On June 23rd we celebrated 9 years of marriage! It sure feels like it went by sooo quickly! Much of the last nine years have been a sleepless haze of caring for infants and toddlers; but we're finally seeing a light at the end of the tunnel!
These last couple of years have been very tough ones. The enemy has thrown just about everything he can at us to try to hurt our marriage. We have carried enormous loads: having 4 small children, fixing up the house, homeschooling, working physically exhausting jobs and working more hours than the typical American, doing ministry, fighting postpartum depression, financial strain living on a single income in a dual-income world, extended family problems, and sharing in the heartbreak of many of our close friends, including the divorce of 3 couples we know and love.
We DESPERATELY needed some time away together. My husband really wanted to go away for a night on the actual day of our anniversary, even though it was our busiest time of the summer. It was truly like MOVING MOUNTAINS to make this weekend happen. My mom, who was supposed to watch the kids while we went away, wasn't sure if she was going to be available or camping until about a week before. Then my nose was broken in softball, so I had to juggle doctor's appointments and big decisions about surgery the week before our trip, not to mention the pain, which interferred with a lot of my household chores, causing me to get behind on my never-ending housework. And we didn't know until 3 days before if the trip would happen or if I would be having nose surgery. Our anniversary was sandwiched in between Father's Day, Josiah's birthday, and a week of hosting Child Evangelism Fellowship missionaries and clubs. I also had two cleaning jobs to do on that Friday. So, in order to get things together I had to re-schedule my cleaning jobs and work them at different times, Josiah had to work extra hours to make up for taking a day off, I had to deep-clean the house to get it ready for the following week's company, I had to do some extra grocery shopping and make meals so they'd be ready for my mom to serve the kids, and set up the guest room for my mom to stay in. I made a schedule and lists for my mom regarding childcare, packed for the trip, made sure everything was lined up for the four 5-Day Clubs I was overseeing the following week, made plans to teach Sunday School as a sub for Jer's teacher the Sunday after the trip, got someone to pick up my huge Bountiful Baskets order since I'd be gone for that, and went to visit a friend who lives on a ranch in the middle of NOWHERE (not kidding!) an hour from town who was due any day with twins.
To top it all off, we almost cancelled our mini-vacation when we got into a disagreement the week before the trip and were very upset with each other. It was beginning to feel like this trip together would never happen.
By God's grace and His Spirit at work in our hearts, we agreed to put aside our hurts and frustrations and go on our trip in spite of the huge amount of work it would take to pull off.
I'm so glad we did! It was truly the best vacation of our entire lives! It was the first time we had slept in a hotel room by ourselves, with no kids, since becoming parents in early 2005! Granted, it was only two full days and one night, but it was such a refreshing time! My husband doesn't have many vacation days during the year. The few vacation days he has have always been used for having a new baby or visiting his family in MN, which means 36 hours of driving with little kids. So, we don't get to have truly restful vacations very often.
It was a wonderful treat to just rest...to just do whatever we wanted to do....to not hurry....to not hear "MOOOOOOMMMY!!!!" every minute of the day....to not have to visit with anyone....to sleep in...to relax, have fun together, and just enjoy the simple pleasures in life. And anytime a rural Wyomingite gets to go to the "big city" it's exhilarating!
One of the ways my husband truly blessed me was by being very generous. He's typically very frugal and a
tightwad =) great manager of our money, but I've always had a secret wish that he would be lavish once in a while. I didn't ask him to be extravagant on this trip, but he just was. And it was marvelous! We ate at a delicious, fancy Mexican restaurant, went shopping at a real mall (a huge, once-a-year treat for most Wyomingites), went thrifting, ate at Olive Garden (our favorite restaurant ever!), and at Red Lobster. He even drove extra-cautiously for me as our different driving styles is one of our biggest bones of contention on road trips/vacations.
I appreciate the fact that Josiah was willing to go sniffing and sampling lotions with me in Bath N' Body Works, take me to a great book sale at the city library, browse 5 different clothing stores' little girls' section looking for swim shorts for Ali, and spend a lot of time with me in the hot tub and swimming pool at our hotel. After a luscious meal at Olive Garden, in which we had the best server we've ever had and the best-tasting food we've ever had at an OG, he suggested that we see a 3-D movie. I've never seen a 3-D movie before so I found it very exciting! We saw the new Disney cartoon Brave, and it was kind of scary! Maybe it was the 3-D aspect that made it seem real or the fact that I know several people who have been mauled by grizzly bears, but it seemed pretty intense with all of those monster-bear scenes!
After the movie, it was so warm and peaceful outside, we went for a walk and looked at the stars. Josiah thought our shadows looked really neat in the lamplights so he persuaded me to get out my camera and shoot some pics. I'm so glad he did, as they were the only pics I took on our getaway!
I have to say, that it was a huge blessing on our vacation that our hotel was so clean and our restaurant meals so delicious. I've seen my share of icky hotel/motel rooms and sub-par food service but we found our suite at the Mainstay Suites in Casper to be immaculate, and the food at On the Border, Olive Garden, and Red Lobster to be mind-blowingly awesome! So, this is just a shout out to those businesses for great service!
Our anniversary trip went by way too fast! I'm so thankful we got to go and renew our friendship and spend some quality, kid-free time together.