Thirteen years. Sounds like a lot and a little all at the same time.

When we spent our very first anniversary moving, renovating, and hugely pregnant, we should have guessed that the majority of the ones to follow would be commemorated while doing one or more of those same three things.
I guess when you love making homes and you love each other, you end up with a plethora of broken houses and babies.

We sometimes joke with couples who are young and freshly in love that they probably shouldn’t do what we did. We say all sorts of foreign-sounding things to them like “wait” and “travel,” and “date nights,” and “family planning,” and “maintenance-free apartments.”

Some evenings we talk and dream about what our life would be like if we had just done a tiny bit more “normal.”

But the more we’ve talked and lived, the more we’ve realized the limitations of “one-size-fits-all” types of advice. We’ve made some naive and crazy decisions, and have a bad habit of biting off way more than we can comfortably chew, but I just can’t imagine we’d have the same marriage if we’d lived such a different life.

There’s something about saying “I do” and immediately jumping blind-folded into the deep end, young and barely knowing how to swim that can do crazy things to two people.

You either sink or you ungracefully cling to each other with everything you’ve got. And sometimes the whole becoming one flesh thing happens seamlessly almost by accident. Not because we were good at it, or read the right books, or knew what we were doing, but because it’s the only way we could keep from drowning, and God is good and full of grace.
And while I don’t necessarily recommend that approach, I don’t regret it either.

Because I wonder if we’d have figured out how to love each other so deeply, and fiercely, and necessarily, if we had cautiously eased in. I’m a pretty independent, self-reliant, never-ask-for-help type when I’m not drowning.
But God is big enough and loving enough to use these tsunamis we probably keep bringing on ourselves, to show me we’re so much stronger in our clinging and togetherness than we’d probably ever have pulled off on our own or if we’d cautiously eased our way in.

And here I am four babies, seven renovations, ten houses, twelve bathroom remodels, and thirteen anniversaries into this whole marriage thing and to be completely honest, I am still drowning. We’ve been living out of suitcases for over a year and are more unsettled than we’ve ever been. But while life and marriage can be hard, being in love with this guy can be just so easy. He has a kind heart and really strong shoulders. He loves me so patiently and practically and thoroughly.

The great thing about learning how to be in love when you’re gasping for air, is it’s just that much sweeter and appreciated to be able to do it when you finally catch your breath (even if just for a moment).

And man, I can’t wait to do just a little more normal and slower and settled together.

“If it’s half as good as the half we’ve known, here’s Hail! to the rest of the road.” ~Sheldon Vanauken

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Sweatpants Anniversaries

What anniversaries look like when you accidentally have too many kids, and leaving the house just feels hard…

Plan B= Putting your myriad of children to bed at 6pm, and dining on Thai food takeout while we reminisce about the last 11 years and pretend we’re not wearing sweatpants. And loving it.

Because this guy has my heart. Whether we’re honeymooning in Costa Rica, unpacking moving boxes for the 7th time, listening to our babies’ first heartbeats, remodeling our 12th bathroom, watching the sun rise over the Chesapeake, scrubbing little boy pee off the side of infinity toilets, sharing a bottle of wine over The Office re-runs, navigating IKEA, or daydreaming about traveling the world together… He’s just it.

The graciously strong and kind guy, God graciously and kindly gave me because he knew I’d need pushed forward, pulled back, and held up. And he knew I’d need someone as hilarious as Kevin who could somehow make all that incredibly fun.

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10 Years Ago

Ten years ago, right before my Dad walked me down the aisle, he pulled Kevin aside and vehemently whispered that he had a “NO Return Policy.” Thankfully, Kevin must have listened because for some reason he’s kept me around all these years.

We were pretty young and stupid.

Thankfully though, God knew me and He knew who I needed.

He knew I needed a husband who loved me a lot and made sure I knew that. Someone who was always the first to say he was wrong (even when he probably wasn’t), and graciously made it okay for me to be wrong (which was monumental for a stubborn, argumentative girl like me).

He knew that two people with strong personalities apparently make babies with even stronger personalities (I know, totally not fair). And He knew I’d need a strong husband who’d really love those energetic, strong-willed babies and who could teach them to live fully and to love fully, because they could see their Daddy do that. But for as much as he’d love them he’d make sure they knew they weren’t the MOST important thing in his life, and that we were a family before we were blessed with them. Plus, when they’re really bad God knew I’d need an ally whose got my back and who could make me laugh.

God knew I’d need a husband who really loved Him. And I realize that’s not everyone’s thing, but trust me when I say it makes them able to love you so much better. And while God knew what kind of husband I needed, He knew I’d still try to fix him anyways. And that it wouldn’t work. And then I’d have to learn that when you can’t fix things yourself you should work on fixing yourself (which usually doesn’t work either, but thankfully God likes fixer-uppers).

…And before you know it, 10 years have flown by and you’ve had good times and bad times, and are maybe a little depressed that you’re 10 years older, but at the end of the day it’s all good because you get to go through it together. And you’re married and really in love. Which is sweet. And like Kevin always tells me it’s like having a sleepover with your BFF every single night of the week. Can’t wait to start our eleventh year, Kevin McKernan.


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