Tuesday, December 24, 2013

15 Years and Counting!

 Once upon a time, in the summer of 1997 to be exact, there was a sweet, innocent soon-to-be senior in high school. One day her best friend, Rachel, asked if she wanted to go see her friend Rob at his work. Not knowing where this decision would eventually lead, this unsuspecting young woman agreed. Now, this young girl, we'll call her JJ, knew of Rob from band her freshman year of high school when Rob was a senior and section leader for the (evil) trombones. But since JJ was a trumpet player and underclassmen, Rob had no idea who she was. As they joked around at the gas station that Rob worked at Rachel pointed out that because JJ was so ugly, no one would ever want to marry her. JJ then put her arm around Rob and said, "Rob loves me. He'll marry me" to which Rob eagerly replied, "Sure...". Little did he realize the commitment he'd just made. As Rachel and JJ left the gas station (and after Rachel backed into a parked truck) JJ mentioned that she liked Rob. Rachel agreed to set them up on a date but with the understanding that JJ had to be nice to Rob because he was such a great guy and JJ had a somewhat..uhh..flirtatious reputation.

A few months passed with no further contact until September when Rachel followed through on her promise to set them up on a date. It started with Rob picking JJ up at her house, where he was able to avoid interrogation by her dad since he had fallen asleep before Rob got there. They went to play pool at the Student Union where Rob won all the games except one in which he scratched on the last shot and kindly let JJ win by default. After that Rachel joined them at the movies to watch "G.I. Jane". The date was a success by all accounts (well, at least Rob's and JJ's...Rachel probably would have liked to have not been there.) The next week JJ hinted that Rob should ask her out and make them official boyfriend and girlfriend...and so he did. And that is how a 20 year old college man corrupted a sweet and innocent 17 year old girl. ;-) Although Rob may see things a little differently, but he's not telling the story so we'll stick to my version.

Ten months after the first date, and on my 18th birthday, Rob proposed to me overlooking Tuttle Creek Lake at sunset. I , of course, said yes and then he told me that after learning about the LDS church and praying about it, he'd decided to join. A few months later in Oct 1998 he was baptized and on December 19, 1998 we were married. A year later on December 21, 1998 we were sealed for time and all Eternity in the Salt Lake Temple. I always tease him that he had a year trial period before making it Eternal so he can't complain that he didn't know what he was getting into.

And now, here we are, 15 years later. This anniversary, traditionally is crystal and in honor of that...he got me a card...and flowers. I guess I can't complain since I didn't get him anything (I worked all day...does a paycheck count??).

We've been through a lot together...my prom and high school graduation, college and his graduation from KState, the births of our 7 kiddos and the loss of one of them, not to mention the normal everyday stresses of life. In so many ways we've kind of grown up together, but that's also made us closer. I'm sure many people thought our marriage wouldn't survive. I was only 18 years old (well, 18 1/2 actually). I'd only finished a semester of college and Rob still had a couple more years left. We were young, naive and truthfully, I thought it'd be pretty easy. I mean, how could spending your life with the man of your dreams be HARD??

Truth...it is hard. Ironically some of the things that you love most about a person, eventually become some of the things that annoy you to NO END! One of my friends once told a friend getting married, "Give me the 10 things you most love about him now and those will be the 10 things that you end up hating the most later." And there is some truth to that (although I don't hate anything...some things just drive me crazy).

But I wouldn't trade him or our life together for ANYTHING! He knows me like no one else in this world. There isn't anyone that I have given the power to either destroy me or bring me joy, like I have him. And I trust him completely to not use that power to hurt me. Every year we're together is so different; some years are sooo hard and others seem to just be a cake walk. Sometimes it seems that the longer we're married the harder it gets. On the flip side though, every year is more rewarding and better than the last. Perhaps that doesn't make sense to some people, especially someone who hasn't been married long. But I feel the like the harder we work at our marriage and making it work, the more rewarding it is and the closer we are to each other. The things that come to us easily are often the ones that mean the least in the long run.

So, yeah, marriage is hard but it is SOOOO worth it! The couples who make it to 50, 60 or 75 years of marriage didn't get there because it was easy. They didn't stay together as long as it was convenient or it made them "happy". Every marriage has it's up and downs. The only difference between those that make it and those that don't (barring abuse or other horrible situations like that) is commitment. Rob and I aren't together until one of us decides that we're not happy. What kind of commitment ends when it gets hard? That's not really commitment. For us, divorce never has been and never will be an option. PERIOD. Besides...we have an agreement that whoever files first has to take the kids.... ;-) Seriously though, I love my husband with every fiber of my being. He is a part of me. He has my heart and my soul and he guards them with his life and all that he is. He has, at times, and maybe far too often, carried more than his "share" of weight in our life together. He has held me and gotten me through the worst battles I have ever faced. He has annoyed me to no end and loved me completely and wholly. He is my eternal companion and love of my life. I am so thankful that the Lord has blessed me with a righteous, loving and supportive husband to face not only all of life's challenges but to spend forever with. I love you babe! Thank you for the best 15 years of my life...and an eternity to look forward to.



Thursday, December 12, 2013

It's Official!!! We Have a TEENAGER!!!

My journey in motherhood began 13 years ago today. It was snowing and Rob and I welcomed our first child into our arms, hearts an family. He came right on  his due date and in the middle of one of Rob's finals, weighing in at 9 lbs even. A not so tiny bundle of joy, our little man continued to grow into... 
a fearless 1 year old. This boy held his head up from birth, sat, crawled and walked early and seemed to have no fear of anything! On his first birthday he climbed up on his brand new rocking horse, stood up on the seat and rocked as hard as he could. And then I blinked and this precocious 1 year old was a...
terrific 2 year old. And with that he also became a big brother and an amazing one at that. But all too soon my 2 year old baby was...
a 3 year old toddler. A boy who loved to play with tools and basked in the being the center of attention whenever he had the chance. And before I knew it my 3 year old boy was turning into a...
a 4 year old BIG boy! Lifting weights was just part of his routine to get bigger. He liked to run, play and watch Caillou and Jay Jay the Jet Plane. And he loved to imitate his Mom and Dad. Sometimes it seemed like he couldn't wait to grow up into a...
5 year old. A boy who loved superheroes and watched all the Spiderman Movies he could and then pretended that he was the one who could save the world from the evil people... 
And then he was 6...wanting to be a missionary, trying to save people from another kind of evil. A wonderful big brother, a loving son and sooo very helpful. He did great in school but missed his mommy and brothers and sister. Thinking that they MUST be having more fun at home than he was at school. And then...
At 7 years old he decided to become and author and illustrator writing a book about Lancelot the Leopard and his secret powers. And even winning an award for best story.  And somehow, even though we wished he wouldn't grow up, he became..
an 8 year old, preparing for baptism. He still loved superheros but school...well, let's just say that homework wasn't always a priority. But he made it through another year and with thiose dark blue eyes and handsome smile he was soon...
 a 9 year old. And he LOOKED old....well at least when we shaved his head like that. ;-) He still had his off the wall sense of humor and enjoyed trying to make his siblings and parents laugh at his antics. But all too soon 9 years old was in the past and he was... 
10 years old. Growing not only in physical size, but in maturity and spiritual matters. He could often be found reading his scriptures after he was supposed to be in bed, but really...how can you discourage that? At this point he was the oldest brother to 6 other kids...5 here and 1 in heaven. And he tried so hard to be a good example to all of them. And that 10 year old boy would become... 
an 11 year old athlete. Having played soccer since he was little he continure to play really well and love it. As from the beginning, he was active and hard to keep up with. And then he had the most AMAZING birthday of all. One that he would NEVER forget because on this birthday on 12/12/12 he would turn...
12!! A phenomenon that only happens 12 times each 100 years. Sterling celebrated with his friends, and a few extra people...like the newspaper and TV news. He asked his friends to bring items to donate to Toys for Tots and Doorstep, instead of gifts. It was an awesome birthday and will be hard, if not impossible, to top. And now, today, he turns...
 13 years old. From tiny baby to toddler to big boy to TEENAGER! He is our first teen and will bear the brunt of our learning, just as he as for all his life. And yet, despite that, he is becoming a kind, responsible, loving, helpful and giving young man. I am amazed at the person he is and look forward to seeing the man that he will someday become. He makes us so proud in all he does. Whether it's church, school, sports or anything else, he is an amazing example what it means to be a young man and what every parent hopes for in a child. No, he's not perfect, but he is always trying to do and be better. We're proud of you buddy! 
HAPPY 13th BIRTHDAY STERLING!!
WE LOVE YOU SO VERY MUCH!!!

Saturday, December 7, 2013

A Very Belated Happy Birthday to Emmy

My only defense is that we were in UT on her birthday....

It all started 11 years ago with this tiny little newborn
who just couldn't wait to make her appearance. In fact, she almost didn't wait to be born in the hospital room...She doesn't like to wait...

And neither did this cute little 1 year old. Always on the move and following in the footsteps of her big brother... 
 Becoming a cute but sometimes messy 2 year old...
 But messy 2 year olds grow into 3 year olds who like to learn and before I knew it...
 she was 4 and heading off to preschool..piggy tails and all!
 It seems like the next day she was 5 and going to kindergarten all day long...but she thrived there and her love of learning became even more apparent...
 And as she grew in intelligence she also grew in beauty to a precious 6 year old...
 And then into a breathtaking 7 year old with bright blue eyes and golden hair. Sometimes I would just look at her and it'd take my breath away. 
 And then at 8 years old she was baptized and on her way to becoming
 my 9 year old princess who excelled in school, sports and art. A girl who does everything and does it well.
But time doesn't stand still and she became my 10 year old soccer player-artist-scholar with the same bright blue eyes and a splattering of freckles on her cute nose...
And now? Now she's a gorgeous 11 year old young woman. Where does the time go?
 Before I know it...that gorgeous 11 year old will be all grown up with a prince instead of a frog.
I'm just not ready for it!! In my mind she is still that tiny baby and rambunctious toddler. The girl who loves to color and write her name. :::SIGH:::: Sometimes I wish I could go back but I also can't wait to see this young woman blossom into a lady. My gorgeous girl and wonderful sister to her siblings. The girl who has so many talents and so much potential...and perhaps most wonderful...a mothering heart. A girl who loves to love those around her and help them out. I am so proud of who my girl is becoming! 

HAPPY 11th BIRTHDAY EMMY!!
WE LOVE YOU SO MUCH!!

Robert Allen

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