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25 Little Known Facts About ‘The Girl Who’ Monica Bielanko

A day in the life.

Looking through a slew of photos from the last eight years, it almost seems unreal, how much my wife and I have been through. Monica came up with this idea of a little photo essay idea of some pics of each of us along with some random unknown facts, and I’m glad she did. It’s been so cool, looking back through a million old photos, remembering times and places I’d almost forgotten; seeing her face back through the better part of a last decade..from way before we had our kids, from way before so much had happened.

If nothing else, it’s just good to remind ourselves sometimes that we are still the people we always were.

We are still the people we fell in love with…way back when.


  • The Rah-Rah Kid 1 of 25
    The Rah-Rah Kid
    When she was in middle school, my future wife was a cheerleader for a while. That is also around the time she was bit by a horse she stopped to pet while she she was walking to school one morning. She still has the scar.
  • Monica and Charlie 2 of 25
    Monica and Charlie
    When we lived in New York City, Monica made fast friends with a local guy named Charlie who also happened to be homeless. He lived in a stairwell across from our apartment and he was always happy to see my wife coming around. She was one of those rare people who would stop and shoot the breeze with him without judging him or anything. I always loved that about her.
  • The Girl Who Drank Cough Syrup 3 of 25
    The Girl Who Drank Cough Syrup
    When I first met Monica and fell in love with her hard and fast, there was only one stand-out thing that frightened me about her. That was the fact that she drank Jagermeister and ONLY Jagermeister. It led to some strange nights too. But after about a year and change, I managed to help her to 'refine' her frat-boy tastes bit by bit. These days, she is all about that special vintage known as, Le Miller Lite.
  • Dog Days 4 of 25
    Dog Days
    My wife will sit and watch tv shows about savage and chilling human murders for hours on end. But, should a brief twenty seconds of a newscast or a film include a dog being subjected to any kind of abuse/misfortune at all..she will plug her ears, scream LA-LA-LA-LA, and go into a far room until I give her the all clear sign.
  • The Fresh Faced Kid 5 of 25
    The Fresh Faced Kid
    Straight up: my wife looks great with make-up. But, without it she has probably the most gorgeous face of any human I have ever seen. I guess it's her Nordic genes or just plain luck, but damn I dig that fresh faced kid.
  • Lady Bookworm 6 of 25
    Lady Bookworm
    We are both readers, but Monica is one of those astonishingly fast ones. If she is really into a novel, she will sit down and just chainsaw through huge chunks at a time, even if she is surrounded by screaming kids and a noisy husband. I've seen her do 400 pagers in a day or two.
  • Spliffer 7 of 25
    Spliffer
    When Monica was 15-years-old, the family acquired the pup of a neighborhood. She named him Kudo, her brothers named him Spliffer (he answered to both names for years but eventually Spliffer won out) and he became a huge part of her life. Years later, when I met my wife, Spliffer was still very much alive and living with Monica's mom. He and I became fast friends and along with Monica's new dog, Max, we would roam the Utah mountains together, chasing deer and fighting crime. This was the SAME dog my wife cuddled in bed with when she was 15! She was 27 the day I met her. Spliffer finally passed two years ago. I think he was like 200 in dog years.
  • First Text Message 8 of 25
    First Text Message
    The very first text message I ever sent Monica said: "What does a Utah girl do on a Saturday morning like today?" She answered me: "She buys a copy of Springsteen's Darkness On The Edge Of Town and rides around the mountains with her dog." Blew my mind.
  • Traveling 9 of 25
    Traveling
    Monica and I have been on as many airplanes together with a kid along as we have been just the two of us. I just realized that. We need to fix that, yo.
  • Passenger Side 10 of 25
    Passenger Side
    Monica loves to drive. But whenever we head out together, I do most of the driving. I think she must be resentful about that somewhere inside, so I aim to start encouraging her take the wheel a lot more. There is nothing like the driver's seat, huh?
  • The Girl Who Was A Buoy 11 of 25
    The Girl Who Was A Buoy
    Something pretty cool and slightly eccentric that I have noticed about my wife is is this: whenever we are swimming at a lake or a in the ocean, at some point, she will disappear for a while. Then, I know right where to find her. I just look way way out in the deep water and there she always is...bobbing up and down in the deep, contemplating life or whatever, out where no one can touch her.
  • In A Dress 12 of 25
    In A Dress
    Monica is more of a jeans and t-shirt and Chuck Taylor's kind of girl when it comes to duds. So, we rarely see each other dressed up. But sometimes, for whatever the reason, she will appear before me in a dress. And every single damn time that had happened, I've been blown away by how much more stunning she is than I had even remembered.
  • The Girl Who Loved Baba Booey 13 of 25
    The Girl Who Loved Baba Booey
    When Monica and I moved from NYC to Utah, we bought a Sirius satellite radio for the long journey in the moving truck. I was a huge Howard Stern fan, but she had never really listened to him. By the time we arrived out west four days later...my wife was a full-on Stern junkie. To this day, she is still a super-fan/constant listener.
  • Labor Queen 14 of 25
    Labor Queen
    Through two labors and deliveries, I can honestly say that I never ever heard Monica complain about a single damn thing. Not even once. She held her own, kept a smile whenever she could, and just seemed way more zen about the whole crazy ritual than I ever could have been. I think the births of each of our kids were way more magical for me because of how badass she was.
  • Mountain Mama 15 of 25
    Mountain Mama
    Some of the greatest moments I have ever know were the times I was out for the day, fly fishing for trout on some pretty remote stretches of my favorite river in Utah, and out of the treeline I would suddenly see a figure approaching. Here I was two miles from where you can park a car, and here comes Monica, with our baby on her back, to "watch daddy fish." Once, she showed up over a mile from the car, pregnant, with Violet walking beside her. How could I not fall for a girl who does that?
  • The Artist Formerly Known As Monica 16 of 25
    The Artist Formerly Known As Monica
    Few people know this, but a couple of years ago my band, Marah, put out a Christmas record. And on that record is a song sung by none other than...Monica Bielanko, under the alias Zuzu Petal. It's a cool little tune called 'Handsome Santa.' She actually sings it pretty great, too.
  • Them Brooklyn Snapshots 17 of 25
    Them Brooklyn Snapshots
    Monica is a damn good photographer and you can thank me and Brooklyn, NY for that, I think. She and I used to take these three hours hikes all over the vast city, just wandering and seeing stuff and I swear: there were long strectches when she didn't even know I was along. That's how busy she was shooting pictures/honing her skillz. It paid off though. But back then I could have been hit by a bus and she probably would have just taken a Pulitzer pic and kept on walking.
  • The Girl Who Loved Italian Pigeons 18 of 25
    The Girl Who Loved Italian Pigeons
    We went to Venice once together. Monica let the pigeons in the Plaza San Marco crawl all over her while I fed them cups of food I bought from a vendor. Maybe in our next life, I get to freeze a moment, live in it forever. I'd pick this one, with her and that perfect evening and those excellent birds.
  • The Big Apple 19 of 25
    The Big Apple
    Three weeks after I met Monica Danielle Butler in a bar in Salt Lake City, we were both together, across the country, in New York town. There, we walked around the city all day...she had never been there before. And at night we hit up the bars and soaked up the neon. Then she left. Then I chased her down in Utah. Three weeks after strolling through Times Square/7 weeks after we'd met...we got married.
  • Milo 20 of 25
    Milo
    Right before we had our first kid, when we already had one lab named Max, we both decided to bring another lab into our family. When we went to a farm to pick one from a recent litter, we weren't sure how we would decide which dog would be the one. Then, a little fella appeared out of the big furry ball of pups, and he had a big dog turd hanging off of his dang head. Monica looked me directly in the eye and simply said: "That's him." And that was him. Our Milo.
  • The Girl Who 21 of 25
    The Girl Who
    One Sunday, eight years ago, we were looking at the New York Times in our tiny Brooklyn apartment. I read an article about a local blogger named Stephanie Klein who was making some waves. I said to Monica, "You know what? You should start one of these blogs. You could write a great one." A couple days later she did.
  • Shot Down In Flames 22 of 25
    Shot Down In Flames
    Each time Monica has changed her hair with a new cut or a new style or a new color, I have genuinely been giddy about it. Then, I have swiftly tried to get nasty with her, with this new killer looking chick in town. And each time, I have been pretty much shot down in favor of her brooding about her freaking head, which always looks hot as hell. Whatever.
  • Walking The Walk 23 of 25
    Walking The Walk
    Barely a day goes by when Monica doesn't take a walk with her Violet and her Henry. I try and tag along sometimes. But if you were to cruise through this little town on any afternoon, you'd probably end up spotting Monica and the kids, because they are always out there strolling.
  • Nervous Laughter 24 of 25
    Nervous Laughter
    Monica will laugh when she's nervous or when she's feeling socially inept or something. She thinks it's annoying and fake sounding. But I really like it. I like big loud laughter, with screeches and high-pitched whips of uncontrollable snorting and stuff. When Monica laughed the night I met her I immediately wanted to sleep with her because of her fabulous sense of humor. Alas, it took me like six hours to make that happen. Ugh.
  • Wedding Day 25 of 25
    Wedding Day
    When Monica and I got married, we chose to do it at our friend Rush Limbaugh's home in France. Psyche. That's a Justice of the Peace. We got married by him at his home in Salt Lake City, Utah. His wife was our only witness.

 

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