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22 December 2011

a love story

Today my husband and I will celebrate 9 years of marriage. I can hardly believe I am old enough to have been married that long. I am blessed beyond measure to call Brett my husband. I love him dearly and could think of no better companion to share my life with. In honor of these years together, I wanted to share a little bit about our story. Since we'll be celebrating 10 years {!!!} together in 2012, I plan to write a little more each month on the 22nd. I look forward to reminiscing about these past years, and to sharing our story with you.

My husband wrote in a journal every single day of his college life. When I met him, I loved that about him. I like to write, and I found it so surprising that he wrote every. single. day. Wow. We started dating in late-November of 2000. That Christmas, while he was home for Christmas Break, he picked up a very special journal with a very special purpose. Unbeknownst to me, he began to write a journal to me just weeks after we had started dating. {So cool to look back and realize how serious he was about me even in those early days of dating. I often wondered about so many unsaid thoughts and feelings, and I love 'knowing' more of what he was thinking!}

Fast-forward a year and a half to a lovely April evening in 2002. Brett was teaching, and I was about to complete my senior year of college. We lived 45 minutes apart, so I only saw him on weekends. He called about 15 minutes before he was supposed to pick me up and said that he'd gotten an additional paycheck for some extra-curricular activities he'd helped out with at school and wanted to splurge on a nice dinner. I was game, and we decided to go back to the steakhouse where we'd gone on our very first date. While we were waiting to be seated, he suggested that we walk across the street to a jewelry store and look at rings. I was ecstatic...it was the first mention of ring-shopping from Brett. After casually browsing some lovely, expensive rings {the jewelry store was a Tiffany's of all places!} we enjoyed a tasty meal.

After dinner, Brett suggested that we go for a little walk in the same town where we enjoyed a coffee after our first date. {I can't believe I was still so clueless about what was going on at this point! He was re-creating our first date. :)} When we got to our destination, he pulled a blanket out of the trunk and we started off on a nice little walk along the river. At one point, there's a little dock that extends out over the water. We walked to the end of the dock, and he instructed me to be quiet as he stealth-ly pulled three roses and a leather-bound book from in the folds of the blanket. {Sneaky!} At this point I finally figured out what was happening. He handed me a white rose, and told me about the things he was thankful about from our past...then a pink rose, and he talked about our present, and lastly, he read the final pages of the book, which was a proposal, and handed me a red rose with a ring tied to it...signifying our future together. The book was filled with stories from our entire courtship. Brett had kept a journal to me during our entire year-and-a-half of dating. {There is a silence for a few months while we were broken up.} It was such a treat to read through so many of Brett's thoughts and feelings. I love having a chronicle of most of our dates and memories shared. I loved reading about when Brett first thought that he loved me...long before the words ever came out of his mouth. Nine years later, that journal is my favorite earthly possession. There are so many things that I would've long-ago forgotten about had they not been recorded in that book. I still fall more in love with Brett every time I read through the pages of the journal...it was an incredible gift.

Here we are on the evening of our engagement...

Here's our 'formal' engagement picture...

Our Christmas wedding with lots of lights...

Can you believe those flowers? I loved them so much!

We held our reception in a beautiful indoor botanical garden. Christmas trees from around the world decorated the entire venue. It was quite spectacular.

Since we were married so close to Christmas, we spent a couple of evenings in a fancy hotel, and returned to my parents house for Christmas. On the 26th we caught a flight to Mexico. I'm so glad we chose to stick around to celebrate our first Christmas with family in snowy Michigan!

I love you, Brett, and I'm so glad the Lord chose to bring us together. You are an incredible husband and father. Thank you for loving me so well!

*We did get married back in the era of film cameras...so these are pictures of my original pictures. And my wedding video is VHS...ha! I think we'll get that converted to DVD next year sometime.

13 December 2011

Shouting Hello

I wanted to take a moment to say hello this morning. We've been busy enjoying all the delights of the season. I can't believe Christmas is less than two weeks away! We have lots of fun parties and celebrations this week, so that's why the posting has slowed down. Here are a couple recent favorite pictures of the kids. They both seem to end up with wide open mouths in pictures. I like to think it's a display of their overall exuberance towards daily life in our home.

Happy Tuesday!

07 December 2011

Our Handmade Advent

We're a week into December and I'm finally sharing our Advent calendar with you. Better late than never...and thanks to Pinterest, you can file this little idea away for next year. *wink* In order to make this little tree you'll need 25 empty toilet paper rolls. You might want to start saving them in June if you plan to make your own tree next year!

Maren has really gotten into crafting with me lately, which I love. She was a big help in putting together our little toilet-paper-roll-Christmas-tree-advent-calendar.

We started by cutting paper to fit around the rolls. Maren applied glue to the edges of the paper, and I rolled the paper around the empty paper rolls.

1. We rolled paper around all but 3 or 4 tubes, and we used those on the inside of the tree.
2. I used my Cricut to make 25 1.25 inch circles. I wrote the numbers on the circles, and hole-punched each one.
3. I made a little template for how we'd arrange our rolls to make a tree.

4. To make the trunk of the tree, hot-glue 4 tubes together.
5. Next we glued each row together before assembling them to make the tree.
6. Use yarn, string, twine, etc. to attach the tags to the inside of the rolls.
7. I flipped the tree upside-down to glue the tags inside the rolls.

Here's our finished Advent tree!

The paper rolls are a perfect place to hide a piece of candy, scripture verse, or other small treat.
This year we're doing "Truth in the Tinsel". We're not making all the ornaments this year, so we'll probably do the same thing next year to fill in the rest of the ornaments. We have found the readings to be simple and meaningful for our young family. I would encourage you to check it out!

What are some ways you make the Christmas season meaningful for your kids? Do share!