anniversary shenanigans (2017)

From the very beginning of my half marathon training, I told Michael that the first time I ran ten miles, we would be going to Red Robin for dinner. Well, that first 10-mile Saturday fell on our anniversary weekend, so we counted it as our family date for the month and headed out for a special meal.

I think we’ve only been on four dates without the kids since Kaya was born… so obviously, they came along. I like including them in celebrating our anniversary, anyway. According to Kaya, it’s our “family’s birthday!”

Kaya really looks forward to eating the broccoli there (although I don’t think it’s any different than the broccoli we make at home)!

We accomplished a lot of other things around the house that weekend- Michael started putting new shutters on the house, I cleaned, and Nella did what babies do best… ūüėČOur actual anniversary was that next Monday, and Michael surprised me with some flowers! I love getting potted plants- these should last for a long time (hopefully)!I had to run some errands that evening, and while I was gone, Michael and the girls made square shooter cookies……as well as a pretty big mess!Seriously, who couldn’t love a guy who bakes surprise cookies? I’m so grateful to have Michael in my life, and I love our simple anniversary celebration. ¬†Maybe once we get to ten years, we’ll do something a little more exciting, but for now, this weekend was perfect.

the best teammate (8 years)

I’ve heard the quote, “Life is a team sport” various times, but¬†today, on our anniversary, it’s the adage that keeps running through my mind.

Eight years ago, we became a team. I’d choose Michael a million times over, and I’m so thankful to call him my sweetheart forever.

I honestly couldn’t dream up a better teammate. He deals with all my shenanigans, tolerates my love of country music, and picks up the pieces when I fall apart. He encourages me to do better, work harder, and push myself to try new things. He never judges and is always there to help me, no matter what I need.

It’s amazing to me that in eight short years, we’ve grown into a family of five. A lot has changed in the time since we married, but the fact that Michael is my best friend and my favorite person to hang out with is only more true.

And just for fun, here’s our marriage, so far, by the numbers:

2 apartments. 1 house.
3 cars.
7 jobs.
2 little self-starter businesses.
3 incredible baby girls.
2 dogs. 4 guinea pigs.
2,920 peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.
5,840 bowls of ice cream.
Thousands upon thousands of photographs to remember it all.

Happy Anniversary, Bestie! I love you.

the kind of guy I married

He’s the kind of guy who loves to help everyone in any way he can. Need a ride to church? Done. Computer help? Be right over. A heart-to-heart chat? He’s got that covered, too.

He’s the kind of guy who loves being a daddy. I’ve never seen anyone love anything more than he loves his baby girls.

He’s the kind of guy who buys an extra-large umbrella with the intention of sharing it with strangers during a storm.

He’s the kind of guy who will unexpectedly take my hand in the car, and stroke the back of it just ever so slightly. He wraps his arms around me and kisses my cheek when I’m washing the dishes. According to him, I’m cute even when I first wake up in the morning.

He’s the kind of guy who encourages my talents and my passions. He supports me in whatever endeavor I pursue… whether it’s something big, like motherhood, or a small talent, like photography. He’s my my number one cheerleader and my kindest critic.

He’s the guy who will always catch me when I fall (figuratively… and literally, if you know how clumsy I actually am)! He is dependable.

He’s the guy I fell in love with, and keep falling¬†for¬†a little more each day.

He’s the guy who married me¬†6 whole years ago, and I couldn’t be more grateful for his calming influence in my life every day.

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Happy 6th Anniversary, best friend!

five years

When you’re single, you’ve got a list (at least a mental one) of all the qualities you hope to find in a spouse.

He has to be smart. Funny. Faithful and active in the church. Handsome.

When you meet the guy who could be “the one”, you ask yourself a whole bunch of questions: Do I see myself marrying him? Buying a house? Having kids? Growing old together? Spending eternity getting to know each other?

Maybe, when the answer to all those questions is “yes”, that’s when most people decide to get married.

I knew I was going to marry Michael weeks before we were even officially a “couple”.

But being young and even more clueless about life than we are now, I didn’t realize that there were a whole bunch of other questions you’ll need to answer yes to when you commit your life to someone else.

Will you work hard while still finishing college to care for the both of you?
Wipe her tears when she’s crying over some completely irrational fear?
Remind her who she is when she forgets and isn’t sure which path to take?
Care about the things she cares about (even if that means spending $400 on surgery for a guinea pig)?
Never complain about having frozen pizza for the third time in one week?
Let her steal all your pajamas when her big, pregnant belly doesn’t fit in her own?
Hold her hand through thirty hours of labor?
Tell her that she’s wonderful and beautiful, even when she feels like she’s failed and is a complete mess?

I’ve been blessed with a companion who has always said yes.

_MG_2610I could not be more thankful. Five years ago, I never imagined where we’d be right now. I couldn’t have predicted how intensely we’d love our little girl, and how blessed we’d be to be welcoming another princess so soon._MG_2614

Thank you, buddy, for the most amazing (and fastest) five years of my life. I’m so grateful to be on this journey with you.

one and five

ONE year ago, I was 39 weeks pregnant and so very anxious to meet our baby girl. I had six days until my due date, 5 until I went into labor, and 7 until I’d be able to hold my sweet angel. Those last few weeks of pregnancy seemed to drag on forever, but this past year feels like it’s gone faster than I could bat an eye. (I still can’t believe Kaya ever fit in my belly!)

_MG_4678FIVE years ago today was the the day that Michael and I “officially” started dating. I can safely say that we are just as goofy now as we were back then. (Don’t you love our awesome photography skills five years ago? We took selfies before they were cool. Even cooler? Selfies with the camera flash on!)DIGITAL CAMERAMichael was so sweet, kind, and caring back then… but he has become even more loving and sensitive as the years have gone on and our love has blossomed. I was twenty years old and somewhat clueless about a lot of things in life when I met Michael. Dating him was the best decision I could have made. I’m so grateful for the amazing example that he is. He’s the rock I can always lean on, and I find so much peace knowing that he will uplift and encourage our little girl in the same way.091213photogrid1

friday/anniversary date night!

We had a pretty fantastic Friday! Karl came over for the first time in at least a million months (he’s been busy working so hard)! I’m happy to say that Kaya is officially over the “stranger danger” phase, because although she didn’t remember Uncle Karl, she fell in love with him again pretty quickly. She kept “asking” him to help her stand up!_MG_6047 Michael kept teasing about having some sort of surprise date night in honor of our anniversary. As usual, he didn’t disappoint- he took me out to the best Greek food in town. Mmmmmm. If I ever make it back to Europe, revisiting Greece is at the top of my list.IMG_20130524_222204

The next part of the date was a complete shock- he drove to our Institute director’s house and we left Kaya with his family! It was the first time we’ve had a date without her… which was strange at first, but it let us relax a little more. We had a great time just joking around without worrying about pacifying a sleepy baby! (Of course, we had to go to Dairy Queen. It’s not a real date if you don’t.)IMG_20130524_201245After ice cream, Michael surprised me again by bringing me back to the very place where we both realized we’d marry each other. We sat under the same little tree (well, we at least tried to pick the same one) as nearly 5 years ago now and just talked.20130524210125251I loved having some special time with my buddy to just reflect on the past few years. Thanks for the fun night, pal!

4 years

Happy 4th Anniversary to my best friend!

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On one hand, four years have flown by, and I can’t believe it’s been that long! On the other hand, it feels like we’ve been married forever! We’ve done so much in four short years, and I’m excited to share the rest of eternity together.

Michael works so hard for our family and makes so many sacrifices so that we can be happy. He truly loves the Lord and His Church, which definitely shows through all the service he so freely gives.

I am so grateful for everything you do, buddy, and I hope that I can become even half as amazing as you are!

I love you!

insta-jam for may!

Here are my Instagram photos from the month of May! Of course, we have to start off with a round of food photos… If they make you drool, at least try not to get any on your keyboard.

1: Finally found rainbow Twizzlers at Walmart… my favorite thing!

2: Chinese buffet with Michael and his mom. My other favorite thing! We even tried a new restaurant!

3. Ice cream sundaes at home with my mom. Another favorite! We discovered that Kroger makes a pretty-darn-good “triple brownie” flavor. Good for us economical folks who can’t splurge on Edy’s all the time!

4. Dairy Queen blizzards on our anniversary date. Do I even need to repeat myself?

1. Michael finally got his Xbox. He’d been asking for it for so long and it was great to see how happy he was when he finally brought it home!

2. Browsing in JCPenney, we came across “many much moosen!” pillow pets. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, you need to get¬†acquainted¬†with some Brian Regan.

3 & 4: Michael found this 500-piece puzzle at the dollar store, and it’s actually really nice! It also makes for a fun date or activity to do together.

1: New beads for my wire-wrapping projects!

2: An owl pendant I ordered along with the beads… but it turns out that he’s HUGE and I have no idea what I can use him for. I still really like him though!

3. On Mother’s Day, my primary kids gave me their coloring pages from class. So sweet.

4. A “seahorse jumping out of the water” drawing by another little boy in my class. I love its stripes and spikes!

1: Maggie, after her haircut and bath! She loves being clean and having short hair, especially now with summer!

2: This is how Juni eats lately. She stands up on her hind legs, sticks her head in the hay trough, and just nibbles away. Crazy pig!

3. Clothes from my mom for baby ūüôā

4. Clothes I got on clearance (AND with a coupon!) online for munchkin. I can’t wait to dress her up!

happy 3rd anniversary, best friend!

Yesterday was our 3rd wedding anniversary! I can’t believe how fast the years are flying by, and I know that they are just going to get faster and faster, especially once our little girl gets here!

So much has changed since we got married. We’ve both grown and learned so much about ourselves, each other, and life in general. I’m so grateful for all the encouragement and love you show me, Michael! Thanks for being my very best friend.

We had a fun, simple evening. Michael came home from work, peeked his head in the kitchen doorway… and then pulled these BEAUTIFUL flowers from behind his back!

I love them, and honestly, they are the best ones he’s ever given me- they’re in a pot, so hopefully they’ll last more than a few days!

He also surprised me with Twizzlers (my most favorite thing lately!)

I also found this little note on my keyboard. He left it there in the morning, but I actually didn’t see it until he got home. Whoops!

We went out to the mall for ice cream, and afterward just talked, walked, and looked at baby girl clothes! I love my buddy, and I’m glad that we can have a good time anywhere, as long as we’re together!

2 years!

Today is our two-year wedding anniversary! I know that in the grand scheme of things, two years really isn't all that long, but it has gone by so fast and I have learned and grown so much with the help of my very best friend.

I love that Michael stands behind me no matter what I decide to- whether it's extra schooling, learning to ride, or getting into photography. He's never failed to encourage me and help me progress.

And I can't help but love his goofy faces. In fact, he might've actually become goofier this past year.

He's still pretty cute when he sleeps.

And I love when we go somewhere together and he introduces me to people as though I'm his most precious gem.

Happy 2nd Anniversary Sweetie!!!