Our Ten-Year Wedding Anniversary
It's so hard to believe it's been ten years since Jason and I were married.
On one hand, when I look back, it seems like it should have been longer. I feel like we've been able to pack in a lot of experience into just ten years: travel, buying a home, changing jobs, moving five times (each time heading almost as far East or West as the country would allow), adopting two dogs and welcoming our son.
I have several more wrinkles now than I did when Jason and I first met. (Those #11 lines right between my forehead have set up shop permanently like someone pressed a lego train track between my eyes and just never let up.) But that's our marriage for you: It's been a steady partnership with moments of great love and joy, peppered in with periodic furrowing of the brow. (Did he really just leave me with one square of toilet paper for the thousandth time?) Yes, he did ... but he also scored the babysitter for our anniversary when I totally forgot it WAS our anniversary. Win.
I love this man, our son, our pups and our life together (train tracks and all) more than anything else in the world. I thought, for our ten-year, I'd look back at some of my favorite moments throughout our time together.
You can imagine that sifting through ten years of photos to find 8 or 9 of the best took some time (and the pressure!) but I think I finally have it together. Here are some of my all-time favorites.
Our wedding day!
Gosh, we were such scrubbed and polished little babies then! It was honestly such a happy, low-key day. I wore a short cream dress from BCBG (yep, you read that right!) with an embroidered polka-dot lace overlay and felt so pretty. I was working full time as a restaurant server to pay off big grad school debt at the time, and I'd saved all my pennies for that frock.
My friend, a cosmetology student, did a side ponytail (no regrets) and Jason wore his best suit. We were married at the Indiana State House where my father-in-law had worked for more than 13 years—and at that time was serving as a senior clerk for one of our favorite judges (and people) of all-time. Jason had just finished a summer clerkship with the same judge and he was gracious enough to be the officiant at our wedding. He even "donated" the first draft of our vows, which were words taken from a ceremony he'd written for his own beloved daughter. Can you imagine?
It was a small affair with immediate family only, and I'll never regret that decision. Thank goodness my mom convinced me last-minute that we at least needed flowers though. I carried a small bouquet of calla lilies tied with a white ribbon and Jason wore one lily on his lapel. Our wedding made the day, but the flowers, however subtle, punctuated the moment.
After the ceremony, we all hopped in cars and drove to the home Jason's cousin shared with his wife. (The couple are two great friends of mine from college, happily married still with three kids — more on that another time.) We enjoyed a homemade spaghetti dinner on card tables in the living room and toasts given by our parents and the judge.
Sitting on a beach. Hawaii's North Shore, circa 2008.
I remember this as being sort of a melancholy time for me. We'd just moved to Hawaii that January after being married just weeks before. It was a whirlwind to say the least. We'd both just started new jobs and were trying to get our bearings. I remember feeling like a fish out of water and just wondering if I'd ever get used to life so far away from any home I'd known. A few short months later we met some of the best friends we'd ever have in life and go on to have the most fun we'd ever have as a young couple with comparatively little responsibility. When I look at this picture, I just want to tell myself, "Hold on tight. The good stuff is right around the corner." I don't remember what Jason was telling me here, but I like to think it was something to that effect.
A trip to Lanai, spring 2009
Out of all the places we visited and things we did in Hawaii during the 3.5 years we lived there, this was my absolute favorite. The island of Lanai is so remote and kind of a best-kept secret. We spent three days there in a little B&B and rented a Jeep to drive the island and see some of the coolest natural landscape we'd ever encountered. Lanai is so small and lightly populated that, at the time we were there, there were only three paved roads (I think?). So most residents got around using 4x4s of some sort. Jason took this video of me walking along one of the almost-untouched coastlines you had to off-road to get to. It's blurry and a bit grainy, but I still love it because it captures the feel of the island and the overall mood of our trip: this long weekend was our last hurrah before Jason deployed to Afghanistan that year, and we wanted to get away somewhere quiet and peaceful where we could just be together. This trip was the ticket.
Christmas Day, 2010
It's rarely cloudy in Hawaii for long, but it was on this day. Our friends had a boat, and we took it out to a place in Kaneohe Bay called The Sandbar. At this point, most of our friends, including us, were married with no kids and had no extended family on the island. That meant we considered each other family and regularly celebrated big holidays together. On this day, we played catch in the water with the football and passed around a santa hat and a pair of antlers on a headband. I'm pretty sure there were mimosas involved. This picture reminds me of how relatively carefree we still were, and how small and simple we viewed our lives to be. We took this picture as a joke because Jason is mortified to take any sort of smooch photo, but I actually liked it so much once I saw it, I've kept it in the rotation all these years.
Marine Corps Ball, November 2012
By 2012, we were out of Hawaii and on to the next duty station in Washington, D.C. I loved this picture so much because it reminded me of the way we looked at one another in the few wedding pictures that were taken several years back. Apparently six years later, we still felt pretty happy to be together. This is also one of the rare pictures I have of Jason in full dress uniform, so it's a keeper.
Patagonia, Torres Del Paine, Spring 2014
I think this is my all-time favorite picture of our trip to Patagonia. Not only does it show the scale of the landscape, but it also shows Jason in his element. I think we're at our best as a couple when we're traveling together. When you backpack through remote territory for five days (and navigate your way down a continent for six weeks total) you have to be a team. I know it sounds terribly clinical, but Jason and I are really good at co-managing long trips. He handles logistics and I handle communications (in this case, Spanish) and most of the photography. But here, it was all him, and he was really enjoying himself. So I wanted to capture this candid moment of him on his own in this beautiful place.
Big Sur, Labor Day Weekend, 2015
At this point, we were already matched with Isaac and knew he'd be coming home around the same time next year. So we decided to spend our last Labor Day as a family of two doing something a bit more special. We chose a camping and backpacking weekend in Big Sur and (almost) on a whim, we drove up. We day-hiked into a campsite (shown above) and hiked back out the next day. I took this picture at breakfast just before we headed out on day 2, and I was nervous, as my legs and feet were pretty destroyed by the day hike before. I was out of shape and it was tough for me to make it through, but Jason was a great coach and really kept me motivated. When we were done, I felt so accomplished. Hiking and camping, especially with backpacks, is one of our favorite things to do together.
Our Backyard, June 2016
Jason loves to sleep more than anyone I've ever met, and he also works really hard. So I was happy to see him totally relax one Saturday afternoon, enough to catch some Zzzzs. Our lives are NOT like this anymore: Isaac rarely naps on weekends, so we're on-the-go pretty much all the time. It's good to look back and remember when an afternoon nap could be something so spontaneous.
Seoul, July 2016
Jason took this picture of me in Seoul the week we met Isaac for the first time. It was a pivotal week, and since we were there to appear in court for the adoption, we had little expectation of touring or experiencing a bona fide vacation. Much to our surprise (and because we had so much downtime), we ended up being able to explore the city and we loved it. This was taken at Degoksugung Palace.
November 2016: Family Photo Shoot
Isaac had been with us for about two months when we took this picture, and he actually looks a little bit confused. (Why are we in this park taking random pictures? Why am i in this outfit? When do I get ice cream?) But I still love it, because I think you can see the joy on my face and Jason's so clearly. We were so happy to finally have Isaac home with us, and he was adjusting remarkably well. It was such a great moment.