Year 11

Today, Tom and I celebrate eleven years married.

As we reflected on this year we really couldn’t think of anything gigantic happening.

But then we started thinking about all the small moments we had this year.

George is really blossoming and figuring out his way at school. He is learning to read at lightning speed, and he joined Boy Scouts this year. Watching him become someone outside of our unit is such a bittersweet thing!

Daphne started and finished pre-K, and we really are starting to see her come out of her shell. She is a beautiful soul, and I cannot wait to see her in kindergarten.

And Wally. We are starting our last firsts. He is our last baby, and so with that comes all the firsts for the last time. He is the last to learn to walk in this house. He is the last for us to hear talk for the first time. We are trying to embrace all these little moments with him.

And with that, on the plus side, I am out of the breastfeeding fog. This is always a freeing moment. While I love being able to provide that experience for my babies, it really does change our life when I am not tied to that time table of feeding any more.

We also both experienced a lot through work.

Tom is now certified as a combat firearms instructor and a law enforcement jiu-jitsu instructor. He is very passionate about training officers, and these both were significant steps in his career to learn more about his field.

This last year seems like a blur to me work wise. I had so many growing moments with “other duties as assigned” and had to pivot many times in my leadership role. I took on supervising two other departments temporarily while other things at the institution shifted into place. Both of these areas where new and made me stretch in ways I could never have imagined. I led campus wide initiatives to impact culture changes, which can be hard but also fun and inspiring to navigate through the challenge. Fortunately, I am surrounded by phenomenal colleagues who help me learn each day, and I am grateful to be where I am. I am extremely proud in the work that I do, and this year, while hard, made me realize that even more.

We didn’t last long as a no-dog home, and we brought Daisy into our lives. I honestly don’t know how we could have found a better dog after Grace and Crosby. She is seriously the most docile and sweet thing who we have had to do zero training with. She just is a happy go-with-the-flow kind of dog, which perfectly fits into our crazy little family.

Being together this long is no easy feat.

It is not as simple as “just don’t give up.” Every day is its own small thing. There is always something to solve together. It could be paying down debt, who is taking Daphne to gymnastics, what new show are we going to commit to binging, or how do we advocate for our kids’ needs at school.

Marriage is fixing and deciding these things together. You pick someone that you want to do the hard stuff with, and then the good stuff is the bonus part. These decisions become more impactful when you choose someone to share them with.

We have learned that everything happens one step at a time. We didn’t just all of a sudden become married over a decade. It was a lot of little commitments to each other over the years to get here.

We still have the ability to surprise each other. Both of us are still striving every day to be better than we were the day before. So in a sense, we have never gotten truly comfortable and said this is good enough. We are still learning about each other and ourselves. We have both gone to counseling, and we are constantly looking for opportunities for growth. We make an effort with each other every day to connect in some way. And for us that is the only way that this has been successful.

15 years ago, many people considered our success a long shot (or a no shot). Just a summer romance that would sizzle out. But here we are coming off of a vacation with three kids happier than ever. Eleven years married and many more ahead!

Year 8

Today Tom and I are celebrating EIGHT years of marriage.Holy Wow!

This is one of our first photos together twelve years ago, and we had no idea what was ahead.

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Eight years later we have experienced the marriage bliss, but things haven’t been all rainbows this year.

This has been a year of transitions.

We have been watching our kids transition.

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George started gymnastics and soccer. This forced transition on all of us. I had to let go of him more, and he had to learn structure with the new found freedom. This was a whole new adventure for us as parents. We also embarked on getting him enrolled in pre-school which is huge for him. I struggled more than I could have imagined with my little man growing up and out, and Tom as usual was a good balance to my anxiety.

Daphne transitioned from a baby to a toddler. We were concerned about her speech this past spring because she just wasn’t talking and only communicated in grunts and minimal sign language. However since birth, Daphie has operated on her own timeline and we are just all along for the ride. We got her assessed by a speech therapist a few months ago, and there were many emotions that went along with that testing. She did not qualify, which now isn’t even a concern because girl can say the whole alphabet (and identify the letters), all her colors, and has started counting, amongst all the other day to day words she now says.

And a man who indulges me in my need to have themes for our kids’ Halloween costumes is a keeper. We are on 4 years strong of famous Georges and 2 years of influential women.

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We watched two of our best friends transition into marriage. We could not have been more blessed to stand beside them on their days. It was also special for us since it was our first alone trips away from both kids.

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We transitioned into the time of our lives (finally) where we start making more permanent holiday traditions. We hosted our first 4th of July shin dig which is something we have been dreaming of since we first got together.

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We are slowly transitioning our house into a homestead. We now have chickens and a garden full of produce. These have made us stronger despite the fact that the garden sometimes makes us angry with each other. Tom keeps trying to make us farmers, and I keep reminding him that we are in fact not farmers. We do have 4 chickens, an orchard with 12 trees and 3 blackberry bushes, a corn “field,” a pumpkin patch, and 6 different vegetable beds. So there’s that…

Last summer, Tom switched jobs. While he is still in law enforcement, his job looks much different than he ever expected. While he lost some of the adrenaline rush and community influence he loved about being a street cop, he gained back his health and valuable time with his family. There is also something to be said about removing yourself from a toxic environment, which was where he was previously. We gained a static routine and he gained bedtimes with the kids. We have officially had more lunches together this year than we have in our entire marriage. It has been hard for Tom to leave the road and the shift work, but he started putting our family first. But even with the added time back with our family, things haven’t been easy for him, and there are many late night talks about where he wants to be and the choices to make. It’s been a hard path to the right end. It might not feel like we are in the right place all the time, but he knows he is right where he needs to be.

With this transition though, it has allowed us more freedom. We have been trying to find our place as a family within our community whether that is with friends or with our church. We aren’t having to add this whole other element of what the shift work did to our family.

Our marriage has transitioned into a comfortable relationship in all the best ways. We have had to put in the work to get here though. I heard this phrase sometime this year, “Marriage is a practice, not an institution. Love has to be renewed every day.” This has rang true this year. You hear a lot that a marriage is a 50/50 partnership, but I would say that we both have to be giving 100%. If one of us loses we both lose. So we each have to be giving our all to this marriage. While we are partners in this life, we both have to go all in and show our whole selves otherwise this won’t work. There may be times that one of us is struggling, however even in the struggle we need to be giving our whole self to be transparent about our feelings and needs even in those down times. There is no way for us to fully support each other without that openness and willingness to let each other see all of us. The good and the sad. So it is not an institution where we just show up when we want to and claim it as it is. It is something we have to get in to every single day and commit to constantly. There are ebbs and flows as with most things, but we commit 100% each day. Because of this comfortable relationship, we have been able to be there for each other because we feel the safety from each other and know that we can fall into each other despite our flaws.

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The days aren’t always easy, but it’s easy committing to you every day.

I love you more than yesterday and thank you for this life we have.

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Year 6

Today marks SIX years married for Tom and I, and about this time 10 years ago we went on our first date.


10 years ago, a summer romance turned into a lifetime for us.

I really don’t even know where to begin writing this post on our 6th year of marriage. It seems like last summer was a lifetime ago, and so much has happened since our last anniversary.

Towards the end of the summer, we were able to pay off all our remaining debt and our finances really stabilized because of the incoming cash flow.

We started talking about the next steps for our family. We knew we wanted to have another child, and now it seemed like a good time to start. We felt ready financially, and we also felt like George was at a good age where we could manage two.

However first, we wanted to look at our living situation. We had some serious conversations on what we wanted out of a house. We really loved our property, but knew in the long run we would outgrow it. We decided to just go for it and add on to the house before we had another kid. Unbeknownst to us, we were already cooking baby 2 when we started drawing up the plans with our contractor.

In August, we celebrated George’s 2nd birthday. I loved how all of this came together to honor the little man. A week later, we gave him his first big boy haircut and lost those curls.


We started another school year, which had me teaching in a classroom again. It was definitely the type of teaching that I enjoy, and I am so grateful to have that experience with the freshmen class.

George saw a train in real life for the first time, and we experienced Silver Dollar City a couple times that fall.

We traveled to Iowa a couple times to see old students and friends tie the knot.

We had a great fall season with many things happening:

  • George was George Brett for Halloween and went trick or treating for real.
  • I went to my Alma mater for Homecoming for the first time in a long time and marched on the field with George. #bandgeekforlife
  • I  ran a 10k with my sister-in-law.
  • We went to pumpkin patches, corn mazes, and did all the fally things.
  • George also got to experience his first Chiefs game.

But all of this pales in comparison to the news that we were expecting baby 2.

The year became about preparing everything for her arrival:  our hearts and minds, our house, our finances, and George. We needed to prepare for the ultimate expansion of our family.

Thanks be to God, I received a promotion not long after the news of the baby. If anything, this year really solidified that God blessed me with the most amazing work life. I love the job that I get to do, and the people I get to work with.

In January, we found out that we were having a girl. I realized I never shared the video of how we told Tom’s family we were expecting a little lady.

We also started potty training George in January. I am so happy this went over well, but it was a trying time in our house that first month. If Tom and I can overcome potty training, I feel like we can overcome a lot more!

In February, I went to my first work conference since having George. It was the first time I was away from him for more than 24 hours in his entire life. These are the moments that make me grateful to have a partner like Tom. He took off that entire week to be with George and made it a special bonding time for the two of them. He made it so I could go focus on my professional self more, which is something I have not done in years.

This spring I also went on a ladies only trip with my favorite women. Again another time that Tom knew I needed to foster my relationships outside of our marriage.


April brought us our baby shower, and then we settled in for the last few weeks of enjoying time as a family of three.


May was a big month for us. Our house was getting near the end of the renovation. I was diagnosed with pre-eclampsia again and trying to get everything settled at work for my leave.

Then on May 18th, Daphne Christine made her way into the world swiftly.


I had a traumatic experience the day she was born. I thank God every day that I look into my family’s faces that I came through that fully back to normal. By His grace alone was that possible.

Daphne has been with us for a month now, and we are adjusting to life as a family of four quite nicely I believe.


This year has been so full of changes, but also was an opportunity for us to be still. Tom and I have had to have hard discussions about our future whether that be our investments or how we decide to parent. (Parenting a toddler brings out the best and worst in people.)

This year we really tried to make sure that each other’s needs were being met so we could be the best for each other and our children. It is still a work in progress some days, but marriage will always ebb and flow.

We have really come into our own as a couple this year. Our jobs are good; our family is good; and we love our newish house.

I was talking with a friend recently about how it seems like this is the time that we are no longer working towards something. We aren’t in school; we aren’t waiting for something to end like the Army; and we have the family and jobs we hoped and prayed for. We have everything we ever wanted and dreamed of right now. This is the time that we are supposed to just enjoy the fruits of our labor and to be normal and settled.

I can’t wait to see what this next year brings.

Especially with these two leading the way.

I am so thankful for the years we have had together. While every day is not a piece of cake, I am glad that I am in the search of that cake with you.


I love you more than yesterday. Let’s settle in to enjoy year seven.

If you want to read more about the past 10 years for Tom and I, you can go here to see several posts about our relationship.

What We Love About Each Other

Yesterday we talked about those little quirks that irk us about each other. Today we will flip the tables and talk about some of the things we love about each other.

We’ll try not to get too ooey-gooey.


What I love about Tom…

  1. His woodworking skills. I love that he can make anything, and I do mean anything. His imagination and ingenuity is bar-none. It is coming in real handy with our house, and watching him and George bond over it is becoming one of my favorite things to witness. (Just wait until you see all the mini tools George has…post coming soon.)
  2. His humor is one that will make milk shoot out of noses. I often am left in the wake of his wit. I just can’t keep up with the daily talks with Tom, but they often lift my spirits and can make any serious moment not seem so serious. Sometimes the humor is crude, but I think it is always in an effort to bring some fun to the table and help people (like myself) not to be hoity-toity all the time. I appreciate his ability to make me smile every time I need it.
  3. His loyalty is pretty hardcore. I am always impressed with his willingness to go all in for a cause. His dedication to his city, his country, and his family is rare. He has no hesitation going to bat for the things that he holds dear. I don’t know if there are a lot of people out there that are willing to sacrifice what he will in order to protect those that he loves. He has stuck by me in some pretty rotten times, and for that I owe him all the love in the world.


What Tom loves about me…

  1. She is an awesome wife and mom. I don’t think I could put into words at how great she is. She is so legit. (Too legit to quit.)
  2. At the very least, she seems to appear to reserve judgements about some of my opinions about politics and humanity in general that are often shocking to say the least. I appreciate that personal leeway.
  3. The level of trust that we have. I don’t feel the need to go through emails or phone and we have joint accounts. I know everything is the way that it is supposed to be.

Tom also went on to say that he could go on and on but it would also be hard to wrap it up in words what I mean to him. And the collective awww..

What are things that you love about your partner?

4 Years

How has it been 4 years since the day we said “I do?”

Well really we never said I do. We high-fived it.


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Year four was a rough one for us, not going to lie.

We experienced the highest of highs (George), and the lowest of lows (just stuff).

After celebrating our last anniversary, we found out that Tom was not going to be deployed. This was a huge turning point in our life. It meant that we could close this military chapter of our life. It meant that Tom could be there for George’s birth and first few months of life. It meant that we didn’t have to go through all the deployment emotions as a family again.

I was job searching, and continued to receive some devastating no’s during the end of my pregnancy. Honestly, there is one no that I still have issues with and to this day still haven’t completely processed. It was soul crushing to say the least, never mind the fact that I was also an 8-month pregnant woman-holy hormones.

It was no wonder my blood pressure was out of control and my doctor ended up putting me on bed-rest, meaning that I had to quit my part-time job a few weeks before I had planned.

Then George decided to make his appearance early. This is a day that was scary and wonderful all at the same time. The days that followed were terrifying as we watched him hooked up to monitors in the NICU, and also Tom and I were coming to terms with that we were actually parents.


But seeing this beautiful face, makes every low point of this year seem like it was nothing. We love him so much.


He is the reason for everything now. You can’t understand what your heart is capable of and how much it can grow until you have a child. It is amazing. I feel honored that God has chosen us to be the guiding lights for this little man.


A couple weeks after George was born, a friend of mine let me know that a job was available that sounded perfect for me. I had put the job hunt on hiatus since that paralyzing no so I could focus on little man and to get my head right. However this job was just too perfect not to apply for. So it pushed me back full swing into the job search. I interviewed for several jobs through Skype and phone during September and October.

And low and behold, I finally got a yes (to that initial job my friend suggested). Everything had timed out perfectly. (You are good God. Why I doubted your plan, when you have it so perfectly made for me.)

Waiting for this job offer allowed me to stay with the doctors I loved to deliver George. It allowed me to stay at home with George for 2 months. It allowed me to stay with Tom a little longer while he started his out-processing in the Army.

September and October was also a very exciting time since our beloved Royals were making their way into the World Series, which was the first time since the year Tom and I were born in 1985. You can just search my blog for Royals baseball, and you can read for days about my infatuation for this team. We stayed up many nights to watch all the extra innings during Blue October!

In the beginning of November, George and I moved to Missouri, permanently. Tom stayed behind hoping he would be approved for an early out, otherwise he would still be in KY until June due to his military orders.

I started my dream job and juggled the demands of being a working mom.

Tom accepted a police officer job after about 6 months of interviewing with this one department. This also helped seal the deal on the Army letting him out early.

Before Christmas, Tom and the dogs finally joined us in Missouri. The place we have always wanted to be.

The place we were going to make roots and raise our children.

The place we were going to make the life we had always dreamed of.

But the sunshine and roses didn’t last very long.

December through March were some pretty dark days for us. Some of the darkest of our entire 8 year relationship.

Tom had started the police academy, which meant a lot of time away from the family. His focus was very much on succeeding there as it should be. But it meant George and I were alone a lot more than I imagined.

I was feeling a lot of anxiety and guilt from our breastfeeding experience and was also becoming resentful for Tom’s time away. Thinking back, I think I may have had some post-partum depression but wasn’t really willing to admit it, so of course I took it out on Tom. I am not proud of that, but it happened.

We had some other life things happen that definitely impacted our emotions. One of those being my grandma’s passing.

We were having a really hard time figuring out this newness of our relationship with both of us having new jobs and balancing being new parents. These new demands and expectations put us on the struggle bus to say the least. I have heard a lot of new parents say the baby’s first year is the hardest on a marriage, and boy was that true for us.


But then around May things started to turn around.

Tom was finally on the road as a commissioned police officer. I am finally finding a groove with my job, and I feel valued and appreciated as a professional.

And George started sleeping through the night. (This makes a world of difference friends.)

We were finally communicating better with our needs and recognizing where each other needed more support as parents and spouses. We were clicking again. It didn’t hurt that we also took a night away and stayed in a B & B. This time we had to focus on each other was something we really needed. It was also the first night that both of us were away from George.


May was also when we got really serious about finding a permanent house to pay a mortgage on. We were done with rental property, and we were committed to entering the next phase of becoming home owners.

All of that leads us to where we are now.


Celebrating 4 years of hard work and dedication to each other.

Celebrating the love between two people.


What this year has taught me is that everything in life will not be perfect, and that is ok. There are going to be some hard times; some times that you think you want to just throw in the towel because that seems easier. It was a year we definitely had to live up to our vows. But with some perseverance and a lot of prayers, God will show you the way. Life is never going to look the way you had imagined-and that is some good and bad. You need to take one step at a time and own up to your insecurities and flaws, especially with your spouse. We had our fair share of fights, and we both had to learn when to give in. This can be a hard lesson. (One that I have to relearn quite often) You often hear that marriage is about team work and compromise, but sometimes there is the reality that one has to give more than the other. As very independently stubborn adults, you can imagine this can sometimes cause some friction of the heart. We need to not let our pride get in the way of our marriage. Even after 8 years, it can still be hard to be vulnerable and bare with another person. There were also moments of great strength shown throughout this year. I would not have been able to pick myself up after being uttlerly crushed during that job search and keep on going if Tom had not been cheering me on or lifting me back up. We will always need each other. Even in the darkest moments, I knew that this season would pass eventually because that is the way of things. It was just something we had to get through to get to better moments.

This sounds like a very downer post about our marriage, but I think it is important for people to know that a marriage can struggle. People can struggle. That doesn’t mean that it is the end, and you CAN get past it. I think we often put this facade out there that everything has to be perfect, and honestly that was part of our issue this year (ok maybe my issue). We had to accept some of our realities and just muddle through it. We made some mistakes, but we always came back to we loved each other and that this marriage was important for us. I wish more people would be honest when they are struggling because it can be very lonely to feel that no one may understand. Things aren’t always perfect, but that doesn’t mean that there still isn’t beauty there to find. There were times that I didn’t want to admit what was happening because I was embarrassed and felt like I failed as a wife or I didn’t know if people would understand, but I also didn’t want sympathy or those looks (that I would assume are judgement on my “said” failure). Because this imperfection is something I really struggle with, I am working on being more open about these moments where my life doesn’t look like a fairy tale.

This is now part of us, and I believe that it has made us stronger in the end.

I want to document that this year was hard, uncomfortable, and difficult for us, so we can look back and be proud of what we came out of. And it is a little cathartic to admit that we had a rough patch and gives you a reason to just let it go instead of trying to hold on to it like a secret.

Tom and I have been together for 8 years, and there is still stuff that we are learning about each other. And nothing is bigger than learning how to be parents together.

In the end, there is the love that I have always had for Tom. (and lots of sideways glances)


This year both of us turned 30. We have the jobs that we have always dreamed of finally. We have the baby we never imagined we could have. Things haven’t always been perfect, but I couldn’t imagine doing life with anyone else.

Tom-thank you for showing me more every day. Thank you for putting up with all my emotions and silliness. Thank you for choosing to be my partner. Thank you for all that you do for our family. Thank you for loving me the way that you do.


High five to us for making it through year four and bring it year five!

If you want to read more about our love story, there are links documenting each step here.