Happy Anniversary!

Just over 16 years ago Mark and I decided that our friendship had grown and so we decided to date. That lasted exactly one week and we decided we wanted to get married. A few months later we made it official when Mark put a diamond on my finger and we told our families.

We were met with mixed reviews. Some felt we were making the biggest mistake ever. Some thought I could do better. Some thought Mark could do better. Some thought this was a great idea. Mark would be good for me; he would help me mature. I would be good for Mark; I would help bring him out of his introverted shell. Others didn’t care because they were too caught up in the romantic notion of 2 friends being destined for each other.

To the nay-sayers, well I I want to say to you I hope your hearts have developed a happier attitude about life. To the supporters I want to thank you. I still remember who you are.

On October 3, 1998 Mark and I vowed to stick it out, be faithful, love each other always, support each other….you know, marriage vows. It was a beautiful day. It was in the 70’s and the sun was out. For an autumn day in New England I couldn’t ask for better weather.

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The verse included in my vows

I thought it was an omen….silly me. So naive. Weather on your wedding day doesn’t determine the out come of your marriage. It is all about attitude. That’s OK though. My 21 year old self believed in romance, love, and good weather.

I still believe in those things but I also know a large dose of determination and hard work also need to be added.

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Our wedding day….Ah, so young. Photo Credit: Guy Williams

The years have been everything I could imagine and also filled with surprises. We have had hard times, but honestly those can not compare to the joys. The good times and The laughter far outweigh the tears and stress.

I do not have any regrets. I married the man of my dreams. He may not do¬†things the way I want and he may play games (achem RISK) that I just can’t understand the appeal to. He also is funny (yes, Dear, I am admitting it publicly), helpful, loving, hard-working, he is an amazing dad, he respects and encourages me (and the kids), and he kind of worships me. I love him, not dispute his quirks, but including them. I choose to love every aspect, even when I am angry.

On that note, I am so glad I said “Yes.” I do not regret it and I know it was the right decision.
I know we have a long road ahead and it will be filled with tons more laughter and love.

I love you Mark. Here’s to another 75 years together ūüėČ
(yes, that puts us over 100…Gotta think BIG!)

One Year Ago

One year ago today our lives changed course. I am pretty sure this is an anniversary I will always be aware of. Don’t worry I won’t rehash the roller coaster year. Just go back to the beginning of this blog and you can read about it all. If you want specifics¬†here, ¬†here, and here explain a lot.
No, this post will, instead, be a love letter to Missouri because, although I (almost) always loved Missouri, it was during our year away that I learned just how much this crazy state means to me. Maybe it will help my family understand why I do not consider moving back to the northeast.
It was a year ago today I yearned to get back to my lovely Missouri.

Missouri Collage

Dear Missouri,
When I first crossed the Mississippi river and entered your borders I was excited and scared. I had no clue what the years would bring, but I was optimistic. I was pretty sure you would not become our “forever home.” I never imagined I would love you more than the state I grew up in; the state many of my family still live in. How naive was I.

It is OK though. That first year in a new state in never easy but I am glad you and I were able to find a peace with each other.
I found a church, discovered the joys of homeschooling, made friends (some whom I now consider family), and so much more.

Missouri, I discovered your beauty; so different than the New England I grew up in. You really can’t compare the two. The Ozarks are a far cry from the White Mountains that I camped in and went snowmobiling through. You border no ocean; but I have learned that even though my soul yearns for the ocean, where the mountain meets the prairie is another soul-filling scene for me.

Missouri, I may not be able to sit on a beach and watch a sunrise of breath-taking beauty, but I can drive down Route 44 W at sunset and witness that same breath-taking awe. One of my favorite things to do is ride off into the sunset. I always feel like you’re singing in my ear “Happy trails to you…..” Yes, I realize how odd this may seem, but your sunsets are just that amazing. I have yet to see any that compare elsewhere.

Missouri you are not rich in the beautiful history of the founding of our country. There are no field trips to Pilgrim Plantation or Revolutionary War sites such as the Old North Church. The name Paul Revere is not uttered on a daily basis here. Patriots? No, not here. There is much founding history on the east coast. History that is rich and enthralling.

Missouri, you do not fail though. You are the Gateway to the West! You opened our country up and expanded our borders. You are the Wild West! You host the caves that Jesse James used as hideouts. You house the birthplace of the iconic Route 66. Laura Ingalls Wilder wrote her famed books here. During the Civil War you hosted battlefields. Do you have Patriots? No, but you do have cowboys and that history is just as fascinating. You have helped me see a part of history that was distant before. It is a beautiful history.

There is much here I am thankful for. You are the birthplace of 2 of my children. You are the place our children grew up. You helped create memories that I will treasure for the rest of my life. Missouri, you are my surprise. I never thought I would call you home. I never thought I would love you with a fierce pride. To both, I do.

So, dear Missouri, I want to thank you and let you know I am so glad to be home.

~Andrea