Twenty Years

nell_steve_holdinghands_fieldboca_resort_front nell_beach_arms_out nell_steve_swing_nell_laughing nell_waving_balcony steve_side_pool nell_looking_over_balcony photoshoot_looking_at_ea_other_laughing_sm steve-bodyboarding-close-up photoshoot_nellstand_stevesit_sm nell_wipe-out photoshoot-20-pic steve_bodyboarding_tongue_out steve_walking_to_beach nell_bodyboarding

It is truly amazing how quickly twenty years of marriage has flown by.  The first decade was spent having and raising young children and seemed to go by at somewhat of a normal pace.  The second decade has gone by in the blink of an eye.  It feels a bit strange and surreal; like a couple of years went by but definitely not ten.  It seems like we went to sleep one night with young children and woke up with older teens.  We now find ourselves embarking on being empty nesters with two adult children.  I really am having trouble wrapping my mind around this time warp.

Let’s back up over two decades for just a minute.  I’ve been told that my marriage and what we have is an anomaly; truly unlikely and almost statistically impossible.  The hubs and I met my junior year, his senior year of high school.  We became best friends and then started dating.  After dating for four years (on and off), we got married at the young age of 20 and had a baby right away at the age of 21.  Being together since the age of 16, getting married young and having a baby at a young age.  Any one of these factors alone sets us up for failure, but all three?  Impossible.  Right?  Well, somehow we made it.  Not only have we made it this far but we are happy; seriously happy.  We are just as happy now as we were way back then, maybe even more so.

I don’t know that there is any one “secret” to my marriage.  I am just as awestruck as anyone looking in from the outside, to be honest.  I feel incredibly grateful for what I have and I definitely try not to ever take it for granted.  I will say that getting married young and having children young as opposed to waiting until we were older and “set up” in life had its real advantages in our marriage.  In those early years, we truly fumbled through life.  We were so young and had absolutely no idea what we were doing.  I think when you get married young, you expect each other to change.  You expect each other to grow.  This expectation allowed us to come together and actually grow up together.  Neither one of us had the answers.  We just figured it out as we went, but we did so together.  It was an adventure.  It was our adventure that turned into an absolutely beautiful life with an amazing marriage and two awesome kids.

What will the next twenty years hold?  I have no idea. I do know that it will lead us into a brand new season in our lives.  We will have two adult children, become empty nesters, put our children through college and watch them spread their wings and start their own lives.  Then it is us again.  Back to the beginning, in a weird sort of way.  We still won’t have the answers but we will figure it out together.  It will be our next adventure.

* Steve, I cannot thank you enough for sticking by me all these years.  I absolutely love doing life with you.  I cannot wait to see what the next twenty years hold for us.  No doubt, it will be something beautiful.  I love you with all my heart.  😉

 

 

Advertisements

Perspective and a Mexican Fisherman

Sunset Hand

Where are you going?  This is something that I’ve been reflecting on here recently as I think about the fact that my children are getting older; one in college and one in high school.  I technically have three years left with kids living at home full time.  This is surreal.  I want to soak up every last minute; every last second with them.  I want to slow down my life.  I want to slow down time.

At the same time, it’s exciting to begin thinking about and planning the future with just me and the hubs.  What will our lives look like?  Will we live in a cute cottage on a big piece of land?  Will we live in an old Florida home near the ocean?  Will we travel around part-time or maybe even full-time in an RV? There’s so many questions and so many unknowns.  It’s exciting.  I love daydreaming about these sort of things.

Today, a lady at work shared the following story that completely touched my heart and certainly put into perspective.  We must be sure to focus on what really matters in life.


A boat docked in a tiny Mexican village. An American tourist complimented the Mexican fisherman on the quality of his fish and asked how long it took him to catch them.

“Not very long,” answered the Mexican.

“But then, why didn’t you stay out longer and catch more?” asked the American.

The Mexican explained that his small catch was sufficient to meet his needs and those of his family.

The American asked, “But what do you do with the rest of your time?”

“I have a full life. I play with my children and take a siesta with my wife. In the evenings, I go into the village to see my friends, play the guitar, and sing a few songs….”

The American interrupted, “I have an MBA from Harvard, and I can help you! You should start by fishing longer every day. You can then sell the extra fish you catch. With the extra revenue, you can buy a bigger boat.”

“And after that?” asked the Mexican.

“With the extra money the larger boat will bring, you can buy a second one and a third one and so on until you have an entire fleet of trawlers. Instead of selling your fish to a middle man, you can then negotiate directly with the processing plants and maybe even open your own plant. You can then leave this little village and move to Mexico City, Los Angeles, or even New York City! From there you can direct your huge new enterprise.”

“How long would that take?” asked the Mexican.

“Twenty, perhaps twenty-five years,” replied the American.

“And after that?”

“Afterwards? Well my Friend, That’s when it gets really interesting,” answered the American, laughing. “When your business gets really big, you can start selling stocks and make millions!”

“Millions? Really? And after that?” said the Mexican.

“After that you’ll be able to retire, live in a tiny village near the coast, sleep late, play with your children, catch a few fish, take a siesta with your wife and spend your evenings doing what you like and enjoying your friends.”

“With all due respect sir, but that’s exactly what I am doing now. So what’s the point wasting twenty-five years?” asked the Mexican.

Know where you’re going in life… you may already be there.

I’m THAT Lady

I find myself sitting in the doctor’s (ahem, gyno’s) office and waiting out my time. In my personal experience, there is usually only one pregnant woman in the waiting room at most (maybe I’m there at an odd time). This visit, was a bit different. Not only were there multiple pregnant moms in the waiting room, there were a couple of moms with fresh newborn babies. The sweet, soft, fuzzy hair brand new fresh kind. The kind you can’t help but stare at. I had one of each sitting across from me; one with a fresh 6 week old and one 40 weeks pregnant with her first child. I listened in at the anticipation, the excitement, the wonderment of the new little human coming into each of their lives. It is truly is exciting. But all I could think was that mine are grown. Where did the time go. It seems like only a very short time ago, mine were that little. I want to so desperately interrupt that conversation and look each of those ladies in the eyes and tell them to savor each day; savor each moment because before they know it, they will wake up and those sweet, fresh babies will be moving out of their house. I wanted to tell them to love deeply. Take the time to rock, snuggle, and play at all costs. In the blink of an eye that babies bedroom will be empty and their hearts will ache. Sure, as kids grow and move out, motherhood just shifts, but for a season of time, it feels like it is stripped away from you completely. I was almost THAT lady. You know, the kind of “older” woman (God help me)  that likes to randomly give you unsolicited advice?  I listened just as long as I possibly could stand it, decided to let them have their excitement, and go sit outside.

What 18 Years of Marriage Looks Like

Holding hands front view cut off Holding hands front view Nell laughing Holding Hands looking at each other Holding hands steve making me laughHolding hands front view

This is what eighteen years of marriage looks like.  Our marriage is officially an “adult”. We have been through some of the best times and some of the toughest times.  We dated young (high school), got married young and had children young.  We experienced our “typical 30’s” in our 20’s by getting married at 20 and completing our family by 25. This was both good and bad.  We were too naive to know any better (bliss) yet too rushed to really enjoy the small moments especially with our children.  The great news is that when our children are off setting up and living their own lives, we will still be young (for the most part).

Today, many couples wait until they are finished with college and fully setup in life before pursuing marriage.  This was definitely not the case in my life.  I met my husband (Steve) the first day of my junior year of high school and we’ve pretty much been together since.  We got married at 20, had our first child at 21 and the second at 24. This means that we now have a senior in high school and an 8th grader.

Starting your relationship at the age of 16 means that you automatically expect there to be change.  You expect that each other will become different as time passes.  We were opposites and it worked.  We complemented each other yet molded and changed over the years to mesh quite nicely. Essentially, we grew up together.

Looking back I can definitely say that we have each changed; me more so than Steve.  I was a very reserved and shy teenager. I remember like it was yesterday him telling me, “I’m going to change you”. Of course, I immediately told him that he was crazy, but to be honest, he was more right than I could have ever imagined at the time.  Now, I am outgoing, bold and almost aggressive at times; totally different than when I was 16. So, yes, Steve has changed me.  He gave me confidence in myself and hope in the future.

Steve has changed a bit as nearly two decades will do that to a person but he is still that same sweet fun loving person that I met in sixth period on the first day of my junior year of high school.  He was and still is a lover of life, lives in the moment and makes me laugh in almost every situation.  I fell in love with him for his good looks and his sense of humor.  This is still the case 18 years later.  Happy 18th to my wonderful husband.  I would not do this life with anyone else.

This is what 18 years of marriage looks like.

Check out our story here.

Life…

Crazy Life
Sometimes life kicks you directly in the butt!  This past week life has not only kicked me in the butt, it has done so over and over again.

  1. I had to fire my first employee (ever).
  2. Dealing with (and am still dealing with) some serious emotional baggage.
  3. My daughter totaled her car by t-boning another vehicle going 45 mph which resulted in an ER visit (she’s ok – thank God!).
  4. My son came down with pneumonia.
  5. My project manager on our large tech project quit.

So, I am praying this prayer that I came across during my morning reading.  It was just what I needed at just the right time. 😉

Prayer: Lord, when I am weary, when I struggle, when circumstances seem greater than I can handle, Your call – first, last, and always – is to be strong in You and to trust in Your mighty power.  Today, may my life demonstrate what only you can do. Amen.

What Brings Me Joy

Jump for Joy
Jesus – ultimately, I am happiest when I’m close with Jesus. We all have a void that only He can fill. When he does, it brings joy beyond measure.

Husband – he truly is the best husband ever. He really does make me feel like I am the most special and prettiest girl in earth. I could never do this life without him.

Kids – the light of my life. They each have their own very unique personality; my daughter with her kind and compassionate heart and my son with his hilarious sense of humor always making us laugh. I truly dedicate my life to them.

Parents – without my sweet parents, I wouldn’t be where I am today. They have the kindest, most gentle and selfless hearts. They love me unconditionally and are there for me no matter what; through thick and thin. It’s because of them, I learned what ‘family’ really means.

Brother – being 10 years younger than me, we had two separate childhoods. Once he became an adult and moved near me, we became great friends. We are both crazy competitive and super active sharing many of the same hobbies. Now we spend most of our time competing on a paddleboard racing team together.

Ocean/Beach – it is truly my happy place whether I’m in it, on top of it, next to it or looking at it from a distance. It brings me instant peace and happiness. There truly is no other place I’d rather be.

Paddleboarding– it’s like walking on water through scenery. It mixes my love for the water with my love for scenery. It just doesn’t get any better than that. I’ve been doing it for 3 years and am now on a racing team. My husband tells me that I go though hobbies like underwear so paddleboarding for three years is, by far, a big record for me.

Scenery – I love it; any kind, just take me there. I just love nature and looking at all the beauty that God made. I could literally do this for days on end. So far the two best places I’ve been to see beautiful scenery is South Dakota and Hawaii (of course).

Wine – nuff said.

Travel – I am a sucker for change and adventure. Take me somewhere, anywhere. I’ll go. Just say when.

Naps – ahhh, yes. I am one sleepy individual. I LOVE sleeping especially naps in the middle of the day. I take them very seriously. I put on pajamas, close the door, put my fan on and completely get under the covers.

 

Officially Licensed

Officially Licensed First Drive by Herself

Well, it’s official. My oldest child has her drivers license. My initial reaction was completely split; excited for the help with carpool but scared to death because she’s actually on the road by herself.

But, later it hit me even harder and I had a completely new realization. This is the first step toward her independence. Meaning that now she doesn’t need us nearly as much. She’s not dependent on us to get places anymore. I have a feeling that her transition to adulthood is going to be hard for me but I suspect that this is the case for most mothers with their first born.

*The second pic is when she left for her first drive by herself. Sniff, sniff.

Mom Meltdown’s

Meltdown Mom

Two meltdown’s before 8am? Yep, that was my Wednesday morning this week. It’s not pretty, but it happens.

We have a tight schedule in the mornings. Meaning that the later we get out of the house for school drop off, the less time I have to come home and get ready for work. My time to get ready for work in the mornings is already only 30 minutes even if we leave right on time. That being said, my 16 year old daughter started the morning by not getting out of bed to her alarm and waiting for me to come into her room. Then she proceeded to begin her negotiations to stay home for the day. I told her she had to go to school but she stayed in bed anyway. At this point it’s 5 minutes until time to leave. I storm into her room, turn on the light and flip out. This leaves me yelling and her crying. By nature, I’m not a yeller, but the situation got the best of me and this continued all the way to school.

I finally get home 15 minutes late, which means that I have 15 minutes to shower and get ready for work. Now, I have to admit that my morning mad dash to get ready does lead to a bit of a meltdown more times than not. But, I was determined to not let it happen this particular morning since I already completely freaked out once already. Let’s just say, I wasn’t successful.

On a positive note, I made it to work on time (my poor little 4 cylinder car) and made up with my daughter over text. All’s well that ends well.

This is Bedtime?

I don’t know what your house looks like at bedtime, especially if you have kids.  But, many nights this is what my house looks like during our bedtime routine.  Enjoy!

Thinker Pose at Quote Wall 800KIds Personalities Taping Quote WallThriller Pose at BedtimeDad and son PersonalitiesPopsicle Sword Pose

*This wall is my daughter’s ever evolving quote wall. She continually adds to it for daily inspiration.

Momma & the First Day of School

This will basically be two posts in one but today has been an eventful day so it applies.

I brought my mom to the airport at 5am this morning after a visit of about two weeks.  There is nothing like having your mom around.  It provides an unexplainable level of comfort and peace.  There is no one on this earth that compares to your mom.  When you’re sad, hurt, happy, crying, laughing; you can always go to your her.  She accepts you, comforts you and loves you no matter what.  My mom is all of this and more.  She spent an enormous amount of hours in my house painting, plastering, scraping, sanding, moving and fixing.  She did more work on my house in two weeks than I would have been able to do in two years.  I am so blessed to have such a loving, caring, helpful and talented mom.

After dropping my mom off at the airport, it was a rush home to get kids off to the first day of school.  For most moms the school year is much easier, but for me that is not the case.  Because I’m a working mom, it means getting up earlier, staying up later, helping with homework and making lunches.  As my kids get older, things do get easier.  In a little over a month, my oldest will be able to get her license.  As much as that scares me to death, it is also a bit of a relief because she can drive to school and drive my son and herself to all activities.   My oldest started her junior year and my youngest started 7th grade today.  Man, how time flies!

3 generations of women 560 Danica - 1st day of school 420 Trey - 1st day of school 444