keep taking care of myself, and trust that God will make something beautiful out of my struggle. 

The best advice I could possibly give anyone going through something tough is to take each day as it comes to you. Worrying about things in the future that you cannot control won’t help you change them, and looking back on the past won’t make your present any more satisfying. I know what it’s like to feel helpless and I know what it’s like to feel like life isn’t fair. The greatest feeling when your world is crumbling in on you is when you finally learn to give your problems to God and let Him take care of the things that are outside your control.

Today’s lesson: If I can be strong, you can too. I’ve always thought I am an incredibly average person in most regards, which should offer an incredible amount of encouragement to anyone reading this. If I can do, so can you.

My Heart Is Deployed

My friends who know Robert know he’s not crazy active on social media; he definitely doesn’t have a blog I can go to and read about all of his thoughts and feelings when I miss him (And in a lot of ways I’m glad there aren’t two of us who pour our hearts out to the world — that might just be a little much in one relationship, ha!).

I was missing him a little more than usual last night and did what any millennial would — I went to his Facebook page to feel like I had some sort of connection with him while he was away at work. We don’t get to talk a ton except during my mornings or afternoons, so nighttime is a particularly difficult time for me.

I smiled at the pictures I’ve come to know so well, and teared up at the one of us the day before we had to say goodbye. Then I saw something really strange on his page. He had written a Facebook status on Thanksgiving expressing gratitude towards his friends, family, and coworkers, but included this little line in the middle of it:

“I can’t believe the holiday season is here… It was over 8 months ago that I left Virginia, but the time has gone by quickly.”

What. The. Heck?!?!

IN WHAT WORLD HAS TIME GONE BY QUICKLY?!

I flash back to February when we said “goodbye” to our weekend visits. I barely even remember what it’s like to see someone outside my family that regularly.

Screen Shot 2016-12-13 at 7.00.02 PM.png
My best friend Audrey, once again, took this photo soon after Robert left for his deployment. It was so great to find this sign randomly at one of our photoshoots.

Then I think back to March and saying goodbye in Richmond. Okay, I’ll give him that, the emotions are still raw from watching him leave at 4:30 in the morning. I still can’t go back to that day without feeling really torn up about it. I am certain deep down to my core that the day we said goodbye in Richmond is exactly what leaving for a deployment is supposed to feel like. I remember walking him out to the bus, holding his hand and feeling tears dance right behind my eyes, but holding them in as best as I possibly could until I was able to run back into the lobby and break down. I remember feeling the way Kim Kardashian must when she does her signature “ugly cry” in front of everyone in the hotel lobby. When the man at the front desk asked if I was okay and came over to try to help me feel better, he put his hand on my shoulder and had a look of pity in his eyes I didn’t recognize because I hadn’t ever earned it before. This was the first time I showed that much of myself to a stranger. I remember the feeling in the pit of my stomach when I realized in that moment that was now one of the people I had always felt bad for in the past. I was someone who had to watch a loved one leave to serve for my country, and I had someone to worry about for the next ten months.

I think back to Baltimore in April and the two precious days we had together after we thought we wouldn’t see each other again until January or February. I remember that day so well too, but it feels so long ago.

As does the first week of him being gone and the many little moments I’ve collected along the way where I’ve tried my hardest to muster up just enough strength to keep pressing forward, even when I feel like my heart might not be able to handle another day of everything a deployment has to offer. Missing him often feels kind of the same day-to-day, but I can think back to several particularly difficult moments. Pulling my car to the side of the road to cry, attending weddings and events as the only couple-less one of our group, and spending  many chilly fall evenings in my PJs by myself wishing I had a snuggle buddy to name just a few.

Time is such a funny thing, and though it’s seemed very different to each of us, we both have experienced the exact same amount of time apart. We’ve also been blessed to spend the same amount with each other; it just somehow never feels like enough to me.

I’m hoping we’ll get lots of time together when he’s back. Time is easily the most valuable thing I own, and I love spending it on the people I care about most in life. I may hate deployments, but I absolutely love my soldier.

Screen Shot 2016-12-13 at 7.12.53 PM.png
This is a picture of Robert meeting Governor Terry McAuliffe at his departure ceremony.

Intentionally Intentional

“Wait, is this a date?”

As a girl, I have wondered this a few times in my life when a guy asks me to “hang out” somewhere. Depending on the situation, I usually err on the safe side and assume it isn’t if I’m unsure.

Dating can be awkward enough as it is, so why make things like simple communication difficult? I have been asked countless times by guys how to ask a girl on a proper date, and so many of my girl friends have called me confused with whether a male is interested in her or not. There is a very simple answer to all of our communication problems. Be clear in stating your intentions with someone!

You don’t have to be all weird about it, but by simply saying, “I would love to take you out to dinner,” you are making it very clear that you want to take the person you are asking on a date. First, if you already know them, I think dinner is a great option for date #1, as it’s a little nicer than just coffee or drinks. You can always change the wording around to do something else for a first date, however I would definitely make the activity one that is very clearly a date. Going on a run with someone is nice, but hardly leaves room for any sort of romance. Second, by using the words “take you out,” you are making it incredibly clear that this isn’t just an outing between friends.

date.png

On the flip side, if someone asks you to “hang out,” I’d say it isn’t a serious date, so take things slow! I’ve had relationships grow from friendship, which can be a great foundation for something wonderful. Don’t put your life on hold for someone who isn’t ready to date you or isn’t interested, though. Keep doing your own thing whether that is dating around or accepting an invitation from someone else you are possibly interested in. The best lesson we all learned from He’s Just Not That Into You is that if someone wants to be with you they will eventually try. If they don’t ever get the guts to ask you out they care about their pride more than they care about being with you! You want someone who will fight for you, right?

Today’s lesson: It’s better to be overly clear and upfront with your intentions than to be ambiguous when you ask someone out. Getting turned down sucks, but it’s so much better to find out sooner rather than later that someone isn’t interested in dating you… That way you can move on to another person who will totally want to go on a date!

Featuring The Face Behind SITS

I thought it would be fun for my favorite guest to do a little interview with me. I had a few friends help me come up with questions to ask him, and the gentleman I am oh so fond of answered some questions about what it’s like dating me. Enjoy!

Single In The Suburbs:
Tell us, what is it really like dating Krista?

Robert:
Dating Krista has been an awesome experience. Krista is somebody that is so positive about everything. She genuinely cares about others around her much more than she does herself, and she proves that in everything she writes about on this blog. I knew she is an amazing person from the beginning, but this was solidified the night before my flight from Virginia to Texas to begin my deployment when she gave me a book of letters she collected and laminated from my friends and family. She had reached out to them because she wanted to give me something nice from everybody before I left, and I was amazed with how many of my friends and family participated. Amazing.

SITS:
In a sentence, what is the best thing about dating her?

Robert:
This will be tough to do in just one sentence, but let’s try… The best thing about dating Krista is that she truly is a good person; that she is beautiful, inside and out; that she is an amazingly talented writer and I’ve enjoyed reading all her work, plus she sends me a lot of letters and cards (to include a letter for each week of my deployment); that she is extremely intelligent; that she loves playing Mario games, and is ok with me beating her; that she has sent me a million care packages while I’ve been deployed; that she trusts me, and it’s very easy for me to trust her; that she is open about everything; that we enjoy everything we do together. OK, I think that’s one good sentence.

Screen Shot 2016-09-26 at 3.52.16 PM.png
This is a photo Robert took of me in our first few months together. I always think it’s cute when guys take pictures of their girlfriends, but I’ve never had someone sneak attack take photos of me like Robert does!

SITS:
In a sentence, what is the worst thing about dating her? (Be honest!)

Robert:
Krista enjoys making cookies — and I enjoy eating them.


SITS:

Have you noticed any interesting or annoying habits she has?

Robert:
I haven’t noticed any annoying habits, but there are a couple interesting/funny ones. My favorite is probably when we’re playing super smash brothers (yes, we’re nerds). She does two things while playing this that crack me up. If she sees something funny happen in the game, she will start laughing hysterically, which in turn makes me, and anybody else playing with us laugh as well. Also when she sees an item that she wants she’ll say out loud, “HEY! I want that!” I think it’s really cute… But I still usually don’t allow her to get it.


SITS:
How do you feel about Single In The Suburbs?

Robert:
This is a tough one. I met Krista about a year ago and I knew what I was getting into with her dating blog. I understood where she was in her life, and that she needs this blog because it really is a part of her, who she is, and what she does. It obviously isn’t easy to read about when she goes on a date that isn’t me; however, almost everything I’ve read on her blog that was about a specific date was me… So I’m OK with that. My attempts at getting her to change her blog from “Single in The Suburbs” to “dating a really, really, ridiculously awesome guy who also went to George Mason and is especially cool because he’s a Patriots fan who is converting me to a Patriots fan as well” has thus far been unsuccessful. Maybe when I get back and can think of an even better blog title than that, we can make it happen.

SITS:
On a related note, how do you feel being written about so often? You are clearly “Boston” and “Army.”

Robert:
I am very glad to know that I am “Boston” and “Army”. I had some suspicions but I’m happy it is confirmed! In all seriousness, I enjoy reading all her posts. I love the posts about me because she finds ways to make me sound positive most of the time… but I particularly the ones that aren’t about me because I know about myself. I like to learn about new things about her.


SITS:
Tell us one of her deepest, darkest secrets. (Editor’s note: I will kill you if you say too much)

Robert:
This one will get me into trouble… Krista has told me a lot of secrets! I guess the one I’ll mention here is the fact that she NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE.*

SITS:
What is the most embarrassed you’ve been on a date with Krista?

Robert:
I’ll name two… Number 1, when we were walking around Arlington on a date looking at Christmas lights, she got down on one knee and pretended to propose to me. That was pretty embarrassing because there were a lot of people around. Number 2, she threw me a surprise birthday at a hibachi place… In November… 4 months before my birthday. She had stopped by the place earlier to drop off birthday balloons and cupcakes so that they could present me with these gifts in front of the entire restaurant when I brought her back later.


SITS:

How did you feel going into the first date? What about after it?

Robert:
OK, this question requires some background knowledge for your readers… Our first date almost never happened. In fact, our original first date got canceled. In late September last year, I found out that I was going to be placed on active duty orders out in Staunton, Virginia in preparation for the deployment I am currently on in the Middle East. The day I found out about that was the day of our first date. When I learned that Krista was planning on with meeting up with her friends after our date, I thought that was her way of telling me that she didn’t want to be out with me very long that night, and since I would very soon be moving to Staunton, I decided maybe we should just cancel it.

The Army isn’t the best at handling money. So, I was in Staunton the last week of September, but because the government’s fiscal year ends on September 30th, there weren’t enough funds to keep me out there until they were able to pass a budget. So I moved back to Arlington for a couple weeks while they sorted that out, and reconnected with Krista.

For whatever reason, Krista decided to see me after that previous cancellation, and with the knowledge that I would be living in Staunton and deploying to the Middle East in March. To get to the actual question now –- I was very excited going into the first date with her. We talked a lot leading up to the date, so I was pretty comfortable with the whole thing. The date went very well,even through some awkward secrets and stories that we shared. When I left, I felt pretty happy about the way it went, but as most people do, I probably over-thought about some of the things I said or did. It turns out the date went pretty well and we had a great connection, so we saw each other again soon after. I was also able to be back in Northern Virginia Friday – Monday nights and was able to take a lot of leave as well. The only reason I made that commute several times a week was because of her.

SITS:
What is your favorite memory together?

Robert:
I have so many great memories with Krista that it doesn’t seem right to only pick one. However, I will say that if I HAVE to pick one, it would be the last time I saw her. My unit of 26 Soldiers flew out of Fort Hood and Dallas in April. Because of weather, flights were getting delayed across the country and they had to put us all on different planes. A group of us ended up in Baltimore, and were stuck there for 2 days until we could pick up a flight overseas. Krista came to visit me in Baltimore. Krista, do that thing where you put a link in to your previous story about this experience so everyone can read about our 2 day date in Baltimore…

Screen Shot 2016-09-26 at 4.05.33 PM.png
This was the most grateful I’ve ever been to have a tearful goodbye.

 

SITS:
Tell us the most interesting “Krista story” you have heard since meeting her.

Robert:
The most interesting story to me is the story about how her life changed after she was diagnosed with POTS. Krista doesn’t realize it sometimes, but she’s one of the strongest people I know. She always says things like “I wish you knew me before I got POTS”, but I can’t imagine a stronger, more beautiful girl than the girl I know right now.

Screen Shot 2016-09-26 at 3.59.52 PM.png
This is a fun photo my best friend Audrey took of me!


SITS:
Would you change anything about Krista? If so, what?

Robert:
Ha. I’m not falling for this trap!


*Some things are secrets for a reason. This is something only my best friend and Robert know, and we’re going to keep it that way.


If you are in need of a photographer in the DMV area please shoot me a message and I’ll connect you to my beautiful friend Audrey!