Month: December 2017

The Last Post of the Year

We’re currently en route back home after a quick trip down to Wilmington, North Carolina to spend time with Clay’s family. It had been a couple of years since we were last there during the holiday season and now that we’re calling northern Virginia home, we decided to jet down there when Clay’s scheduled opened up for a few days.

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The last time we were there, our family was patient zero for the stomach flu that eventually made it’s way through the extended family so I am happy to report that we were illness-free this time around. Well – except for me. But thankfully, the massive sinus-infection that overwhelmed my face during December is finally making it’s curtain call thanks to a cocktail of prescribed medication that limited my alcohol consumption during the holidays.

IMG_2395Clay was in and out of town throughout November and December so we did our best to squeeze in holiday traditions when he was home. One we introduced On December 23rd, we saw the Manassas Ballet Theater perform The Nutcracker. It was our first time attending such a performance as a family and we can’t wait to do it again. We will likely move around a lot during the next five years so it will be fun to see the performance in different places around the world.

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Last year, we made the decision to not travel for Christmas – instead choosing to wake up in our own home on Christmas morning and push any travel to the day after Christmas. When it was just the two of us and when the children were younger, traveling with gifts wasn’t an issue but now it just makes more sense to stay home. When the kids are teenagers, I can see us traveling again over the holidays and perhaps even taking an epic trip as our big gift to each other. Our church had a wonderful Christmas Eve service, complete with fiber-optic wands for the kids. Afterwards, we put on matching pajamas and ate appetizers while watching Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and tracked Santa via NORAD. Speaking of which – when calling NORAD on speakerphone with the kids, I misdialed and somehow ended up phoning a sex line. Obviously, I’m winning a parenting award for my achievements this year.

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Christmas morning featured excited squeals, some surprises, and enough cardboard and wrapping paper to fill the recycling can for the next few weeks. As always seems to be the case, the kids played the most with the $8 worth of Play-Doh that day. My sister and her family came down from Pennsylvania the following day for a couple of days. The kids acted like spider monkeys and us adults maintained our sanity by eating, drinking, and watching Curb Your Enthusiasm.

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After a trip to Urgent Care for me, we made our down to North Carolina, where we celebrated Christmas and took advantage of Clay’s sister’s beach house on Ocean Isle Beach. There was plenty of Clemson gear on display and the six cousins enjoyed playing together. We weren’t there long – less than 48 hours – but I’m glad that Clay’s schedule allowed for us to squeeze in the trip.

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The six grandchildren (ages 4 – 12).

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Hopefully the traffic on I-95 N will be kind to us as we make our way up to the national capital region and we will be home before the sun sets. Our New Years Eve will be a quiet one this year as we say hello 2018 – just the four of us. But if 2018 is anything like 2017, then it will be one hell of a ride. And as the sun sets on this year, I look forward to tomorrow’s sunrise.

Lucky Number Thirteen

We met and fell in love as teenagers and were married the same year that I could legally consume alcohol. Science says that frontal lobe isn’t fully developed until we’re 25, so for making such a major life decision before we were 100% rational beings, things have been turning out okay. Better than okay. In fact, things are pretty freakin’ amazing.

Today marks 13 years of marriage for us. In many ways, 13 years doesn’t seem like nearly enough time to encapsulate the infinite moments that comprise our story. It feels like chump change. I’ve been in love with this goofy, hardworking, kind, courageous, and beautiful man for almost half my life. We’ve gone through a lot together and we approach life with the idea that we are stronger together than as individuals. Together we are unstoppable. We are a team. And a pretty damn good one at that.

Like many other couples, our story is a collection of excitement, joy, and heartbreak. The highlight reel would show the exciting moments surrounding the birth of our children, the moments of anticipation before a reunion, the tender moments spent wiping away tears before a deployment or after a miscarriage, the thrilling moments of a new adventure, and the quiet and comfortable moments that let us know that everything is going to be okay.

I suppose that is one of my favorite things about being married to Clay – that no matter what is thrown our way, it will be okay. For no other reason than because we have each other. As we slide into the downhill portion of our thirties, we find our eyes have more crinkles in the corners. We’re finding gray hairs at an alarming rate and truth be told, it is becoming quite difficult to maintain the flat stomachs of our twenties. But he has never looked better to me. I couldn’t ask for a better partner, a better cheerleader, a better father for our children, or a better man. Not too shabby for a couple in love who decided to get married before their frontal lobes were even fully developed.