Zach and Kara circa 2006
Once, while we were dating, we were getting ready to take a long road trip from Michigan to Pennsylvania. I said I was gonna go clean out his car before the trip. He asked if I needed any help, and I think I shrugged and said, "If you want." He raised an eyebrow, like what's that supposed to mean? I smiled, walked back, gave him a hug, looked in his eyes, and said, "I'm going out to clean the car. I'd like to do it myself, but if you could come out in 10 minutes, tell me I'm doing a good job, and thank me that would be great." His cousin's fiance who caught the whole exchange said, "Whoa, you guys are crazy good at communication."
And so we are, when we try.
Engagement - 2008
When you live together, though, especially with a talking, talking, talking toddler, end of the evening communication is usually:
"Wanna watch something?"
"The $57 at Giant was for groceries, but the $24 at Target was a gift."
That's okay, though. It's a totally different stage of life. So many of our conversations in our early twenties were so intense because the stakes were so high. Is he the one I'm gonna spend the rest of my life with? Is this little flaw I've just found a deal breaker for me? or for him?
Honeymoon cruise shenanigans - 2009
We were away as a family in North Carolina over our anniversary last week, and we got to have lots of good conversations. Plus, the trip opened up with probably one of my favorite moments of our marriage so far.
To set up the story, here's how we do car trips: Zach goes to bed pretty early the night before since he does all the driving. I stay up till 2am or later getting every little thing packed and in order.
I like to have the house looking exactly how I'd like to see it when I come home. I put all of the packed bags in a line by the door. I put all of the food we'll need for the cooler on one fridge shelf and all the food that will need to be thrown away in the morning on a different shelf. I choose what Jaina and I will wear for the whole trip. I pack two bags of toys and books for Jaina; one for the car and one for the house when we get there. I pack all of my toiletries except for my toothbrush and deodorant which sit neatly on top of my half-zipped toiletry bag.
In short, I put a lot of work into making the morning exit as smooth as possible.
Wedding rehearsal - 2009
Zach got right up and showered in the morning, and I took my usual forever and a day to sit on the edge of the bed and try to wake up my face. As I slowly (and calmly) got ready, I could hear cabinets opening and closing downstairs and just a flurry of activity. I felt myself getting annoyed, but as I was pulling up my car trip yoga pants I had an epiphany.
This is what we do. I pre-plan, and Zach crisis-manages.
I could hear him taking out the kitchen trash (before I had a chance to make our trip lunches or to catch any other last minute trash). I told myself this is the part of the morning when he runs around making rash decisions, and I can either get all huffy about it and ruin our trip or I can calmly show him the plan I've laid out (hopefully taking away his stress) and we can proceed from there.
I came downstairs proud of all the progress I've made as a wife and determined to speak respectfully. He met me on the stairs saying,
"I threw out all the milk."
I sat down on the stairs and laughed hysterically.
It was just so "us", and I love it.
Pregnancy announcement #1 - 2011
I love that even after 12 years of identifying with each other we still have so much to learn and so many rough edges to smooth out.
Baby #2 is due in nine weeks, and I am actually excited by the thought of going through a VBAC together. That's when Crisis-Management Zach really shines.
There's only a certain amount I can plan for when it comes to birthing. But Zach is amazing when it comes to emergencies. We're a perfect team, really. I meticulously plan for all eventual outcomes, and Zach reacts quickly and confidently... to all eventual outcomes. You want this guy on your team in a zombie apocalypse. I think Emergency Zach is the hottest Zach, actually. ; ) And I'm kind of excited to see him again.
Here's to new adventures in parenting, Honey. But here's a warning. If we're leaving on a trip with the new baby, and you throw out any breastmilk, I might kill you. I had a plan for that.
Maternity photos (before Jaina) - 2012