Year 5

Five years.

So much happens in that amount of time. When I look back on our marriage we have lived a life in just these short five years.

But five years also seems like a huge milestone to come to.

After a pretty rocky year four, Tom and I were ready to settle into this year and enjoy being married again.

We did a lot of adulting this year.

  • We bought a house.
  • We hosted two holidays (Christmas and Easter) for the first time.
  • Tom started the process for VA disability benefits. We are almost a year out from when we started it, and there doesn’t seem to be an end in sight to when they will be rating him. There are lots of doctors’ visits involved and dealing with the VA beaucracy. Another post for another day maybe.
  • We started our long list of home improvements.

We are loving our home. While we are still learning the quirks of the house and making plans to update certain things to our liking, we are still so happy with our choice to have our family here. The dogs love it, and George is going to have so many memories here.

We moved today! I think the dogs will be happy here. #graceandcrosby #boxergram #instaboxer #countrydogs

A post shared by Stephanie Glinn Whitener (@scglinn) on

George had a huge year as well. He went from our little baby to a very mobile and spirited toddler.

  • He started walking.
  • He turned one, and we celebrated with a huge party and lots of cake.

11908944_10100885451255951_1015703476718220203_o

  • He was Curious George for Halloween.

12193363_10100930133836701_6585157547483001610_n

  • He has had all kinds of sickness this year:  several ear infections, several trips to Urgent Care and one week long stay in the PICU, and most recently had the worst case of Hand Foot and Mouth. Needless to say we are ready for a month without him coming down with something.

 We have been able to spend a great amount time with family.

  • We visited my parents at their lake house, and we gave George his first boat experience. It was also nice to get up on skis again.
  • We took our first road trip with Tom’s family, where George charmed us all with his dancing skills at a wedding.
  • We actually were able to start enjoying our town and have gone to several festivals and explored a many of trails.

This was our year to be fans. I had so much fun watching my teams play and be on highlight reels. Very exciting times. It also made me glad that we own a home because there was a lot of screaming.

  • Our Royals went back to the World Series and won it this time! Still gives me goosies.
  • The Chiefs made it to the playoffs, which they have not done for a really long time.
  • Clemson made it to the National Championship game.

1003151344

Maybe this next year will be the year for spirit chants for Gman.

Our careers really picked up for both of us. It’s like we are living different lives finally being in jobs that fulfill us professionally. Tom was finally on the road solo, and he is sweeping the crime away from this city. We also experienced the first scare of a work injury. We also have figured out how to work within the constraints of his shifts. My job is amazing. I feel challenged regularly (in a good way), and the office I work with is really a dream team. Very rarely is there a day that I don’t enjoy being at work, and I am proud of the things we are accomplishing there.

I feel like this year I really took back my fitness for me and started doing things that felt good but kept me active. I also PR’ed on a 10K.

0913150901

This year we noticed that when we could have that focus on who we are as individuals and feel valued for our efforts, it really made a giant difference in who we were as a married couple. I think it is so important for couple to realize that you have to do work to be an individual separately from your couple identity. This is really the first year that one of us hasn’t felt a huge struggle in our career, and I think that had a direct impact as this was one of our best years married. This may not be true for others, but for us we needed to develop ourselves before we could be good for each other. It was the first year that I think we felt like we could breathe.

And in those breathes we were able to have a great year.

12010495_10100903255161781_7417844227856917925_o

Full of memories and moving forward.

But also we were able to stand still and enjoy a lot more.

Life is truly beautiful, and so is our marriage.

250258_718828161011_5190315_n.jpg

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

 

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.

163072_627536415401_573797_n

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.

165385_627523910461_1651230_n

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?

Our Pet Peeves

Are you ready for Anniversary week? Well get ready for posts all about Tom and I this week  since we are celebrating 5 years of marriage bliss.

Every relationship has those little things that drive us crazy, so I hope that you either find these humorous or you can relate in some way (hopefully both).

267228_719154442141_3992572_n

What Tom does that drives me bonkers…

  1. He leaves lights on everywhere, especially in the basement and our bathroom. I hardly ever go down to the basement, so I never notice unless I come home after it’s dark. He feels the need to have the lights on at ALL times of the day, even midday when we have the perfect amount of natural light.
  2. He leaves shaker cups with shake remnants in the sink. That’s not even the bad part. He puts the lids on so tight that I can’t get them off, but then he refuses to rinse them out because of the smell. So gross. So gross.
  3. He still uses his childhood comforter. Guys this blanket is blue and green plaid and faded, and I am sure crawling with dust mites even though I sanitize wash it every other week. My vision of a beautiful made up bed will always be thwarted because of this blanket that he refuses to get rid of…that and the fact that our two dogs make it impossible to have a made up bed. I have tried to replace it with nice new very comfy spreads, and this old comforter always makes its way out of the linen closet and back on to the bed. The decision for us to have two blankets on the bed may have saved our marriage.

What I do that drives Tom bananas…

  1. She waits until I am settled and reading something online before she asks me to do things. I could be standing in the kitchen for 45 minutes, but she wont ask me to take out the trash until the moment I sit down on the couch. She could have not talked to me for 2 hours, but I will start reading an article and somewhere in her subconscious seems to be a radar that this is the time for me to do all the things she needs me to do.  (I am really bad about this…even though I swear I am not doing it on purpose.)
  2. She doesn’t always look at me when I am talking. I know she could be listening while she is doing other things or even be running to another room to grab something. But it doesn’t feel like she is listening.
  3. Volume. She listens to the TV so loud. (It’s true, I am losing my hearing due to wax build up with my weird shaped ear canals. It’s a medical issue, but thanks for bringing it up Tom.) It is a problem though when we are home on the weekends when Tom has to sleep during the day.  I can barely hear the TV, and Tom can hear it clear as a bell in the back room.

What are the quirks about your partner that irk you?

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.

Fact.

Wedding 2

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.

IMG_4978

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

IMG_4703

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.

10636849_10100577380432351_6447351313205665162_o

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.

11133801_10100762436194121_1201675351862860129_n

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.

0509151927

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.

Today.

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

Celebrating the love between two people.

0949StephanieTom20110618

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)

267228_719154442141_3992572_n

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.

11150561_10100762436199111_8208706944817980230_n

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.

Going to the Chapel…A Lot!

Summer is wedding season. And I love both summer and weddings, so naturally it is a fun time for me.

I love watching two people show their love and make that commitment of partnership.

I love seeing groups and communities rally behind them for support and encouragement. (It’s also fun seeing these groups intermingle.)

I love dancing, eating, and drinking-all of which are staples of most wedding celebrations.

I love seeing children dressed up in suits and flower girl dresses. I am already gearing George up to be the perfect ring bearer-any takers?

I love seeing the couple’s personality come through the little wedding details.

I love wedding cake.

I love singing/chanting the Clemson cadence count and Tiger Rag at weddings…oh wait that’s not a normal wedding activity? (Sorry Tom did not do very well catching the video of this little wedding wonderfulness that occurred at the last wedding we attended. Too good for video I guess.)

I love dressing up all classy-like just so I can cut a rug later.

2014-05-31 17.19.16 20140621_210011

CAM00847(1)

Golly! Isn’t my husband just as handsome as can be?

 Weddings are just great.

We had our fair share of wedding invites this year. We made a majority of them, but unfortunately there were a couple we were not able to make due to conflicting schedules. It has also been interesting attending these with my temporary latch-on, George. It has made the dressing up part, dancing the night away part, and other wedding festivities different. Not bad, but different. Don’t worry, I still boogied and ate my heart out at buffets, I just had to take more breaks than usual. It did give me more opportunity to people watch, which is fantastic fun at a wedding. The things seen…

Each time I am at a wedding it reminds me of my own marriage and the blessings I have because of it. It’s rejuvenating to witness someone else’s love and think, “Yep I have that too, and it is pretty great.”

I have talked a lot about weddings and marriage on this blog, but it never gets old!

2014-05-31 22.22.20

Wedding One in Iowa

20140621_210203

Wedding Two in Missouri

2014-06-28 22.59.42

Wedding Three in Oklahoma

We missed out on a wedding in Minnesota and South Carolina, but I am so excited for those couples and hope that they had the best day!

Our whirlwind travels to weddings is now done for the summer since this baby is due soon. After this weekend of being home for the 4th, we will be staying put probably until the holiday season. (We are welcoming visitors any time though!)

2014-06-28 22.59.50

I am a new mom, and she is a new wife! Yessss!

It was fantastic and amazing to be able to see old friends and celebrate a new beginning in their lives. I wish the best for each of the couples, and can’t wait to see how awesome their marriages are!