Why I’m childfree (for now).

An interesting thing happens the moment you get engaged, well-intentioned people start casually inquiring about your reproductive habits and plans. Which is funny when you think about it longer than half a second, but we’re all slightly guilty of this faux pas, aren’t we? First, comes love, then comes marriage; we all know what is supposed to happen next and I think we’ve all asked with an edge of excitement, “soo when are you planning your family?”

I have never given this a second thought until I became friends with a woman in college who at a young age understood her expectations and plans for her future did not include children. At that time I was inspired by her knowing her own mind and it was disheartening to hear people tell her, “you’ll change your mind.” Sure, maybe, but why is that anyone else’s concern? Why is it taboo for a woman to know she doesn’t want to raise a child? Or at least not want to procreate in the near future? Admittedly, her decision wasn’t something I was able to personally relate to at that time but heck it is one I supported!

I have always wanted to experience motherhood; so much so that I have considered adoption options and have worked to ensure my career is molded into one that had the potential for a WAHM situation so I could stay at home for the first few years to soak up all that baby goodness. For the past 10 years, I have volunteered at my local NICU, nannied for three wonderful families (such happy years), and am currently a court advocate for foster children – please understand I believe children are a wonderful gift and bring so much joy, there’s no question. Up to a year ago, honestly less, we were firmly ready to start a family of our own.

That said, now that we’re three months from the wedding, that desire has changed. We’ve assessed our life, our values, and circumstances and coupled with me hitting my 27th-year, realized there are things I still want to do for me. As a woman, as an individual, as a wife, daughter, sister, and friend. I am just settling into a happy and rewarding career. D and I are in a great place and enjoying our little life with our furkids. We’re finally in a position to plan trips we’ve been talking about for years: Iceland, Ireland, Argentina … we have the freedom to spend time with our friends with zero notice, see professional sporting games, schedule vacations. We’re so freaking happy right now and I simply don’t feel the need to add to our family yet. Just, not yet. It is empowering to have this choice.

It’s interesting when you slowly start sharing that you’re not ready to be a parent (because those well-meaning people ask, and ask, and ask) how folks respond. Some react with support, some disappointment, and others are just plain floored – these are all valid emotions. When the time comes, though, we will voluntarily decide to add to our family not to provide grandchildren or playmates, but because there isn’t anything else that we want more.

Just a few responses to common questions and comments I’ve heard:

What are you waiting for?
Personally, I want to want a baby more than other experiences

But you can travel with a child
This is absolutely true – when we’re ready we will be thrilled and humbled to share the world with a Tiny T. See? He or she already has a nickname!

Isn’t your life kind of meaningless or lonely? 
Not at all, we’re tremendously happy and fulfilled with our chosen activities and lifestyle.

You really don’t know what tired is/ I never sleep anymore
Let’s not one-up here: tired is tired, work is work – we are all doing our best.

Isn’t that kind of selfish? 
I’m unclear on which part of waiting until we’re ready is selfish. I suppose arguably that could be the case, but this is our time to be. We’re under no obligations. When we choose to be parents, Tiny T will consume our time and we want to give that time freely and joyfully.

The love between a parent and child is unlike any other!
I understand. One day that will be a wonderful experience for us. Until then, our life is overflowing with love from family, friends and each other. Love runs deep all around.

What about your biological clock?
My clock is ticking just fine, I’m good – thanks!

I can babysit though! / You two will have such pretty babies! 
Sorry, thank you, but neither is a good enough reason for us to have a child right now

Not everyone wants the same life and the reasons someone may choose to live their lives without a child are varied and personal. Let’s be honest too, our social and political systems aren’t exactly set up for all families to raise educated, happy, and healthy children. Let’s not pity, let’s not judge, and let’s not make assumptions for why a woman or a couple may choose to be childfree whether in the interim or permanently. There just shouldn’t be any room for shaming here on either side of the fence.

Just something that has been on my  mind lately,
H

Why I’m childfree (for now).

Time flies when you’re having fun

When D and I first met, I wasn’t quite in a place to date even though I wanted to be, and we joke that I was trying to friendzone him. There’s a chance that I was, but it didn’t work. We met in late March, maybe very early April. At that time I needed some space emotionally to figure out what I wanted and was urgently checking myself into not rushing things while I plunged into finals. But D was patient and kind with me – always. He saw the best of me and was consistent no matter what. He came to my college graduation and we hadn’t even been on an official date yet.

Things were a whirlwind with him and for some reason unbeknownst to even me, I kept trying to push him away. As if wiggling every single skeleton in my closet at him would finally make him walk out the door with his head shaking. No hard feelings. The stronger the feelings grew, due to his sheer perseverance, the more I fought them, and I’m not talking about a few weeks – it was at least two full months before I decided to inch forward with him.

It was late June when I went on a camping trip with him and his friends several months after meeting each other; I was feeling relaxed, happy, and comfortable. I remember sitting with him by the fire and finally saying I was maybe, kind of, ready to be his girlfriend to which he replied, he was maybe, kind of, ready for that too.

Not that this has been an easy ride since that moment, but it is ours and I wouldn’t have it any other way. We are not perfect people, but we complement and challenge each other in ways I couldn’t have expected. This man, this wonderful man, turned my world upside down and helped put me back together again. Spending my life with him is a privilege.

We are just 3 months away from #tennantstietheknot 🙂

Someone pinch me, but not too hard,
H

 

Time flies when you’re having fun

Marriage paperwork: Alaska

 It is incredibly annoying to research how to apply for a marriage license. Mainly because the State of Alaska’s website is a nightmare. There are a lot of bullet points to follow when going through the process but let me tell you, it’s not actually clear when it’s time to put it to any form of practical use.  Which leads us to me delving hardcore into the processes so we’re prepared for our nuptials next year and laying it out for anyone who cares. My OCD comes in handy sometimes.

Either party can get the ball rolling for the application process. Meaning, I’ll sit down one afternoon, fill everything out for us, write a processing fee check, and mail the application in.  Because “I’m just really good at that kind of thing.” Well, he’s really good at taking out the trash, killing spiders, and doing the yard work so we’re even.

  • Complete the Marriage Application form. It’s three pages and straight-forward. If you’ve been married before you’ll need to share that as well. Find that document here.
  •  Submit the completed form with a $60.00 processing fee included via cash or check to an Alaska Court closest to where the marriage ceremony will be performed OR directly to the Bureau of Vital Statistics in either Anchorage or Juneau:

Bureau of Vital Statistics
3601 C. Street, Suite #128
Anchorage, Alaska 99503

* A note about that $60.00 fee: it does not include the cost of obtaining a certified copy of the marriage certificate once things are officially official. Once you have paid the fee you have one year from the date of the application to pick-up your license. After that year, you will need to reapply and pay the license fee- again.

Then you wait for three days while the application is processed.

  • Now, both you and your partner need to pick-up the approved application. Head down to wherever you sent your marriage license application (with a government issued photo ID in hand) and sign the license in front of a licensing officer. Your name and date of birth must be visible because you both have to be 18 to seal the deal here.

 * Unless of course, you’re 16 and not legally 18, then mom and pops have to give their written consent. There’s an extra obstacle: a birth certificate needs to be submitted with the marriage application as well. This is actually stated if either party is 14-15 years of age you need a court order. Know before you go.

  • Tick-tock, you have three months to tie the knot! If you are having a friend or loved one officiate your ceremony, now is the time to head down to the courthouse and tell them:
    • Your full name, and your future spouse’s name
    • The full name of the person marrying you
    • The location of the wedding ceremony
    • The day of the wedding ceremony

*You guessed it, there’s a $25 fee for this. This is because it is a civil ceremony and the nice attendant at the window is going to grant you a written order from the court appointing your marriage commissioner. This is important, you must be certain of the day – no take backs or you’ll need a new written order so keep the receipt you are given so you don’t have to pay the fee again.

Maybe you’re having a courthouse wedding! How fabulous. You can be married by an officer of the court or a judicial officer of the state and it will need to be scheduled either over the phone or in person. In person is easier because you see there’s a fee here too- $25.00 and you can do it all at once at the courthouse. They’ll let you know what days are available and you pick a day and time. When you get married, you’ll need to bring two witnesses and government-issued photo IDs.

  •  Get married.

How you want, where you want, celebrating with who you want, wearing what you want.

If you have a friend or family member marrying you, you’ll have them fill out the wedding certificate with their full name, the date and time of the wedding, their title as Marriage Commissioner, and the location of the wedding.

I hope this saves someone a headache, or at the very least some time. Overall it isn’t the most difficult process in the world, just don’t forget a step or miss a fee or deadline.

Inquiring Minds Want to Know: Marriage Requirements in Alaska 

  • No blood test or physical exam is required.

  • Residents and nonresidents are eligible to apply for a marriage license.

  • Both parties must be 18 years of age or older to marry without parental consent. A birth certificate may be required to show proof of age. EXCEPTION: Persons who are less than 18 years of age and who are members of the armed forces of the United States while on active duty will not be required to provide parental consent. Military papers will be required to show proof of active duty status.

  • Persons ages 16 and 17 must submit a parental consent form signed by both parents with their application. If one parent is sole custodian of the minor, a divorce decree stating custody rights or a death certificate must be presented as well. Alaska law does not permit those under the age of 16 to marry without a court order.

    • If either party is under eighteen, contact the Alaska Bureau of Vital Statistics at (907) 465-3391 for additional instructions before completing the application.

  • An Alaskan marriage license is valid only for marriages performed in Alaska or in Alaska State waters.

  • There is a three (3) business day waiting period that begins once a mailed or faxed application is received by the issuing office. This means that you must wait at least three full business days after the application is submitted before you can pick up the license and the marriage ceremony can be performed.

  • The license is valid for three (3) months from the date of issuance. The marriage must be performed before the three-month expiration of the license or the license will no longer be valid. Refunds and extensions cannot be granted.

  • Proxy marriages (where someone stands in for the other party) are not permitted in Alaska. The two parties must be present before the two witnesses and the officiant in order for the ceremony to be performed.

  • All divorces must be final and filed with the courts in the state granted. If either party has been married previously, the beginning and ending dates of all previous marriages must be listed on the application. Submitting a copy of a divorce decree is only required if the divorce or dissolution occurred less than sixty days prior to applying for the marriage license.

    Happy planning!
    H

Marriage paperwork: Alaska

Exploring Seward, AK

D and I first went to Seward together in late 2013. It was one of my favorite trips and we had the best day. We were still very new into our relationship and things were just nice. We took a stroll through the Sealife Center and stopped into Seward Brewing Company. The day was warm, sunny, and jaw-droppingly gorgeous. I’m thankful to this day for that impromptu trip and the conversations we had about “when we,” “if we …”

Two and a half years later, we returned on coincidentally another impromptu trip! Drizzling rain, a slight autumn chill in the air, and us a little older and wiser. It’s funny to look back and remember how bright eyed and bushy tailed we were, and it’s amazing now to see how far we’ve come, changed for the better, and still enjoying each other through life’s ups and downs.

What didn’t change in the last years is the clam chowder we enjoyed together. Check out Terry’s Fish and Chowder House for awesome chowder, fresh salads, and great burgers. 🙂

Exploring Seward, AK

Wedding kerfluffles

We are about 10 months away still from our upcoming nuptials! Wait, let me check that.

Alright, more specifically we are sitting at 10 months and 12 days. That’s 316 days to prepare for a shiny start of our lives together. That’s a lot of time, and I know it will go by in a blink of an eye but I have to ask, what is it about weddings that make people do the wacky? Comes with the territory I guess 😉 I WAS warned by many wise brides before me!

“Not my circus, not my monkeys.” Repeat 10x a day and as needed.

Let the OCD girl cringe at the thought here but openly share: we are still in planning mode and it is essential to me to have these enjoyable and important conversations with the Father and Mother of the Groom before anything is shared publicly. This time is for our parents just as much as it is for us. We are uniting into a larger, crazier, amazing family after all.

Speaking of that big family, we both have twisty family trees which mean more fun and vibrant characters, but it also means our guest list can easily shoot to over 200 people when the ceremony and reception venue can comfortably accommodate 50 – do you see our dilemma? We can’t be the only couple to face this – anyone care to share some insight?

Due to the nature and space of the venue, in addition to our budget and vision of our ceremony, our guest list will be kept small. This is not meant to be hurtful in any way,  it is simply our reality and an attempt to maintain the chaos that can come with weddings. We have had to make many difficult decisions surrounding our wedding in order to enjoy the celebrations without any negativity and we are still confirming the details. I thought that might be important to share before items start getting dropped in the mail. We knew upfront that getting married in Alaska meant that many of our friends and family from afar would not be able to join us for the big weekend – but, they’ll be with us in spirit and that’s a beautiful thing in itself.

Disclaimer: I know there are some that are worried about what our day is going to look and feel like, and I just have to say that we are obsessed with our vision and the plans that are still in motion. We’ve spent the past 2 years talking about this. Our parents, family, and wedding party are rock-stars at helping pull our ideas together and I just love how it’s coming along. We cannot wait to see how it is manifested at our wedding because no matter what happens, it’s going to FEEL incredible. This is all about one thing: our union as husband and wife.

If anyone has any questions, comments, or opinions – please direct them to either of our parents. That’s just a bridal boundary I’m having to put out there. More information will be forthcoming when we get closer to the date!

Anyways, just wanted to give a quick update about where we’re at. Thanks for all the love and well-wishes!

xoxo,

Wedding kerfluffles

I’ve got 99 problems..

I was at dinner with some lovely friends the other week and one of them is helping her nearest and dearest get married this summer. She had some life-changing information to share with me: there are a lot of parties expected when you’re getting married. Like ridiculous.  My other friend stared back at me and echoed what I was thinking, “why are there so many parties?” Sister, I don’t even know. 

It’s not just a bachelorette party and/or a bridal shower anymore (I’m super down with throwing up a tent on the Homer Spit and bumming around for a weekend. Please don’t make me wear a dress and heels and a “She’s tying the knot, so buy her a shot!” sash.) Did you know there’s also engagement parties? The option of a couples shower? Wedding Party Wars? Bridal Brunch? In addition to the rehearsal dinner and the wedding itself?? I’m sure you did but I’m not going to lie, I sat there with a chilled Rhubarbara Streisand vodka-laced lemonade feeling my insides flip. Introverted brides, do you feel me? 

We aren’t even a year away from the wedding yet so I’m feeling confident that we can shake all of these celebrations. At the same time though, oh my goodness we’re counting down to a year and that’s when everything hits full speed and there are so many questions and so many choices and so many expectations and we’re going to get off the structured planning timeline and disappoint everyone and they’ll call me a bridezilla when I’m aiming for bridechilla or think our simple wedding is stupid or tacky or a waste of their time!

Scrreeech. Let’s back this up. I hear that planning a wedding is supposed to be a fun, enjoyable, once in a lifetime experience. Sure, there is going to be stress like planning any other event, but ideally, it’s supposed to remain a positive thang ending in a few “I dos” and I’m realizing I have control over that. Anyone remember that scene at the very beginning of Fried Green Tomatoes where the older sister cries and says her sister Iggy is gonna ruin her weddin’? Yeah, I’m not having that. 

At least it’s kind of cool to have a groom in on this, we can brainstorm together and things can’t go to worst-case-scenario when I have a partner in crime. My stress-induced anxiety can’t spiral out of control when I have a bridal brigade to be rivaled with. If I need to take 5 and breathe in a paper bag I know my mom has my back. Things are good. Life is good. As big as getting married is as individuals, on the grander scale there are more important things happening around the world than me/us feeling pressured to finalize a guest list like right this very second.

As much fun as all the parties would be, we’re aiming to keep this simple with a laid back “last hurrah” celebration, maybe a bridal shower, and the event itself. All we really need are our close friends, immediate family, a dear officiant, and suitable clothing. That’s what we care about and the rest is just icing on the cake. Which we’re likely not having. 🙂 

xoxo,
H

I’ve got 99 problems..

From the ground up

My great-grandparents were married for 72 years before my great-gramps passed away. They eloped and were married in Reno in 1939.  My grandma, one of their daughters, can attest; “it wasn’t pure bliss all that time! When I was a kid they fought like cats and dogs. They were both scrappy.” Which is what made them work. How gorgeous and unimaginable is that?

A lifetime: not unlike other girls growing up I wondered what spending my life with someone would look like, what it would feel like, and who that man would be. I crave the authenticity and dedication my great-grandparents had together in a simpler time, for better or for worse. I’m thankful to be spending my life with a man who shares that dream. 

Mine and D’s story began almost three years ago and we’ve spent those chapters growing up together and separately. We’ve definitely had to figure ourselves out along the way and there’s this beauty in our chaos that is settling us into our own beat. We are never happier than when it’s us, our dogs, and the outdoors. That’s how we dated, it’s how we became official, it’s how we fell in love with each other. It’s getting back to basics together that makes us thrive and that is exactly how he proposed tying his life to mine – in the wind, in the cold, in our element. Turning to see this man down on one knee, surrounded by Alaskan mountains, asking me to be his wife is humbling and everything. 

Our life together is challenging, fulfilling, and everything I ever wanted in a marriage. On Saturday, June 24th, 2017, our promises made thus far to one another become permanent. Until then, I’ll have fun planning our wedding and looking ahead to 70 years of taking on life together: traveling, slow dancing in our kitchen, playing hockey, and filling our home with rescues, friends, and pitter-pattering little feet. 

There is no greater adventure for me,
H

From the ground up