It’s kind of unbelievable to me that one year has already passed since Zack and I got married. As I was ruminating on this fact while plotting out what to get for my husband, I was filled with warm, gentle loving feelings* towards my partner. Zack and I went through a lot in our first five years together — we lost our jobs, we had some really difficult arguments, we had to find the best way to communicate and respect one another’s boundaries. We’ve still got some big life stuff we’ll need to work through — saving for a house is next on our list — but I feel so confident after this first year of marriage that we are going to work through anything that comes our way, because we have already overcome a lot**. I feel so much love and support from Zack as he cheers me on when I try out boxing, or as I have ANOTHER quarter-mid-existential-life-crisis about my career. I am so happy to have found this wonderful man out there in the world, and it was such a happy occasion*** to celebrate together.
*I was locked into the traditional paper and clocks idea, but getting to go through wedding pictures for my gift gave me warm loving feelings as well.
**They say the first year is the hardest and there have been difficult times, but it’s also been full of joy and love. I spent a big chunk of our first year of marriage recovering from a broken foot and we got stronger as a couple. As Caitlin said, everything we went through together just made me more confident that we will work together forever.
***May 23rd is an extra special day for us because we get to celebrate both our wedding and engagement and both are worth re-living as often as possible.
Since our anniversary fell on a Monday this year, we kicked off our celebration the weekend before by driving out to the Texas Hill Country for a wine tasting. We hit up a place called Wimberley Valley Winery, where they specialize in sweet and dessert wines. We had so much fun tasting the varieties (since Zack was driving, I got to help him finish some of his*). Between us, we ended up tasting 11 varieties (our server was AMAZING and let us have on little extra splash of a toffee-flavored liquor), plus…a red wine slushie.
*I didn’t mind being DD and letting Caitlin drink more since I’m not nearly as into sweet berry wines* as she is. There were some tasty ones, though, and we had fun tasting and hanging with our server.
A RED WINE SLUSHIE. Y’all. You have not LIVED until you’ve sipped on a red wine slushie* while playing (poorly) corn hole with horses and dogs running around. This is what we got to do as we wrapped up our tasting, because the winery had corn hole out on their huge acreage and Zack had to show off his skills.
*It was made with a wine we loved so much we got a bottle of it. I wanted to get my own slushie, but being a safe driver won out. I’d just have to drink water while dominating corn hole.
To my credit, I got better at the end, which was extra difficult given that I was the one to drink the slushie by myself. We bought two bottles to take with us and enjoy on our actual anniversary, and drove back home again. Caitlin definitely improved as we went and took my advice on how to flick the bag so it sticks on the platform.
Then we decided it wouldn’t be a real anniversary weekend without watching that classic Ryan Gosling love story — The Nice Guys. The MPAA rating said there was a little bit of violence, and they were seriously understating the situation. I don’t know how to explain this without spoiling things, so I’ll just say there is a SIGNIFICANT amount of blood* that I had to sit through. But I liked the pairing of Gosling and Crowe, and Gosling’s daughter character brought some much needed feminine awesomeness to the mix. It was a really enjoyable film.
*If this was a Hanks and I was keeping track, we had well over a dozen eye covers from Caitlin. It was an excellent movie, full of action and laughs with great chemistry all around. Highly recommend.
Zack had to work on Sunday, and by the time work was over he was exhausted, so our plan to go out and have a fancy dinner morphed into a trip to Whole Foods for salad, pasta, bread and cheese. We had a relaxed dinner at home with Scooby, and it was lovely. We also started digging into the crack pie we ordered for the occasion.
Finally, it was our really-for-real anniversary. I’d seen the gigantic boxes Zack was “hiding” in his closet in our room, so I was eagerly awaiting the end of work so we could get to gift exchanging and East Side King eating.
When I got home, the first thing we did was set up our Coachella tent in our living room. We had decided that since there was SO much rain in the forecast the weekend leading up to our anniversary (and on the day itself, it turned out) that our original plan of trying to picnic at the Zilker Botanical Gardens probably wasn’t going to work out (this was the venue we’d originally planned to host our wedding ceremony at, that we got rained out of. Serendipitous.) So, our backup plan was to have a “picnic” in our living room, eating in our tent and then playing Uno like we’d done at Coachella. We love Uno in a tent and having our favorite food from our wedding only sweetened the deal.
East Side King was SO delicious, and we actually got to eat a bunch of it this time around (since our stomachs weren’t shrunk from too much adrenaline). We also ordered a crack pie from Momofuku’s Milk Bar, the place where we’d got our cake and desserts for the wedding, and hot DOG was it delicious. We had a piece almost every day of the weekend leading up to our anniversary, like the king and queen we were. The ESK was tasty, but the crack pie was the real winner. I savored every bite of that desert.
We zipped Scooby out of the tent while we were eating, but then he got invited in for Uno and it was so cute to watch him tentatively step inside of the slick tent. It was SO CUTE! At first he whimpered because we were eating in there without him. Then he was so worried about the structural quality of the tent floor so he was afraid to get in. My favorite was when he tried to chomp my hand through the tent. CUTEST!
For gifts, Zack got me GORGEOUS canvas prints of our wedding photos — one larger one, and two medium-sized ones that are already hanging up in our living room. Then, since the first anniversary’s traditional gifts are either clocks or paper, Zack opted for the former and printed another wedding photo onto a clock for us. It’s absolutely touching and beautiful.
My wife got me the perfect record, a rare Ezra Furman record store day vinyl with a cover of our song “I Can Change” and other favorites of ours like Arcade Fire’s “Crown of Love” and Beck’s “Devil’s Haircut.” In addition to the record, she got us a notebook she laid out so we could track our house savings and ideas and plans for the next couple years.
Our families also spoiled us with gifts — Zack’s dad got us a paper rose and some HILARIOUS 1st anniversary TP, and my mom and her husband Scott sent us more Uno score sheets, which we needed and were, once again, in the “paper” theme. Now, it’s time to really get to work on the home journal gift I got for Zack, and get us into our own place! It was a perfect anniversary full of love and fun and celebration together with our dog and warm wishes from our family and friends. Until next year! Or, more accurately, our October dating anniversary which we’ll always celebrate.