Pretty City

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

It's no secret I love this town. I've been fortunate to visit many lovely cities, and though they each have their allure, there's nothing quite like the beauty of Chicago's skyline, the "beach" adjacent to high rises, and the old versus new architectural charm. A few weeks ago we took a leisurely Sunday boat ride with friends around the lake and river and fell in love as we've done many times before. City life can be energizing or exhausting, depending on your mood, and the beauty of a low key, cloudy summer afternoon paired with views like these is something to treasure.

Door County, Wisconsin

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

For our ten year, we took a little weekend trip north of Chicago to Door County, Wisconsin - a few miles worth of tiny lake towns nestled between gorgeous water views, farmer's market goods and sweet B&B's. 
We stopped for some lakeside photo opps...

and dined at Al Johnson's for breakfast, famous for goat's on the roof! 

We stayed at the most hilarious lodge - affectionately dubbed "Troll Town"...

...consumed lots of cherries, cherry beer, and cherry pie...

and drove to the tip of the peninsula just to say we did. 

I love life with this husb. 

Ten Years.

Friday, August 16, 2013

On August 2nd, Alex and I celebrated our ten year anniversary. Ten years - wow, that's a biggie. I really can't tell you where the time has gone, only that I'm unable to comprehend how we've spent a third of our lives together and yet it feels like a few years at most. I really feel like we deserve confetti and sparklers from the universe. Not because we're awesome at this marriage thing, but it does feel like quite an accomplishment and making it to this point is something I don't take for granted. I could never have predicted how our relationship would evolve, where our paths would lead and what our plans for the future might be. Throughout our years several people have asked, "How do you do it?" (especially once they witness our cultural differences, vastly different personalities, and realize we married so young) and the word that always comes to mind is "commitment". I've been thinking about how to write, what to say about this occasion and how I could share our learnings but really struggling to find the right approach. However, in true meant-to-be fashion, while randomly cleaning out my email last week I came across this gem (saved from Friday 12/17/2010 1:21 PM I kid you not.) I have no idea where it was initially found, only that it spoke to me and I'm so grateful for saving it.  This says exactly what I would have wanted to convey, only much more eloquently. Sometimes it's best just to leave it to the pro's.

"What is a marriage? Words. A commitment. We pledge ourselves to someone else. It is probably the most significant commitment any of us can make, and it depends on our moral determination to honour it. A declaration of marriage does not mean: 'We are man and wife so long as we find each other attractive or compatible; so long as we feel passion for each other; so long as we don't meet someone more attractive.' It means 'I will be with you whatever faith brings. I will stay loyal to you. When you need me, I'll be there. When things are tough, I won't walk away.' A marriage can begin in attraction, shared interests or common destiny, but by moralizing the bond it lifts it to an altogether different plane. A personal commitment is stronger than passion, emotion or attraction. It is a pledge to spend a life together, come what may." 

Chief Rabbi Jonathon Sacks - Celebrating Life

When I read these words, I'm proud of us for honoring our commitment. For being morally determined come what may. (And believe me, a lot has come our way.) But for every challenge and frustration, we've had equal joy, adventure and love. I am thankful beyond words for having a partner who shares my loyalty and pledge to one another.  Since we live in a comparison happy kind of world, I feel the need to reiterate that we're not experts or pretend to be perfect. For all the happiness and love you may see from the outside looking in, there's just as much work going on behind the scenes. We do get along, enjoy each others company, try to have as much fun as possibly possible. That said, we fight, act absurd over small things sometimes, and get snippy with each other. We're human. But we're a pair and we're stubborn as hell.

I love you, Vadim Aleksandrovich. Here's to the next 10, and the next 10, and the 10 after that...

If I could offer one knowledge nugget for taking the time to read this - whether you're already married, contemplating it, or wishing for it  - remember the quote above and wholeheartedly live by it. If you've been through a relationship where commitment was a one sided effort, it won't be hard to relate. Without this understanding, the ways of this world will wear you down like glass in the sea. Marriage is the best full time job you'll ever have, impress your boss everyday.

P.S. My 2nd favorite quote about marriage.

P.P.S. More anniversaries.