Elevated and unique Patterns by Erica-Lee Helgerson
Elevated and unique Patterns by Erica-Lee Helgerson
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The First 5 Years

August is a very special month for me and my husband, Chris.  Personally, I love it because it always seems to be the hottest month in our PNW summers.  Growing up, I always imagined my wedding taking place outdoors and I put my money on August for the best chance of good weather.  (I won that bet and I’ll reminisce about the wedding day from heaven at another time).  The infamous date we became our weird little unit was August 22, 2014.  Yep five years, FIVE YEARS! 
Around my birthday (early June) this year, Chris started teasing me about Anniversary Surprise Number One and Number Two.  Yes!  TWO surprises fully separate from each other and fully planned and kept secret by my one and only.  Honestly, this man loves surprises.  Often times, I think he plans random events for us (as small as where we are going to lunch), and keeps them a secret under the guise of “a surprise” so that I won’t protest and say that I’d rather do something else.  But there’s nothing else I would have rather done for our 5 year wedding anniversary. 
This man truly listens to my heart.  He understands what getting out of the house means for me, (a person with social anxiety) and what kinds of things feed my soul when I do emerge from my den.  I’m on a constant hunt for things that I can sit quietly and stare at existentially.  Things that make me feel small.  Beautiful things like scenery, water, mountains, sky – that’s a big one for me.  It’s hard to even explain that feeling but if you’ve had it before you’ll know what I’m talking about.  I truly feel like we live in the perfect part of the world for all these things.  And boy, does my husband know it. 
First, Chris used to work in the maritime industry.  In secret, he planned out Anniversary Surprise Day One.  Every favor ever owed to him was cashed in so that we might have an evening on a vintage 1951 yacht with dinner, drinks, and a tour around Lake Union and Lake Washington.  The yacht belongs to his former co-worker’s sister and her husband.
               I spy a Janine Clutch in this photo!
These warm, inviting people literally welcomed us into their home, took us out on the water, prepared and served our dinner at sunset and kept us comfortable the whole evening.  I’m so thankful for that day and will never forget the amazing way everything fell together!  From the weather, to the calm place where we turned off the engines for dinner during the sunset. 
“I’d like to do something we’ve never done before.”
 Anniversary Surprise Number Two commenced straight away the next morning.  In response to this  statement I made months ago in passing, Chris decided to book us two nights in a place we’ve never stayed before.  4:30am, up and packing to leave the house.  It was early but excitement exceeded sleepiness.  We were heading for another boat!  The very first crossing of The Anacortes Ferry leaves at 6:20am and spends just over an hour weaving through the Puget Sound islands at sunrise.  I filled up my heart with the beauty and even completed a mini handbag photoshoot.  
Sunrise while parked in the ferry wait line.  
Such sleepy but excited faces. Plus the handbag photoshoot!
On the beautiful San Juan Island is a tiny town called Friday Harbor.  You can walk the town in 5 minutes and it’s a perfect place to remove yourself without having to go too far from home.  Purposefully, Chris booked a room at a spa/inn called The Earth Box.  I mean is that Washington or what?  He booked us both into a massage and I tacked on a facial after that, because why not?  I don’t remember a time when I was ever that relaxed. 
“Oh hey, I know you!”
In the quietness of this little harbor town, we were able to sit still, find words we’ve been too preoccupied to conjure, and remember back on the 5 years that we’ve lived together.  Future-planning by the water in a quiet little town should be mandatory for a young marriage like ours.  It certainly will be for Chris and Erica from now on. 


Love people fiercely. Put others first. Look at the sky. Grow something. Remember that people have stories. Be excited about the pure things.

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