Friday, August 17, 2012


Today was the biggest and most anticipated day of my life, ten years ago.  

I'm purposefully falling in love with my husband day after day.  He is the love of my life, not just the person I share my to do list with.  There have been years when I've forgotten that.  But not this year, and not lately.  Those first years, we had the greatest love story, we have a great love story, it's our love story, it's this love story.  I remember writing a blog to him on our five year anniversary.  Just after Addie was born.  So much has changed since them and so much has stayed the same.  I got him this as an anniversary gift for our wall.  (Babe, if you are reading this, I guess this spoils the gift...)

The day we met
The day he moved to NJ from Chicago to be with me
The day he proposed
The day we got married
The day we became parents

I am truly blessed to be the wife to this man.  For a decade.  

And counting. 

Tonight we will celebrate our marriage with some close friends, as we celebrate their marriages too, and we will toast to many more years together, for us, and for them.  

Happy anniversary to the one true love of my life, for now and forever.  I love you

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Ourdoor livin'

Ten years ago, I was counting down the days to my wedding.  8 days.  A week from tomorrow, I'd be married.  I was swirling with anxiety, and could barely contain my excitement about the big day.  It was happening, the love of my life wanted to marry ME!

Because of our aggressive debt payoff plan of 2008 2009 2010 2011, we were officially debt free except for our house on Feb 1, 2012.   We had decided to go on a 10 year anniversary trip to Maui.  We went to Kauai for our honeymoon, and found a way to do Maui for super cheap (you know in terms of a week long Hawaiian vacation).  This was to be our first vacation without the kids, we've never been away together for more than 2 nights, and even that has been sporadic over the years, only 3 times in 7+ years.  Anyway, it was also to be the first vacation we saved up for ahead of time, rather than paid off later, in our new debt free freedom and mind set. 
I was so excited (and terrified) to drive on this road with my husband
Except, a visit from a friend and an incredible carpenter and customer builder, changed everything.  He quoted us a bunch of stuff we wanted to fix around our house, stuff we'll do over the years.  And after we got his quote, we started dreaming about the deck we knew we'd eventually build when we bought this house 6 years ago.  One that could totally be possible, if we saved hard for the next few months, and gave up our Maui trip.

As soon as we made the decision to give up a week, for years of enjoyment, we both felt relief.  There were some logistical issues around going, stress of arranging care for the kids, Lawr not having vacation time on top of our trip to do a family trip this summer, and just the anxiety for both of us leaving them for 7 day, especially on a trip they would really have a lot of fun on too.  That relief confirmed that it was a good decision for us.  That was back in May, and so we eagerly awaited the start of our deck building which was to be early July. 

After 3 weeks of mostly keeping the kids out of the backyard.  It is done, it is fabulous, it is perfect. Bigger and better than we could have ever imagined.  It changed the way our whole downstairs feels and added 500 square feet of usable space to our backyard, to a portion of it that had a 10x10 slab of patio, and fairly unusable, uneven, and unsafe area of grass.  


During - this if from my kitchen table while having breakfast one morning.  It's when I realized this was going to change the inside of my house not only the outside!

First night of completion, Lawrence had steaks hot off the grill when I got downstairs from putting the kids to bed. 

Who needs Hawaii?  We can reconnect riiiight here.  And that we did.
Here are a few more pictures of the details under the setting sun!  

 If you look close you will see that we got a new door too.  It even swings INward the way a door should!  
It's like art work in my yard.  Can't say enough about the wonderful and talented friend, Brian, who built it, who owns Mitchell Customs.  He and his wife are two of the new friends that Jim introduced me to...after he was gone.  I will be forever thankful for their friendship, and will think of the labor of love (as well as the terrible commute he endured) every time we are outside doing lots of Outdoor Livin'!

To see all the before, during, and after pics, click here