last year, i went through and reviewed 2011 month by month. b and i sat down and talked about 2012 and, at least to me, it was defined by a few singular events.

here is what i will always remember from this year:

being very afraid to leave nashville.

i made b take this photo as the last thing we did before we locked up and left our old home. we had barely slept the night before. courtney and brandon had stayed until after midnight helping us pack and load the u-haul and we were leaving town before 9 a.m. i had a knot in my stomach. the generosity of friends and coworkers before we left made it worse. it was too late at that point to change our minds. i kept it together until b and i got separated on the road and i was lost and by myself, well, and yelling at b on the phone. i thought for sure it was a sign that we had made a mistake.  

realizing that we really moved to denver.

the next three days were spent driving 12+ hours a day, spending the night in random cities and being so frustrated that the u-haul couldn't go above 60 miles per hour. we also were very grateful that the weather was perfect and there was no snow at all on our journey. when you pull into denver, there is no sign needed. the rocky mountains let you know you are there. i think it took us a few weeks to actually grasp that we had done it - we had left everything we knew behind and just up and moved.

being happy to be in the mile-high city.

this took a while. we were unemployed together for a little under a month. i have zero recollection of that time, but i can imagine i was simply stressing out about not having a job/friends, etc. i think going out with our friends art and michelle was really a turning point. we had an amazing afternoon in the mountains with them and it showed us a side of denver we hadn't seen yet.

standing beside tricia as she got married.

it is a special thing to have a relationship with someone over many seasons of your life. tricia and i met when we were super young, and we have both changed dramatically over the last 20 years. we both know each other's past and know we will still be friends in the future. seeing her get married was an emotional, awesome experience. i am so happy she found rich, a guy who is at the same time very chill, but very dramatic when it comes to his love for tricia. and next year she'll be standing beside me at our wedding - yay!


they say "all is well that ends well", and this is one of those cases. i don't want to go into all the negative details of it, but it taught me a lot about myself and set the course to all the amazing things that happened after.

making money from my freelance business.

when i opened up katelynburkhart.com, i wasn't sure what it would become. so, to have a paying customer in my first few months {thanks to recommendations from my dear friend sandra}- and especially while i was unemployed - meant the world to me. there is nothing like cashing a check that you worked so hard for and did all on your own. it was an amazing feeling and i am very grateful for the experience. plus, i'll be revamping my website in anticipation of my name change early next year - fun stuff!

getting engaged.

obviously, this was the major moment of the year. i had been waiting to get engaged pretty much since we met, but to have it actually happen was truly a shock. sometimes i still say "can you believe we got engaged?!". {b proofreads all my posts and to this one he said, "that is all you are going to say?!"} so, for you, buzz, i would add that our engagement was everything i had ever wanted and pretty much a top three moment of my life. obviously.

being satisfied with where i am. 

i am not a naturally content person. i am constantly making a list of to-dos with ways i can improve my life. as we wrap up a year, i feel really, really satisfied. it's a good feeling. and, i'm already looking forward to 2013.

2012 was also the year... my dermatologist recommended i start using wrinkle cream, we ate macaroons for the first time, i discovered nordstrom rack, b took his first {and second} business trip, i stopped being a vegetarian, we lived in a 483-square-foot apartment, my family moved back to ohio, i realized wedding planning is not as fun as people make it out to be and we majorly missed our family and friends that are spread all over the country.



here are some quick pics from our holiday. too much mimosa for moi. one of our fav gifts: a toaster from my mom! it's off our registry, which was a theme of presents - we also got some pans and an oven mitt my dad would describe as "bad boy." speaking of my dad - he sent me this photo of miss. jade in all that snow they're having in ohio. he TEXTED it to me. so 2012, my dad is.

more gifts - i am inlove with those jcrew gift boxes. the necklace and scarf are pretty amazing, too. this kate spade frame from betsy made me cry. our halls, decked.

christmas stuff is getting packed up later this week and on wednesday our tree will be out by the curb. {denver offers free recycling - they turn all the trees into mulch that you can go pick up at no cost in the spring, so cool.} we are full steam ahead into 2013!



this year, traveling to ohio just was not feasible between wedding expenses and lack of pto. i didn't think it would be that bad, since we both had to work wednesday and there's ample technology to enable us to talk to and see our families.

but, it totally sucked. i cried after talking to my fam on christmas eve, which i knew was just the beginning. we both teared up while on the phone with his full extended family and we did the ugly cry when opening gifts.

the one pictured above was a real tear jerker. b's dad wrapped it up for me with a note. his mom used to gift silver bells to her son's wives many years ago every holiday. after she passed away, he kept up the tradition. it's my first year getting a silver bell, and i don't think i've ever received a gift i will treasure more.

next year is going to be even more crazy than 2012, but we already know where we'll be in 362 days - home in ohio with our families. you can count on us.



we registered! we actually did this a few months ago, and i forgot to post about it. we decided to go with two places: a big department store, for the family and friends who would like to give a tangible gift, and a honeymoon registry!

registering at the store was SO fun. they give you special attention, in every department people would say "congratulations!" and it's pretty much shopping without paying for anything.

since we will have lived together for two full years by the time we get married, there is really not a lot we need. i used to have a problem love affair with tj maxx, and b has enough kitchen goods to make a southern woman proud. so, we also created a honeymoon registry. based on recommendations, i went with buy our honeymoon.com. i've had the opportunity to put money toward a friend's honeymoon before, and i loved being a part of their amazing experience! we are hoping to go prettyyyy far for ours, so hopefully our friends and fam will like it, too.

no matter what, we just want our guests to be able to make it for our wedding. as we said on our wedding website and our registry site, a trip to nashville to see us get married is plenty of a present for us. 



that's right, we are headed DOWN UNDER!

i could jump up and down from excitement, but since we don't plan to honeymoon until january 2014, i will wait a minute to get too wound about it. since it's summer when it's winter here, and since we have new jobs {aka no pto}, it worked out well to head to australia.

plus, it is the trip of a lifetime. we plan to spend a few days in the hustle and bustle of syndey, and then head out to the rainforest and great barrier reef!

we have a few activities we know we want to do {a harbour cruise, snorkeling} that we put on our honeymoon registry, but besides that we are open to suggestions. have you ever been? anything we must do? give me your suggestions, mate!



i got an email this morning from my friend courtney. it shocked and saddened me. she asked if i would share her story here. on twitter, i am a big proponent that mental health issues should not be something we are embarrassed to talk about. but, to be honest, i was uncomfortable at the thought of posting it on my blog. it may be easier to talk about save-the-date cards and wedding colors, but it doesn't change the world we live in. i am so sorry to the families in connecticut. and i am so sorry to courtney that i never knew any of this.

When events like the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary happen, I am inexplicably drawn to the television. I watch hours on end of coverage, flipping channel to channel so the commercials don't have time to break concentration on the matter at hand. People are dead. And a scary man (boy) did it.

In times like these I want to know details. I want to know every little thing that happened. I become increasingly frustrated when they don't release the evidence that they have. Like most people, I want to know why. But I also want to know the details of the crime itself. Why did he go to the school? Did he pick a room at random or was it methodical? How did the teachers react? Where were the bodies found and how? Did anyone try to stop him? Why did he only visit two classrooms? I watch the endless coverage without my questions being answered, completely aware that they will likely never be answered. The ache in my stomach continues to grow. A ball of anxiety and disgust. And a little bit of familiarity.

The reason I need answers, the reason I want to know every little gruesome detail is because tragedies like this hit a little too close to home. I want to know everything there is to know, as if to size up how closely my brother resembles Adam Lanza and if something like this could ever happen to our family. It's as if I'm waiting for one detail to not make sense in my situation to discount the fact that my brother could ever be responsible for something like this. And I continue to wait.

After reading Liza Long's "'I Am Adam Lanza's Mother': A Mom's Perspective on the Mental Illness Conversation in America", I felt a ping of solidarity. I watched my own mother battle with her son, for her son, with the system, against the system, and eventually ask my brother to leave her house because she no longer knew how to deal with him.

Like Liza Long's story, mine was wrought with threats of self harm. But that wasn't until my brother was older. In his early years, my life was filled with witnessing explosive fights between my brother and mom. They always ended with my brother apologizing and my mom exhausted. They always followed up with the same scene some days later. Like Liza Long, they were all over pants or video games, nothing that ever warranted the type of rage that my brother exhibited. But in his mind, he had been wronged. This was just another way the world had been cruel to him. The rules didn't apply to him and he whole-heartedly believed that.

My mom tried everything she knew how to. Meetings with the school. Psychiatrists. Psychologists. In-home respite care. Police involvement. Trips to the hospital. The "scared straight" method. She made threats of military school and group homes, but knew she didn't have the means to make either a reality. Some things works for a day or two, but nothing was a long-term fix.

As he got older, his rage continued to grow. My mom moved when I went off to college and this was another reminder that the world was not on his side. He set out to punish my mom for making him leave the place he grew up and the increasingly dysfunctional relationship he had with his girlfriend. I was lucky. I got to deal with things from afar. My mom, however, was not so lucky. She was starting over in the city she grew up in and trying to make things work with her son.

I remember visiting on one of my breaks. My mom did her best to hide the scary things from me. She tried to protect me even into my college years. Sitting at my Aunt's kitchen table, I remember my brother fidgeting with wristbands I assumed were a fashion statement. As he readjusted them, I saw scars. I remember being angry. I yelled at him for even thinking that this was an option and then at my mom for not telling me what had been going on. He had been cutting his wrists for a few months and no one even bothered to tell me. He apologized that I had to see that. He was genuinely sorry for it in that moment. The next day as I sat in my mom's kitchen, a fight erupted. He came downstairs with a knife and threatened to show me what I had been missing while I was away. He tried to make a cut with the dull knife and was able to make scrapes, just enough to allow little droplets of blood to escape. I was stunned. He did it to hurt me, not himself. And he knew it would.

I'm not discounting the pain that these kids feel. They, too, are experiencing the world and they, too, are having trouble dealing with it. But the difference is, these kids don't want help. They don't think they need help. They are right and the rest of the world is wrong. And they have been wronged. And they will tell you about it. But they need help. And everyone around them needs help getting them help.

My brother is now 24. Even this many years later, he doesn't truly live in the same world as the rest of us. He still maintains a reality in which everyone is out to wrong him and no one has ever been fair to him. He carries his rage with him, just under the surface, ready to boil over at any point. He only calls when he as something to yell about or to tell me how unfair a family member is being. He lives in the past, unable to see any good in any of it. Or in the future. He spouts off sound bites about how we'd all be better off if we lived like the animal kingdom, without government, laws or hierarchy. Sometimes I understand where he's coming from. Other times he just sounds crazy.

The truth about mental illness is that there is more than one victim when people don't have the help they need. Every time something like this happens, I will be glued to the television making comparisons. Every time my brother is belligerently angry with my father or mother, I will pray that everyone will be safe until his rage subsides and that he never has access to a gun. I continue to think twice about having children of my own for fear that they will have the mental illness gene and I, still, will not have the resources to deal with it. It terrifies me.

It sounds insane to be afraid of your own child or sibling. So it's not talked about. It's difficult to understand if you've never been there. But this happens. And unfortunately, I think it's more common than anyone would like to admit. We need more resources in place for families. We need more than a pat on the back and "good luck at home." Otherwise, we're going to continue to have tragedies like these in our lives. And you'll know where to find me: Sitting in front of the television aching for the gruesome details.



whoops, it is so not wednesday, but i promise it was worth the wait. it's our save the dates! and i am inlove with them.

this was everyone's favorite photo from our engagement shoot, and i love that it combines the true beauty of colorado with a nod to nashville {hello, cowboy boots!}.

and the back! beautiful letterpress, our wedding font and simple simple simple. i think it's rare to find the combo of a digitally printed photo with letterpress, and letterpress was something i really wanted. i was lucky to find a printer that not only does great work, but who also supported my vision.

i hope our guests enjoyed them as much as i do!

photographer: ross bothwell
letterpresser: kseniya thomas
stamp artist: erin hung



designing, writing and sending holiday cards is one of my most anticipated activities of the year. i grabbed these when minted was having a 20% off sale.... in early october! b thought i was crazy, but it's not often you see that good of a discount.

there is our top 10 of the year. i thought that was a cute idea - and a quick recap for those family or friends who don't follow the blog and get the daily tmi of what we are up to :)

happy christmas or hanukkah to you blog friends!



a few things that have made their way through the twittersphere have caught my attention recently.

this article in the wall street journal on relationships between families and sons- and daughters-in-law:

"in couples where the husband initially reported being close to his wife's parents, the risk of divorce over the next 16 years was 20% lower than for the group overall. yet when the wife reported being close to her in-laws, that seemed to have the opposite effect: the risk of divorce with these couples was 20% higher." 

say wha?! as if on my wedding to-do list i need to add "be close to my in-laws, but not too close"?! ridiculous.

also: in my never-ending quest to lose weight, i found this documentary called "why are thin people not fat?" 

one of the scientists basically says "weight is like height - it is decided by genetics and predetermined before you are born." if i am giving up carbs, i sure hope my body isn't fighting to stay at max chub.

while those two were kind of downers, i'm also reading uber-popular "bringing up bebe". no plans for bambinos anytime soon, but the audiobook version has been a good distraction during my workouts. hear that body? we're getting in wedding shape!



today i'm talking about the ladies that will stand by my side on the big day!

the maid of honor was not a hard choice - it had to be my little sister, emily. she is a saint for dealing with my it's-the-end-of-the-world calls and emails, which i'm sure will only increase the closer we get to the wedding!

b's sister betsy! her fashion sense, ability to get me laughing easily and support of our relationship made her a must-have for our wedding party. although i am letting the bridesmaids choose their own dresses and i think she prob wishes she hadn't agreed at this point! just kidding {i hope!}.

my high school bff, tricia! tricia will be the one on the wedding day who will talk me off the ledge when my hair looks disgusting. that sounds dramatic, but i prob won't like my hair and that will be enough to send me jumping over the aerial balcony. jk {not really}.

my college bff, shari! she is one of the rare people who not only doesn't mind talking on the phone, but actually cares about the nitty gritty details of my life. even though we've been a million miles apart since graduation {her in myrtle beach, me in nashville. then her in vegas, me in denver.} she has never stopped acting like we are still living right down the hall from each other.

those are the girls! i'd do a post on the groomsmen, but for one of them we don't have a single photo of him {...} and for another we only have a gem from halloween 2006. actually, it really is such a great photo, i have to share. here is b and groomsman kyle. sorry ladies, they're both taken :)



it's december! it certainly doesn't feel like it here, but we braved the 70 degree temps to head to a local tree farm and find our christmas tree.

it's family-owned and operated and they had a bunch of dogs running around, ready to be pet. we took advantage of that - we did not take advantage of their offering of gorgeous blue spruce, though. $65 is a biiiit pricy for something we'll have for just a month.

see - t-shirt weather! b picked out our tree and cut it down. it was quick and easy.

so quick that he talked me into stopping at left hand brewery on the way home.

we even did a tour! check out those goggles.

the view on the ride home. not very much snow up there, but it still makes for a beautiful backdrop.

decorated tree photos coming soon - we're hosting a holiday get-together for my prsa committee this week, so hurried cleaning and organizing starts... now!