7 from the previous 7 {2011}

Sorry for the delay in getting these last posts up. Then again…this is my gift to Aaron so who really cares if they’re on time or seven months late. This is our blog. ha.

I just lost steam trying to find the pictures I really wanted since my stupid Lightroom isn’t searching very well. But somehow I’ll find the right pictures…

2011 began with a great surprise Christmas gift to you as we headed to the east coast to see so many of our best friends. We started in the DC area and tried not to freeze our fingers off hung out with the Bradshaws. Sambo made immediate friends with Anne and I was thrilled she was up for keeping him for the day so we could take the metro in to DC. I hadn’t been there since 6th grade…so it was fun to go back with you. Old Ebbit Grill was fun. Walking around the mall amidst snow (what was that stuff? we live in corpus…) and having a great day with you.

It was during that trip we were able to start really peeling back the layers of why we were struggling so bad and what some of the root issues were we needed to address. JR and Lisa were a God-send as we sat around their table and got stuff out we’ve never been able to even tell each other. I realized how deeply our friends cared about us and how desperately we couldn’t keep living in isolation.

We slowly trudged through the spring and kept working to crawl out of the pit. We became thirstier for a break…communication was hard, though we were getting better. That spring is a bit of a blur…I just know it was hard. Sam was starting to give me a real run for my money…he was a fire ball of energy to keep up with.

We continued to go to the Station and enjoy our time there…it was getting more difficult with Sambo…but always life giving to be there.

In April, we celebrated your #30 (glad you could finally join me!) along with your parents and brother’s family.  We got you a table saw and I made Mimmi Quimma’s Italian Cream Cake. But the most fun gift for me to give was the letters from all the people that love you. Collecting and reading those letters showed me again what a great friend you are. People see that you value friendships…you are consistent…you love to fish and hunt…you are honest…you are generous…you work hard and serve others…and you pursue people. Though I had to threaten some of them, your friends were quick to write very kind things. You have been surrounded by some really great people in your life and I’m thankful.

Our due date for our baby (gender unknown) was rapidly approaching and more big hurdles in communication and understanding came. I don’t think I’ll ever forget dropping Sam off at Tammy’s and sitting on the side of the road trying to decide if we were going to induce the next day, or wait through the weekend. Though that seems silly to think about now, it was such a deep dark time. We were fearful that our first birth experience was going to be repeated…and control seemed to be the answer. I’m thankful you trusted me and let me make the call to wait. God was so gracious to us and a huge watershed in our marriage came this day…when Gwen Elaine arrived.

I know neither of us can completely understand what God did that day beyond Gwen’s arrival, but a weight had been lifted and we were in utter shock how smoothly, beautifully, and gracefully her birth and the weeks following were. You never know how thirsty you truly are until you have a drink.

And the bonus to have a girl…like we both secretly hoped for. This was a beautiful day I’ll never forget. {And…you’re welcome (for me getting an epidural)}

The summer was great…except when the AC went out for almost two weeks…but grateful to have a place to retreat in Nacogdoches. We had lots of family visit that summer and we spent lots of time at the beach and at the aquarium. We felt God moving us in a lot of ways, one specific way was to be in community/church with our neighbors. We really began to settle in a live life with some great friends…family dinners with many of them began and continue to this day. Glad we followed where Jesus was moving.

In October we left the kiddos in OK with my parents and headed to Colorado. Somehow the sick bug always seems to find you on vacation, and this trip didn’t fail. I was sad you couldn’t enjoy the food…but glad I didn’t have to take you to the ER. Denver is lovely and though this trip was a bit disappointing because you felt like crap most of the time, it was still fun to be with good friends.

Sam turned two. You started working in the FITU and loved your boss. ahem. We headed back up to OK for Thanksgiving and you shot a huge buck. In your pajamas. Right outside my parents front door. Your 10 point was coveted by many. I’m glad you enjoyed that trip and glad you got to shoot something big in OK.

A couple of weekend trips to Houston sans kiddos allowed us to enjoy the opera and the Nutcracker. That was fun. My date was the best part. You are very handsome…but there’s nothing like you in a uniform. {sizzlin…}

Thankful 2011 ended a million times better than it started. Gwen was a dream of a baby and was a gift of mercy since 2 turned out to be Sam’s most challenging year yet (since he is so old). We chose the path of the upcoming year long deployment and took all the moments we could to enjoy being together while it lasted. I loved being spoiled by having you steal me away for a weekend every once in a while…looking forward to next year when that can resume.

While this proved to be our hardest stretch of marriage yet, I wouldn’t trade it. I think we both understand the gospel more…we saw the faithfulness of our Father…we know we can’t live in isolation and without community…and that it wasn’t a mistake we chose to spend the rest of our lives together. I hope our kids will one day understand the choice marriage truly is. And while it has been the hardest thing I’ve done yet, it’s been the best journey. I love you, Aaron and am thankful you chose to stick it out with me and watch God turn the ugly into beautiful.

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