it's our 11th anniversary! (ELEVEN YEARS!!!!!!!!)

i literally cannot believe we have been married for 11 years.

we have stayed married for 11 years!!!!!

i found some old home videos on our external drive from the summer after we got married and my jaw dropped- i can't believe what a difference a decade can make:) so young. so dumb! so awkward. it's truly embarrassing. (to echo that sentiment, jude saw the picture above and said, "why's daddy's hair so silly??")

last year on our 10th anniversary i wrote this post, and i know i say this far too often, but i just wish i could have told our silly, young, baby-selves that marriage would be the hardest thing in the world. in all the advice we got, we never got that nugget of blatant wisdom. 

this past year more than ever i feel like i can't even comprehend life without mike by my side- he's been there too long to not have him there. our lives are so deeply intertwined, and the things we've gone through are so uniquely long-lasting and complicated that it is basically impossible to even try and describe. i talked to a dear friend the other night about how i wish i could have been prepared for how overwhelming the hard times could be- the weight of burdens and struggles and strain. issues with one or both partners can last for days or weeks or months or years. that whole "in sickness and in health" makes it seem like a rough weekend where you have a cold, or when you're at the end of your life and you've gotten to the age where you're "old" and that's just what happens in nature, right?

what about the rest of the time?

the long days and even longer nights?

ugly cries.
sweat pants.
burned dinners and sad bank accounts and dirty floors and those little hairs from your husband after he shaves his face that get into every nook of your bathroom (usually immediately after you clean the counter).

love isn't that stuff we felt when we got married. 
the jury is still out regarding exactly what that was. i don't want to discredit our feelings- our lust or passion or twitter-pated infatuation. i joked with some girlfriends on a street corner a couple weeks ago- we were gawking at a couple ferociously making out across the street. one friend blurted out, "remember those days? do you remember MAKING OUT?!" then we all burst out laughing. i do remember making out. kind of? i mean, i remember how cool it was. and how long one could make out!! making out was the best!!!! but there's a reason we all started laughing at her comment, amiright?

here's the thing though- love takes over when all the pretty stuff/making out subsides. love in marriage comes when you realize how hard you have fought to stay together. maybe it's like a tree- i have no idea how a mature tree gets to be "mature." it sure doesn't start that way, and no one would say a tiny tree isn't a tree! it still is a tree! it's just not quite rooted yet. it usually needs a little guidance. a whole lot of sunshine, and even rain. wind, storms- you know- the elements of nature. some trees stronger than others. hey! some trees bear fruit (some bear nuts- just thought i'd point that out). but think of the rings in a tree- year after year that tree grew, subtly stronger. no one knows what that tree managed to withstand, but there it is. a big ol' mature tree. just standing there. BAM! a mature tree! where'd that come from? has it always been there? THAT TREE IS AMAZING! no one knows what that tree has seen except the tree herself.

you know that old couple in the restaurant that sits across from each other and doesn't talk? i feel like they get a bad rap. really, let's be honest, they're amazing! they have made it through so much. their silence speaks volumes. why do we assume it's a bored silence? an awkward silence? can you even imagine what they've been through!? that couple makes me smile. WAY TO GO! you sit in your silence and sip your warm drink, couple.

trees and old couples. they have it figured out. i, personally, do not have it figured out. i do have some theories i'm testing though (e.g. trees and old couples).

i'm assuming the years ahead are going to be hard- if i've learned anything it's that, after all, that's how this whole rant started. i pray that mike and i will have the courage and strength and fight to keep at it. to withstand the winds and rain and storms. to dig deeper. to provide shade and protection for our babies. to make our marriage our greatest accomplishment in our individual lives. 

the hard times may be hard, but the good times are like nothing my newlywed self could even fathom. it's warm-your-heart, pride-that-makes-you-weep, pure joy. it's a closeness and a bond that pales in comparison to infatuation. i am so grateful for the last 11 years alongside mike. happy 11th anniversary to my best friend and former next door neighbor. thank you for being patient and growing with me, and making it to yet another wedding anniversary. cheers, babe.


the granite slide & cutting in line...

i feel like summertime may be the greatest season in this city; i'm also sensing that it's the busiest season- the subways and sidewalks are way smushier. more people stop dead in their tracks in front of you in the middle of the sidewalk to check their phones for directions. 
also, the parks are literally bananas. 

i did my first terribly bold, inconveniencing, new york-ish thing (which i would have thought was inhumane a month ago)- i'm usually hypersensitive, but then... jude started screaming that he had to poop and we were nowhere near a bathroom... by the time we found THE only restroom (central park zoo, 0.5 miles away from our originating park location), the line was 30+ people long for 2 stalls. i lasted 30 seconds with jude shaking (dude can hold it a LONG time- it's rare when he's in an emergency situation). i tried to accept the aggravation i was going to cause, and braced myself for being berated- i walked to the front of the line and said, "i am so terribly sorry to ask this, but he is going to have an accident- can we please cut in line?" i was more-so telling than asking. i didn't make eye contact with anyone; we rushed through the whole process as quickly as was physically possible. 

i literally passed all those super pissed (no pun intended) tourists and i just cut in line. 

it wasn't pretty.  

there were moans and yells.  i heard them.  I'M SO SORRY!!!!  i felt terrible, but i have no idea what else we could have done, short of pooping in the park- which i may just do next time. all jude's friend's parents carry portable potties- such a stellar idea. normally we don't have an issue because the lines aren't usually that long... but now it's summer. and it's making me nervous;) 

i feel like surviving here in the summer will be a lesson in adaptation. 

sooooo... the point. the park was packed! 
mike has made me avoid the subway on weekends because the lines are usually being worked on, and the already-filled subway cars are too full, and too smelly, and too humid, to even make it worth the trip. so we explored more of central park instead.

the granite slide!!! 

wait, first, the walk to the granite slide...
mike: "elle & jude- look! flags! is it a parade? go look!"
elle: "yah!!! rainbow flags! except all the boys are in their underwear."

it was awesome. 

they weren't naked, but according to jude they were. pride month!
 also, there was this!! can you see!? 
I MEAN, C'MON!! that's just fab. 

after the eventful walk to the park in the park, we arrived:
jude refused to go down the slide.
elle went 189 times, alternating between cardboard and no cardboard to boost her speed.

while we're on the subject of boldness and cutting in line, i also body checked a few kids who tried to cut in line for no apparent reason, other than their parents/care givers were MIA. man, playground politics are cutthroat.
some friends met us at the park, and joined in the slide train!!

jude and i spent our time swinging in the blazing sun...
^^ peter pan! (see that shadow!?)


a weekend wedding in ohio...

a few weeks ago we rented a car and drove out to ohio for my cousin's wedding. i don't have many cousins- just a handful- and i use the term loosely. (mike always corrects me, "amanda- that's not your cousin..." close enough. tyler though- tyler is my cousin:) my parents flew out from utah, so it was fun to see them for this mini vacay, in addition to enjoying our hotel swimming pool for a night (even if the water was ice cold;) also, my cousin, rose (*not actually my cousin?), was ordained so she could marry them! then she moved to vegas like the next week. she's pretty fantastic.

the kids have been looking forward to the wedding for ages- mike was the best man, elle was the flower girl, and i was a bridesmaid. my cousin and his fiancĂ© are incredibly happy, and we have some epicly awesome stories from the weekend's festivities (ask me about them sometime:)
 elle took her bridesmaid duties VERY seriously.
 jude napped on papa during the ceremony, 
and then mike gave the best best man speech ever...
bad dance partner (above), good dance partner (below).
my grandpa was healthy enough to leave the nursing home and surprise tyler! 
and then my grandpa taught elle to dance! 
he is quite the dancer- that's how he and my grandma met. i'll always remember dancing on his feet as a little girl to the same song he would sing, "oh how we daaaanced on the niiiight we were weeedddd!"
 then we cut loose. i think we were the only people dancing? but we had a fantabulous time dancing to justin timberlake. CAN'T STOP THE FEELING! (dance dance dance dance...)
 jude went around the room and drank everyone's soda. he had at least 6 full cans. (hashtag eyeroll.)

and now featuring the glory of ohio's green-ness:
 also not to be forgotten: running to walmart for snacks and lawn chairs, and then discovering THESE BEAUTIES...
 remember those flimsy plastic lawn chairs? yah, they were just as awful as i remember, but man, that trip down memory lane was amazing. i parked myself in that aisle for 15 straight minutes and refused to budge. then i felt myself leaving a permanent mark in the plastic, so i moved on to the snack portion of our shopping trip.

mike eventually took the cart from me in walmart and got in line- i wandered down the aisles like a crazy person, "ooh!.... OOOOH!!!... HEY!!!..." and filled my arms with canned goods and random toiletries. THE PRICES! wow!! walmart. i miss walmart.
see ya later, 'burbs.
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