An Engagement, a Prom and a Birthday

  

I have learned that it is much more difficult to parent older children, especially adult children, more so than smaller ones. I’m not downplaying the difficulty of raising little ones. Raising little ones is more of a physical drain whereas raising older ones is an emotional one.  Yet, all of is more gratifying than most anything else you’ll experience in life.

I remember those days when my kiddos were little and learning to ride a bike. It was hard in its own way but mama had control of it all. When your kids are older, you must parent with little to no control over their lives. Letting go is hard.

Within one week, my oldest got engaged, my youngest went to his first prom and he also turned 17.  It feels very surreal; like being in some sort of time warp or maybe an out of body experience.  At times I feel like I’m hovering above my life looking down and not really even recognizing it.  It seems like everything is changing all at once but I guess that how life goes, right?  “Children grow old and then they leave.” -Parker Millsap, Homeless.  Just sitting over here trying to adjust.

Twenty Years

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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.  😉

 

 

House or Home

Grannys Ring
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My grandmother’s wedding ring. It signifies a 56 year successful marriage. I never get tired of looking at it. I wear it proudly and think of her every single day.

This weekend has been a bit tough emotionally. I found out that my grandparents house, the place where I grew up, is being sold (my grandmother passed away one year ago this month).  I know it’s just a structure; just a building and I shouldn’t care, right? Well I do. I can’t help it. My entire childhood is wrapped up in that structure; on that property.  My baby footprints are stamped in the foundation.

We went on vacation March of 2014 to visit Granny (you can read post HERE). Little did I know at the time, that would be the last time I would set foot in that house.  It was the last time my Granny was well and able to live in the house by herself.  She cooked and cooked and cooked.  She was in here true element.

It’s so hard to think that I’ll never set foot in that house again, but maybe that’s for the best. I thought that I might want to go back and see it one last time,  but being in that house without Granny means that it is just a structure. It is just a building because my Granny is what made the house my home.

I miss her.

An Unexpected Question

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My little brother is getting married this year to the absolute sweetest girl!  I am beyond excited for the both of them.  Recently, I saw this package sitting on the counter and took it upon myself to examine it because I noticed the cute “Earl and Jo” wording on the side with the wedding date beneath.  After looking at all sides and telling JoAnna how cute it was, I pick up a bottle and saw the sweetest and most unexpected question, “will you be my bridesmaid?” I squealed and of course I said and big YES!  I get to stand up for my soon-to-be sister and I am beyond honored.  And let’s be honest, this idea is probably the cutest thing I’ve ever seen; definitely Pinterest worthy!  Now onto picking out a wedding and bridesmaids dress.

Date Night Selfies

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After being married 18 years, having a fun date night can sometimes mean going to a good restaurant for dinner then going home, sitting together on the couch and watching New Girl. We tried to take selfies but Steve couldn’t stop making faces and I couldn’t stop laughing. We managed to finally get in a “normal” one in the end.

What 18 Years of Marriage Looks Like

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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.

The Wedding Plate

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We decided to do a major clean out of our kitchen cabinets and drawers which was a huge effort and was way past due. Surprisingly, my husband is the organizer in the family. Messy and overflowing cabinets bother him much more quickly than it does me. So this means that I cleaned out the pantry and he cleaned out everything else. As he spent hours scouring through cabinet after cabinet, I ran errands. When I came back home I noticed an old but recognizable plate displayed on our counter. I immediately said to him, “aw it’s our fine china from our wedding.” I was totally correct but I found out that this one wedding plate had a much deeper meaning to him and therefore was the reason that he decided to display it on our counter.

You see, we were very young when we got married. We were young, naive and totally clueless. When putting together a wedding registry, the lady at the store told us that we absolutely much pick out a fine china set. Not knowing any better, we followed the direction of the clerk and picked out this pretty design. Looking at the price tag, we both said that there was no way that anyone would spend that much money on a set of china. Well they did. We received one set and it was from my in-laws. What this one wedding plate reminded my husband of were those times of innocence and being totally clueless. That may sound negative but it was completely the opposite. We were truly naive, clueless and broke but we were blissfully happy. Times were simple back then and we were madly in love (and still are).

The plate now sits on our counter as a friendly reminder to not get caught up muck of the day-to-day grind, enjoy each other and enjoy all the small simple things. That’s how marriage and life is meant to be. I guess sometimes ignorance can be bliss. Who knew that a simple wedding plate could change our entire perspective.

* My husband is the sweetest and I was incredibly blessed to have him as my husband then and still to this day almost 18 years later.

It’s a Celebration!

Rarely do things just fall right into place.  Sometimes they do, but, man is it rare.  At least at the level it did for our anniversary celebration this past weekend.  Very much to our surprise, at about 9pm on Friday night, we found ourselves child-free.

We proceeded to dance the night away, literally. We played music and danced in our living room. We also had a couple of drinks, laughed, joked and played sexy scrabble. Yes, you read that right; sexy scrabble. The idea is that all your words had to be sexual or no more than 2 levels removed from the sexual word. Because, let’s face it, that is really hard to do. Obviously, I made this up right on the spot and continued to make up rules as time passed.

Because the kids were still tied up with their friends on Saturday, we had the entire day to ourselves. This is the side benefit to having teenage children. We ate greasy burgers at a local burger joint for lunch and then headed south to a farmer’s market and flea market. The farmer’s market was great and had some unique finds but the flea market just eventually lead us into a Rasta tent.  The kind Jamaican owner called my husband over with a cold Heineken beer in a neck holder made of leaves.  What guy is going to pass that up after walking around in the heat for an hour?  After in his tent of Rasta goods, he made me a flower out of the same leaves. So of course I bought from him a piece of soap and Shea butter from Africa (There may be a post on this later).

We ended our day downtown in an Irish pub. My husband seems to be drawn to them which makes sense.  He is of Irish decent.  We don’t know much more than that; just the fact that his last name is Irish.  We had a couple of drinks and chatted with each other and the bartender.  The bartender asked to close out our tab and open a new one since the shift was changing.  After grabbing my husband’s credit cart, he jokingly asked if we were sent to check up on him. We were obviously clueless as to what he was talking about.  Come to find out, the owner has the same last name as us and apparently the spelling of the name is rare.  We decided to order the wings that were cooked with Guinness and honey and hopefully get to meet the owner since she was on her way in. The wings were literally the very best wings I have ever put in my mouth (as you can tell from the pictures below of me licking the plate).  We met the owner and had a great conversation.  She was straight from Dublin with a very endearing Irish accent.  To top it off, she gave us some free drinks.

We’ve now had 17 anniversary celebrations, but this one may be the best one yet.  Check out some of our pics below.

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17 Years

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17 years ago today, I married my very best friend. He still takes my breath away the same way he did the day I met him in 6th period my junior year of high school. And with each passing year it just gets better and better.

Check out our story HERE.