What I’ve Learned in a Year + Anniversary Week Celebration


Wow, thanks for all the well wishes and congratulations last weekend for our one year wedding anniversary! It was a wonderful day and I was so excited to be able to share our special story with you guys! The response was beyond what I was expecting. I have to admit, I’ve been rereading the story I posted last week a couple several times this past week just because I love reliving the moments. It makes me smile every time!

How did we celebrate you ask? Like they say, “go big or go home,” right?! We made it into a whole anniversary week! We both had vacation time, so we chose to spend it just enjoying each other’s company and celebrating the year we’ve had together with a stay-cation (for the most part). It was perfect. Just imagine it as having a lazy Saturday at home for seven. days. straight. Glorious, I tell ya! We were productive, yet still had time to relax and go do fun “outings.” Here’s a recap of our anniversary (week):

Last weekend we capped off our 3-week stretch of weekend escapades by heading to the suburbs of Chicago where we…

…stayed at a hotel. No really, we literally stayed at a hotel the whole weekend. It was well worth it, though. My brother and sister-in-law and their two kids (including our new nephew whom we hadn’t met yet!) were in town for a wedding, so my parents volunteered for babysitting duty for my brother’s oldest (my 2 1/2 year old niece). Since the rest of the family would be there, we thought we’d join in on the fun and take up the opportunity to see my brother and sister-in-law who live too far away for us to see on a regular basis.


Check out that hair!

My niece is so cute and we had fun listening to her tell stories, read, and sing (all of which she’s very good at), but we jumped on out of there when Sunday morning rolled around and we began our anniversary celebration on our own—full of an exciting trip to Ikea (where we meandered through the maze of floors, having fun dreaming up room designs of our sometime-in-the-future house) as we made our way up Lake Michigan to a quaint bed and breakfast.


We had no real plans, but luck seemed to be in our favor because we made it just in time to sit out and enjoy a phenomenal outdoor orchestra concert at the Ravinia Festival (within walking distance of our bed and breakfast), take in all the beautiful gardens at the Chicago Botanic Garden the next morning (free of charge thanks to a member pass from our bed and breakfast hosts!), and even make it in time for a free tour of the Jelly Belly Factory Warehouse outside of Kenosha, Wisconsin, on our way back to Madison on Monday.



I may be a dietitian, but I still have a love for anything sweet. The tour wasn’t stellar, but the free Jelly Bellys were well worth the 35-minute train ride through a warehouse.


I’m such a planner, but it almost seems like when we just go with the flow (and you have no expectations), things fall into place so much better than if you would have planned in the first place. I hope I remember to use this learned lesson in the future…

The rest of our week included a healthy mix of getting things done at a leisurely pace (cleaning, shopping for clothes and other odds and ends, and running errands we never have time for during a normal work week) and just relaxing (biking and running together, reading side by side in the evenings sipping on wine, roasting marshmallows and having s’mores at a reserved fire circle overlooking the lakes of Madison, and “late night” drives for ice cream).



Although everything about the week was great, I think the highlights of the week for us were our trip to the American Players Theatre for an outstanding play on Wednesday and our Anniversary Dinner at L’Etoile, an upscale 5-star restaurant overlooking the Capitol Square in Downtown Madison, this past Saturday.

If you ever have the chance to go to American Players Theatre, go! It’s an outdoor theatre only 45 minutes outside of Madison and close to The House on the Rock, a Frank Lloyd Wright house for all you F.L.W. fans—I’m talking to you, Mom. :) The weather was gorgeous, the actors were incredibly good, and I suppose the company wasn’t all that bad either. :)


And our anniversary dinner? Let’s just say my mouth is still watering from the delicious and tastefully prepared dishes we were served at L’Etoile. The chefs did a great job at giving all the courses (we went for the three course meal instead of the seven) an artful appearance, while still making the dish approachable for a Midwest girl like myself, if you will. Overall, it was a wonderful experience and the perfect ending to our anniversary week. Plus, what girl doesn’t love getting all gussied up for an evening out on the town with her main squeeze? :)

Now that we have a year + one week under our belts, we’re an expert at this thing called marriage, right (kidding…)?! Not even close. Nevertheless, there are a few a lot of things I’ve learned during this past year and I thought I’d share a few of the highlights.

Things I’ve Learned after One Year of Marriage:

  1. Compromise—it’s the next best thing behind communication. Who knew that how to store leftovers in the fridge would need compromising. While I prefer to condense to a smaller container as soon as physically feasible (even if it means washing another container), Philip would much prefer keeping the original (sometimes quite large) container until the leftover is gone. Do five broccoli florets in a quart-sized tupperware sound a bit ridiculous to anybody else? Maybe it’s just me…
  2. On the other hand, sometimes no compromise is needed…skim, almond, and 1% milk can cohabit together in the fridge just fine thankyouverymuch (although I suppose 2% was the original milk of choice).
  3. Put the other one first. Philip has this one down from hanging up wall art and helping me start up this blog to riding along side me as I do my marathon training runs.
  4. As much as I’d like him to, Philip can’t read my mind. While we often find ourselves thinking the same thing, that doesn’t always seem to carry through when I’m thinking about how he really should be helping me get supper ready or that I want him to be watching a movie with me instead of working on his computer at night. Best thing to do? Just tell him what I think he should already know—because chances are high he doesn’t.
  5. Movies and Facebook aren’t accurate depictions of marriage. Girls, don’t fall for the everything-is-perfect-when-I’m-married perspective from movies or that every other husband is sending flowers to his wife at the office just because Facebook says so. Philip isn’t a flowers kind of guy*, and I’m learning to understand all the other great ways he shows me he loves me.
    *Disclaimer: He did send flowers to me at work last Friday…without a vase to put them in for the remaining 5 hours I was working. And then we left for 3 days so they were pretty much dead by the time we got home…but he did send me flowers after my slight strong hinting—read: #4. Thanks, babe!)
  6. Make time for each other. I feel like Philip and I go through each week in a whirlwind from work and workouts to church events and random outings with friends. While we love all these things, even in the short span of a year, we’re realizing the importance of just “being.” When we have real, deep talks, we have a chance to reconnect and strengthen our relationship.
  7. There are people who are more “neat freaks” than I am. And I married one of them. (This was a good thing that I learned!) Instead of having to complain about having socks and dirty clothes piling up on the floor, I learned there’s an art to unloading a dishwasher and putting the dishes back the “most logical” way…it’s also now Philip’s job to do this.
  8. Let go of unrealistic expectations. Expectations are a double edged sword. We all have them and they can be beneficial if they’re realistic. The key is remembering to fill the other in on what your expectations are. My expectation that Philip will always be willing to talk and share his feelings with me…is an unrealistic expectation (see #9). My expectation that Philip will help me clean on the weekends…is reasonable as long as I make him aware of this expectation—because, you know, I already learned about #4. :)
  9. I have an introvert on my hands. I’m an introvert, but I appear to be an extrovert when compared side by side with Philip. This in and of itself has been a learning curve for me. Nuff said.
  10. Doors? They’re optional. Privacy now includes you and another person.
  11. Have fun together. You can’t be too serious. We laugh at our inside jokes and stupid comments. Laughing together is one of my favorite things.
  12. Marriage is hard work. Plain and simple. But it’s so worth it. It’s been an amazing year and I’m so glad I got to spend it with my best friend.


Back to food next week, I promise!



  1. Awwww …. what a fun post (and FUN week)!!! From Jelly Belly (love those hats! :D ) … to darling fuzzy-headed nephews … to dinner at L’Etoile … you guys sure didn’t miss much! Congrats again … and all the best as you head into year two!!! :D

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