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.

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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.

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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)

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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.

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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.

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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!

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Wedding One in Iowa

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Wedding Two in Missouri

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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!)

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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!

Whitener Wednesday-We have been married 3 years!

Today is our anniversary. It is hard to believe that it was only 3 years ago that I walked down the aisle towards the rest of my life.

Year 3 as with every year has had its good and bad moments.

We left off on our story last week with our first military ball.

Moving in together for realsies had its struggles. We were both used to having things a certain way after so long and then there are the added differences of life post-deployment and moving to a new state. I swore at times my husband resembled a caveman, but then again I wasn’t a perfect princess either with my nagging on where things belong. It was like we were recycling back to our first year of marriage.

The end of that summer I geared up for the beginning of a new school year at a new school. I felt like I was in a groove at work and was ready for the new challenges. I was continuing to job search for a full-time job because there did not seem to be any sign that they would be turning my part-time gig into something more permanent. I however, worked that semester trying to change their minds.

It was that fall that Tom started an intensive training schedule. He was out at a range or some training mission every other week it seemed.

In September, he had to undergo another surgery for a tumor that had grown on his hip.

Also in September, we made the plunge and added to our family by adopting Crosby. It has been a whirlwind with them since, but I couldn’t imagine not being a two dog family. I love my little pups, even with moments like this…

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I ran my fourth half marathon for a family that we have had a great time getting to know in the past year. They inspire me greatly as Tom and I look to start our own family.

Tom and I hosted Thanksgiving at our house for the first time, and I would like to think that it went off really well. We had turkey for days…

This year is the first year in our ENTIRE relationship that we have been together for every single holiday for the ENTIRE year. Mind boggling that it took us seven years to do that. It was so great to have Christmas, birthdays, and everything in between with Tom.

Right after the new year, Tom was forced into a job change. We also had to come to grips that Tom would be deployed again. Some days I have accepted it, other days there is just anger and bitterness knowing that he is so close to peacing out from the military.

We had been actively trying to conceive for awhile, but after the new year thanks to some complications I was having hormone wise, we decided we would look into a fertility specialist just to make sure that everything was hunkydory on this journey. We also wanted to get everything checked out before Tom went on deployment while we had the time.

It was then that our life changed completely. We found out AT the fertility doctor that we were actually 8 weeks pregnant. You can read more about that story here.  We are having a baby! We still get a kick out of telling that story.

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Our lives have kind of been topsy-turvey since. Tom still has been doing training missions, and I have been working as much as I was allowed. We have crafted and DIYed our butts off this year. Check those specific tabs if you want to see what we have done in the last year! Some have been duds, but some have been the bombdiggity.

We then found out that we are having a boy, and we decided on the name George Lawson. We think the dogs know what is going on by some weird behavior we have been seeing, and we hope they are as excited as we are once George becomes their new playmate!

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I participated in my 5th half marathon with my sister-in law. I was 19 weeks along at the time, and we successfully made it all 13.1 miles.

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We have done some traveling over the past year. There have been countless trips to Missouri to see the famjams. We had a trip over Easter to see our friends in Indiana, and recently we took a trip to Iowa.

But mostly this year we have spent being homebodies enjoying being together. It was the first time we got to come home to each other every day. It was the first time that things seemed relatively normal, as normal as they can get being a military family that is. It was the first time that we didn’t have a countdown going until the next time we would see each other. So in our third year of marriage and seventh year together, we were still able to have a lot of firsts.

We have gone through every emotion possible between the two of us this past year. We both have been strung along and had discontent with how our careers were going. I had ups and downs of being a temporary employee (ups like I wrote here, here and here; downs like this) and being stuck in a never ending job search. Tom’s leadership has been less than stellar leading him down some paths he never wanted to go through during his Army career. For example, they forced him into a job he didn’t want and had him slotted for a deployment that he will need to reenlist for even though he has no intention of doing so, but they are sure he will. Hence him being on the list in the first place. You know stuff that we have no control over, but impacts our life dramatically.  It was during these times that we have had to be each other’s rock and just keep keeping on. We learned to accept things and make new plans when necessary. We learned a lot about ways to support each other through this year, and it has been nice to do that in person. Special moments.

And then to learn that we are going to be parents. Words cannot describe the happiness and content we have experienced since hearing, “You knocked her up.”

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It has been a year.

So much has happened, but yet at the same time very little in comparison to other years. Although, I think George kind of trumps everything as far as life changes. It is a little ironic that our first year of just us in one place, will also be our last with just us.

All I have to say for the last few years is, “High five Husband.”

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Happy Anniversary to the man who has taught me so much about life, love, and happiness. To the man who can make me laugh even in my darkest moments. To the man who never ceases to amaze me with his courage and passion. To the man who is the best dog dad and soon-to-be-George dad. To the man who encourages me in all of my endeavors and has made so many sacrifices for our family. To the man who is always on board for crafty time and is the best handy man to have around. To the man who makes me prouder than I ever believed possible. To a man who has never doubted us for a second since we met.

Here is to many more great years to our add to our love story.

Whitener Wednesday-Marriage Year 2

Welcome back for another part of our love saga!

I left you off last week with celebrating our first anniversary apart while Tom was in basic training. You can read more about our first year here.

This was a long year full of ups and downs. (I am emotional before I even start writing this…)

Before I went to meet Tom at his graduation, I received a phone call that would change everything.

My mom called me on a Sunday evening the week I was to head down to Georgia to pick Tom up.

My grandma had suffered from a massive stroke.

These grandparents lived in South Carolina, so after a lot of schedule changes, I made the decision to travel to SC with my mom for the next week and then drive from there to GA for Tom’s graduation. What would happen after that was up in the air since we didn’t know the severity of the situation until we arrived at the hospital.

My grandpa was already having health issues at the time of the stroke and was receiving in home care as well as routine hospital visits for his ailments. That week we were able to get them both in hospice care (in the same room) because the prognosis did not look good for Grandma. It was the most heartbreaking and most uplifting experience to watch these two love birds.

It was hard because we all knew both of their days were numbered. It was hard because there was so much pain in the room that could not be taken away. It was hard because this was also a time that I couldn’t freely talk to Tom, so I had to just wait for him to call to update him briefly on my dying grandparents and my emotional state.

But in a sense it was a wonderful way to spend with them. Even though my grandma could not speak and was immobilized in many ways and my grandpa couldn’t go to the bathroom on his own, seeing their love and devotion to one another in their darkest hours was so touching. Watching Grandma react to Grandpa’s singing and handholding are moments I will never forget. The vulnerability I saw from them was better than any romantic movie.

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The time came for me to head to GA to pick up my own love, but also to say goodbye to the love of my grandparents. It was the longest and loneliest drive of my life knowing that I may never see my grandparents again, but knowing that I was about to see Tom for the first time in a few months.

The anxiety and anticipation was at an all-time high.

Tom’s family was able to meet me in GA for the graduation, and we waited in the heat (inferno) for the chance to see Tom again.

I was able to pin his infantry cord on him, which is a great honor (even though the buttons where stubborn and would NOT cooperate).

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You can see Tom’s sweat…I blame the heat on the tricky buttons. Okay maybe it was also my clumsy nerves getting the best of me since this moment right here was the first time seeing him in months!

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Tom’s parents and sister after the ceremony

We had a good time celebrating his big achievement of getting through. And I was so glad to have him back!

There was something nagging at me though. Since we were still in the eastern timezone, I knew I needed to drive back to SC on our way home to see my grandparents one more time. I just knew that it would be the last time. Fortunately, my husband was used to sleep deprivation (upside of Basic right?) and gave in to my pleading, and we tacked on several hours to detour up to SC one more time.

After a very brief Sonic dinner with them and final goodbye hugs, we headed back to Missouri to celebrate the 4th of July.

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We then headed back to Iowa for a brief week before he had to report to Ft. Campbell, his first duty station.

He was able to reunite with our baby girl. She was so happy to see him again!

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During this time we caught up with friends, and he bought his beloved Jeep.

It was also during this week that my Grandma passed away. I was so glad that Tom was there to help me through this because I was kind of lost, especially since I couldn’t make it to the funeral.

And then our week was over. Tom had to go to Ft. Campbell, while Grace and I stayed back in Iowa. We had decided that I would stay back just a little longer while he scoped the land there and saw what his orders were like. I had started the job search for the Ft. Campbell area, but I was also starting to get ready for year three at Iowa State. My head and heart where in two different places.

So after 3 months of basic training and only a week back together, Tom and I said goodbye again.

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Once Tom got to Ft. Campbell, we learned that he would be deploying in a couple months.

Hold up.

I just got him back, and you want him to go where?

I was really upset about this at the time, but obviously there was no choice in this. We were getting baptized by the Army from the get go. Ready or not we had to go through this.

So as Tom underwent training for deployment, I began the long couple months of training for a new year with my job. I needed to focus on my job and not worry about Tom’s situation. But I also knew that it was going to be my last year at Iowa State-ugh holy emotions. So I was determined to make it my best year yet and end on a high note. We decided that I would stick it out for that school year since it lined up with Tom’s deployment. It did not make sense for me to hurry to get a job in KY in the land of the unknown while I had a great job and a support network in Iowa, knowing that we were about to undergo one of the biggest tests of our relationship.

It was around this time that I decided to start a blog documenting my side of the deployment since I didn’t really see myself as an Army wife at the time. I needed an outlet somewhere. (Holy moly, my have my blogging skills grown since that first entry…)

Right after I successfully led my staff through move-in and the start of classes, I came down to say my farewell to Tom before he headed out for his first tour for 9 months. Long distance was here to stay. Will we ever be together?

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The day before he left for Afghanistan.

Tom left and made it safely overseas.

While Tom was becoming a world traveler, I received another phone call.

My grandpa had passed away. He had survived his wife by only a few months.

This was another hard time for me to lose so much so quickly. It was also hard because I didn’t want to be a basket-case every time Tom and I got a few minutes to chat. Those moments are so precious, and I didn’t want to spend it all in tears.

I went to my grandpa’s funeral, which is also the last time I was in Clemson. I wrote more about my grandparents’ influence here and how I was feeling at the time.

I continued my job search to no avail, but I was having the time of my life with my current job in Iowa. I was working with some awesome students and was gaining some invaluable experiences.

The holidays were hard that year. I traveled with Grace alone for the first time, and had to endure the never ending questions of “how is Tom” and trying to be happy about the holidays. We spent Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s, and Tom’s 28th birthday apart.

But on Christmas day, Tom called with a present that could not be wrapped and mailed. They were coming home! They received word that the deployment would be cut short by a couple months. Best present ever!

So I tried getting through the next few months anxiously waiting for the day he would return safely.

Every day came with it’s own battles. I had to believe and have faith that we would get through this. We only were able to video chat one time during his deployment because of the poor connection at his post. (He was on a tiny outpost in the middle of no-where quite literally.) We were able to talk almost every day, which was an absolutely Godsend. It is the only  months of my life that I became attached to my phone and would leave meetings to talk to him in bathrooms or hallways for the 5 or 10 minutes that we were allotted. I cried in a lot of bathrooms that year out of joy of hearing his voice and knowing he was ok and despair of not knowing when the next time we would talk would be. There were moments that I had no idea what he was doing, and there was panic like I described here and here.

But there were many lessons learned during this time apart. Mostly that I loved him more than I ever thought possible, and wanted to tell him any chance I got.

Right before Tom was to return, I ran the Disney Princess Half with a couple of my grad friends. So much fun and such great timing.

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And then the day came for Grace and I to see the main man of our lives again that February. Our 6ish months separated by sea where finally over.

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We had made it through the deployment long distance. Amen. My soldier was safe and sound on American soil.

We had about a week together before I had to face reality and return to Iowa to finish out the year. I was able to come and visit a couple times before we would move all of our things to Kentucky for the time being.

I was really fortunate for the community I had while in Iowa. They were my family while Tom was gone, and I couldn’t have asked for a better year to end on. Fortunately the timing worked out with Tom’s deployment to make it so I could stay that whole year and take the job search slow. I needed to be there with that support network.

I had the best time with my students, and they kept me sane most of that year. I think our last staff meeting was evident on how I felt about them. (If you guessed that I cried, you would be right. Buckets of tears were shed that night.)

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That May I said my goodbyes to Iowa, and Tom and I moved to our current home here in KY/TN.

About a week after settling in, I started a new job here working part-time in the Disability Services office. I was excited and nervous to do something other than housing. I was very hopefully about the prospects of my career and just hoped that this either turned full-time or that the job search I was still in was fruitful in another area.

FINALLY, TOM AND I WERE IN THE SAME PLACE!

This meant the world to us. After 5 years of being together, it looked like we would be able to be settled together for awhile before the next thing pulled us apart. We knew that another deployment could happen before he got out, but we were just looking at the present of finally being married in the same zipcode/country/timezone for once.

We began the full transition to living together which had it’s ups and downs. And I finally was experiencing Army life in the flesh.

June of 2013, Tom had to under go surgery to fix a hernia he had gotten while in Afghanistan. He literally had a hole in his stomach where he had to push his guts back in. Gross and cool all at the same time…

This is where we conclude our 2nd year with our anniversary which also coincided with our first (and most likely only) military ball.

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Year two was a rough year for us with death, distance, deployments and moving and everything else that normal day living brings. We learned a lot about love and life during this time and how to be happy with the little things. Every moment counts. You never know when the last time you will speak to someone will be (as was evident with my grandparents and Tom’s deployment). So it became even more clear that we needed to voice how we felt and live in the moment to soak up all that you can.

Come back next week as we celebrate our 3rd anniversary and hear a recap of our first year without long distance!

Whitener Wednesday-Our First Year Married

Right after the big day, Tom and I had some big decisions to make. I would say they were not your typical first year of marriage problems. To make sure everyone is following along, the year was June 2011 to June 2012.

I was about to start my second year at Iowa State in a position that I loved. Tom, however, had not been as lucky in the job search realm. He had been interviewing for police positions all over the central Iowa area, and even some departments more than once with no luck for over a year.

We decided after the wedding Tom would apply for one more department. He had always talked about going into the Army. If you remember during grad school, he had considered enlisting, and I wasn’t as on board then. If he wasn’t able to find a police position within the first six months of our marriage, we agreed that he would enlist. I finally saw that it was something he needed to do. We felt that it would help in the future for job searching or it could end up being a career move for him. Either way, it would be a way for Tom to provide for our family and have some career satisfaction.

The next few months we waited for some good news. We filled our time with trying to act like a normal couple without this huge decision on our shoulders. We went to ZooBrew like champs and visited our families.

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ZooBrew was one of our favorite summer time activities. Booze and large animals? Yes please.

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Getting in some Nuncle Tom and Aunt Teffie time with our beautiful little niece.

During all this madness, we decided it was a good idea to get a dog. It was not our intention to get one until we had things figured out, but things just kind of spiraled out of control one weekend. Before we knew it, we brought Grace home that Halloween. By far the best thing that happened that first year! (Also in writing this, I realized that I have never wrote about Grace’s adoption since we got her prior to my blogging adventure. We told Crosby’s, so I guess I should maybe plan to tell the full story about how we got Gracie lady!)

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Grace on the way home with us from the shelter. Now seeing her pictures from back then, I can see she has definitely grown since we got her at 36 pounds!

Grace managed to keep us busy and definitely made things happier for us. We were feeling like a family and things were normal right?

Well our life likes to be tricky and never goes as we planned. There were still no job prospects…crickets I tell ya. So Tom enlisted into the US Army right before our 6 month anniversary. Tom would leave that March for Basic Training, and we would have to endure long distance once again.

Fun story though, while Tom was at MEPS (Military Entrance Processing Station-where he officially enlisted and did all the initial testing/signing his life away) he got two calls for job offers. One was for a police department, and one was to teach Criminal Justice courses at a local college. Seriously? This is our life…

6 months

Since we knew that Tom would be gone for our first anniversary, we decided to celebrate our 6 month as if it was the whole first year.

I managed to throw the most epic surprise going-away party ever for Tom, which is saying something because I am the worst at keeping secrets. It was a great day to celebrate and be with friends and family before our life changed completely…once again.

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Tom humor on our kitchen calendar.

He left for Basic Training at Ft. Benning GA in March and did not graduate until July 3rd after our first year anniversary. For those 3.5 months, we talked mostly in letters. We each wrote one every single day, which are pieces of our life that we still have in a box to cherish for a life time. We talked on the phone twice the entire time. One happened to be around my birthday and the other was on our anniversary. We were lucky that these days fell around Mother’s Day and Father’s Day so they got to use the phone for those things. And my wonderful husband choose to call me quickly as well before he talked with his parents. Such a cool feeling to hear him talk after silence for months.

This kind of distance was much different than our first go around obviously. Since our communication was very limited or delayed, there were a lot of first year marriage milestones that we didn’t get to experience or where one of us had to make decisions on our own without the knowledge or input from our partner. I knew he was out of danger so there was something romantic about writing love letters every day to him before I went to bed. Granted I would rather of had him home, but you have to look at the positives. Every day, I wrote to him “I love you more than yesterday.” And every day it rang true.

Not much else happened those few months besides me taking a picture of Grace every day to mail him. Having Grace was the best distraction while Tom was away. I mean work definitely was distracting too (have you ever been on a college campus during move out?). But really I just hung out with Gracers for the most part being an obnoxious dog mom.

Grace

These are just a few of our gems.

I did get to see him for one weekend while they had pass. It was a glorious couple of days. I will never forget how skinny he was then! It was like I was married to a different person.

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I also had it in the back of my mind that this could possibly be my last year at Iowa State before we had to move to wherever the Army sent us. So I just tried distracting myself with making the most of the time I had there.

It may sound horrible, but I honestly don’t remember what I did for our anniversary that year. I probably took Grace for a long walk and did nothing if I would have to guess. I may have taken the day off work…

But in all fairness I knew we had a big reunion coming up in the next month with his graduation. I was just counting down our long distance days at this point.

Come back next week to see how year two went with Basic Graduation starting us off! Thanks for reading every week!

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At least we looked good that year! (I also had perfected the wavy curl look, so it is obvious I used it on every special occasion…)