8

To Andrew on our 8th anniversary,

Today we have been wed for 8 years. 2,992 days of me and you doing this life together committed to one another on the good days and bad ones too.  There have been a lot of highs and lows in that time, but when I look back on THIS particular year I will look back with fondness.  Moving across the country with you, yet again, has definitely been an adventure, it really show us what we’re made of when we have to start over, make new friends, fit in to a new culture, and do hard things that we don’t want to do (there have been plenty of those).  You have been supportive, kind, loving, encouraging, sacrificial and calm through all of it.  And then in the midst of our crazy life and trying to settle in I came to you and said I felt like I was really supposed to start a coaching business and you have been nothing, but supportive and excited for me.  Helping me brainstorm ideas, talking about the business way more than someone would want to, and celebrating every little victory I have had with this thing.  We committed on our honeymoon to get away for the weekend every year for our anniversary and let’s just say we had no CLUE how impossible that would actually be once kids came into the picture.  Between births and nursing, kids have pretty much disrupted this idea every year for the past 4 years, and last year was the double whammy of nursing AND moving the next day.  Someday, my love, we will sit on a beach reading and relaxing and honestly probably talking about our kids and how funny they are and how we are so glad we have each other and them.  That day is coming, but today we woke up with a warm body between us because she can’t bear to spend an entire night in her own bed.  We groggily stumbled down the stairs and worked out in our own corners, I blended shakes for breakfast and remarked about how different life looks 8 years later.  And then I kissed you goodbye and sent you out the door for you to work hard for us all day so that we can have the life we have, and I can raise our babies at home.  It’s not the beach, but man, I’m one lucky lady that I get this life with you.  Better days are coming (and worse ones too) and I will live them all with you.

Love you forever,

Laura

I looked through my phone and this is the only somewhat recent one of just the two of us, yikes we need to take a photo together soon!

I looked through my phone and this is the only somewhat recent one of just the two of us, yikes we need to take a photo together soon!

And one where we don't look like lunatics :)

And one where we don’t look like lunatics 🙂

Our Love Changes

Photo from our first year of marriage, still one of my favorites!

Photo from our first year of marriage, still one of my favorites!  Thanks Jenna for capturing our changing love over the years!!

I’ve been thinking about how different our love looks 7.5 years into marriage.  Sometimes I look at newlyweds and think, “ah how sweet is their love?”  And it is sweet, and it should be.  When you get married you are fortunate if your love can be uncomplicated and unweathered.

When we got married our love was so fresh, probably a little TOO fresh.  Let’s be honest, we barely knew each other and it was very much a blind love.  We had literally only had a couple disagreements and our love was incredibly idealistic.  And then our love changed.  Depression hit our home like a mack truck (from me) and getting out of bed was a challenge every single day.  Love looked a lot like gentle nudging and understanding words.  Sitting at home with me when socializing was just too painful and praying for me continually.  From my side it looked a lot like trying really hard to be present, honest, and ,despite how I was feeling, I worked hard to be kind.

We made it through that year stronger and a bit weathered and then our love changed. After a year of searching for a job in the city we planned to move to we had to come to terms that our plans and our dreams were not becoming a reality.  Our love looked a lot like praying for wisdom and sharing our hearts.  Supporting each other through the changes that were inevitably coming and working to find excitement in the journey.

We moved to Austin, our first big adventure as a married couple, and a few months in the realization that we weren’t enough for each other was a tough pill to swallow.  And then our love changed.  We no longer lived with this fantastical view of love.  I no longer believed we could do anything or go anywhere as long as we had each other.  The fairytale love that everyone reads about was no longer a possibility for us, we now knew better, and our love changed.  And it was in this time that we also learned I was pregnant (which we were really wanting) and I entered perhaps the darkest time of my life (pregnancy number one was not kind to me mentally).  Love took a whole new meaning during this phase of our life.  It took a lot of understanding and patience to love me.  In order to accomplish this gigantic feat Andrew developed a huge filter which everything passed through before he took offense to me and my incredibly unloving attitude.

And then our Ellery was born and our love changed, it grew, and it got so much deeper.  Love became teamwork and turn taking.  Preferring the other person and letting them sleep, it was trusting each other that they knew what they were doing, and encouraging each other through the challenges of new parenthood and it was such a sweet time in our lives.  For many people bringing kids into their marriage makes things so much harder, but for us we actually got along better and enjoyed life more as a family of three.

And then we got the fantastic news that we could finally move to the town we wanted to move to in the first place.  It was so exciting for us, nothing but happy feelings going into year 5 as we were once again surrounded by friends and familiar faces.  Before we moved I had NO CLUE the loving sacrifice Andrew was making for me to live in a place I loved.  His love towards me was getting up and commuting 2 flights of stairs to the basement everyday, working alone in isolation and traveling a ton.  He did so with very little complaint and I enjoyed the two years of living in the midwest again and being just a short 99 miles from my parents.  And then it was my turn to sacrificially love him more.

Then our love changed.  It became me setting aside what I wanted in order to give Andrew what he needed.  We had to move back to Austin and I had to swallow my pride and do the one thing I said I would NEVER do again.  This love forces me to support him in all he is doing, to delight in his accomplishments and cheer him on as he sets new goals.  This love has enabled me to adore this man that I live with and enjoy his company everyday.  Choosing to lay aside what I wanted for him has been a very rich experience for me.  Our love has grown so deep on this newest journey and I adore my man so much.

And that’s the rollercoaster of love.  I’m so very tired of hearing things like “we fell out of love,” or, “we loved each other when we got married and then things changed,” or fill in the blank with whatever excuse you have heard for why marriages are falling apart every single day.  Sometimes love feels so good, and sometimes it is incredibly hard.  Sometimes love is a feeling and sometimes it’s a choice.

I encourage you to take time, on this national day of love, to reflect on the things you love about your mate and appreciate the journey you have been on together.  I would venture to say if you have made it through some rough patches you are better for them, and if you are still in the goo goo eyed phase, enjoy it, while it doesn’t last forever, it will come and go over time, I still get butterflies sometimes.

Coming Up For Air

Lately I have felt like I’m drowning in motherhood a little bit.  I have said to Andrew several times lately, “I adore our kids between the hours of 8AM-8PM, but I don’t feel that adoration from 8PM-8AM.  Vaughn has been waking up and wanting to hang out in the middle of the night lately, like several times a week.  On the nights that Vaughn sleeps through the night Ellery, of course, wakes up with some nightmare scenario.  About once per week both the girls sleep through the night, and for that one night I am thankful.

We have been needing to come up for air, to take a big deep breath and just be married for 24 hours, not married with children, JUST MARRIED.  My parents came down for Christmas and were able to stay for a bit, we asked a month or so ago if we could plan a night away when they were here and they were totally on board.  We started planning and looking into good deals in San Antonio and then ultimately decided we had no desire to go anywhere, but we would love to hang out in Austin.  My brother told us about this great deal The Hotel Van Zandt was running and we snatched it up.  Gorgeous hotel, stunning lobby, sweet cafe, and swanky restaurant.  I highly recommend staying here if you ever come to Austin and want to stay at a great boutique hotel.  I would skip the restaurant, but everything else was stellar (and I’m sure for a foodie the restaurant would probably be great too).

We spent the day shopping for house stuff at the outlets, bought ourselves some new clothes, and ran errands that would have been much more challenging with two littles in tow.  We ate lunch and didn’t have to feed anyone, we listened to the new Serial podcasts as we drove around town, and we just got to talk and listen to each other without constant interruptions.  I was reminded all day long who we were before we were a family of three and then four.  I was reminded of who we were when we were just an US.  i must admit I really like my husband.  Yes I love him, but I actually still like him and I really love the person he is becoming too.  One of the hardest parts about marriage is we, as humans, are forever changing and you just have to hope and pray that you like the person your spouse is becoming.  I adore my man and I am so lucky that I am tied to him because he pushes me, encourages me, understands me and loves me even with all my faults (and there are quite a few).

The one downside of coming up for air is you are then aware of how amazing it feels to breathe and the drowning hurts that much more.  I know this phase will end.  We will sleep through the night again, but man oh man I’m struggling to keep a positive attitude right now.  Andrew and I agree that we could use 24 hours kids free every month, probably not going to happen, but we gotta commit to get away more than once a year.  A week later I can still see the positive affects of the time investment we made.  Looking forward to a trip to New England soon and letting Nana take kid duty for a bit!

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Seven/Eight

On August 9, 2015 we “celebrated” our 7th wedding anniversary.  It was quite the celebration, let me tell ya.  We stayed up until Midnight……packing our house.  We moved out of our home in Illinois on August 10th, so our anniversary was a big ole bust.  We decided on our honeymoon we would go on an overnight trip every year for our anniversary, this year that obviously did not happen.  There has been at least one other year that it was a no go due to having a 3 week old baby, but other than that I believe we have taken the weekend to focus on us….this just means anniversary 8 better be a fabulous getaway!!

We met labor day weekend 8 years ago.  Yes for all you mathematicians we did not even KNOW each other a year before we tied the knot.  Lord, thank you for naïveté.  Who thinks tying yourself to someone for the rest of your life at 22 is a good idea, pretty much no one….but for us it’s worked.  Some years have been hard.  Year one was a doozy and year three with pregnant crazy depressed hormonal Laura wasn’t a party, but we are doing it, we are making it, and I’m grateful.  Some years have been great, year 2 I remember with fondness and year 4 as our first year as parents was a great year of trust and teamwork and we arrived at year 5 a changed couple.

In 7 years of marriage we’ve moved 4 times (across the country three of those), bought 3 houses (hopefully we won’t buy our 4th for at least another 7), had 2 beautiful little girls, led and/or hosted 5 small groups, joined 2 church plants, pushed each other to do better, laughed, cried, fought, made up, and bickered nearly every single day.  And through all of it I’m glad we chose each other.  It hasn’t always been fun, it hasn’t always been easy, but it has been constant and with everything else that swirls around in life I have appreciated that so much.

5

08/09/13 marked 5 years of being wed. I don’t even quite know what to say about it. Five felt like it was going to be a huge deal. I have no idea why, really, it’s 5 years, not 25 years. And honestly when you vow to forever, what is 5 years in the grand scheme? Just a small blip really. We always talked about going on a week long trip for our 5th anniversary. We also planned to not have a kid by five years, so our “plans” have kind of changed over the years. Instead we stayed home and sent our little lady away. I had a whole afternoon to myself and that was stinking awesome, then we went to dinner and walked around this quaint little town within our city and got GIGANTIC ice cream cones at our new favorite ice cream shop, Emack and Bolios is where it’s at!! Saturday was supposed to be a day for relaxing, which turned into 6 hours at car dealers, but resulted in a 2nd car for us…oh the things married people do on their one weekend without a kid. One of the best parts of our weekend was reading our five year time capsule slips from our wedding, most everyone was correct that we would have one young kid. My dad and a couple others even guessed girl. When I look at our baby girl I think how much our love has multiplied in 5 years. How much I loved him then and how much more I love him now. How much more respect and love I have for him as the father of our daughter. How much we collectively love our little girl. It’s just a big ol love fest over here I guess.

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Marriage

First came love…

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Then came marriage…

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Then came our baby in a baby carriage…

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A couple weeks ago one of my Facebook friends posted a status saying,{paraphrased} despite what you see on the Internet through social media no ones’s marriage is perfect. I’ve thought about this a lot. Yes I was fully aware that my or anyone else’s marriage is flawed. Marriage is the union of two flawed people. However what I do love about social media is that it is one of the few places that people do talk so positively about their spouses. We need more positive spouse talk. We are bombarded with the media telling us marriage is the death of happiness or having kids is awful. Have you ever been in a group of women and one person says something negative about her husband? It’s like she opened the floodgates and the complaints start rolling out of everyone’s mouths. Positive talk leads to positive feelings. When you start highlighting the things in your mate that are good, you begin to see them as good, so I say publicly affirm all you want!

Are there things that I would change about my husband? You betcha, and I’m sure he could tell you a thing or two that he’d like to fix in me, but we’ve both grown to a place of acceptance. In our early married days I treated everyday as an opportunity to air my grievances. If Andrew did something I didn’t like or did something in a way that was different from “my way” I would tell him. Then one day it occurred to me, Andrew was a person before me. He lived alone for many years, he washed his own clothes, cleaned his own dishes and ,gasp, he even cooked for himself!! He doesn’t need me, he wants me. So then I began trying to be someone I would want to live with.

Enter our sweet Ellery, I realized before I had her that I like to control things and I often think my way is THE way. I decided before I had her that despite how I felt I was going to start leaving Ellery at least a couple hours a week with Andrew. Dads play different, they play rough, they are loud, they like to rile up the babe as we are getting ready for bed and I decided the last thing I wanted to do was destroy his “dadness” so I leave them alone. He plays however he wants, he puts her to bed and I come home refreshed from my time alone, it’s a win win. I think our marriage has actually gotten better with a baby because for the first time I actually have a very tangible way of communicating that I trust and respect him. And from what I’ve gathered, Andrew couldn’t give a rip about being loved, and saying “I respect you” is kind of weird!

It’s true, no marriage is perfect, but I believe whole heartedly that every marriage can get better if both people want it to. It’ll take work, patience, understanding, compromise, communication, putting their needs above yours, love, respect, and a huge heaping spoonful of grace, but it can get better. And remember next time you go to bash your husband, ultimately you are criticizing your taste in men, you did choose him after all.

{And before I get a nasty gram, yes I know there are circumstances out there that don’t fit into this pretty little box. If you are in a relationship that is a hazard to your health I obviously would never advise you to stay and put you or your children in danger}

Give me an Inch

I will take a mile. Well, with Andrew at least. I am just now starting to realize this, it’s only taken me 5 years. A couple weekends ago I asked Andrew if he would give me 10 minutes in his closet going through his clothes, getting rid of stuff he doesn’t wear and seeing if he needs anything. He told me he’d give me 7 *wink*. An hour, or maybe two, later he told me that if he gives me an inch I will take a mile, and I would have to agree. The good thing is we cleared out all the stuff he doesn’t wear and he discovered a lot of things that he forgot he had and it was like he got new clothes.

Monday I caught myself again. I am sometimes irrational. I haven’t been this irrational since pregnancy we were getting ready to leave for Boston 2 weeks ago. For some reason the dishes were totally overwhelming me. They were piled in the sink and in a panic I asked Andrew if he could do just 5, then I added the dinner dishes and then he said, well why don’t I just do all of them? We worked together and in a matter of minutes, literally 10 minutes, all the dishes were done and I felt so much better! At this point I said to Andrew, “my goodness God knew just what he was doing when He paired us up.” Somehow Andrew calms me down when I go spinning out of control and when he gets a little out of sorts I usually have the sense to get him back on track.

Hopefully I’ll learn to be content with just an inch before Andrew stops giving me even that.

Quatro

Four years ago today Andrew and I wed.  We were young and stupid and I’m so thankful for that.  I think had either of us known the trials life and marriage brings we would have had a harder time signing up for this.  We are both so glad we did though.  I wouldn’t want to share my life with anyone else and the past few weeks have affirmed that I wouldn’t want to parent with anyone else either. Having a baby really does change everything, I am more in love with my man after he became the father of my child.  My love grows for him all the time, but going through the pregnancy and birth of our babe catapulted my love forward.  When we got married we thought we had our life all figured out, little did we know most of those things would change and our life would look so different than we planned.  After 4 years I can tell you this, we have a beautiful home, a beautiful life, a beautiful love, and an absolutely beautiful daughter.  Not what we planned, but pretty darn good if I do say so myself.

Here is the verse Andrew picked out for our 4th year of marriage.  Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think. Ephesians 3:20

3.

Today we’ve been married for 3 years.  When people ask us if it feels like it’s been 3 whole years we look at each other, chuckle, and say it feels like it’s been a lot longer.  Here is our 3 years in recap in no particular order… We’ve lived in 2 cities.  Purchased our first home.  Lived with family.  Dreamed together.  Grieved the loss of dreams.  Battled crazy depression.  Received incredible healing.  Had 7 jobs between the two of us.  Started a side wedding flower business.  Ended said flower business.  Became an aunt and uncle twice.  Fought. Laughed a lot.  Looked for a job for almost a year.  Finished a PhD in Chemistry.  Grew and left an amazing small group.  Started a new group in Austin. Traveled: Martha’s Vineyard, Boston, Raynham, St.Louis, Madison, Somewhere in Michigan, Somewhere in Wisconsin.  Supported each other.  Started and finished Lost, Battlestar, Everwood, 24, and Friday Night Lights.  Gained weight.  Lost weight. Gained it all back again.  Prayed together.  Confronted issues.  Worked on said issues, alot. Became absolute best friends.

Roach, I mean Beetle

Apparently due to the drought in Texas right now people are experiencing a surge of beetles in their homes.  We are no exception.  We’ve lately been finding large black beetle bugs in our bathroom and bedroom and let me just say the scene that takes place from the moment I scream ROACH until it is killed is quite entertaining.  I’m a relatively dramatic person.  Last night I was picking up the house and standing in my bedroom doorway when I saw a big black bug scurrying across the floor.  I of course start screaming terrified of this harmless bug and Andrew comes rushing in like my knight in shining armor to rescue me.  He grabs the raid (our current killing tool of choice) and begins the hunt for the bug that has now crawled under our bed.  I store my paint clothes under my bed, not really sure why, I guess they are already so dirty that I store them in a dirty place.  So Andrew picks up my clothes shakes them out and out jumps the beetle.  It scurries over to our drapes and Andrew proceeds to douse the drapes in Raid to kill this bug.  I have no clue what’s going on because I am too terrified to get close enough to watch the action, but when all is said and done Andrew says, ” do you think I ruined the curtains by spraying them with Raid?”  I’m thinking who in their right mind sprays fabric with Raid, but I was so thankful that he got rid of the bug that I didn’t even care all that much.  I put our raid drench dry clean only drapes in the washing machine and when I checked them this morning they looked perfect.  So Andrew spray away….I hate roaches, I mean beetles.