32 Years

I was a divorced mom of two little boys.

Hubby was a solider in the Army.

The company I was working for had transferred me from Central IL to Southern California.

Hubby’s tour in Germany was wrapping up and he was being stationed at Fort Lewis, WA.

Everything was changing for both of us.

Hubby flew from Germany to Illinois and then from Illinois to California.

The movers came and packed up my apartment to transfer everything to Washington.

We loaded up my little car, put the boys in their car seats and started the drive from California to Illinois.

On November 3, 1985, hubby and I stood side-by-side pledging our love, devotion and commitment to always stand side-by-side through good, bad, thick and thin.

Little did either of us know just how strong we would have to be during our 32 years of marriage.

We raised a son with autism, sitting with him many nights thru seizures and hospital stays.

We survived the teen years and huge challenges with our middle and youngest sons.

We adopted our beautiful daughters.

We buried our youngest son.

We have fostered 8 precious children.

We’ve gone thru financial struggles.

We’ve gone thru job losses and job changes.

We’ve survived numerous moves.

We’ve purchased homes.

We conquered building a house together.

We’ve mourned the loss of parents and grandparents.

We’ve travelled to many parts of the world.

We haven’t always done our best or been at our best, but we have fought and endured thru all the ups and downs.

We have held on tight to our love, devotion and commitment to each other through it all.

I married my best friend.

I married a man, who works hard and loves harder.

Are there regrets?  Maybe a few, but I wouldn’t change a thing.  All we’ve been through has caused us to change and grown stronger in the love we have for each other.

To my hubby . . . .

Thank you for staying with me on this 32 year-long ride.  It has been one of the most thrilling rides of my life and I can only hope that we are able to celebrate at least 32 more.

I share the same song every year because it so perfectly expresses our life together.  We had more than a few people who didn’t want us to marry.  We had more than a few people who didn’t think we would make it.  But here we are, 32 years later still going strong.

Anniversary Week

It was 9 years ago on this day, March 20th, that we anxiously sat in the lobby area of our Guatemala hotel awaiting the arrival of Lili’s foster family.  It was this day that they very tearfully handed Lili over to us – her forever family.

Two years later, on March 16th, we drove thru the orphanage gates with Naomi in our arms.  A very different experience from the one two years earlier.  Another baby girl placed in the arms of her forever family.

Lili is now 9 years old and Naomi is 7.  Hubby and I feel so very grateful that these two beautiful little girls call us daddy and mommy.

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These pictures capture the smiles of two beautiful little girls, each with very different personalities.

Lili loves art, reading, swimming and her dog Jagger.

Naomi loves watching movies, playing with her toys, dressing up and her acting class.

However, they are so much more than art and movies.  Having them join our family are two of the very best decision we’ve ever made.

 

 

 

 

Still Goin Strong

Today hubby and I celebrate 30 years of marriage.

Considering we are in full throttle trying to get ready for a big moving sale this weekend and a big move in 39 days (not that I’m counting down), we aren’t going to be doing much celebrating.  We’ll do more celebrating in January when we head out on a week-long cruise to the Eastern Caribbean 🙂

Although we may not be celebrating today in the traditional sense, we are celebrating none-the-less.  We’re celebrating 30 years of ups and downs.  We’re celebrating 30 years of triumphs and failures.  We’re celebrating 30 years of happiness and tears.  We’re celebrating 30 years of adventure and uncertainty.  We’re celebrating because through it all we continue to be life partners and best friends.

For the last several years I’ve shared the one song that best describes our life together.  You see, we really didn’t have a huge cheering section when we got married.  We had family and friends, who didn’t just think it was a mistake, but were completely against our union.  Some actually walked out of our lives altogether.  They didn’t think we would make it and some probably hoped we wouldn’t.  Yet here we are, we’re still together still goin strong and I can’t wait to see where life takes us over the next 30 years.

To my hubby, the love of my life.

6 Years Ago

It was six years ago today that this little girl legally became our daughter.

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I had often heard that adoption is not for the faint of heart and that was proven to be true for us.   We had gone to visit her.  We held her in our arms.  We watched her play and watched her sleep.  We fed her, bathed her, changed her diapers and rocked her to sleep.  In our hearts, she was our daughter.  She was already part of our family.

Then Guatemala shut down adoptions and no one knew for sure if the adoptions currently in process would move thru or not.  Two months later  I received word that our adoption had been finalized and the tears began to flow.  The little girl we already knew as our daughter was now legally ours.

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Five weeks later we traveled to Guatemala to bring her home.  It was a whirlwind of emotions and our lives have forever been changed in amazing ways because Liliana is our little girl.

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Lili loves animals.  She has a Papillion she named Jagger and hopes to have sheep and horses on our little homestead one day.

DSC_1327Even though she hasn’t always been with us, it’s difficult to even remember life without her in it.

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We love you Lili, our little Guatemala princess!!!

**I took these pictures today.  Lili has been sick for just over a week now and is finally getting over bronchitis and a sinus infection.  She still looks a little under the weather in some of the photos and yet her beauty still shines through.

4 Years

It was 4 years ago today that we received these pictures.

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A tiny baby girl in need of a family and we were being asked to be her family.

We had expected to wait another 1-2 months, so opening my email on November 11, 2009 came as a big surprise.

Of course we said yes and 4 years later this is the beauty we see today.

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That little baby has turned our lives upside down in wonderful ways.

Happy Naomiversary to our spunky, outspoken, beautiful, funny, silly, happy, smart, creative, and inspiring little girl!!!

 

November 3, 1985

They had known each other for years as friends, good friends in fact, but his enlistment in the Army meant they were parting ways.  Her life going one direction as a soon to be single mom and his life going another as a solider.

Two years later and things so much different then before, he returned home on leave.  It was during this leave that they reconnected.  No expectations, just two old friends catching up on where life had taken them.  Yet somehow during their short time together,  their  friendship blossomed and became more than either of them expected or had imagined.

He returned to his overseas Army base and her life as a single working mom continued. However, distance could not keep them apart. For 10 long months they wrote letters to each other, talked on the phone and began to learn and  understand each other in ways they never had before. Their friendship grew stronger and a new love emerged.

For 10 months they lived with an ocean between them, but that ocean would do nothing more than bring them closer together.

Finally, the day came when he was able to return to the states.  His time overseas complete and for both of them, a new life about to begin.  They committed their lives to each other and became husband and wife.

Their marriage began without the acceptance and support of some of their closest friends and family.   While sad that others could not accept their relationship, they forged ahead knowing that their love and commitment would withstand all the challenges along the way.

Together they faced all the ups and downs of raising a son with autism and watching all 3 of their boys grow to adulthood.  They stood side-by-side at the graveside of his mom and years later his dad.  At a time when many of their friends were sending kids off to college and welcoming grandchildren into their lives, they made the decision to add two beautiful little girls to their family thru adoption.  A few short weeks after bringing home their second daughter, they found themselves living a parents worst nightmare as they  said good-bye and buried their youngest son. They held on to each other tight knowing that the strength of their love would get them thru.

That young couple, so happy and excited to begin their new lives together so long ago, have ridden the waves of life and now celebrate 28 years of marriage.

David Weeks, I am grateful and so very happy that I have spent the last 28 years of my life building a home, family, and life with you. You are my best friend and I thank you for walking this journey of life with me.

I am excited to see where life takes us and know that with you standing beside me, we will continue to tackle any challenge life throws our way.

Forever and always, you are still the only one for me !!

 

Our anniversary song.