This past Monday, August 17, marked seven years of marriage for us. Celebrating each year looks a little different, especially this year, with a pandemic and last year with a newborn, but it is oh-so-sweet to celebrate our marriage.

Saturday, two days before our actual anniversary, after lunch, we grabbed some coffee to-go and then dropped Cooper off at my in-law's with anything he would need for an afternoon and early evening with his Aunt Katelyn and grandma and grandpa (including his swim trunks for the kiddie pool ;). We drove to a local garden, and since that was busy with a wedding and guests, we parked at a nearby park and just walked. We walked around the park and into interesting, hilly neighborhoods, taking turns sipping on our shared iced decaf latte (we're one-cup-of-regular-coffee-a-day-folks these days). He wore a t-shirt and shorts, I wore a t-shirt dress. And we both wore sunglasses in the afternoon sun.

He told me about his childhood bus route, what he noticed as a child, and we talked about how kids see the world so differently. What they notice, what they value, what they remember--it is a different currency than what we use as adults. It's fascinating to me. As we just walked and talked, I paused and took a picture as we passed just a few leaves beginning to yellow. When the coffee cup was empty and we had walked for awhile, we got back in the truck and drove around town, talking about houses and more memories. It is special to me to get to see Nicholas revisit parts of his hometown that he hasn't seen in a decade or two. Familiar-but-not-quite places that prompt memories and all that's tied to them.

We came home after that (still just the two of us), I put pjs back on, because apparently, that's my idea of a good time on a baby-free afternoon. ;) We finished watching the last of the Harry Potter movies, since we've been watching them in order the last few weeks, and we relaxed on the couch. And then, we packed up supplies to grill veggies and steak at the communal grills at our apartment complex.

He grilled, and we both sipped on lime sparkling water, sharing little things we love about each other as dinner cooked. And after we ate our fill, we brought leftovers home, tidied up, and headed back to my in-law's to pick up a freshly fed, bathed, tired, happy toddler, who dozed off on the way home.

After Coop was tucked into bed, we watched a classic favorite of our's, The Way Way Back (hilarious and perfect for this time of year, in my opinion). We snacked on paleo chocolate chip muffins. And I think we went to bed rather early, after a fun and wonderful day.

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

  • Treat Yourself Tuesday and our conscious effort to enjoy and relax together on a weeknight. Foot baths and a good movie series and intentional time together make this one of my favorite nights of the week.
  • Our tag-team in the evenings in the aftermath of dinner + all the accompanying mess. We switch off giving Cooper a bath and cleaning the kitchen and the floor. And then we reconvene for story time and alternate who prays with him and gives him the last snuggle before lying him down.
  • sharing a decaf (or regular, if we haven't had a cup of coffee yet) iced latte with him from our favorite local coffee shop right down the road
  • calling for each other to see Cooper take steps(!) and to see the way he gives his stuffed animals hugs. Sharing the wonder of a toddler with each other.
  • Family walks, on Saturday mornings or snuck in before dinner. Taking turns pushing the stroller, chatting about our days, frustrations, joys, etc.
  • In Nicholas' words, Cooper is his most recent love, I'm his forever love. Well, Cooper is too, for that matter. ;)
  • dreaming about potential future homes, future plans etc.
  • His eagerness to be excited with me about the future, but he steadiness in reminding me of all that is good right now.
  • That he is working from home every day for the foreseeable future. We usually get to eat all three meals together as a family, and Nicholas gets to see and hold and play with Cooper intermittently throughout the day, even just for a moment. That is time they wouldn't have together if Nicholas were working every day in downtown Chicago.
  • Nicholas isn't coy about wanting to spend time with me, or expressing that. We have our own interests, but I know we have a lot of things we can enjoy together, too. :)

Life feels full and sometimes a little bit hectic right now, but so precious. I'm thankful for these two boys and our little family of three. Thankful that I've known Nicholas for more than a decade now, and oh, how we've grown and changed over the years. Thankful for the Lord sustaining our imperfect and fun marriage and using it to refine our hearts. Thankful that Nicholas is still, forever, my person.

And here are some (and actually, the only ones I could find) of my favorite pictures of us from the last year of our marriage:





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

And just for fun, here is the first photo that the two of us have as a couple (or at least mutual affection was known) :

And, I tried on my wedding dress for the first time in seven years! Don't mind the mom hair and makeup-less face. I still love it. Cooper was confused, but I think he liked it too.