our story

It was one of the best days of my life. 

IMG_1531Even though it seemed like the time would never arrive, finally it was time.  The doors opened, and Scott’s best friend began playing Trumpet Voluntary on his trumpet.  And dad and I began our walk down the aisle.  I will never forget the look of love in Scott’s eyes as I walked toward him down that aisle.    I have a picture of his face on my dresser so I can remember it always.  Love… Pure Love… as he looked at his Bride…How in the world was I ever lucky enough to be chosen as his bride? 

We sang a few praise songs, the pastor gave his sermon (I remember him talking about the two becoming one and relating it to chemistry some how)  Then we said our vows

“I Crystal, take you, Scott, as my husband.  I give you my solemn words, as a sign of my faith in you and love for you.  For better or for worse; for richer or for poorer; in sickness and in health; to love and to cherish you for as long as we both shall live.  I promise to support you; to undertake full responsibility for you; to shelter and protect you.  I trust you. I will stay with you, never leaving you, and make a home with you after the pattern for Christian marriage commanded by God and described in the Scripture.”

and then we exchanged our rings…

With this ring, I give to you my promise that from this day forward you shall not walk alone.  May my heart be your shelter and my arms be your home.   May God bless you always. May we walk together through all things. May you feel deeply loved, for indeed you are.  May you always see your innocence in my eyes.  With this ring, I give you my heart.  I have no greater gift to give. I promise I shall do my best.  I shall always try.  I feel so honored to call you husband.  I feel so blessed to call you mine.  May we feel this joy forever.  May the glory be to God.  I love you.

We signed our marriage certificates, lit our unity candles and gave flowers to our mothers.   Verses were read, a song sung, prayers prayed, and the benediction given.  It was the wedding of my dreams.  It went exactly as I dreamed it would go, and then…

IMG_1534 after which, we were pronounced husband and wife.

10 years ago, I walked down the aisle of my parents church holding hands with the man I loved.  IMG_1537

We took gazillions of pictures, had a fabulous time at our reception and then were off for our honeymoon.  I remember going to church 2 weeks later and seeing our friends.  “How’s married life?” they’d ask.  And we both would answer, “Married life is even better than I thought it’d be and I thought it was going to be good.”

10 years later and I say the same thing. 

Married life is great.  Truly great.  Marriage gets a bad rap in our society today.  In fact I read the other day that according to the recent census, the number of people married today is at a record low. 

I know everyone isn’t as fortunate as I am.  But I can honestly say, with the technical “honeymoon phase” long passed…4 kids, a dog, a house and 10 years later… Marriage is even better than I thought it’d be and I thought it was going to be good. 

Thank you Scott.  Thank you for treating me with love and respect.  Thank you for making me feel adored and special.  Thank you for working hard to provide for us, while yet, putting your family before your career.

These past 10 years together have been wonderful.  Truly, the stuff dreams are made of.   And in the midst of these crazy years with everyone telling me, “my your hands are full” as we jet to baseball games, soccer practices… as we juggle nebulizer treatments, and pukey kids…while figuring out when we’re going to mow the lawn, trim the trees, and buy a new oven…as I try vainly to keep the fridge stocked and the laundry folded… in the midst of what some might call the mundane of every day life and others might just call the circus… in the midst of all that… thank you for making me feel like #1.  Thank you for coming home to our chaos every day.  Thank for you for choosing me.  For loving me.  For cherishing me. I feel so honored to call you husband. I feel so blessed to call you mine. May we feel this joy forever. May the glory be to God. I love you.

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10 years ago we came…spread a blanket out on the sandy shore to watch the sunset. 

Today we came, with sandwiches and Doritos.  This time there was a picnic table where we had spread our blanket.  And we watched the sunset mirrored in the faces of our three children.

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10 years ago it was quiet… we held hands and sat close on the blanket.

Tonight there was sand in our shoes and children squirming….

10 years ago we sat up all  night and talked and dreamed of our future together.

Tonight we held our future in our arms (and my belly). 

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1o years ago we spent the day in Washington D.C., then topped it off by watching the sunset at our park.  Scott got down on one knee and declared his love for me before asking me to be his wife. 

And tonight we celebrated that anniversary with a picnic dinner at sunset.

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Thank you Scott for asking me to be your wife 10 years ago today and thanks for making all my dreams come true.  I truly, truly love being married to you!

Read more about that special night 10 years ago, by clicking here.

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A Forever Kind of Love

February 14, 2009

in our story,Wife

Thanks for sticking around this week for the last installment in my week long saga of how the circus began.

It was spring break of our junior year.  The plan (or so I thought) was to spend the first part of break at my parents house and the last part in MD at his parents house.

Wednesday we drove to MD and Thursday we had plans for a fun date in DC.  We were going to see what was left over from the Cherry Blossoms and have a picnic lunch in the city.  The sun was shining and it looked like it was going to be a beautiful day.

As we walked around our nation’s capital, hand in hand, Scott kept remarking how neat it was that everyone had a story.  He say things like  “Look at that lady, I wonder what her story is.”  He even said something at some point about how it would be great to meet up in DC years from now and share our stories.  Yea, I just loved that comment.  “Meet up?” I thought to myself.  I let it go though, no use starting a fight.

Other than those annoying life story comments, it was a perfect day.  We had gone into DC to see the Cherry Blossoms when we were newly dating in high school.  It was a nostalgic, “remember when” kind of day.  Several times throughout the day I thought to myself, “Today would be the perfect day for him to propose.  I wonder if he realizes what a good day this would be to propose.”  But I told myself I couldn’t ruin every good date day hoping he would propose.  I needed to just enjoy the day for what it was and not ruin it hoping for more.

After a full day of walking around, we went to take the Metro out of the city and were going to go out to dinner.  I believe we even discussed trying to catch the sunset afterwards in Annapolis.  When we got to the metro things got held up.  There was a fire on one of the trains and there was a huge delay.  We waited it out.  I had no idea how much it was killing Scott though, since he had further plans for our day of fun.

Since the trip home took longer than we had expected, I suggested we go to the sunset first and then dinner.  He was quite happy with my suggestion.

We went to what is now deemed “our park” to watch the sunset.  This is the park we frequented many times during our dating days.  From one side can see the Naval Academy across the River and from the other, you can see the sunset over the river.  As we sat down beside each other in the sand, I remarked to him how this park is “kind of our park, don’t ya think?”  He told me later he was thinking, “You have no idea.”

We sat together, his arm around me watching the sunset when he sat up a little and looked over at me.

“Crystal,” he said “I love you, with that forever kind of love…”

I instantly jumped up and gave him the biggest hug ever squealing, “You do?! That is great!”

Funny thing is, I didn’t realize I was interrupting his proposal with my joy and exuberance.  He had the ring in his hand ready to give to me,  not quite expecting me to be so excited just to hear he loved me.

He then went on to get down on one knee and ask me if I would marry him.

I couldn’t believe it.  This was really happening.  I really was getting my dream come true.  I of course said yes right away.

We went out to dinner afterwards but I couldn’t eat a thing.  I was so excited (much like those days after I returned from Harvey Cedars) and love sick that honestly, I barely ate for days.  Those butterflies of excitement were so strong.  We went back to his parents house and sat up and talked for hours.  We talked about things like budgets and kids and dreams for the future.   It was one of the best nights of my life.

IMG_4059 You might be wondering why he waited to propose when he did.  What was so special about April 20, 2000?  He wanted to propose in Annapolis at “our park.”  He picked the Thursday of spring break because he knew that all of my friends from HS would be in town that weekend and I could tell them all at the Good Friday service at church.  He wanted me to have that time with my girls.  And we ended up going back to my parents house on that Saturday so that I could spend some time with my parents, filling them in on the excitement.  If you were wondering, he did ask my father first at the beginning of the week before leaving for MD.  Even though he had the ring for months, he didn’t ask permission until the last minute, because if he had the ring and my Dad’s blessing, it would have been really hard to wait for his perfectly planned day.

IMG_4054 On our way to my parents house he stopped and bought me my first Bride’s magazine.  I was free to dream and plan as much as I wanted at this point.  And he wasn’t one of those guys who just left the planning up to me and showed up on the wedding day.  He was a part of everything, helping to pick out invitations, flowers, and the DJ.  He picked out his tux and the grooms man tux’s and said that if I got to keep my dress a secret then he got to keep his tux a secret, and so it was.

And so almost 3 and half years after he came to watch Toy Story after school, he told me he loved me.

With that forever kind of love

And a little over a year later, we became man and wife.  We each made little count downs for the other out of post it notes.  It started at 401 I think and each day you ripped off one as it counted down the days till June 2, 2001.  We’d have little notes written to each other on certain milestones (like under a year, or less than 100 days, or single digits).

Our wedding day was another dream come true day, but I’ll save that post for a later time.

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The College Years

February 13, 2009

in our story,Wife

IMG_3994 I have been having a ton of fun on my walk down memory lane this week.  (click here to read the beginning of the story).The other day I opened up a hat box which I have filled with Every.Single.Card and note Scott wrote me from our pre-marriage days and our first 2 years of married life.   I told you my love language was words of affirmation and if you needed the proof, it is in the box.

I knew I loved Scott long before he felt that way about me.  And being a words person, I told him.  Because I couldn’t help but tell him.  I felt that way and I felt he should know.

My sweet man was taken a back and replied very honestly that he appreciated that but in his mind those words meant something very special, as in forever kind of love, and he wasn’t ready to tell me that yet.

So, he didn’t.

For years.

He told me very specifically that he wouldn’t tell me he loved me with the forever kind of love until he was ready to put a ring on my finger.

So, I waited.

For years.

IMG_3989 We had our ups and downs.  He went off to Grove City for College that fall and I went to Towson.  We were 5 hours a part.  To make it worse my parents moved that year to western Pa.  So, when he went home for breaks, he went to Annapolis and when I went home, I went to PA.

We e-mailed and called, but not as often as I would have liked.

I had my doubts at times about his feelings for me.  But I kept remembering my mom telling me as I was growing up, that “Love is a decision, not a feeling.”  And I knew I loved him.

My sophomore year I transferred to Slippery Rock University in Pa because my parents move meant in state tuition moved to PA.  I loved Towson and had some great friends there, but I didn’t love it enough to pay out of state tuition rates and I wasn’t ready to move from home to declare residency on my own in MD.

I picked Slippery Rock b/c it was a state school (read affordable) which had a good education program and was 7 miles from Grove City. (yea, that was really the number one reason).

I spent every weekend at Grove City that fall.  Thanks to Scott’s sister and her room mate for letting me stay in her dorm room.  I even recall sharing the top bunk with her on many a night.  Part way through that first semester I realized, that I wanted to be at Grove City and the big thing keeping me from applying to transfer was pride.  So I swallowed that and transferred YET AGAIN that January.

IMG_3982 That spring semester was also rough for Scott and I as I thought now that we went to school together, we could see each other all the time.  And I didn’t have many friends of my own, so I relied heavily on Scott.   He was an engineering student which meant insane hours of homework and when he wasn’t studying he did want to spend time with me, but not all of his time with me.  He had other friends. It took some adjusting for me to realize he wasn’t going to spend every free minute with me.  I credit him with keeping us from being one of those couples that was glued at the hips.  He kept us in balance.

We spent another summer a part, him in MD and me in PA.  But we called, e-mailed and visited each other when we could.

IMG_3995 Our junior year was when our relationship really started to grow.  Many couples started talking about getting engaged.  I had friends that had their entire weddings planned out, even knowing what day they planned to get married, before they were officially engaged.  It should come as no surprise to you that Scott was not one of those kind of guys.

He was very clear that he didn’t want us to be engaged before we were engaged.  No looking at bridal magazines or talking about wedding dates before I had a ring on my finger.

That Christmas he told his parents he was going to start shopping for a ring.  He bought it sometime that winter and told me later he had it in his dorm room for months and would take it out and look at it often.

He had decided when and how he wanted to propose to me and patiently waited for that time.  It killed him when two of my best friends called to tell me they were engaged.  I was naturally thrilled for them, yet there was this part of me that wondered when he would be ready.  I remember when the second phone call came he was in my room.  He heard the shrieks of joy as I chatted with my friend and inwardly groaned.  When I got off the phone their was some awkwardness in the air.  He later told me it killed him that night b/c there he was with the ring in his room and he knew I was wondering why I hadn’t been asked.

But my man had a plan and he stuck to it, wanting to ask at just the right location and just the right time.

Come back tomorrow, on Valentine’s Day to read the story of how and when he asked me to marry him.  (I know I said that yesterday but I felt I had to first fill you in on the 4 years between his first holding my hand to his asking for my hand in marriage…and it just took more words than I had initially thought).

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Cupid’s Big Day

February 12, 2009

in our story,Wife

I am sucker for holidays and tend to go all out for them.  Valentine’s is no exception.  We’ve got the heart shaped clings on the windows, our wedding picture on our entry table and big plans for strawberry milk and heart shaped pancakes for breakfast on Saturday morning.

This isn’t anything new.  Back in high school I looked forward to the day even when I didn’t have a boyfriend to celebrate with.  I’d have fun girls nights with my friends, watching sappy movies and going out for ice cream, all the while dreaming of a day when I’d have a boy to celebrate the day with.

So, as Valentine’s Day approached in 1997 I was really looking forward to my first real date on the big day.  And I made no secret of this anticipation.

Scott, however is a wise man.  I am sure he felt the pressure and was afraid of disappointing his overly enthusiastic girl friend.  So, he went with the approach of, “make her expectations low, so you can’t disappoint her.”  Much to my dismay, he kept making sarcastic comments about how this was a silly holiday created by Hallmark.  I can’t remember why, but I remember him telling me he’d try to find black roses because they were really beautiful and unique if you took the time to really look at them.  Keep in mind it was obvious his comments were all in jest, which most of me knew, yet part of me was a bit discouraged that he wasn’t as into the big day as I was.  The night before Valentine’s Day I was staying late after school working on the yearbook.  He stopped by the office to talk to my teacher and me.  She mentioned that she had to stop and get a card for her husband on her way home.  His response – with a big smile on his face?  “Hey, can you pick up a card for me too?  I don’t have one yet.”

Nice, huh?

Come Valentine’s Day he came to my house in his mom’s minivan bearing a single red rose and a cute card (which I still have).  He took me to a nice dinner at Macaroni Grill and then ice skating at the Naval Academy.  As we skated around the rink, he grabbed my hand, for the first time.   And I had been so afraid he wasn’t going to do anything special for Valentine’s Day!

As we skated around the rink, I started to get a blister on my ankle from the skates.  But, I was so excited that he was holding my hand for the first time, that I didn’t want to tell him for fear he’d stop.  “What if he’s only holding my hand because we are ice skating, “ I thought to myself.  I didn’t want the magic to end.  So, I skated on until eventually the blister was too bad for me to continue.  When we sat down on the bench and took off our skates, I was bleeding through my socks.  He felt horrible and asked why I didn’t say anything.  I sheepishly told him I didn’t want him to stop holding my hand.  I am pretty sure he responded with something sweet and romantic like, “That was dumb!”

Much to my delight we went for a walk outside along the rock wall and he held my hand again (Hooray, I didn’t have to skate in order to get him to hold my hand)!  It was a truly magical evening…just like I had dreamed of.

I’m sharing my love story this week in honor of Cupid’s Big Day on Saturday.  Please come back tomorrow to hear how he proposed a little over 3 years later.  It’s the stuff dreams are made of (at least my dreams).

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He Likes Me!

February 11, 2009

in our story,Wife

I left off on my love story yesterday with the note my husband wrote me on the back of his senior picture.  A few weeks later we did in fact “spend time together after school.”  It was the day before Thanksgiving and we had a half day of school.  The plan was for him to come to my house that afternoon to watch Toy Story.

I was both nervous and excited.  I spent the ride home from school figuring out what I would wear, how to do my hair and other such pressing matters.  Then my dad told me he needed me to drive him to the car dealership to pick up his new car.  The dealership was about 30 minutes from our house.  Being the self absorbed teenager that I was I replied in utter despair, “Dad, why on the one day I have a date, do you have to buy a car?”  I was so upset, convinced this would ruin everything.  Woe is me.  I was certain that if Scott got to my house and I wasn’t there he would leave and that would be the end of everything.  I am pretty sure I whined the whole way to drop him off.  Every time I think back on this day, I shudder with embarrassment at my behavior.  I complained so much that my dad offered for me to just drop him off at the exit and make him walk to the dealership.

And the self absorbed teenager that I was, I took him up on it.

Yes, I really pulled off on the shoulder of the highway entrance ramp, kissed my dad goodbye and made him walk up the hill to the car dealership.  No waiting to make sure he got there ok.  No waiting to make sure his car really was ready.  Just, “See ya Dad, I gotta get back before Scott gets to our house!”

Do I have a loving and patient Dad or what?

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When I got home, Scott wasn’t there yet.  Still had time to sit and wait anxiously for him to ring the bell.

As we sat on the couch watching Toy Story that afternoon with my dog Dee Dee sitting between us on the couch, my brother came into the room and said, “Wow, I’ve never seen Crystal hold Dee Dee that long!”  Thank you brother…

(Scott is a dog lover so when he sees a dog he naturally invites it up onto his lap and pets it.  When I see a dog I typically ignore it).  So glad my little bro got that out in the open right away.

Despite all my worry and nerves, we had a great afternoon and he even invited me out for a real date shortly after.

One month later we sat in the church parking lot when he told me “he liked me” and I figured out that I could call him my boyfriend.  Incidentally this happened after we had spent the entire day together and I had neglected to call my parents to tell them where I was.  I, the girl who would run inside the house to tell her parents she was going to the back yard, went 12 hours without touching base.  I didn’t have a curfew, I just had to keep my parents in the loop on where I was and what I was doing. On that day I failed at both. So I came home floating on cloud nine in this la la land of, “Scott likes me and he is my boyfriend” to find my parents sitting in front of the door with looks that could kill.  Way to burst that bubble!  The only reason I didn’t get grounded was because I offered up as my excuse, “Guys, I am so sorry…I know I messed up, but guess what?  Scott likes me!”  And they graciously forgave me and celebrated my big news.

December 22, 1996 was when I became Scott’s girlfriend and I have been ever since.

This is only the beginning.  The story just gets better from here.  I am posting the rest of the week about our love story.  Stop by tomorrow to read about our first Valentine’s day.  And check out Kristen’s carnival below to read more love stories.

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