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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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


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!

The Iowa Reunion Tour

Tom and I had a great time (expect all the driving) being in Iowa this past weekend.

It was kind of hit or miss last week whether Tom was going to be able to join me. Fortunately his pass was approved the day before we were scheduled to leave. Thank goodness because that 12 hour drive back would have been awful. Plus road trips are always better with him!

We had a wedding in northern Iowa for a former student of mine, but we decided to stop in Ames the day before to a) break up the trip and b) see our old home.

We lived in Iowa for 3 years. It was the start of our life as a married couple and became real adults. We made some great friends and had wonderful memories from our time there. Also, I believe Iowa is a hidden gem of the United States. I really loved it there.

It was hard to leave Iowa a year ago after Tom returned from deployment, but we knew that it had to end. It was great to be back in Ames and to see some lovely faces again.

We made the most of the afternoon we were in Ames by eating in some of our favorite restaurants.

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I definitely miss the college coffee houses and cafes.

We chatted with my old supervisors which was so great for me mentally. It reminded me of a time where I thrived professionally, and that someday I will have that again.

We were able to catch up with several of our old friends that night. It was awesome to be able to chat and pick up right where we left off. With Facebook, you can still follow along with people’s lives, but there is just something about being able to be face to face with people that does something for your soul. Lots of laughs were had!

We also went by our old digs. And I am not going to lie, I almost broke down in tears as we drove away from Friley I was so emotional, and I am not sure I can blame that on hormones.

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That building behind me was our home for 3 years. I love how big it is; you can’t get it all in one frame. Yes we lived in a giant residence hall. We were given a really nice apartment in there. Oh Friley.

I also was spoiled by my old neighbor/partner in crime who has been stocking my favorite ISU dining muffins. I swear these things have drugs in them, they are so addicting. (I am aware that they do not, and they are just really delicious.) We used to text each other when it was chocolate muffin day so we could fill up our to-go containers with just these goodies.

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Then we headed even further north for a wedding.

It was the first Catholic wedding I had ever been to, and Tom wasn’t too familiar either. We were fish out of water.

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When they had the congregation do the greetings where you apparently say “Peace Be With You” to each person you shake hands with, Tom instead introduced himself. The ladies in front of us were not impressed with, “Hi, I’m Tom.”

I also made a blunder when they recited the Lord’s prayer. FYI the Catholics do not say the whole thing! I did not know this. I just felt really proud of myself that I actually knew something they were doing, so I just went along merrily! Unfortunately, when the rest of the church stopped reciting, I kept going. Just me, practically sounding like I was screaming the end of the Lord’s prayer all by myself….Embarrassing.

There were quite a few of my former students at the wedding. It was so good to hear what is going on in their lives and where they have moved on to. Each of them had such a huge impact on my time there since we worked together practically every day and some of them for almost the entire time I was there. It was fun to see them all grown up!

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Sorry for the bad picture quality! They were all of my staff members at one point in Friley. And of course Tom was the odd resident of the building being neither staff or a student…

It was a fast trip since most of it consisted of us driving across the midwest. Let me tell you, road trips are not as fun when you are pregnant. At least the people on the other end made it all worth it!

Thank you to everyone we saw and made an awesome reunion for us!

Those of you who we didn’t see, I am just saying Tennessee is really pretty and we are happy to have visitors…

Whitener Wednesday-Our Wedding

We have made it to our wedding day of the Whitener love story. I won’t go into a lot of the planning portion. I am just glad that that part of our life is over and done with it. It all led up to one of the best days ever.

Get ready for the picture overload!

Wedding 1

My mom painted the tree, which was our guest book and has since become living room art work. We stayed pretty simple with the rest of the decorations. My sister-in-law helped with a lot of the planning, which was helpful since we lived in Iowa and the wedding was in Missouri. Tom and I made all the ribbon dancers that were used for our exit out of the church instead of bubbles. That broach was my grandma’s who was not able to make it to the wedding. I also carried hankies from my family and Tom’s family, which came in handy later on during the ceremony.

Wedding 2

My dad made my necklace and earrings. My grandpa helped officiate the wedding, which was really special for both of us. He made pretty much everyone weep with his warm words. And yes, we high-fived our “I do’s.”

Wedding 3

We were very intentional about making our wedding about our story and who we are as a couple. We planned every detail to make the wedding very specific to us. We didn’t have any traditional music and put in personal touches everywhere, hence the high-fives. We wanted to make sure our wedding was “us” and not cookie cutter. We had a lot of help from our family and friends for getting on board with this and adding little pieces throughout the day!



We drove off in an old school Aston Martin.


We had the best wedding party. My brother was my man of honor, and Tom’s sister was his best woman. Keeping it real doing our own thing.


This is one of my favorite shots of the day. It was just one of those moments that it was just Tom and I before we went into the winery for dinner. We didn’t see each other before the ceremony, so it was really the first time we were able to steal some moments together.

Wedding 4

One of my favorite touches was our candy buffet. This was our favor for everyone. We thought it was better for everyone to get exactly what they wanted. We made the jars ourselves with tags and ribbon. It was also really fun to search for yellow and blue candy! We felt like kids again.

Also, picking our wedding colors was really easy. Tom’s favorite color is blue, and mine is yellow. Boom color choices made. (It also turned out that we looked like even bigger Royals fans. We still to this day find ourselves in our wedding colors unintentionally…)


Our reception venue was absolutely gorgeous. We had it at a winery right outside of town that was on a hill overlooking the river and capital.

Wedding 5

I am not the biggest cake fan, so we opted for a smaller cake and several other desserts in addition. The one thing I would change about the day would be to actually get some of those desserts. The only piece we had was the small bite of cake we fed each other. Everything else got devoured, even the plate of samples we had set aside in the kitchen for ourselves. Yes, someone ate stole that! And yes it has been three years, and I am still not over it.  So we were not able to partake in the one year anniversary tradition of eating your cake, because every little piece of everything was eaten that night.

Wedding 6


I think the best part of our wedding was just to have all groups in our lives come together in one place. It was so fun to look back at pictures and see different people interacting and having a great time. We obviously had a blast.

One of most genius decisions I made was to have a party dress. I absolutely love my wedding dress. It was the first dress I tried on, and it was everything I ever dreamed for a dress for our day. However, that thing was a beast. It was very hot with all the layers, and felt like it weighed a ton after a few hours of wearing. I decided to get a cheap short dress that I could wear after all the ceremonious things occurred so I could move and groove more freely. I highly recommend it for any bride.


Yep this happened. I am sure you can guess what song was playing.

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We had so much fun celebrating with those that we love. It was a wonderful day to start our marriage, and it was better than anything I had ever dreamed of as a little girl.

Thank you for reading our story up to now. Next week I will recap our first year of marriage.

Talks with Tom #13

This past weekend we traveled back to Missouri for a friend’s wedding. It was beautiful, and it was great to see some friends from Iowa. I have been really homesick for my Ames people, so it was fun to catch up with a few of them for a bit.

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I miss having friends in my office all the time!
(And Tom and I missed the purple memo, but it is ok. We matched in our mature primaries.)

It has gotten a little cooler here, which for me affects my “driving” clothes. Usually I will hop in a car in shorts or comfy running pants and a tshirt. With the temps dropping, my winter driving gear is usually jeans and a tshirt/hoodie.

Tom however is always in shorts.


Tom loves wearing shorts. He doesn’t really every wear long pants unless it is a special occasion or when he is being mandated. He believes that he should dress for the temperature inside since he wont be outside very long. So you will find my husband in shorts and flip flops all year round. He is all about the maximum amount of comfort.

We were in a mad hunt this weekend several times for his ranger panties. Oh you don’t know what those are? They are shorts that basically show off a man’s leg, and they have the inner liner (panty). They are also made of a silky thin material (panty). Think of 80s men’s basketball shorts or track shorts. Because they are so small, they get lost easily. We thought the dogs may have eaten them at one point this weekend. It was serious people.

Tom's legs

They do make their legs look super nice. And I gotta say, it is fun to watch these Army men push people’s clothing social normities. The things people have called Tom because of these shorts is both funny and awful.

Anyway, naturally I was complaining about it being too cold on the drive home.

Tom- “Yea, I had to bring the winter shorts.”

They are maybe a couple inches of fabric longer than the ranger panties. Shorts are meant for summer to me no matter the length, but even 6 years later I am still laughing at Tom’s perception and infatuation of shorts

He did wear pants for the special occasion this weekend.

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I like that the woman behind me is my color block opposite. Love the mature primaries (cardinal, navy, and gold)!

Happy Wedding to Chris and Krystal!


Fun fact, Tom and Chris were in Scouts together. Then I worked with him at Iowa State not knowing until his first day on the job that he knew my husband’s family. Small world!