Monday, April 20, 2015

I've got you babe!

Feb. 2005 - College (ignore the time stamp on the pictures they are wrong)

I was looking back at old photos yesterday, working on filling some picture frames and I came across the above photo; which is 10 years old! When I saw the photo I felt so blessed to have such an amazing man by my side to share this crazy life with. 

Engagement Session

Over the last several months we have witnessed a great deal of people that we know getting divorced and it makes us wonder what love is and how to make ours last. We are not experts we don't have all the answers, we can only do what works for us; which is through trial and error! We also pass no judgement, nor am I trying to offend anyone that is going through or has gone through a divorce; we understand this decision is between you and your spouse and you have to do what you feel is best.

Date night at the Twins game! 

Ben and I have gone through our fair share of marital problems, even before we were married, we have gone through 2 babies that were born premature and had medical conditions. We had 3 children before we were married and the last one actually resulted in us pushing our wedding back 9 months! We have lived through a lot of drama and we know that there will be more to come. Reflecting back on the above picture and looking through dozens more photos of Benjamin and I from High School and college and present day, I came to realize that in this crazy, backwards life we are doing the best we can to make our situation work! 

2011 friends wedding

I have had the pleasure of knowing Benjamin for many many years; we grew up in the same town and went to the same schools from Elementary school through high school and then even college. During those times we did not have a romantic relationship, we were as Ben likes to call it... "stuck in the friend zone"; with the exception of one time when I asked him on a date in Pre-Calculus class during our Junior year of High School... I wish I had a photo of his face when I turned from my seat in the middle of class and asked if he would go on a date with me, to say he was shocked is quiet the understatement! Aside from the way we felt about one another back then, it wasn't the right time for us, so we went back to being friends. 

 After he graduated from NADA in DC

It wasn't until I found myself back in our home town after college, that our paths crossed and it wasn't with the same friendship status that we moved our relationship forward! 

Mexico 2008 

7.5 years, 3 kids and a dog later here is a little or a lot about what makes us, us and how we make it work for us! 

1. We don't have a perfect relationship, actually our relationship is far from perfect. We argue and we argue often. I would love to say that we don't ever go to bed angry, but I would be lying; in the beginning of our relationship we promised to never go to bed angry and that lasted about a year when I got really stubborn one night and slept on the couch and all was lost on that front! 

Lounging in the porch... 

Because we don't have a perfect relationship, we don't pretend to that we do. We have both made terrible mistakes in our relationship, but instead of pretending like everything is perfect we own our mistakes and found a way to bring back what was lost. 
We are not always proud of what we have done in the past, but we have learned a great deal from every bit of it and forgiven and moved forward, doing our best to not look back. 

College Feb. 2005

2. We are far from the people we were when the above college photo was taken! At that time Ben had a tongue ring and an addiction to beer pong and skipping class! I was a irresponsible college student that loved to drink Tequila and smoke cigarettes after I had too much Tequila! As much as I look back on that picture and smile at how carefree we were and how simple our lives were back then; I smile an even bigger smile at the photo below. 
We have been able to change not only as individuals but as a couple as well! I don't always get a say in Ben's change, like he doesn't always get a say in my change; but as a couple it is important to recognize the change that is occurring and help to support each other and be part of that as much as we can.
Ben no longer plays beer pong like his life depends on it, actually I can't remember the last time he played it at all! I still love tequila but don't need to chase it with a cigarette. Everyone changes, that is what makes life exhilarating, I think about what kind of couple we will be in 7 years and I am both excited and scared. I do know that we have built a foundation to encourage and support one another to get through all of our changes! 

Have a Heart Gala Feb. 2015 

3. I love him more then I did back then, more then I did on our wedding day and more then I did yesterday; however I do not love him as much as I will tomorrow, 10 years from now and nowhere near how much I will love him when we are old and gray! 
I don't get butterflies every time he walks in the room or reaches for my hand, that is okay with me; because he still makes me laugh so hard I cry, makes me smile from ear to ear from the love he shows me, I still get excited to dress up and go out on date nights with him, I still find his smile sexy as hell, his laugh contagious, and his energy electric!

Hand in Hand on the strip

My love for him grows daily, with every good and bad day, with every challenge we come upon we learn new things about one another and it adds to the love I have for him! 
We have days that are difficult to get through, we have days that we feel like we are walking on cloud nine but we mostly sit somewhere in the middle embracing the life we have built for ourselves!

Our rainy wedding day!

4. We try to make time for us, and with three kids it doesn't happen as much as I would like for it to happen! I sometimes have to drag him out for date night when he least feels like going! With 3 kids at home, we have to get a sitter (thankfully my parents live in town and are a HUGE help and are always willing to help out if they can), but there are plenty of times when it means having to pay for a sitter, which adds to the cost of going out for a few hours. So a lot of times we have date night in, which are just as fun! We feed the kids, get them to bed and then we have dinner and a get lost in an intense game of Scrabble/Cards or snuggle up on the couch and watch a movie or Big Bang reruns.

Date night in!

Ben and I make sure that we don't zone out to the t.v. to often; otherwise I feel like days go by and we don't have a full conversation, and if you know me you know that it drives me MAD! So we often get the kids in bed and then sit at the kitchen table and talk or break out the cards or scrabble board and enjoy each others company. 

Playing cards, that smirk means he is happily losing ;) 

We also love going on vacations just the two of us, there is something that makes me giddy when we are going on vacation; Ben and I shed our Mom and Dad skin and we become Ben and Amanda again, picking up where we left off. I am always refreshed after even just a night away to just be us again.   

Vegas shooting craps!

On our way to Chicago, days before getting engaged!

Being silly on the beach in Cozumel ;)

5. We have started to surround ourselves with like minded people! We have friends that don't have kids, that LOVE our children and they are happy to come over and have a drink and play Cards of Humanity after the kids go to sleep, and we are SO thankful for them and their willingness to spend a lot of logged hours at our kitchen table with us :) 

Walking with our 25's (they didn't have 40's) on the strip! 

We also have found and started nurturing friendships of people that have children, it makes getting together happen more often, if we do family get togethers instead of just parent night out; which we still do just not as often. Plus it allows our children the opportunity to meet other children and build friendships as well. 
We love the friends we have made over the last year and couldn't feel more blessed to have stress free friendships that allow us to laugh often and enjoy great company! 

Can this guy take a serious picture? 

6. We love each other, at the end of the day when things are bad, I know that he loves me and he knows I love him. We work together, sometimes me pulling him and sometimes him pulling me to figure out how to fix what we broke in our marriage.
There have been and will be times when I have to fight for the both of us and there are times when he has to do all the fighting, but most of the time we are working together to make sure that our relationship is nurtured and cared for. 

Wedding day!

I will always fight like crazy to make sure he knows and feels my love for him.
Divorce isn't an option for us, we chose each other and promised through the good times and the bad to love one another and I intend to keep my promise. 
There are always going to be bad things that test a relationship, any relationship, when you know that you don't have an easy way out, it makes you fight hard to make it work.
We are far from the perfect couple or the perfect relationship, but we are happy! Even on the bad days I go to bed grateful for the man next to me, thankful that he puts up with me and loves me unconditionally! There is no one else I would want to spend this crazy thing we call life with! 

Celebrating Ben's 29th!

I mean seriously look at that hunk, I am the luckiest; even if he does drive me mad 75% of the time! ;)

Ben on our wedding day before I walked down the aisle!

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