9 years.

today is our 9th anniversary!
we can say that we've been together for about a decade. we have a house, cars, a lawnmower, two vacuums, kids, a whole lotta stuff, and busy lives. we are grown-ups i suppose. i look at pictures from our wedding day, and hardly recognize those two young-ins photographed. i'm not sure we had any idea just how hard life was- i mean, sure there were hard things then, and i know there will be a million more hard things in the future, but, can i say...?... as time passes and people evolve, i can see how people grow apart. i can see where hurt and fear and frustration brew. i can see how exhaustion and pride overwhelm aspects of life. hobbies, friendships, and time together start to distance. monotony can sneak in and remain for far too long. i can see why people say, "wait until you're older!" and in the same breath exclaim, "get married while you're young!" please don't misinterpret this- we are very much married and happy, but i want to be honest and remember that our marriage took work- hard and long work as we try and make it the best we can!

once mike and i came to the conclusion that dating is like a rollercoaster of ups and downs- some super high-highs, and some super low-lows, most often, occurring on the same day. marriage is more even_____________________________. the problem with the evenness, is that sometimes it stays evenly high, and many times, evenly low. the older i get, the more acutely aware i am of my flaws and weaknesses. they feel highlighted and oftentimes, overwhelming. the more i realize it's just mike and i in this- i mean, we have our own selves, and our relationship with God- but at the end of the day it's us two humans trying to figure out what the heck we're doing. marriage is hard. then again, life is hard. i'm learning that the reason it's so incredible to celebrate anniversaries is because, well, way to go! you're still married! you've made it another year! marriage will make us better, more refined, more gracious and kind and happy people, but it takes a lot of work to get there. some people may have it easier than others in certain aspects of life (marriage being one of them- i bet some of you think i'm crazy since your marriage is easy-peasy!), but for mike and i, we're fighters, and we're still learning. learning a lot.

“When a couple have commenced a marriage based upon reasonable standards, no combination of power can destroy that marriage except the power within either or both of the spouses themselves; and they must assume the responsibility generally. Other people and agencies may influence for good or bad; financial, social, political, and other situations may seem to have a bearing. But the marriage depends first and always on the two spouses, who can always make their marriage successful and happy if they are determined, unselfish, and righteous.” (Spencer W. Kimball)

the best thing to come over these last 9 years are elle and jude. those little kids keep it real. 
they teach us what pure love is, and help us find that love in all aspects of life. they keep mike and i focused on what is important, and why. they take our hearts and minds off the hard, and with their sticky fingers and stinky bums, make us laugh and relax. (there's probably some metaphor in the fact that you just get used to poop, and go from being grossed out, to just dealing with it all over you and moving on. it's just poop.) 

we're right in the thick of life- right in the middle of the dirty diapers, and sleepless nights with teething or scared little kids. we're up late at night trying to figure out if we're headed in the right direction with our jobs and more schooling, with our kids and ourselves. we're trying to figure out timing and balance for our little family of 4. we're still those people we were 9 years ago, but somehow are so different. we are happier in so many ways, but are learning that with time and age and responsibility becomes the need to listen more and learn more and adapt more, all the while, making sure we're growing together, because someday, it'll be our 99th anniversary. we are learning to ride the waves of life together- and i am learning just how much i love and need mike. he's amazing, and he's perfect for me. 

thanks mikey for marrying me 9 years ago. i love you!!!
and now for a somewhat disturbing trip down memory lane- i decided to bust out the hard drive and go through photos of "those days." the whole experience had me yelping, "bah!" and "woah!" a whole lot more than the tender sentiments i anticipated, for a number of reasons as follows: 

1. that was officially a long time ago. nothing is similarly in style. we look... not cool. officially, very, very uncool, actually.
2. mike & i had some serious extremes in eyebrows- either way too much (him), or way too few (me). 
3. mike's face was half the size of mine (i think he weighed 30 pounds less than me. which says a lot about us both. i ate waaaay too much free pizza & ice cream in college). 
4. i was taking this terrible medicine for acne that literally gave me leprocy. ok, not official leprocy, but my skin just fell off in chunks. and also i tanned far too often, and in turn, seem to resemble an orange and white leopard. 

i'm now even more grateful mike looked past my seriously unfortunate appearance (i'm marking college years as my worst phase ever), and decided we would still make cute babies someday. speaking of babies, here we are looking way to young to get married...
 ^^ our first picture together when he was just the obnoxious boy next door. 
^^ we were kind of violent in that initial flirting phase. i think he chucked me off that (STELLAR) couch immediately after this photo was taken. 
and wait, can we stop though for a moment and just admire my apartment!?!?    so. good.     i mean, wrapping paper as wallpaper is a seriously under-utilized design element, don't you think?
 ^^ mike came to visit me in ohio in between semesters. my hair went dark apparently? and short. very, very short. that color reminds me of a video we made in my shower (fully clothed, no worries mom) with our roomies/neighbors similar to "real world" confessions... i'm not sure that should ever see the light of day. who has that anyway? anyone want to burn it for me?
 ^^ in europe together. we apparently both went blonde.
holy hair color, guys. we were a vision in bleachy highlights (like i'm one to talk now though).
that english yogurt at the luton airport brings me back. i think it's time for a europe trip again.
 ^^ engagement sesh.
^^ honeymooning in vegas. (also where we are relaxing at this precise moment.)

alright, that's all i can bring myself to share. the rest will likely remain hidden in archives for a long time. if they weren't so darn sentimental, i'd burn them! some are so bad i should share just to show you how bad they were, but this is the internet, and i have no idea where they could end up. i just can't put myself in that type of situation!

happy 9th, neighbor:)


  1. Happy ninth! It is super hard, sometimes just to keep things interesting in a marriage through ALL the mundane--excellent sentiments! You guys are champs though. And those pictures really aren't bad--you guys were cute then and remain so! I always laugh because I will think, oh I am just barely outta college, or high school, or newlywed, but then the styles scream, "whatev! That was longer ago than you think!!" Psh, we are allllll young still.

  2. Happy anniversary! Marriage can indeed be full of ups and downs. What’s important is how you courageously face each challenge together. Showing support and understanding each other is very important to maintain the strength and love in your relationship. Anyway, you’ve been through a lot of hairstyle changes over the past few months. It's great that you’re able to find a partner who supports your love for highlights. Any recent plan for a new do?

    Catherine Ward @ Cameron's Salon


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