Fifeteen & Nine...

I am a day early but that's because I have time right now. The next few days are going to be pretty busy with the 4th, the long weekend and we're going to the water park on Saturday --- woo-hoo! I think I'm looking more forward to that than the kids, but that's probably because I know what a water park is ;c)

Anyway, tomorrow is Neil and my 9th anniversary. 9 years ago we were married in an absolutely beautiful church. It was the hottest day of the year (not kidding when I say that, it was 97 degrees and high humidity) and guess what our church didn't have? Air conditioning. Well, we didn't think of that when we were booking the church in December! (note to file: always think ahead!)

So our wedding day was pretty memorable for all 400 of our guests (saying that with sarcasm). When we mention the day we were married people always say "I remember that! Boy it was hot!" Sometimes I think people forget that the bride (me) was in a big layered tulle dress which felt like it was 50 pounds, especially when you combined the dress itself with all the sweat coming off of my body. Thank goodness for my bridesmaid, Sara, who brought a hand-held fan for me. That fan spent a good majority of the day under my dress to cool my whithering hot body! :c)

But of course that day is also very memorable for us. We were together 6 years before we got married. We had known each other since we were 8. We grew up just a couple miles apart. We rode the same bus to school. But it wasn't till we were in high school that we found a little spark between us that would grow and then carry us through 15 years together. Wow.

While Erin and Jer were visiting we took them to the University of Illinois campus. It's such a beautiful campus. We didn't go to school there, but both our dads did, Neil's brother did, our sister-in-law did, a big handful of my friends, and about a half dozen of my family members. We both grew up on that campus in one way or another, going to basketball and football games or for whatever other reason. So it was fun showing the campus off to E & J. What was even more fun was showing them the church we got married in which is right off of campus. I am so thankful I had my camera with me (and some friends who could help me out!) because we had a picture taken on the steps of that church which I will forever be grateful for. It signifies so much.

..symbolistic love..

This picture contains so much symbolism. Obviously it's the church that we were married in . . .the steps that we both walked down after we were pronounced husband and wife. But this picture, it symbolizes a love that is undying. That has weathered a few storms and is ready to weather more if we need to. It symbolizes two people who will forever be best friends. Who are still in love, but whose love has grown differently from that puppy love in high school to a love that is comfortably happy. It symbolizes that we will always try to stay on the top as long as we do it together . . . two people who can't be strong together if we aren't the people we were made to be individually first. After 15 years together, we've made it through a lot. I think we're ready to take on whatever else life will lead us into.

God has blessed us. Amazingly, we triumphed infertility and loss and are at a point in our lives that I truly never ever thought I would see. This family . . .

So happy anniversary to my forever dear Neilly. I love you so much. Thank you for loving our kids, thank you for loving me. You are the best husband and daddy a woman would ever ever want. I am so thankful for you.


Jennifer said...


I love the picture!

Erin said...

Happy Anniversary to you guys. It was so special to be there with you and be able to take that picture that symbolizes so much. We love you so much and are so glad you are part of our lives.

Anonymous said...

Happy Anniversary!
which waterpark are you going to? Just wanted to let you know of a way to save some $ if you're going to Knights but you might already know, being the internet chicky that you are.
Have fun!

Chel said...

Happy anniversary!! What fabulous family photos! You all look so happy.

LiLi said...

Happy Anniversary! I hope it is wonderful!!! Thank you for everything last week. We had such a wonderful time. I hate that we don't see each other more often! ((hugs))

Louise said...

That is awesome!
Congrats to you!
Very cute pics!

oh amanda said...

Happy Anniversary, Val! What sweet pictures. I love the way you described the pic of you at the church--the steps and everything! Perfect!

Missy!! said...

Aww.. Happy Anniversary! Wow... nine years of marriage!! How has Neil done it for so long?!? :) I love the family pics by the way.. photo booth or selfies?

Our Home Schooler and Jen said...

Happy anniversary to the pair of you

I LOVE LOVE LOVE that photo of you and Neil on the steps


lil ole' me..... said...

Happy Anniversary Val and Neil!

Oh, and I love that you call him Neilly because I call my hubby Keithy! :)

Alexis Jacobs said...

Happy anniversary! I love the picture at the church. Great entry.