This past Tuesday, we celebrated eight years of marriage. It feels like I've spent so much of my life being Nicholas' wife, and also, I can hardly believe that our wedding day was eight years ago.

We celebrated with a date night, courtesy of my SIL, Katelyn watching Cooper at home. I wore a skirt and top, my hair freshly curled while Cooper rummaged through the bathroom cabinet at my feet, and lots of discussion about how this was a special date for just mama and daddy, but we'd take him on another date soon. In the car, we listened to music we loved when we started dating (circa 2010ish), all those years ago. Our reservations were at a new-to-us restaurant, not far from the lake. They serve farm-to-table options and have a robust seafood menu. We sat on the patio, as the warmer-than-comfortable-for-my-taste day eased into a beautiful cooler evening, and we enjoyed a really good meal.

After dinner, we drove the short distance to the beach to catch the last light over Lake Michigan, as beach goers walked back to their cars, and the light sank lower and lower. And on the way home, we stopped for a to-go decaf coffee, to enjoy with this almond cake I had made (with these tweaks: use maple syrup, sub 1.5 tsp almond extract for lemon, top with slivered almonds, gives a very classic almond cake result, without dairy or grains) for our anniversary week.

This past year of marriage was certainly eventful. We bought a house, moved, experienced the loss of the twins, and then a second miscarriage more recently that I haven't written about here. We've had snow days and beach days, hours of raking leaves, and days spent watching spring rain. And despite the valleys of the last year, I feel more settled than ever before, I think.

Here are some things I love about our marriage and life right now:

  • Making a home with you, Nicholas. We are inching closer to a year in our new-to-us home, and I am so thankful for our teamwork and the progress on this house to make it feel like us, from decor to larger projects, like the staircase remodel. I have enjoyed decorating this home far more than any other home we've shared, and I anticipate a few other projects we have dreams for. I'm thankful for your hard work and follow-through and desire to see projects completed well.
  • The way we alternate bedtime and one-on-one time with Cooper. Gives each of us an alternating opportunity for connection with him and a break.
  • Our weekly BBQ routine, with a night-off in the kitchen and supporting our very favorite local BBQ place. Since there isn't any dinner prep, we tend to take the evening easy with backyard play, or snuggling on the couch together before dinner.
  • Family walks, sometimes with a stroller/wagon/scooter, sometimes just a meandering walk with a toddler curious about everything, who's never quite ready for the walk to be over.
  • Family dates, with Cooper. We've taken to using the term "date" to indicate a special outing, whether with all three of us, or just Cooper and me or Nicholas. And Cooper now tells us he's "ready date," i.e. ready for our date. Dates frequently include smoothies from downtown or a walk or something out of the ordinary.
  • The silliness that is contagious in the three of us. Embarrassing silliness, so I won't go into details, but silly is fun.
  • Picnic dinners and just how much more time we spend outside together as a family.
  • Walking through grief with Nicholas, processing and comforting one another, and the continuance of hope.
  • How we can eat a lot of the same meals, week-in, week-out and somehow don't get tired of them. Our enjoyment of our daily coffee. How takeout or coffee out still feels special.
  • Dreams for the future, contentment for the present, and getting to share all of it with you, Nicholas.

And here are some of my favorite pictures of us from the last year of our marriage, most of which feature our little family of three, since we have the best little tagalong companion:

P.S.-- if you're curious, here are my previous anniversary posts and our love story in two parts:

Glancing back and remembering with thankfulness to God for so many blessings, and looking forward with anticipation, hope, and trust in His plan for our family's story, beginning with our marriage, our love, and whatever the future holds, living life with my best friend.