Its been anything but boring…..life with this man.
C thought of something incredibly romantic on our first anniversary that has been a favorite tradition of mine every year since….. Every wedding anniversary, he buys a silver charm to commemorate the past year of our marriage and celebrate a significant moment, event or often…..a baby 🙂 Someday, my kids will fight over who inherits this bracelet. I love the story it tells.
2001 – 2002
Married on the beach on Saint Simons Island…God’s presence and glory showered down through a thunderstorm! Honeymooned in Key West. Settled in an apartment in Columbia SC. Got pregnant. Surprise of a lifetime – its TWINS. Threw up every day for nearly 9 months. Helped with a church plant and hosted a small group. Moved again into a second home. Gave birth to Tristan & Abi. Our family grew from 2 to 4.
2002 – 2003
Began preparations to move overseas. Packed up all our earthly possessions. Spent the twins 1st birthday in London en-route to Ukraine. Tristan broke out with chicken-pox on the trip. Landed in Kiev and moved into a temporary apartment. Discovered we were pregnant 2 weeks later. Miscarried at 15 weeks. Processed loss and grief alone in a foreign place. C began traveling. Found a permanent apartment and moved a 4th time in 2 years. Potty trained the twins (why this seemed like a good idea at 18 months is beyond me!)
2003 – 2004
Katherine, my sister moved to Ukraine to be with us – a Godsend to help with twins so we could study language. We visit Sharm El Sheik Egypt. We began volunteering at an orphanage. C spending 30-50% of the time on the road. We spend Christmas in London and get to see C’s parents and my mom. We bring back a souvenir from England……due in 9 months.
2004 – 2005
Our sweet Britain is born in a hospital in Ukraine. My mother comes to meet her grand-girl. Our language skills improve….my attitude to the Ukrainian cold does not! We go back to the States for a short visit and to get some intensive counseling. Strain of living overseas has taken a toll…and….Im pregnant again. Twins are enrolled in Russian pre-school for a short time. My daddy comes to visit. The Orange Revolution is taking place all around us.
2005 – 2006
We welcome Isabelle after a very scary delivery and almost losing her to placental abruption. My mother and 2 sisters come to visit. We develop close ties with our team members, our landlords, our language tutor and the orphans we are working with. We discover an international church that fosters friendships with other ex-pats. We begin hosting a small group and find “family” away from home.
2006 – 2007
A fun family vacation to Marbella Spain. Once again, we bring back a souvenir – two pink lines on a stick. We are asked to come on as directors of the orphanage/ministry to street kids we’ve been working with. A busy year as we take on directorship as well as buy, remodel and move into an apartment. Fifth move – first home we’ve owned.
We return to the US for Thanksgiving and Christmas to celebrate the holidays with family. Baby Evie born. We now have 5 kids 5 years old and under! Life changes forever with the diagnosis of Evie’s heart defect. The year we will forever look back on as full of miracles! Many tears. Many prayers. So much love and heartache. The blog is born. C returns to Ukraine while we are still in the hospital to ties up loose ends and move our family back to the States permanently. Charleston becomes dear to us! We settle into a quiet house on a lake in Prosperity SC. Tristan falls in love with country living. C and I leave our kids for the first time and go Jamaica for our friends wedding. I begin doula certification.
2008 – 2009
A bit of a blur. So many hospitalizations, sleep studies, inpatient and outpatient procedures. 100+ blood draws. Little by little, we see Evie begin to gain strength. That summer, we’re invited to go work on C’s uncles ranch in Montana for the summer….we consider staying forever!
2009 – 2010
C buys me a “real” camera. My passion for photography and writing take off. A fun year of experimentation. I launch three businesses as a spin off to the blog….photography, modeling and boutique marketing. We also begin homeschooling the kids. Fatigue sets in – surprise!! Another pregnancy!!
2010 – 2011
Seeing Andrea Bocelli in concert together makes for our best Valentines day ever! Lots of “high risk” monitoring of pregnancy due to a heart condition they have detected in me. Gigi makes her entrance at a wee 6 lbs. 3 weeks early. Heathy! Such a redeeming experience to get to do a baby again….differently this time! C works remodeling our fixer-upper-house. Work/minsitry takes him to Cuba, China and India.
2011 – 2012
Winds of change are blowing again. Highlight of the year was returning to Key West ALONE together for a long weekend. A fun excursion before we launch overseas again. C and I make a scouting trip to Bangkok and secure an apartment then return home and start uprooting.
2012 – 2013
Family trip to NYC for embassy meeting and visas. We pack a pod, withdrawal from school, and move to the other side of the world. Another season of adjustment. We begin homeschooling, then enroll the kids in school when I get sick….a surprise pregnancy is short lived – we have another baby in heaven. Proximity to India allows C to travel frequently and extensively to coach the Indian team. We are blessed to have many, many, many, friends and family visit us in Thailand. We get to play with wild monkeys. I travel back to the US for my sisters wedding. Life Group becomes a wonderful source of community and friendship for us in this new place.
2013 – 2014
Doula and photography opportunities growing. Ministry flourishing in India. Family beach trip with C’s parents to Phuket. My parents come spend Christmas holiday with us. Surprise visit from Faith and Maggie – some of our dearest friends. Melina too….friends even dearer so far from home! We experience the Bangkok “Shut Down” and survive a Coup D’etat.
Life has been anything but boring! Its cliche to say “Id do it all over again” because honestly, I wouldn’t choose to go back. There were some really hard seasons and truly, it just. keeps. getting. better!!! But…….there is NO ONE I would rather have done it with and I love looking forward to more adventure and growing old with this man. Happy 13th Anniversary love!