Sunday, April 15, 2012

To Darrin on our 11th Annivsery

This is an old blog that I did nothing with for a very long time. Until today. The title of the blog is your favorite song and though I came to find out that the lyrics refer to an addiction to drugs, I think that Living Life by the Drop can mean other things. 

For me, it means working together to get the most out of life, to enjoy every moment we have together. Over time, over these 11 years, I think we have both found out how fast time goes and how, if we are not careful, we will miss so very much. So much of the kids, of us, of our family and of the great wide world around us. 

We, my love, are the lucky ones. Though this Air Force life has meant not spending every holiday together, has forced us to be apart for so many life events, we really understand how precious each day is; how lucky we are when we get to wake up in the same bed, look over the kitchen table at one another over dinner or sit back in the yard and watch the magic of our three kids. We are, most certainly, the lucky ones. 

I hope that these pictures, these memories and my musings over the past almost 13 years of our lives together, serve as an adequate gift. I don't know that I will ever be able to express how much I love you, how much you mean to me and what an amazing friend and partner you are, but I hope that this little gift at least scratches the surface. You are my heart.

The Early Days
(were we ever really this young?!)

So young, so red eyed.

My first trip to North Dakota!

Summer times in Tucson.

I must have done OK as you brought me back to the ND!

Your first apartment in AZ! You thought you would be living the single life. I fixed that for you. You're welcome!
Our first pet, Sammy. We obviously loved her very much, given that we shared a beer AND the remote with her! This was our first apartment together, just us two. Remember how many candles we had?!
Fancy picture of the fancy couple.
Tucson engagement party. Looking slick with no hair!
The BIG Day Finally Arrives

I will never ever forget how nervous you were. "I can't eat anything, not even cereal!" That's when I knew you were seriously freaked out. But as luck would have it, you made it to the church and in a blur that I can hardly remember, we were married. 

Surrounded by family and friends--hopefully no enemies--we pledged to stay true to one another, to take care of each other, mind, body and spirit and somehow, somehow, we have managed to do just that for these 11 years. I would not trade a second, not one sad one mad or one bad one, I'll take them all. Because this marriage to you, this life we started to build that day, helped make me who I am. Yes, I'd do it all again in a fraction of a heartbeat. 
We certainly know how to make an entrance!
A truly fantastic group of friends.
She's out...
Man, we are a couple of good looking individuals!
I still love you this much. Plus more.

The Moon of Honey's

Seriously, how amazing was this trip? There are still times when the humidity is just right and the grass has been cut that I literally close my eyes and almost believe we are back in San Carlos. 

I don't know what to say about it other than how utterly perfect it was. How relaxed, how warm, how fun, how romantic and how delicious. The food!!! I think it was the first indication that we would have a life as delicious and happy as our days on the beach in Mexico. Let's do it again, eh? 
A group of seals!!! Oh no, just us, terrified and loving it.
I mean seriously. How fun was this?! How romantic, how exciting, how fun?!
We spent every possible moment on the beach. I will never ever forget it.

And Then you Left

BUT YOU CAME BACK!!! This was to be a sad and hopeful theme of our marriage. Going into it, you said you would do your six years for the Air Force and be out. But as time went on, things changed, and this cycle, this leaving and coming home, the happy and sad, the moves and the shifts and the dance of life became who we are as a couple, as a family. 

We don't know how to be anything but strong, and could not have guessed at the time how this leaving and home coming would mold our relationship. It's not always easy, in fact, it never is, but I'll tell you what. We do it well and I would have it no other way. I am so proud to say that my husband has made the sacrifices you have because of a genuine love of your country.

That's a little heavy. Let's see some pictures!
Big party before the big trip to Okinawa. I think you still have those shorts and that hat! Very good.
Bunny ears? Tongues? Perfect.
Eating that cake a year later! You seem to be making the same face here and in the signing of the marriage license picture...

Okinawa Bound

And what was next? Okinawa of course. After that long year apart, we were ready to be off on our island adventure. And don't you know it, someone else was ready to join the party, Jackson! I have such memories of Okinawa. Beachy days, warm nights, amazing friends and the beginnings of our family. Looking back, I realized that as fun as it was, this was also a hard time in a lot of ways. Young, newly married, in a strange land with a strange baby, working almost constantly, we had a lot to learn still. But you know what? We made it. 

We grew and grew and became, if I do say so myself, fantastic parents with a solid foundation of love, trust and really, above all, friendship. I used to tell people that it was important to have lot of friends because it turns out that your husband might not be your best friend, though you love him so. This is no longer true for me. I think of you first when something, anything, happens. I can't wait for you to get home so that we can chat about our day, plan our next project and just be near one another. It has surprised me, this best friend I found in you and I do believe it's the best surprise I've had to date. 

My first cake for you! It was a disaster!
Our little home!
Good friends, good food. Just good!


Well hello, little man.

Adventures out on the town. Man, I love that place.

Is there any way that's it's been 9 years since this picture. Amazing. It really could have been yesterday.

We made a beautiful baby, didn't we?

A baby who just seems to grow and grow.
Texas, Texas! YE-HAW!

From Oki to Texas we went! It was a job you couldn't pass up and we were ready to be closer to family, both of us. We bought a house, sight unseen--did we really do that?!--and started a new adventure. 

Alli decided to come along for the ride and while we were nervous, going from a family of three to a family of four, we were ready and excited! A girl! A Texas girl! This Texas girl got her start on good old red dirt and again, we found ourselves in the company of a fantastic group of friends.
Not a bad looking group, I must say!
Alli. It's what's for dinner!

There was a lot to love about our little neighborhood.

And a lot of work. A. Lot. Of. Work. 

We're off Again!

This time to Utah and, as you might know, we are still here! This has been, in so many ways, our best move to date. Central to the families, a beautiful little home in the mountains and a love that fills this house right to the brim.  Julian made his big entrance last year and his presence reminds us all how fast time goes, that if you are not careful you will look away for a minute and your first baby will be nine, your second five and you will not have any idea how that happened.

The honest to goodness truth is that I have never been happier, more fulfilled, than I am now. We have survived our first deployment and many TDY's and are even facing another big *trip*, yet I now know that we can do this. We have this, the hard and easy, all of it. It turns out that if you look at life's hardships the right way, if you work hard, really hard, to look on the bright side, you come out with a marriage and a family that loves harder than any deployment, any difficulty. We got this babe, everyday, all day.

We live here?! We are lucky mother truckers.

Hikers to the core.

Again...we live here?!

The King! How lucky we are to have this little dude, and for you to have been home to welcome him to the spinning world.

Good friends.

Big brother, little brother, a love that never ends.

Julian seems just as scared as he should be.

What's next for us? Who can say. All I know is that I do love you. 

Final final period no say backs infinity times infinity. Ha!